Today's entry in http://www.prewarcar.com/
Fortunately no one seriously hurt. I can understand an axle failure from crummy welds but the broken kingpin??
It was probably fully hardened or, as the feller says, "through-hard." Too brittle thataway.
Shameless plug: that's why mine are case hardened, as per Ford.
The pictures shown had nothing to do with the kingpins. The axles were poorly welded and broke at the welds. Not sure why the author called them "stub axles".
The kingpin reference is for another accident. Who knows if that's what he really meant.
The link "broke down in Malawi" in the story leads to a photo of the car with the broken kingpin.
This broken axle was discussed on here several years ago. Seems someone was trying to make a "look-alike" Early axle and got it from the guy in Florida or some place.
We have had two incidents in Australia recently. On both occasions the head of the kingpin parted company, leaving the pin itself intact, in place, and no harm was done. It looks like the oiler hole is drilled too deep, weakening the bolt head right where the base of the head joins the shaft of the bolt.
Are all the replacements made the same, other than the heat treatment?
Allan from down under.
That "broke down in Malawi" incident of the kingpin looks curious.
Looks like it froze, perhaps due to the method of lubricating the kingpin. Note the 'grease cup' at the head of the spindle bolt, grease will cake and not go down the internal small passage way of the kingpin.
Ford put oilers at that spot. Oil will freely flow to the upper bushing, and pour down the internal oil passage, and wick out and all the way down and around the kingpin to get to the lower bushing.
Looks to me like the kingpin froze to the bushings and twisted off. I don't see how this could happen, but that's what it looks like to me. It seems the guy would have noticed that he couldn't turn. ??
The two most common causes of "kingpin" failure are improper heat-treating (or hardening) of the kingpin and wear in the top or bottom of the axle causing stress for the kingpin resulting in a break. Often, it is a combination of both.
A very good friend of mine, years ago, broke a kingpin because the wear in the top of the axle allowed some flexing of the pin at the bottom by the threads. It broke, slipped out of the bottom and tilted backwards (bending the top of the axle), making for a difficult driving situation. The fact that it was a Rajo powered race car and was doing 90mph (clocked by the modern car following) made it even more exciting. Fortunately, the top end of the kingpin did not break, the wheel stayed on the car, and all ended well with proper repair of the axle following.
When they break on both ends like that, it is usually improper heat-treatment. Either end can break first. The other often follows before it can be noticed. When the head breaks off (like Allen R B mentions) it is usually improper heat-treating.
Improper lubrication (as noted) could contribute to both causes. However it is not likely to be the main cause in itself. Unless of course you want to argue that the wear resulted from improper lubrication (which is a valid argument).
There have been a few discussions here in the past about improper heat-treating of kingpins. Just remember, kingpins broke way back when also (photos have been posted on this site). Also,I have restored a couple T front ends over the years that came to me with heads broken off that looked to be improper heat-treating. At least some of the old kingpins were not hardened very much. For the mostly '13 I am working on? I had to hacksaw through the kingpin above and below the spindle in order to remove it. If I had known how soft it was, I would have cut it before spending a couple hours trying to remove it after soaking it for a couple months with Kroil.
This is one of the very good reasons to walk around the T and give everything a good shake, often.
Drive carefully, and enjoy the holidays! W2
I meant to say "walk around the car and give everything a good LOOK AND shake, often."
Randall Anderson makes the best early style kingpins for up through '14. They aren't cheap, but are 100% correct. I have them in both my '13s and like them a lot, plus Randall is a good man, and he needs the money.
Gee Larry; the first part about me's questionable but I won't argue the second! ;o)
I can testify as to the uselessness of greasing the Model T kingpins.
When I got my '25 Fordor I thought it steered pretty hard........so I jacked up the front axle and found the kingpins turning IN the axle.
Someone had "improved" upon the oiler and installed grease fittings.
Luckily they weren't stuck too bad but when I got them out there was ZERO grease below the first few inches from the top so the pins were rusting at the bottom end and making the steering very tight.
There are oil cups on them now......
I always put a grease zerk in the lathe center hole on the inside of the spindle housing. This way grease go's in the middle of the two bushings, and fills that area, and then forces the grease down the bottom bushing, and up the top busning.
I use a small grease zerk for this, and I also put a thrust bearing on the top of the spindle, in place of the brass thrust. Then two squared off "O" rings, cant think of the name they call them right now, to keep the bearing clean.
Post a photo of that...
Recommend to stay with brass bushing up front.
These needle bearing thrusts on top with needle bearing around the kingpin lasted about 3000 miles, and the Ford got that ole 'shaking, wiggle wobble'.
You can see the deformation and wrecked needle trust, too much load for these tiny things.
And look at the roller wear on the kingpin shaft. Ruined the king pin.
So, removed all that unnecessary and wear, breakdown prone 'modern' bearings......
And replaced with what the Ford should have as the spindle bushing....
You are right Dan, those kind of bearings would never hold up. Needle bearings are not made for any application like that. They also have been tried on ball caps, that didn't work either.
Brass works fine on the spindle bolt, but all the weight of the car is on the top bushing flange. That is where I put the thrust bearings, and they are not needle bearings, they are roller bearings. The axle has to be machined any way back to a right angle to the top of the spindle. I got the idea from an article in a 1919 Mag, showing how to put them in Dodge cars to make them last longer.
Adam, The pictures show the size of zerk I use, what it looks like assembled. I have used two different kinds. The last one I used on a 1915 from NE. This one has an oil hole, but I use grease.
Somebody for got to list pictures!
Last September I was on a tour in northern California and after we ran for about 15 miles on a gravel road, we went down a grade with quite a few hairpin turns. There was a car behind me most of the way, and then later I didn't see him anymore. I assumed that he had stopped to cool off his brakes. Later he arrived at our destination on the trouble truck. The spindle bolt on one of his front wheels had broken. I didn't look at it, so don't know what it looked like. Possibly the jolting of the dirt road followed by the hairpins put too much stress on it? I wonder whether there has in the past been a problem with after market spindle bolts? I have never had that happen to my cars, and it was the first such occurance to my knowledge.
The kingpin breakage from the link in the first post happened in Malawi in Africa when on a around the world trip. I remember Constantines pictures of the roads in Africa:
No wonder a maybe too hardened bolt broke in such a shake down test?
Remember the spoof story that circulated some years ago about Ford's supposed method to engineer the product cheaper by monitoring spare sales.. It went something like this:
Ol' Henry asked the chief accountant: "-Which spare part of the Model T do we sell the least of? Is there any part that never breaks?"
"-It must be the spindle bolts, we sell very few of them, sir"
"-Ok, then we can make them thinner until they break as often as the other parts of the car.."
Obviously this never happened as the dimensions was the same throughout production. Ok, material properties and heat treatment was likely changed, but never cheapened at the cost of quality - likely improved production methods made this & other parts both better and cheaper from 1908 to the mid 20's. Unfortunately the repro producers today aren't all as careful as Ford was with the quality.. As always you have to check with others before deciding where to buy. (Someday maybe I can afford RV's bolts )
Herm, what happens when using the grease zerk as you have shown, one end gets plugged up? As everyone knows, grease will travel to the least resistance. Looks to me like that at some time with use, one end or the other will get a bit thick, thus not allowing grease to get where it needs to go. It seems to me that some kind of oil would work better. Just curious. Dave
As discussed in some earlier postings, the earlier 1909 and 1910 axle ends were cast and than welded on to later axles. Some used the axles marked "DB". I believe the very early axle was never made by "Dodge Brothers".
I posted some photos of one hanging on my garage wall that I bought at Chickasha some 20 years ago. It is a DB axle with an obvious welded on early ends. At the time I bought it I did not see the weld, but after reading some posting after one of the accidents, I realized mine was also a welded "look alike"
My 1910 Mother-in-Law looks a lot better with that incorrect axle and the replacement (welded one) still hanging on the wall.
Here's the earlier post on the repro axles:
Herm, what happens when using the grease zerk as you have shown, one end gets plugged up? As everyone knows, grease will travel to the least resistance. Looks to me like that at some time with use, one end or the other will get a bit thick, thus not allowing grease to get where it needs to go. It seems to me that some kind of oil would work better. Just curious. Dave"END QUOTE"
If may be you greased it when it was new, and not again for a long time, I don't know.
When you have an oiler, the top bushing get oil, until the passage gets filled with dirt, and rust, and it don't take long. Every one I have pulled off, the oil passage, has been plugged.
Grease gun pressure, I have never gotten that.
Normally, when you have a zerk, the new grease will push the old grease out, and will replace it with the new grease.
Grease also lasts way longer then oil!
I put a set on a center door sedan, and drove it for 20 years, and on a 1923 touring that lasted 30 years, and both cars got sold, and the spindle bolts, were not needing replaced.
I put a set on for a guy in NE., about 6 years ago, and he said it really steered nice. He said he could notice a difference from his other Model T's, when you could move the wheel, right, or left, setting still.
Like every thing else, It is not for everybody.
Doesn't the rate of movement determine the viscosity of lube that should be used?
Seems like grease would be good for steering, but I'm not so sure about it traveling up hill and staying there.