I would imagine this has been posted here before, but if not here is an interesting photo.
It appears that not only the tube broke but the axle shaft also came out of the differential gear.
Photo from the City of Toronto.
A couple come-alongs, or a jack and some stout rope, to lift the pumpkin and free tube back up together (and mostly straight), lash it all together nice and tight and then make sure you only make right-hand turns so that the right wheels doesn't walk itself out - PRESTO! You could probably limp that thing 5 miles to a shop or your home.
I've never seen a T axle shaft break that far inboard to even allow that.
Wondering if the axle coming out first didn't break the housing. I actually saw this happen on a mail truck a while back.
It is possible that the axle shaft did not break, it could have come out if the differential gear where it is held on by a press fit and a key. I have found some to be loose in the past.
Very uncommon. Never have seen one break there.
I thought it might be MONT or VERMONT, but not a match. Anybody know if it is Ontario?
Also, interesting top saddles. Were these used on Canadian Fords? Looks like they would have been installed under the upholstery.
OK. maybe not.
Yes those are definitely 1920 Ontario plates. I'm from Toronto originally and even the area looks familiar. All the Canadian cars I've seen have those top saddles.
Looks to me like someone was pissed at the owner, and hacksawed through the housing and the axle! Those items are as tough as can be, and I seriously doubt if that could have happened.
Maybe the rivets weren't done very well? It looks extremely clean like the tube just slide out of the housing, not like a bend or actual break.
Left front door, so Canadian car
Also 30 x 3 1/2" tire on the front wheel. so again a Canadian car feature
Thought about the tube pulling out too. If 2 pieces what holds it in? Press fit?
That's bad. And a mystery.. why would both the axle and the axle housing break in that location? The car isn't very old, ok it has the over the axle wishbone but square felloes, so a 1918?, a couple of years old when pictured.
Maybe a fault from the factory, like a faulty inner Hyatt that gnawed on the axle housing, eventually making it fail and thus overloaded the axle making it brake almost simultaneously?
Charlie: the two pieces are the differential case itself and the tube. It's held in place by 6 big rivets. Well, 6 is all I see when I visualize that part, might be more or less. That's all I could think was that maybe the rivets weren't done very well at the factory and they eventually worked themselves out or maybe broke.
Looks like having large Aunt Marge in the back seat wasn't such a good idea!
It may not have pulled out of the housing. The length of axle tube showing there appears to be what is usually seen between the center housing and the outer housing. Compare it to the left side.
If a reader can scale that length of axle tube and compare it to something of a known length on a similar touring car we would then know for sure what happened
The axle gear is held on by a press fit and two half circle keys. Unless the other axle/gear combo is also badly worn the axle can't move inboard enough for those keys to come out as the ends of the axles almost touch with a thin fibre washer between them. My guess is somebody didn't put the keys in when the axle was installed or............. I dunno. Never seen that before. I've seen a lot of loose axles but never one that came out of the gear while it was still assembled.
Just thinking it's possible the owner backed it into some low post in the ground at some factory and broke the rivets loose, setting himself up for this. Lots of people learning how to drive the hard way back then.
No oil! What does that tell us about the cause of failure?
I think John has hit the nail on the head as to the cause.
If the car kept moving after the initial failure, I suspect most of the oil is back down that little hill and there's a trail up to the car - we just can't even see enough road to tell what has leaked since it sat still, much less all that *should* have spilled when it broke.
Roger K. makes a good point about the Hyatt bearing. A miss-fitted sleeve can cause the bearing to get hot enough to crystallize the axle shaft. I suppose the heat could also affect the housing. Lack of oil could make it worse.
This car appears to be an '18. Ford added a gasket to the housing center in '19. Perhaps the oil leak was a big problem.
Maybe the bearing semi-seized to the axle shaft and sawed the housing in two. At the same time it was sawing the axle shaft in two. When the housing let go, it took the axle with it. It seems like it would have been making a horrendous noise though.
On tour some years back, there was a car that had been driven some good distance with the axle tube broken about midway, instead of right at the differential housing. The driver couldn't tell anything was wrong by the way it drove. In his case, the axle shaft didn't break. However, if he kept driving it like that, I'm sure it would have broken, either from stress or being sawed through by the broken offset tube rubbing on it. I suspect that's what happened there. The tube broke, the driver didn't realize it and some miles later, the axle shaft broke.
One thing I can think might have cut the axel. On many rear ends I have took apart, I have found where the Babbitt washers are gone that the hard thrust washers have dropped down and wore a deep groove into the axel. This is one thing I have never seen mentioned on this forum and bet that most guys just don't check.
I don't think the axel shaft broke, if you look at the right side you see the brake drum and wheel are a good 10" away from the "Backing plate" leading me to believe the axel shaft "Walked out" putting too much pressure in the housing causing it to break.
My guess is that it didn't happen all at once. By the wear on the rear tire, the rear end may have been sagging for quite some time. Probably loose rivets started the whole mess.
I'm betting the gear and a piece of axle is still inside the housing. With the rear end sagging, the axle is under constant flex and will eventually break at the stress point. The axle will snap like a tooth pick if left out of alignment.
That's just a case of the owner ignoring the noises.
Back in my dirt work days in the mid 80's I broke a tandem axle housing in a dump truck once so I know it can happen.
The axle shaft did NOT "walk out". It's pressed on and retained by two keepers.
But, even if the axle did break, or slipped out, or was abducted by aliens, it would NOT break the housing tube. No way. We've all seen T's with broken axle shafts. How many broken axle tubes have you seen associated with those failures.
Most likely the car 3 L.A.'s, (lard asses), in the back and went over a railroad track causing spring to bottom out on the differential housing.
Its possible it just rusted through
Can't be rust. The car was only about two years old.
Here is my take on how it happened. 1. The housing broke. 2. This put tremendous pressure on the shaft which finally succumbed to metal fatigue and broke. The mystery would be how did the housing break? Did the factory leave out the rivets? Did someone jack up by the "pumpkin"? Or did the bearing seize up? I guess we will never know unless the persons who owned or repaired this car are still around and see this picture.
Look at how far the brake drum is from the backing plate. The axle pulled out. Why? Dunno. The tube did NOT pull out of the differential housing. It broke off there. Compare its length to to one on the left side. Did the broken tube cause the axle to pull out, or did the axle pulling out cause the tube to fail? Beats me.
There is a Tudor in the San Diego club that had the axle tube break just inboard of the outer casting. The owner only knew of the problem due to the oil leak. Lee Pierce welded the two lengths of tubes back together. I would have replaced the axle housing, nothing special like a Ruckstell. It has held up quite well, still running at Xmas.T
"The axle pulled out."
NO, it didn't. It can't. It broke off.
To be clear in my posting above where I quote you, I'm not "yelling" at you. Didn't mean it to read that way but maybe it does. Sorry.
Correction: Part of the axle pulled out.
"You kids!!! Sit still back there and quit jumping up and down on the seat!"