Posted on the British Model T Register, Face Book.
Reproduction axle, perhaps?
Any more information? It looks like it has been welded together without being beveled and then ground down after. Not good. Dave
I think I'm missing something here. In the top photo the right front wheel / axle is damaged, but the lower photo shows the left side of the broken axle. Were both sides damaged or has one photo been reversed?
no info on it, just a caption saying "how does something like that survive over 100 years"
Andrew, maybe both sides?
Can someone from England tell us some more?
I posted the pictures on the Model T Register of Great Britain Facebook page but somehow the pictures loaded but the text has not, so I will repeat the request here to clarify .
The guy in question sent a request to me to try and trace some replacement parts for the car , I dont know how the accident occurred but suffice to say the car is now rather poorly , as I understand everyone is well thank God and requires some parts to get the car back to its former glory early front axle , rear buggy rail that hood ( top ) attaches to and new headlight .
If anyone can assist please leave me a private email or list it here. I think this guy is very lucky but could certainly do with some help .
If I hear any more I will keep you informed .
While at Chickasha this year there was an exhibit of a model T front axle that was twisted like a piece of licorice to show it's strength.
I don't think a real front axle would break like the one in the start of this thread.
The one in the photo is on a car of the right age to need a one piece spindle and is broken in the right area where the modified later axles are changed to be like the earlier ones.
In an old thread the practice of changing the look of the front axles was discussed and the need to weld on a new end was given a lot of discussion. Is this evidence of what can happen?
I don't think an original would ever break like this.
Here is an earlier discussion on the repro 09 axles from Glenn Johnson in Florida with welded on ends: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/79793.html?1233325471
Richard Gould had experience with such an axle developing cracks: "The fellow who restored the car drove a few thousand miles on that axel before selling the car to my seller, and when I got it, I saw cracks developing in the welds."
Buyers and those who think of driving a car with such an axle beware!
I have found about a bit more info today , as a side issue Model T owners were out to lunch today we were discussing this at some length and Andrew you are right both sides sheared in the same place so we conclude that this axle is either a repro unit or someone has done a poor welding job, possibly due to cutting up a wide track front axle .
Ricks , thanks for the info on vanadium steel may like to attach that to the Facebook article if you dont mind .
It would appear that this car had recently been restored and was out on its maiden tour .
Any further information I will let you all know.
Go right ahead with copying the ad, David. I probably copied it from Dan Treace..
I may print off a copy of the above photos of the axle and show them to a friend and neighbor who is a very experianced welder.
That coulda got someone killed.Is the look of a early axle so important it is worth a chance of dieing to keep the right "look" on a T? Geez.
From 1913 Catalog:
I guess I can live with the wrong (later) axle on my '09. Wow.
Good heads up on this forum. May save a life.
Sounds like if an axle is to be modified like this it calls for a quality weld AND detailed x-ray or other non-destructive testing and maybe structural testing. Having the wheels fall off does not look like fun.
I have thought that the addition of full floating hubs on the back axle might end with a similar break. I believe that full floating hubs are the best, but doubt that one can retro fit them with out having other risks.
Stuff like this might eventually cause the banning of antique vehicles from the road. Or the implementation of strict and detailed safety inspections at a huge cost to the owner. I wonder how insurance companies will start looking at accidents involving broken parts?
Interesting enough this happened in UK where they have just decided to drop regular inspections of old cars....(MOT)
Re axle breakage.
Ok, this incident is going to cause a stir for a while, let's clarify a few issues here.
1. The mot test in the uk is still carried out on a yearly basis.
2. It would be I imagine impossible for a mot tester to observe that the axle has been welded.
3. The car is most possibly an import and the owner was unaware that the axle had been welded.
4. I am a certified welder to ASME IX and and involved with model T's for all my 47 years. Firstly, I would not even consider driving one of my T's with a welded on front axle end. The new end would I imagine be cast steel being joined to drop forged steel, not out of the question but a full penetration weld would be required (unlike the failed axle) along with the correct consumable and process inc pre and post heat in a controlled environment . After welding the axle may even require further heat treatment to and certainly some non destructive weld testing after manufacture and in the future.
5. Incidents like this give our beautiful hobby a bad name and poor quality workmanship like this for the sake of originality should be avoided at all costs.
I am NOT a certified welder, but have been welding for more than 45 years now. I know enough, that I don't think I would ever trust a front axle welded that way. I agree totally with everything Simon Meakin said, especially item 4. Even the best welder cannot truly safely weld a place like that unless the materials are nearly an exact alloy match. Even then, the forged metal would have different strength characteristics than the welded metal. That, alone, would create a point in the axle prone to fracture and failure.
I am very thankful that no one was seriously hurt. I recall a few wrecks where everyone was not so lucky.
Thank you very much for sharing this!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne, I agree with you and Simon completely. I also am not a certified weldor, but like you, I have been welding for more than forty five years. In that time, I have learned a few things, one of them is to research what materials are to be welded. One of the VERY first things that I learned was that if any two parts were to be welded together, they needed to be beveled enough to get one hundred percent penetration. That obviously was not done on that axle. When I read on this forum a while back about these axle conversions, I had my doubts about the combatabilaty of the two metals Dave
Yes, I guess the lack of beveling was the main problem when both welds fails early like on the maiden trip - with too little beveling and grinding after welding to make it invisible, probably almost nothing was left to hold.. Bad practice and a terribly bad place to have only one weld to hold each wheel.
Gustaf - the full floating rear hubs are different animals in my opinion - not just a weld that holds the wheel, the solid steel bearing adaptors are usually inserted into the original axle tube and the forces from the wheel are held by the axle tube just as originally. The inserted bearing adaptor is usually kept in place by a screw through the grease fitting in the axle tube. Can't speak for all the floating bearing designs that are out there, but it's certainly no problem to make a safe floating bearing design for the rear axle on a T - but I would doubt any welded front axle design with the slender Ford I-beam look.
here's another one.
Hi Simon, would you please answer a question for me, people love to shorten words or names down to initials which you hear on the TV with imported shows and when you live in a another country they have no meaning, I do know you are talking about if a vehicle is road worthy but here in Australia we call it a registration inspection so what dose MOT stand for please... Ray
Ministry of Transport?
Motorist's Origin of Trepidation and Terror
Hey David, is that like Jamie's Ministry of food, just joking it seems a weird name to get the car inspected.... Ray
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOT_test "The Ministry of Transport test (usually abbreviated to MOT test) is an annual test of automobile safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions required for most vehicles over three years old used on public roads in the United Kingdom."
(OT)We have a similar annual test in Sweden - but only semi anually for all motorcycles and cars older than 30 years. Here 1950 model year and older are exempt - if they have been tested once 1987 or later, they don't need to be tested anymore. But the police can demand testing if they consider the vehicle unsafe.
I don't think that type of general testing stations (brakes/exhaust/extensive rust damage) would have noticed unsafe welds in such a for them unusual vehicle like a Model T unless visible cracks had developed - and by then you're like seconds from disaster anyway.
Roger, we have the tests here each year for the vehicles but they are refereed to as the pink slip and the green slip and first time inspection is a blue slip and in saying that I am sure you would have know idea what I am talking about but thats getting away from the question I asked and what this thread is about, it just comes down to money and some one decided to weld that had no idea of the pressure that the part was under and could have killed some one... Ray
In the photo posted above, the welded reproduction axle, the welding was done by a former owner, not a certified welder. I did not purchase the axle from Glen Johnson. Because of cracks I found, I replaced the axle with an original I was very lucky to have found.
I agree with all that is said above. I did drive on the axle for a while but was very concerned about safety as one can imagine. Had I not found an original I would have separated ends and had them rewelded by someone who was knowledgeable.
In fairness to Glen Johnson, I have heard from reliable sources that his work is good and I have never heard of any of his axles breaking.
Ok. Richard, just to clarify - so Glen sells both the loose repro ends for home welding and complete welded axles?
Its like to me the axle weld joint wasnt beveled or at the very least was not welded with the correct welding rod.
If it was correctly welded and with the right type of rod it should not break.
A stock Model T doesnt have that much power to break an axle like that to begin with.
Somebodies poor welding in my book.
A lot of construction equipment is put under trememdous strain with factory welded parts in high stress joints and other critical areas and they dont break.
I'd tend to agree.
Vanadium steel at the % used by Ford would not have been un-weldable to other alloys, even using wire or stick suited for the new forged ends.
The Heat Affected Zone on the Vanadium side can and will get overzied grains and structure at high welding temperatures, but unless the weld is full depth submerged arc, the next 'pass' in normal welding would have normalized those swollen grains. It would take continuous welding at over 1800F in order to trap swollen grains.
So it was probably a case of incorrect full welding, or a process was used that generated heat well above that critical point or a water quench was used.
Just my O2 for those that will worry about rewelded Vanadium Steel axles...done right, they should be OK.
I am pretty sure welding pieces together to make an axle for a modern car would be illegal. Looks like it's OK to do it to an antique car.
I would like to point out that while Ford probably used Vanadium in the earlier production, by '26-7 for sure there was NO Vanadium. The chemistry is basically a Chrome-Moly steel very similar to 4140-4340. I run a couple of welded front axles and have great confidence in them as I personally know the welder and have used him for many years. NO it wasn't me!! I was there while it was being done and agreed with the procedure used. Unfortunately I will not share this procedure with you out of liability concerns.
Hmm, I don't have any FACTS here, but even the Model A was advertised as using Vanadium steel. Was this just ad hype?
I took a spindle and a front axle to a metalurgical testing lab. Not a trace of vanadium (and we were specifically looking for it). We were looking to cast some items and wanted to duplicate Henry's material. And so we did, just no Vanadium needed!!
Roger, I think Glen sells only the complete axle, not the ends. I think Dan Mari made the ends to my axle about 25 years ago.I don't know where Glen get his ends.
Why did they not make complete axles instead? Only making the ends seems a bit odd for front axles.
Kep, to make a front axle is not such an easy task, It required lots of expensive equipment and expertise. Making one complete from scratch would not be practical especially for the early cars there are so few who would need one. Later axles are in no short supply but this method of faking an early one is so badly executed it probably qualifies as the most dangerous attempt at remaking a part by a big margin. The fact the English car lost both sides at the one time shows that axle was no where near in strength that is required.
Thing is who did actually put this axle together was it Glen Johnson or someone else? I agree with Les Schubert, welding an axle can be done to make it just as safe as an original but the person and materials needed to do so are few indeed.
Looking at Richard Goulds axle the execution of that effort is so poor one would be an idiot to trust it on a vehicle to be used on the road, its way short of a standard to put on a vehicle to be only shown in a museum.
The manufacture of the front Ford axle was published in the Vintage Ford Vol 25 No 6. I hope the scans are readable. As you can see no one is going to make one in their workshop.
some pro welders must be capable of doing this type of welding properly after all look at all the dropped axles the hot rodders use aren't they made by cutting and reattaching the ends? Les i'm searching for someone experienced in this type of procedure I'm sure its a dying art is your friend still taking on jobs like this?
The drop axles I have seen are bent and not welded.
Not to say that they can't be welded, just requires some care.
Some are welded. They have "pie sections" removed but I don't believe they're completely cut through. They are then bent to close up the pie cut and welded at the newly formed seam. Reading through all of this, I became determined that I would never use a welded axle. Then your comment reminded me that my speedster drop axle IS the welded style. I've beat it hard for many years, I guess it's gonna be o.k.