Neat photo. The car (chassis) on the right is a single-cylinder Cadillac, 1904 or 1905. The VT plate is 1909-1912. The date is under the VT, but I can't read it.
This is a closer look at the Weston-Mott axle supplied to Cadillac and Buick for their chain drive cars.
The brakes were on the two center differential drums. I believe due to grease problems they later moved the brakes to drums on the wheels. My '07 Buick has the wheel brakes but the differential drums remain.
looks kinda weak in the center, did they break alot?
I had not known about mounting brake bands right next to the chain & diff like that. I'll bet that was a source of constant grief.
I haven't heard of them breaking. They did use those truss rods. (2 pairs) Mine had a lot of wear at the 4 Hyatt roller bearings but no visible damage to the housings. And a lot of gear wear. I had new drums made with those internal teeth by a nice man in Wichita.
The brakes may not break, but they don't brake very well, either. Because the car has a total loss oiling system, and also because neither the planetary transmission nor the differential is sealed, the underside of the car - which includes those external, inboard brakes - lives in an ocean of oil and grease spray. Steep downgrades are a serious challenge. But they're wonderful cars and lots of fun if you plan ahead. You also realize what a marvelous improvement the Model T was.
When I restored the rear axle in my 1905 Cadillac, I bored the housings out and replaced the Hyatt bearings with neoprene double sealed ball bearings both inners and outers. My Harrison lathe has a very large bore in the headstock and that allowed me to chuck up each axle 1/2 and bore the bearing mount. A rather quick and very easy fix to a 100 year old problem.
The real issue with these early diffys was no possible way to seal them from spewing grease out all over the brake bands. Using the sealed bearings mostly solved that problem.
The second component was to install winch brake lining designed to run in an oily environment. Problem solved. We toured out 1 cyl Cadillac many many miles with no brake problem what so ever.
Thank you, Howard (aka brasscarguy)! Next time I'm having work done on the Cadillac (all my work is done by others, since I have no mechanical talent) I'll have that done. Sounds like a great fix.
They held the tolerances quite tight to keep the heavy grease from coming out. It probably worked very well. With time the parts wore and it became obvious this wasn't a good long term plan. Today we use lighter lubricants that creep out more easily. I tend to over-lubricate and error on the side of safety which make an even bigger mess. We have to work harder sealing the rear axle on T's due to the lighter and more improved gear oils than they did back in the day. The heavy greases worked fine for the slower speed they went compared to how we drive the cars now on good roads. It is a trade-off.
Some things,....okay,....many things, are hard for my feeble brain to comprehend. The two brake bands adjacent to the differential on the early Cadillacs are problematic due to residual grease and oil, and yet a SINGLE brake band of a similar size which runs in a constant bath of hot oil in the Model T is (was) considered okay. Makes little sense to me,.....???