I know there was a controversy back in 09 about the quality of various axles...but since I was sure mine for fine it didn't pay attention.
Well, on our weekend tour, I suddenly became an interested customer.
Question: now that that issue appears resolved what are the recommendations for the best quality axles?
Bill, was that a new axle that broke? Hopefully there was no real damage to your T.
Not new and no damage, but real frightening. We were on an uphill grade after traveling on a curving road with a lot of downhill time. The car in front of me was abruptly slowing, so a dropped the throttle and hit the low speed pedal to stay back. SNAP! and then no forward or back control. After the car stopped it began drifting back and all I saw was a brass radiator from my follower getting closer. I avoided him by pulling hard on the parking brake and slowly drifting off the side. Could have been a total disaster going downhill.
Now with all the different suppliers and prices just want to know what experience says is the best replacement and get back on the road--with ultimate safety. Thanks, Bill
Gotta think about this one, I can see it with a
dump truck stuck with 20 ton on the back but a
1200 lbs car?? That was a defected axle in my book.
It was more likely a 100+ year old axle that has been subjected to 100+ years of strain, misalignment etc. New axles are about $85 each. I think it is a good investment. Personally, I like the new ones from Snyders. Chaffins sell the same ones and maybe some of the other vendors. I think Snyders are having them made but most of those guys wholesale parts back and forth to the other retail outlets.
I also think safety hubs are a good investment.
Samuel, the axle that broke in my 1924 coupe was probably a defected axle in your book also. It was only about 75 years old. Bearing all look good and it broke at a low speed in my pasture.
The break looked like it started to crack before it broke. (Different colors at the break)
It broke at about the same point as the one in the picture.
Yup. IMHO, one other critical things that seldom gets done in a rebuild is to straighten and align the differential housings. Just having the end of the housing in alignment with the center parting line of the housing is not alignment. The housings need to be checked with a custom gauge setup that assures all four bearing/sleeves are in lateral alignment. Most are not in these old rear ends. Being out of alignment creates a lot of stress on those bearings and axles. It causes wear, heat, fracture and compounds other problems that might not get worse if the housings were in alignment.
If not for the largeness of the job and my embarrassing lack of mechanical aptitude, I'd install a pair of the new, longer axles to accommodate my Rocky Mountain Brakes. The shims (which seem to be necessary with Rockies and the original, shorter axles) cause a bit of wheel-wobble and I still have a little bit of rubbing going on, besides. One of these days, I'll find a nearby shop that can do this kind of work.
Bob! You don't need any mechanical aptitude, just get the rear-end book and flow it step by step. Go into it thinking "I'm going to rebuild my entire rear-end and drive shaft" and you'll have a great time. Plus, afterwards you can claim mechanical apt-ness.
Some observations from the scene:
It is obvious close up that this was a break which had been developing for some time before it snapped. The harsh torque, jamming the low pedal even at low speed to avoid the car ahead was the final blow.
I have looked at all the catalogs and not having any knowledge of metallurgy or metal strengths etc. am just interested on what the general thoughts are from those who have had to replace their axle/axles. Since this should be a "once in a lifetime purchase" I am a bit more interested in quality advice than concerned with price. Don't want to even come close to that kind of problem again.
BTW..I was surprised to see that none of the regular suppliers stock the differential gears which mount on the spider.
Have I missed them, or is that simply something for which there is less call than new axles??
Examine the axle for a small groove at the break. That looks about where the inner grease seal runs. All it takes is about a .040" cut from a washer to start the cracking process.
If you need some spider gears let me know I have some.
Sorry, I meant the gears which mesh with the spider and are on the ends of the axles. My misstatement.
Thanks Larry, appreciate the offer.
As a former Potomac resident, its good to hear from the old state.
And nice to hear from someone right up the road from where I went to High School. Havelock, NC.
Dad was at Cherry Pt. in the late '70s and that's were I found my touring way back in '77.
Drop in anytime ,great Model T country.
No one makes new axle gears. The best you can do is to try to find good originals. There are a few NOS ones around but they are hard to find.
If your gears are good, which they well may be, they are not too hard to change and put on the new axles. Easiest way is to take your chop saw and whack the old axle close to the back of the axle gear, then press that piece out from the back. You can do it by pressing the gear down and removing the keys, then pressing the axle out of the gear but whacking it off makes it a lot easier. You will need the woodruff key from the old axle, too.
We sell USA Made by mark, no problems, Bob
I know the axle ring gear is made by Mark, are you saying the axle gears are now being made also?
Good axle gears are fairly easy to find. It much harder to find the carriers that are not worn out, but that can be fixed by installing a bushing in them. If you have good gears that are under size just cut the bushing to the clearance you want.
Rear axles are no longer being made by Texas T, Snyder's is making them but have none in stock at this time but hope to have some by the end of May. I have been told that none are available.
What year ? If later,or earlier,chances are the assembly was rebuilt. Check for the inner grease seal with the metal 'fingers"..... those have sliced into several axels with similar failure.
In the past few years I've torn down close to 100 rear ends looking for good parts. Carriers range from junk to very good, axle gears from close to NOS with virtually no wear to so worn you wonder how they could run. The teeth are usually OK, it's the bearing surface where they go through the carrier that is almost always worn. I take the axles and gears, the pinion carrier and pinion gears, the carriers and the bearings, pick out the best I can find and toss the rest of it on the iron pile. As Mike says, it is no big deal to put a bronze bushing in the carrier but if the inside surface where the back side of the axle gear runs is very rough it is tough to do much with it other than clean it up on the lathe and put a bronze washer in there. I don't like to do that, I usually just look for another one.
Part of the reason I am no longer doing much with Ruckstells is trying to find good gears and other parts that you have to add to a Ruckstell kit to put it all together. My parts supply has pretty much dried up, I'm down to where my iron pile only has another 5 or 6 rear ends to tear down to look for parts.
Bob, if you have axle gears I would be interested in a part number and a price. I have two rear ends and two Ruckstells waiting for me to have time to put them together.
No the axles are made by Mark, no new gears being made, Bob
Are the Mark axles fully ground like the Texas T ones were or are they like the Snyders' ones, with the bearing surfaces ground and the rest of the axle un-ground? Snyders' are about $85 each, I think the Texas T ones were a little higher. Snyders' are 1/16th longer as I recall. I didn't check so I may be wrong.
I just bought 4 of them for a project but need at least 2 and maybe 4 more for some rear ends I am getting geared up to do.
Mark Auto axles are ground only in the bearing surfaces.
Here is a summary of our current axle situation as I see it following time on the phone today:
Most of the places we buy from are out. They are all depending on Snyder's to supply imported axles in an effort to keep the price reasonable, for us, but they don't expect to be resupplied until late May or sometime in June depending on who you speak with.
Bob's and Mac's are both still stocked, selling an axle made in the U.S. to original Model T standards, however their price is higher than the "combine" price of the other suppliers.
So, for those of us in need of new axles, it is either wait and see, or pay more but get what seems to be a high quality product today.
And yes, no one is making the differential gear which goes on the end.
So, that's that for now as I ponder my next move.
Thanks for all the notes here and privately, I really appreciated them
You see what can happen when this part fails. I would think "high quality" would be the ONLY thing to consider here.
You can get them at Chaffins. I ordered them a few weeks ago, and have received them
I spoke with this morning and they said they were out.
T's broke rear axles back in the day too & Ford struggled to improve the steel throughout production, but since the axles needs to be both hard enough for the Hyatts and elastic enough to take shock loads then it has to be a compromise given the axle diameter and sometimes they fail. Ford solved the problem in the Model A by taking some of the bending load off the axle with the hubs supported directly by a bearing on the axle housing.
Floating hubs were sold as accessories for Model T's back in the day and they're available today.
Cheaper wheel loss preventing accessories were also offered, like these clamps meant to be placed around the brake drum:
When the accident has happened, a towing axle is useful to get the car back to the garage for repairs.
By the way, Bill.. Did you have some type of seal inside the Hyatt on the axle that broke? The location of the break looks like where the seal usually goes and Ford's 1926/27 leather seal with steel retainer has a bad reputation for breaking axles.. If the steel retainer is allowed to cut just a little into the axle shaft, then that ridge will eventually start a fatigue break.
The car is a 1923 4Dor, but it did have a seal and the steel washer installed.
I am fairly certain that this issue was simply fatigue which ever so slowly caused it to break. Looking at the break it appears that it was running for some time on about 1/2 the axle's diameter. I have seen another post here regarding seals and steel items and will try to avoid them where possible during the reassembly.