Most folks are cautioned to inspect the rear end for the presence of the cursed babbitt thrust washers. Good advice. It has been mentioned that the only way to know is to disassemble the rear end and have a look. I've wondered about this and last weekend, while working on a rear axle, I noticed that with the filler plug removed, you can see the edge of the thrust washer on the right side. You'll need a good flashlight, but it can be seen. True, there's no guarantee that a bronze washer on the right means there's one on the left, (where it matters most), but, hard to believe that anyone would change just one, especially the one that will barely wear.
Anyway, give it a try. Might save some labor.
or if you wait too long like i did, the oil has a nice grey color to it
As "frugal" as Model T'ers are, that's probably not a valid test. The thrust washers are sold as "each".
I would not trust an eyeball on the edge of the thrust washer - Unless it looked like the one on the right.
You find out in one of two ways. You disassemble the rear axle and look. Or you drive it until you lose your brakes, gears and crash the car.
Which way you find out is up to you. I prefer the first way. It takes some physical effort but saves a lot of time, money, and possibly a life over the second way.
Note, if you have Ruckstell, you are a bit safer, because the thrust washer is only on the right side and the actual thrust is toward the left which has a large ball bearing in a Ruckstell.
Do you think one of the remote cameras would be good enough to tell?
I changed mine but for another reason.
Even an NOS babbitt washer won't look like shiny bronze.
Yes, as I allowed for in my original message, no guarantees.
Anyway, whether you ultimately trust what you see or not, I still find it interesting that it can be seen.
1, I did take apart an old rear end that had one brass and one Babbitt washer. So I have good reason to not trust seeing one.
2, I pulled a Babbitt washer out of one rear end that I did a double take with. Somehow it had been stained to a brassy color. A scratch with a knife proved it to be very soft metal. So I have two good reasons to not trust looking at one small part of one through a small hole.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I can confirm Waynes comment number 2...
I feel that it is always necessary to go through a rear axle to make sure that every thing is good and safe. Even if the previous owner claims that he rebuilt it there is no way to be sure. I don't know why everybody only stresses the importance of replacing the babbit washers. There is pretty much always multiple other issues in a rear axle that can easily cause a failure like worn out pinion bearings, shot axle shafts, loose ring gear bolts, loose pinion gear, etc. If anything fails the brakes no longer work and the whole rear end can get trashed so, parts that otherwise would have been good are now ruined. It doesn't take much time or effort to go through a rear axle so it is time well spent.
Planning for rear end overhaul. Prices may be a bit out of date.
I agree with Stephen, i tore mine down to check the washers, and found my ring gear was in pretty tough shape, even though it drove fine and didn't make any noise. Very glad i did.
I found my pinion gear loose just being held on by the cotter pin. Also the bearing sleeve was cracked on the driveshaft. Take it apart because it could be a recipe for disaster. My rear axel had never been apart, I'm glad I did a complete overhaul it gives me a piece of mind when driving it.
When I bought my touring I tore the rear end apart because of excess end play with the axles. Was sure the thrust washers were gone. What I found was no fiber washer between the axles and the Hyatt bearing opposite the ring gear had no outer sleeve (it was assembled that way) needless to say the R&P were toast although it drove fine. The rear end did have bronze thrust washers which were in good shape and reused.
Wait till it fails and your diff lube turns grey/silver and you got akot of work ahead of you
Mine failed at35mph took a lot of parts with it
Bob forgot to mention that he also needed a new pair of shorts.
It has been said over and over on the forum -
Don't trust what someone thinks about the thrust washers in your rear.
Know for sure!
Hi all : A friend brought his rear axle to repair.
First he thought that his transmission was broken,but he lost the babbit rings.I find the following in the axle. Some ring gear bolt are broken,and the other are loose. the pinion gear was loose on the drive shaft.The thread on the axle shafts was bad.The two outside bearing sleeves are mixup left to right and right to left.the drive shaft inner sleeve was broken.
"DON'T TRUST WHAT SOMEONE THINKS ABOUT THE THRUST WASHERS IN YOUR CAR "
No one has asked how much side play you have? Even with bronze thrust washers and an improperly set up or a worn out rear end can cause big problems. Babbitt thrust washers worked for many years and were replaced as necessary. The big problem with Babbitt is many crumble due to age/use. I have taken rear ends apart still having good looking Babbitt thrust washers. I am not saying to use Babbitt thrust washers....USE BRONZE! Babbitt thrust washers are only one weak link in the chain.
Here an other picture of that axle.
Good points! A rear end overhaul is one of the important steps to do for driving a T. Every time another one is acquired, get it done!
Like your tag, do the same to each rebuild to let a new owner know work was done at some point.
I think one of the best reasons to pull apart an unknown differential is to save the ring and pinion gears. I had babbit washers in mine and a lot of play. Fortunately i was able to save the gears, but if I had run much longer I'm sure I would have been in the market for new gears.
Not really all that bad a job.
I suggest build up a spare axle, It's easy to change out a complete unit and then rebuild your original correctly, as time and money allow. I think many of us have more than one T, at least I do and that extra axle unit comes in handy. These cars are 100 years old and we can't just go to the local wrecking yard, believe me the youngsters of today look at me like I have two heads. By the way, I like the idea of a date tag. JMHO