This is a paragraph from an original February 1927 booklet I have: Arrange the center unit parts and assemble them on the Ford master gear as shown in Fig. No. 8. Place the fibre differential thrust washer in the right hand master support. The washer will retain its position if smeared with a little high grade cup grease. Do not use Ford steel washer No. 2529 instead of the fibre washer.
Are you still running cast iron pistons and 2 piece valve in your engine too? Some substitutions have proven their worth.
As I said before, no one is perfect and Ruckstell made a few mistakes but still made over $40,000,000.00. There is no doubt that steel works better than fiber, so I hope you find all of the fiber washers still in existence except for the one I have for reference. Then you can use all of the fiber washers you want. But don't tell us that it is better simply because it is original. We all make mistakes, even Ford and Ruckstell.
If your talking about the Truck Ruckstell's they have a fiber washer and I just reuse them. Most I have found are in pretty good shape. I read somewhere on this, and it was said that the steel washers were to hard and were eating away at the castings so fiber was used instead.
Fred, Larry is talking about passenger car Ruckstells. But origionally both truck and passenger cars used fibre washers. Contrary to what you said the fibre is easily eaten up by the cast iron thrusting against it, That is why we changed to the steel. Steel and cast iron are far more friendly and causes less damage. Sure there will be wear to the cast iron but it will be far less than with the fibre.
When rebuilding a rear axle, do most use the bronze thrust washers or original babbitt thrust washers? Just sayin.
No one knows as much about and is good with Ruckstells as Glen Chaffin. If he says use steel washer then I have been using them for many years. I don't think any one on this forum does as many Ruckstells as I do and I have found only one fiber washer that was in a Ruckstell. Where did all the other fiber washers go to? I have taken many MINT Ruckstells apart and still no fiber gears remained.
Remember if the fiber washers get eat up that will allow the end of the axle shaft to back away from the spider gears and you know what that would do.
Its your T, but use STEEL!!!!
I too have wondered about the language Larry points to. Without getting into a shouting match about which to use fibre, or steel, I am curious why Ruckstell warned against using a steel washer. I am sure they had a reason. Do you suppose its because fibre takes compression a bit? Perhaps manufacturing variations permitted fibre washers of different sizes to be used. I know the fibre washers I've seen from original Ruckstells have different thicknesses.
All I can say is Ruckstell made over 200,000 units. I'd say they knew what they were doing. Even after Eaton took over manufacturing, they still used them.
I don't know why, but I would speculate that with the ball bearing on the Ruckstell side, the fiber washer would give a little and if the clearance was too little, it would not be as hard on the ball bearing. But if you adjust correctly, you should not have that problem.
There are a lot of questions about why Ford and Ruckstell did what they did and we will never know. There have been many improvements for the Model T since it was designed. We now use aluminum pistons. steel valves, bronze thrust washers, neoprene seals, high compression heads, high volume intake manifolds,improved camshafts and counter balanced crankshafts to just name a few. Even Larry uses some of these, so whats the big deal about using a steel thrust washer in a Ruckstell. I have never heard of any damage or problems doing this and they don't wear out fast like a fibre.
Glenn, I have absolutley no experience with a Ruckstell, but would a bronze washer be a viable compromise? Just curious. Dave
I always use a brass washer. I've taken apart many Model T rear axles, never found a trace of the fiber disc in any of them.
David, A bronze washer would work but there are none being made. Royce, We are talking about the fiber washer that Ruckstell used inside of P159 , not the thrust washers on the outside. On the outside you have two steel washers and a bronze replacement for the Ford Babbitt washer just like with the standard Ford rear end.
I forgot to mention, when using the Ford Steel washer as a replacement for the Ruckstell fibre inside P159, the steel washer must be pinned to P159 so it will not turn. This is done by replacing the original pins in P159 with longer pins so that the washer is supported on pins and held in place inside P159 just like on the ouitside. If you do not do this, yes some damage may occur. To circumvent that happening we added a shoulder on the new P144 just like the one on P159 so that the steel washer has a backup support if the new pins are not installed or are sheared off. Just another improvement we made to Ruckstells design.
And just think, if you do things the way Ruckstell recommends in their own manual, you don't have to change a thing! While I'm at it, I think Glen should offer the customer the steel washer, and the fiber washer, and let the customer make up his own mind! I wasn't alive when Ruckstell ceased production, but I wonder if there were any recalls on that fiber washer? I have a 1928 parts list, and they are still listing it then.
Larry. We do make a fibre washer for the truck Ruckstell but not the passenger car. You can make all of the fibre washers you want for the passenger car but you won't sell many. Why argue with success. There is nothing wrong with using steel and they have a much longer life span. Steel against cast iron is a very good bearing. Fibre against cast iron is not.
I am just starting to assemble a large drum axle, and have been interested in this washer/spacer issue. Trying to digest everything, but should soon make up my mind which way to go. My unit is a very nice, low mileage one that came to me a long time ago. No reproduction parts in it, so it is interesting to see the original clearances and such. I am also using NOS axle gears, spider and spider gears. Right now , I just don't see how the steel washer can be the right way to go, and am leaning towards fiber. There is just too much clearance with the steel washer thickness, and it bothers me that the ID hole size is much bigger than needed. There is very little area that actually will be In contact with the housing. Should it ever slip off the pins, it would slice the whole works in two. I would be interested in hearing uncle Stans thoughts, as he has done a ton (literally) of Ruckstell axle rebuilds. I'm guessing he has used a lot of original ruckstell parts and also a lot of reprodcuctilon parts, and is there a difference there that would suggest using the steel vs fiber . I appreciate all opinions, as Dave Huson has said he has done a bunch, too. Thoughts on my concerns, Dave ? Richard, others?
Use a brass washer. I think it was a 5/16" brass flat washer that was exactly the same diameter and thickness as the fiber washer.
I believe this discussion is about part # P 171-A not # 2506, Royce.
That is correct Steve and Royce. # P171-A. Is the large fiber washer, not the small one between axle shafts.
Let's see. Let's just say 50 even tho I think I just did #70. At 100 lbs a piece that's 5,000 lbs, which is 2 1/2 tons.
Ok. For the little washer in between the ends of the axles, I use some PTDF or something like that, it's a white stick of stuff I bought about 15 years ago. I posted some pics one time of the easy way to see how thick it needs to be. I whack it off in the lathe to the thickness I need. I use the steel washer inside the bell where the fiber washer used to be used. Works for me.
My take is that fibre was used originally in varying thicknesses to account for different clearances inside the bell due to Ruckstells manufacturing tolerances. Fords steel washer came in one thickness, give or take a couple thou. If a Ruckstell purchaser tried to use the steel washer where the space was too small due to manufacturing tolerances, the unit would bind up. Today we take a lot of care in rebuilding these rear axles and so long as the clearances are good and the lube is clean, I
think steel would be the preferred choice. I like the idea the steel washer is held stationary on pins where the fiber was, at least in some units, free floating.
On the other hand, a benefit of fibre is that it is a sacrificial piece if there is dirt or debris in the lube. We've all seen differential carriers that have been scored between the axle gear shoulder and the inside of the carrier due to floating particles in the lube. Here, steel runs against cast steel, and the differential, being made of the softer material, gets scored. If fibre were used as a spacer as Ford did on the early rear ends, the fibre would take the wear.
(Ford used fibre washers inside the early differentials between the shoulder of the axle gear and the inside surface of the differential carrier, but dropped the fibre washer in 1913 or thereabouts.)