I know I've read this before on the forum, but darned if I can find it using the keyword search so here I go again. The rear axle housing on my '14 was leaking at the rivets and someone tried to braze it without cleaning the oil and gunk off. Now it looks like a bumpy mess and still leaks. I'm going to take the axle apart and have the housing cleaned up and the braze heated off, then I need to re-rivet the housing. I've read somewhere before where someone did this repair and coated the inside of the housings with some kind of sealant. Does anyone know what that sealant would be? It wasn't something found at the local hardware store and needed to be ordered online. Seems to me it was some kind of aircraft something??? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Once you get it solid,you could seal it with JB Weld.It won't ever get hot enough to hurt it .(under normal circumstances)
I recommend mig welding the inside rivet ends. On my own '14, I soaked the housings in a temporary tank I made and filled with Xylol, which is several steps up from mineral spirits but still won't dissolve plastic. I air dried them for a couple weeks, then gently heated them to drive out any remaining solvent. Then I mig'd over the ends of the original rivets inside the housings. It's been about 12 years and there's been nary a seep from any of the twenty-four rivets. You may have to disassemble, clean, and re-rivet if there's been any sealant gunk put in there. Everything needs to be hospital clean if you mig it like I did. For my money, solid metal is the best sealant.
Weren't they originally soldered after riveting, similarly to the steering box construction on the early cars? At least that is how my '13 was made. Yes I had to take one side completely apart. Then really clean the joint faces and flux them. Then rivet them. Then solder them. After 14 years no problem.
Bill when I got my 1912 clamshell diff, someone had made two neat crescent shaped re-inforcement pieces which were riveted on the inside of the housings. As it was leaking oil, I stripped it down completely. It was as well I did. The centre castings were cracked between the rivets, hence the re-inforcements. Weld repairs to the castings resulted in warpage, and they were mounted on a spiggot and re-machined to true.
I had the castings and the axle tube hot tanked at the local engine re-builder's shop to make sure all was squeaky clean and oil free. When assembling the castings into the tubes I used a red Loctite flange sealant between the ends of the cast centre pieces and around the flanges where they are riveted to the tubes. This is a non-hardening sealant, so if there is any movement, the seal is maintained.
Rather than rivet the casting in place, I used 1/4" bolts and nuts. The bolt heads were machined to duplicate rivet heads. The threaded end of the
bolt was slotted with a hacksaw so I had a way of holding it while I ran the nut up tight. The bolts were fitted with the same sealant,and the nuts were fitted with Loctite threadlocker. The reason for doing it this way was to enable simple is-assembly in the future, if necessary, and to avoid putting any undue load on the repaired castings during the riveting process.
I have now done three rear ends this way, with no sign of a leak in any of them. My 1912 van has some 20k miles of city driving on it now, has had two teardowns to replace two busted Ford pinion gears, and still it remains leak free.
Just a different way to pluck the same duck.
Allan from down under.
PS If you suffer warpage in the castings trying to get the bronze to let go, send me a private message and I will detail the tool we made to re-machine them true.
Allan, where did you find the 1/4" bolts that look like rivets, or did you make them yourself?
Bill, I modified off-the-shelf bolts in my lathe. I think button heads would work also, but you would have to fill the hex with bondo when you have them tightened up.
Allan from down under.
Restoration Supply Company
page 38 "Threaded Rivets"
Part #'s: NUT265, NUT 600
Check them out.
I repaired my leaking 14 similar to what Allan did. I used Ultra Black around the flange between the rivets, used 1/4 inch bolts to hold everything together, then replaced each bolt one at a time with a rivet. No leaks!
You are correct in replacing the rivets rather than brazing/welding the heads. The old rivet bodies will be reduced in diameter and will never again solidly locate the tubes on the differential case. Brazing, welding, sealants, etc., might seal the leaks, but it will not make a solid assembly.
Just to add to what others have suggested, I would avoid welding or brazing the inside of the rivets. I purchased a 12 rear end where someone had done that to secure the rivets and stop oil leaks. The center casting warped as a result.
I've used Permatex RTV sealant on one rear end to stop oil leaks but never opened end to see if it stayed in place. I'd rather have flexible sealant break free inside the housings than JB Weld.
Thanks for all the good advice! Before I start re-riveting, should I have the housings sandblasted or have someone remove all the brazing mess that someone did before and then sand blast? I'm thinking sandblasting alone won't remove the brazing globs from the botched repair from years ago.
Bill; I'm not sure about how to remove the brass, but I came up with a good bucking bar for hot riveting the axle tubes.... Basically it is a tapered wedge (tapered on both sides) of 1" steel, with a grove machined down each taper o hold the rivets, then I ground the side so the taper to a curve so it would fit into the tube. Once the old rivets are out I can set new ones in about 20 minutes with this..... Works great.
Where in MI are you? I'll be in the Constantine MI / Fremont IN area early November for deer season. Depending on how well the deer cooperate will determine how much free time I have.
Gary, thanks for the offer but I'm on the other side of the state, about an hour north of Detroit.
Bill, in my experience, sandblasting will get the outside clean, but you run the risk of getting sand trapped inside the housings, especially if there is residual oil/grease. The hot tank will do a better job removing this.
You do not need to get rid of all the bronze welding, just grind off what is seen/proud or is in the way of re-assembly. I would use my die grinder with a spin-on grinding pad of about 60 grit. You may have other gear.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
Richard, mig welding the rivets may have warped a '12 housing, which is, I think thinner than the '13-'14 type, but it worked great on my '14 housings and after 12+ years all is still spiffy. I guess if it makes someone nervous, he shouldn't do it, but I did and I love the result.
RV, my housings were gas welded. That may account for the difference. Admittedly, I am gun shy about welding much of anything that requires a close fit. I see what a small flame can do when straightening axle housings.
I found some photos. This housing had been pounded on to tighten the old rivets.
Thanks for the photos and advice, Alan, and does anyone in the Michigan area know where I can have the housings "hot tanked"? I guess I'm not quite sure what hot tanking is or where it is done.
Sorry Bill. I should have known the term is not familiar to all. Engine rebuilding workshops use a hot tank to chemically strip components before working on them. If you have local shop,they should be able to help.
Allan from down under
I'm with RV on this answer, exactly the way l approached the loose rivet fix, will tighten the whole axle to diff housing.
Send me a PM about that bucking tool you made: I may want to borrow it.
If you want to hot tank them your self go to kroger or local hardware store and purchase sal soda or something like that, it is in a pint plastic container with skull and cross bones all over it. I use an old iron kettle fill about half way up with water and six containers of the soda, start a wood fire under the kettle, once it starts boiling it will strip the hair off of your arms. Wear Goggles and rubber gloves, it burns like hell, ask me how I know! My father showed me a guy when I was young that had a frosty eye from a hot tank!
I used #5 hard 1/4 hex head bolts, and did the machining to round the heads. Used my bench grinder to do the "machining", and it worked fine. Used longer bolts, held the extra threads with a lock plier while tightening, then grabbed the sazall to cut off the excess bolt. V. Good results, except I did not replace all (which I should of) but only the leakers. 25+ years and no leaks on the replacements. Just another duck, George