Can I apply heat to the front cross member and hammer it straight without affecting the strength of the cross member? My 1916 touring apparently hit an immovable object with the right front wheel sometime in the past resulting in a bent axle. In replacing the axle I noticed the force had pushed the spring rearward on the right side and forced the left side of the spring forward. This caused the cross member to become flared out rearward about 1/2 inch on the right side and flared out forward on the left side the same amount. The cross member is still straight along its length and is square with the frame rails but the lower edge flaring causes the spring/axle to be out of alignment. Reading earlier postings on this subject I can replace the cross member (a big job) or try to straighten it. Is heat and a hammer advisable? Thanks.
The frame is carbon steel and reasonably soft so it could be formed. You should be able to heat it and straighten it with no ill consequences. A large crescent wrench with a cheater bar might come in handy if you get the frame high enough off the ground to get at it.
I am thinking if your engine is in your frame square, and your cross member is square to the frame, your axle should be square to the frame. The front radius rods should make it square, if your engine is centered. I dont think the cross member keeps the spring from shifting.
I had a problem with my RPU the axle and spring wasnt square to the frame, turned out my frame was bent causing the engine to set at an angle, when I straightened the frame the engine is now straight and my front axle is square. The pivot for those radius rods has to be really close to ceneter, a little off on the radius ball socket results in alot at the axle.
The front cross member was flared out to the front on my latest project. No hammering or bending with large pipe wrenches would do anything so I took a large vice I have that wasn't fastened to a bench and placed it in position to adjust the crossmember. It worked perfectly. If it hadn't, I would have tried heating as a next step.
Richard, if you have not yet installed the axle, a big Crescent wrench will persuade the bend back to where it should be. This process can be broken down into lots of little grabs, so you can control the bend much more than using a bid hammer.
Been there. Done that. Did it without heat.
Allan from down under.
Thanks for the comments and advice. I'll try removing the spring and see what I can do with crescent wrenches or a vice (with spring in place) to straighten up the sides of the cross member. And use heat if necessary. I suspect that while the cross member appears to be square to the frame, it is somewhat askew at the top where the spring seats into the cross member channel, and will need some hammering and heat to true it up so that the spring falls into line. More to come.
My cross member was bent downward as somebody had struck a raised object with the crank hanging down and bent the starting crank and twisted the cross member. The starting crank would not fit through and line up with crank pin. I used a 3 foot length of steel rod in the crank hole and applied upward pressure with a hydraulic jack and let it sit under pressure for about a week. I had to brace the car with 2x4s under the ceiling joists to hold it down in the process. With the right equipment it could be none a little quicker but it worked for me.
I was able to straighten the cross member using a large crescent wrench as several folks suggested. Easier, and a lot quieter, than using a hammer. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.