I just bought a used half of an axle housing. Overall, the housing is decent, but the spring perch is missing and the backing plate is wavy. How difficult is it to straighten the backing plate and are the perches difficult to find? I have another option - the axle housing that is currently on the car (1914 Touring) was leaking so someone did a terrible brazing job on the outside to stop the leak. I'm thinking I could take the old housing apart and use the tube from the one on the car and re-rivit the replacement housing on it. Anyone have any advice?
Hope the new half isn't a leaker too.. Maybe it's best to rerivet it while you have access
14 housings are rare enough to make some effort to save them - the backing plate may be able to straighten or not, depends on how bad it is - pictures?
The backing plate is hard to pull off the axle pipe, if it won't straighten it might be easier to cut the pipes and weld the best parts together with a fitting reinforcing pipe inside. (I like to measure thrice, check twice and cut once)
Here Stan Howe describes how he did it when creating a wide track ruckstell axle:
If you had a later T I'd invite you to come and pick out another housing. For 1913-1914 they're less plentiful. I'm not sure what you mean by wavy, but a bent backing plate can be flattened well enough to use if it's not too badly twisted. The undrilled perch will be harder to the find than the later ones, but somebody will have it.
Bent backing plates are very common and can be hammered to correct the bends. I was real nervous about doing my first one for fear it would break so I used a little heat. It wasn't necessary. Just a big hammer. Probably a good idea to lay it on an anvil or something but I never did. Try it on a later housing to convince yourself.
The smooth backing plate was used into 1915 so that might give you a little bigger window.
Get a junk axle housing and experiment with it by heating the backing plate red hot and seeing what you can do with it. Once you figure it out then fix your good one. As a minimum you will need a hefty vice, an acetylene torch, a small sledge hammer, a large crescent wrench and a cheater bar to slip over the end of the crescent wrench.
Thanks for the advice, fellas. Here are some pictures of the bent housing plus some pictures of what's on the car now. As you can see, someone did a rough brazing job on both halves, but the car came with a right side housing half that looks pretty good. That's why I bought the drivers side half, but didn't realize the backing plate was bent.
I would think you could clean up the axle housing on your car. The braze can be removed and if you take the housing apart you can seal it from the inside so it will not leak.
The smooth backing plate was used through 1917.
Before resorting to whacking away on it with a hammer, I'd try bending it with a press.
Your bent backing plate is not as bad as the one I straightened for my "mostly" '13 (I did use heat). However, I think I agree with Val S. It is usually best to remove all the rivets from the pumpkin and clean up the pieces really well. Then they can be sealed well and re-riveted fairly easily. Those era housings are getting difficult to find really nice ones and are well worth a little work to fix them up.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Most of that braze on the outside of the housing can be removed fairly easily by heating it with an oxy acetylene torch and brush it off with a stiff bristle wire brush while it is hot. As Wayne said, remove the rivets and clean up everything very well. If the rivets were leaking, they most likely have worked loose and the holes will have a small ridge around them and no amount of reriveting will seal them. It is best to take everything apart and start over and smooth up all of the mating surfaces. The rivets will have to be removed while the braze is hot. Grind the head of the rivets flush with the surface of the housing. If you have trouble, drill a hole in the rivet about half or two thirds the size or the rivet, but don't drill clear through. Use a punch in the hole to drive out the rivet while it is hot, obviously, you may need a couple of extra hands. The mating surfaces will have to be smooth before they are riveted together. I'm sure someone will chime in here as to where the proper rivets can be found. If you don't have any experience with riveting, check around. It really isn't hard to do, just practice a bit on something else. Most likely the reason that the brazing job looks so rough, is it is almost impossible to braze anything that has oil in the joints. Dave
Also, as Steve Jelf said, it would be best to use a press to straighten your backing plate if you have one available. Take your time and just bend what is needed. If it doesn't look right, bend it somewhere else<g>. Dave
Thanks for all the good advice - sounds like taking apart the old one is the way to go. What do you use to seal the pumpkin before riviting it back together?
I reriveted my 14 axle housing several tears ago. After cleaning everything up I used the right stuff type of silicone on both mating halves inserted and tightened small bolts and nuts into all but one of the rivet holes and started to rivet. Remove the bolt opposite the last installed rivet and instal new rivet there. Work your way around the housing this way until all are riveted. This is definitely a two person job. When finished you should have some sealer squished out everywhere.