In John Mays' thread, "New in the garage this week" there is a passing comment that differential thrust bearings in 09-15 cars were bronze, whereas '16 and up had babbitt.
I've been fretting over my '12, as I didn't know the condition of the washers. Maybe I don't need to worry so much ?
That should be right, parts book lists 1909/16 as metal and 17&on as composition.
It wasn't just the changing styles that demanded a change from brass and bronze wherever possible, it was likely the higher prices of the metals during wartime that forced the change.
I can't find anything about assembling the rear axle in Arnold and Faroute's 1915 book describing 1914 methods, but maybe there was another idea behind the change too, maybe the assembly process could be speeded up with softer lead babbitt thrusts? Like the rear axle halves being tightened together while the axles were turning to burn the babbitt to a running clearance just like when the engines were assembled?
I took my '12 apart and found an intact Babbitt thrust washer. You won't know until you look, the car is over 100 years old and it is unlikely even an original bronze washer would be good.
The thrust washers in my 15 touring were Babbitt. Original ? Who knows ?
Took the '15 rear end apart a year ago to replace the axles, there was bronze thrusts in it. Then did the '12 just two months ago for routine maintenance to stop leaking between the housings and just "be nosey"...found some bad seals and a bad sleeve, but drop dead great looking bronze thrust washers in it too! Nice.
I had an original 16 that had bronze thrust washers. No problem reusing them. They had worn to a comfortable clearance.
The Ford Shops has photo of Babbitt metal thrusts being made. This dates at 1914.
But today those old metal washers need to be replaced with bronze, every T you acquire should be checked first for this, as those old washers are time bombs.
Dick, the rear axle needs to be rebuilt. There is no way to know what type of thrust washer is in there and even if there is bronze more than likely several other parts are worn out or broken and need to be replaced.
I agree, you have to look. Even if the theory that bronze was used early on is correct, that doesn't mean it's still there.
The encyclopedia claims bronze was used up to 1915. The rear axle still needs to be disassembled and thoroughly gone through.