this was the weekend I was finally going to have my 15 Touring drivable for the first time in 3 years
I was putting the passenger side rear wheel on when I notices something odd
upon closer inspection it became apparent that the groove for the axle key had once been broken, but half assedly repaired.
I have a spare standard rear that has been out since I don't know when
it turns and is lubricated inside from what I can tell, but I dont really know if its in good enough condition to just bolt up in place of the ruckstell for the time being
any input would be greatly appreciated
I'd like to be able to get my christmas tree in the T this year
Pull the other axle apart and use a good axle shaft for you ruckstell. Do know the condition of your Ruckstell? If it was quiet and worked OK it should be a job you could do in a day.
This condition is caused by too loose a nut on the end of the axle. If the Ruckstell is otherwise good, replace the axle shaft with a good one and torque to 100 ft lb. After you drive it around a while check the torque again.
It's not too big a deal to pull the Ruckstell and change an axle. Order a bronze washer if you don't have one, get a new or better axle and you can pull it apart and put it back together in a short day. It is obvious how they go together once you get it apart and see how it works. I agree with Kenny, if it was working and was quiet before it shouldn't take much to get it going. Even if you see some wear that you want to fix later you can fix the axle and replace the babbitt washer and get it back together while you gather up the parts you need to do a total rebuild.
If you need some phone help contact me offline and I'll send you my phone number and email. I've done almost 50 of them so should be able to help on the phone; as many others here can, too. They probably easily know as much or more than I do.
You might want to look at some of the pictures on my web site, www.modeltruckstell.com It will give you an idea of what is in there. Here is the page with the pictures of how it assembles: www.modeltruckstell.com/Ruckstell_rebuild_photos.html
Or just pop the old differential apart and check the washers in it, replace the babbitt ones and put it in so you can use it during the season while you fix the Ruckstell.
They're just not a huge deal to work on, don't let it overwhelm you.
You don't even have to pull the whole Ruckstell out of the car. Jack stands or good (no concrete) blocks to hold the chassis and rear-end up. Take both wheels off. Leave the right side housing in place. Pull the left (Ruckstell) housing out. It is a little tricky because you have to work it around the spring and radius and brake rods. Pull out the axles and differential. If it has been working well and all looks okay inside, just split (unbolt) the minimum differential to pull the axles out and change them. They should be standard T axles, so if the other rear-end has a decent axle, you should be okay.
I once did (almost) this with a Ruckstell in under three hours. Made it to a tour a little late. Don't expect to do it that fast. My wrenches were flying! My point is, it can be done leisurely in an easy day (provided you don't have to do a major rebuild).
Be sure you have a brass or bronze thrust washer on the non-Ruckstell side. DO NOT trust the Babbitt ones no matter how good they look!
And, please, block and work carefully! I don't want any friends to be seriously injured working under a car!
Drive safely, W2
That, of course, works and in fact is how the original Ruckstell instructions say to install the unit. "No need to remove the entire rear end assembly," etc. My take on doing it that way, especially if you have not done a few of them before, is that it only takes -- let's see --- four bolts on the U Joint housing, two nuts on the other spring shackle and two brake rods cotter pins -- and you can roll the whole unit out from under the car and get it up on a bench where you can see what it needs and fix it.
I'm leery of getting everything back together right doing it under the car.
It also makes a difference how young and thin and flexible you are. I can barely work under a car anymore due to my B & B disease. That's my belly and my bifocals. By the time I get it high enough off the ground to get my belly under there I can't see anything through my bifocals.
I'd pull the whole thing but as with all advice, this may only be worth exactly what you are paying for it. Nothing. Or it may be worth more.
Since I'm waiting for fresh coffee before going back to the shop, I'll throw this in, too. Installing them under the car by pulling one side of the original differential is, as I said, the way Ruckstell instructed mechanics to install them. In one of the stories in my Herman & Freida book, Einar and Torvald install a Ruckstell in a couple hours doing it that way. I had a letter from a guy who told me it couldn't be done that way, etc. I sent him a copy of the original instructions and he called me and said in 50 years of T Fords and Ruckstells he had never heard of doing it that way and he couldn't understand why anybody would. Dunnno, it must have been faster in the day.
Coffee's done. Back to the slave quarters.
Wayne, FYI... the thrust side of the Ruxtell is the large bearing, so a babbit washer on the other side wouldn't cause the same failure as on an original rear axle. With that being said, you would want to replace a babbit washer "if" one was found in the Ruckstell. Although I've never found a babbit washer in any Ruckstells I've torn down, I'm sure there may be some out there.
Originally there was a fiber washer in there on the non-thrust side. Most of them are gone or pretty close to it. I think the reason for the fiber washer to begin with was that it allowed for some "squish" to compensate for differences in machining in all the various differential and Ruckstell housings. I have found some that were pretty intact and some that were barely notebook paper thick. I've found several bronze and several babbitt washers on that size, undoubtedly installed by some mechanic in the past. The large ball bearing takes the thrust but without the flat thrust washer on the other side the ring gear will run too tight to the pinion on a right hand turn and will "growl" on a corner. While it is apart you should check the ball bearing to make sure it is OK, not noisy and that it is actually an angular thrust bearing. Many, many over the years have been replaced by a standard bearing. SKF's number is a 7217BECBY, the size is 60 x 110 x 22. (As you probably know, all bearings are sized in millimeters) The standard bearing runs and works and fits but without the correct thrust always has more potential for failure than an angular thrust bearing.
Tear down time is based largely on how many air tools you have and how long it has been since it has been apart. Some I get haven't been apart for 80 or more years, some were apart last week. When Ruckstell was recommending only pulling the left side housing under the car they were assuming that you were working on a new or nearly new Ford and that everything would come right apart and nothing would need replacement -- that only the Ruckstell pieces would need to be installed. I personally wouldn't install or work on one without pulling the entire differential to check the pinion bearing, the axle sleeves, alignment, etc., etc. I would tear the shift lock down and check a bunch of other things.
While there is no neutral built in to a Ruckstell, they can develop one with wear and improper assembly. Once it is in neutral you can be sunk if you don't have accessory brakes that actually work. A worn clutch gear or bronze plate, a worn thrust plate, worn triple gears, worn axle holes, bad bearing and more can all make them hard to shift and cause them to develop a neutral.
A known unit that was performing well -- one new axle is probably OK and just put it back in. An unknown unit that may or may not have problems??? I'd want it up on the bench and every thing I could check out where I could see it. IMHO it wouldn't take much longer to pull it out, clean it up and take a look than it would to crawl under it a bunch of times trying to put it back together. There are only 7 5/16's bolts holding the halves together. Internally, there are 10 ring gear bolts and 6 bolts and nuts on the carrier. Doesn't take five minutes with a little impact wrench to pop one apart.
I gotta get out to the shop and get to work.
You mileage, ideas and results may, can, will and probably should vary.
thanks for the input
at the moment the plan is to put the front of the car back together and then deal with this
so maybe within the next couple weeks it will be done, but I'm not holding my breath
I looked at your photo above ans I think I see what the problem is...someone welded a finger on the end of the shaft. If you grind it off you may be able to put everything back together!
I looked at that picture again. The keyway is not apparant in the picture. What I had thought was the key, is actually the remains of a shim.