I decided to put wire wheels on my 27 Coupe for the upcoming Ohio Jamboree and discovered this....is this a common occurrence?????
No, it is not. Time for at least a new axle shaft. I imagine the hub is not in great shape either. Have you looked to see what's inside the axle housings?
Especially if the T is run with loose axle nut. That nut must be torqued in place real TIGHT.
Otherwise this is the result, the wheel hub wobbles on the axle key and the resulting load of the car breaking, and driving, will wallow out the axle key way, and then will fracture the sides of the metal axle tapered shaft at the key way.
p.s. The real seals are gone, grease flying out, and this mostly indicates the old Babbitt thrust washers in the axle are going, worn or busted, and real issue will be the pinion gear will jump track off the ring gear, and drive line failure with no BRAKES to stop the T
I was pi**ed off after I saw this and stopped for the day..
Joy of being the Model T owner/mechanic
Just whittle up one of these.
Get the manual out, the club's rear axle book, and have fun with the wrenches!
It happens, and even after you think the nut is tight enough, after you drive it a while, check it again. It's kind of like the head bolts, you need to torque several times before all settles in.
The early (pre- about 1924 perhaps) axles were known to fracture and chip and break easily. Vanadium chromium alloy steel was good in some respects, not so good in others. As more and more Model T's were made it became apparent that axle shafts were a big problem.
As was often the case, metallurgy in the pre - 1910 era was often misguided, with engineers and designers choosing exotic and often expensive materials that were inappropriate for the application. Vanadium steel is tough, so it withstands bearing wear well as long as lubrication is present, but it is susceptible to work hardening and cracking.
John Wandersee describes how Ford fixed the problem by going to a superior - and cheaper - high carbon manganese alloy steel for axle shafts in the Model T's built at the Rouge plant:
Link to John Wandersee's entire transcript at the Henry Ford:
And then there are those that maintain that the 15/16" opening in the hubcap wrench is for tightening the axle nut! Go figure.
It's very interesting that John Wandersee also refers to the crankshaft breaking problem in this transcript.
Can you just imagine this: It's the early 20's, and all the Ford Zone reps, dealers, etc. are complaining to Ford: Hey guys, we're breaking crankshafts right and left.....we ... YOU...have to do something about this!!!!
And so here's John Wandersee telling what they did. As Royce said, the axle shafts were improved at the Rouge plant (Rouge started production in '24, I think), but just when were the crankshafts improved? At the same time? I think the improved crankshafts came out with the '24 models, but can anyone add to this?