This subject came up in another thread.
I have a 27 Coupe & checked my diff oil for the first time last night and found it clean although only half an inch deep. It looks clean and smells pleasant and poking around there is no lumps or bits of anything, the pics were taken 3.5 hrs after being driven.
Today I jacked her up to check for end play. The right hand wheel (looking from the rear) is solid but the left hand wheel has a noticeable in/outward movement of about 1/16th inch, enough to get a slight clunk on each push/pull.
Is this an urgent concern or just something to monitor and address in the future?
If yours what would you do?
Could be a number of things. I'd bet on a loose axle gear on the axle, and no fiber disc in the diff carrier. About a quarter of the axles I see have loose axle gears. I don't know if its a big deal or not, my guess is the cars ran for years that way.
Thanks Richard, I'll see what the other readers say also.
If you have not been into this rear end before and do not know the person who went into it before and what was done, I would tear it down and check the thrust bearings and everything. As far as I am concerned every T rear end is a pig in a poke unless you really know the guy who rebuilt it or saw it done. Do you trust it with your LIFE? KGB
Megadittos to what Keith says. I would not trust my life to any T rear end until I knew what lay inside. Every one I take apart is in need of a full rebuild and lots of fairly expensive replacement parts.
Don't take a chance, tear it down. I had similar symptoms with my 15 and the babbit thrust washers were in chunks. Fortunately my repair expenses were pretty low, but I did use a new fun projects spool which made the job even easier.
Not as bad a job as you would think. Take it slow and in a week or so you'll be ready for driving season without worry.
BTW if the washers are bad, every day you drive it increases the chances that you repair costs will go up significantly!
Kevin -- One-sixteenth of movement is more than you really want, but it will run for a long time with that amount of slop. The important thing, though, is that if the rear end has babbit thrust washers, they are now brittle and can disintegrate suddenly. So it's not a matter of waiting around until the wear becomes worse. As the others above have said, take it apart and see what's in there. Rebuilding it might not be that expensive. I just took one apart and put it back together a few days ago, replacing just the thrust washers, fiber washer and some of the bearings and sleeves. Everything else was good to go. It's true that doesn't happen often, but there are some good ones out there. You might get lucky.
And I echo Bud's recommendation for the Fun Projects pinion bearing kit while you have it apart. I never put a rear end back together without one.
Also agree. Aside from the parts being large and heavy, it is a fairly easy job. Nothing confusing in there and we are always here to help. Like Bud said, go slow and give it a week or so.
A jig to hold the pumpkin/axle while your working on it is almost a necessity. Fancy ones are available or, since you may only do this once in a life time, the one in the picture below works just as well. Cost was $0 as I made it out of a scrap piece of 1x10.
PS Lots of help here on the forum on rebuilding!
Good advise from all.
Remember the rear axle of the Ford is the central element that must be in very good order for safe travels.
Every start and go puts thrust of the engine to the ring and pinion gears. Every time for low to high, more thrust on those parts.
And EVERY stop with the transmission brake places additional thrust with the braking action on the ring and pinion.
Spend the time to remove, inspect, and replace/repair to be sure the axle is in good order.
You never know 'til you inspect!
This axle was 'restored' by previous owner, I took it apart, sure it had older 'repro' made in Germany solid rollers, but good golly! No Bronze thrust, just the two steel facing washers. A Bronze thrust was on the other side, but not on this side! Wonder of wonders
Sounds like I better have a look. Probably take 4 to 5 weeks as my first parts order took 3 weeks to get to NZ.. unless I buy the more probable bits in advance.
I realise its guess work but what do you suggest I pre-order to have on hand to address the end play concern, replace or upgrade any important bits while I'm in there and make it safe.
I'm not in the position to afford a full rebuild, that can come down the track maybe but I do drive it every day and dont want it parked up.
List I made up of parts for a rear end rebuild. Not all parts may be required. Prices a year or two old.
Could maybe get by by just filling it up with 140 and driving it.
The worst that could happen is that it could lock up, throw you into a sideways slide and roll you over.
If you tear it down and check everything I'm sure two years from now you won't say, "Damn, I wish I'd just left it alone".
Let us know how it looks inside, please.
I just checked for internal movement by both looking in the filler bung and holding a rod against the diff head while the wheel was pushed in and out and it doesn't move at all.
Does this influence the urgency or what I should order in advance?
You can actually split it under the car.
1. Support the car by the rear running board arms as close in as you can, or make some stands that will reach up to the frame rails (or both)
2. Remove both rear wheels (or hubs if you have wire wheels
3. Support the rear axle housing with three jack stands so that the shackles are horizontal (least amount of load) (two of them supporting the right housing in a balanced fashion)
4. Undo the left and probably the right spring perches (at least loosen the right as much as is needed to allow the left one to be undone completely with no tension remaining.
5. Disconnect the radius rod and brake rod at the left side
6. Place a drain pan under the differential housing and now loosen all the bolts including the pinion bearing bolts. If it starts to drain them go have a coffee while it drains. If it has been "glued" together, then you will have to carefully use a sharp knife to separate things. Look carefully for gaskets and try to avoid damaging them. You can remove the three bolts on the left side of the pinion bearing. Create enough "gap" so it isn't going to take all day to drain, but don't get in a panic.
7. Once it has mostly drained, then remove the rest of the bolts and slide the left housing STRAIGHT off. Support it carefully so you don't drag the gears and axles out with it.
8. Now you can examine carefully;
A. The condition of the thrust washer and whether it is bronze or babbitt.
B. The condition of the crown and pinion.
C. Ensure that the pinion is TIGHT on the driveshaft and that the nut that holds it is tight. Any indication of looseness MUST be dealt with.
D. check the condition of the thrust washer pins both in the housing and in the differential assembly
9. The whole rotating axle assembly can be removed if any repairs are going to be attempted, BUT if you are satisfied that you have bronze thrust washers and with the general condition of what you have seen AND THAT THE PINION GEAR IS TIGHT ON THE DRIVESHAFT, then you can prepare to reassemble.
Probably the most important thing is to be sure that the thrust washers are properly in place on the pins. Sticky thick grease can be very helpful with this.
1. Ensure that the crown gear is meshing nicely with the pinion.
2. Slide the left side housing on and it should close right up against the right side without the use of any amount of force. If it doesn't slide ALL the way on easily then most likely one of the thrust washer parts has fallen out of position and needs to be corrected. This step is VERY important.
After this it is just a matter of reassembly
I have done this twice. In both cases I was replacing 3-1 gear sets back to standard 3.63-1 gear sets on freshly rebuilt rear axles. It took me 3-4 hours each time.
I realize you can't afford to do a full rebuild now BUT ignoring the thrust washers is taking a chance that I wouldn't like you to take. Besides you can now evaluate and see what parts you need to order. Maybe you don't need any parts and the rear axle is in generally good condition. It has been mentioned that a probable cause is lack of a spacer washer between the axle gears, and that you could easily and cheaply rectify at this time. I have seen people use coins as spacers. I'm not sure what New Zealand money looks like, but worth considering. I use Canadian 5 cent "nickles" as frost plugs all the time. At 5 cents each and made of good corrosion resistant material it is hard to argue with and I usually have some in my pocket!!
Best of luck
Les thats great, I think I will have a go with this method.
At step 7 when I drag the left housing off does the left axle stay hanging in place?
From what I can find from previous owners the diff may not have been touched since it was first restored in the 60's, I know when the speedo stopped working so potentially the diff has done approx 4,000 miles since.
Were bronze thrust washers commonly used in the 60's?
The plan is to leave left axle hanging in place until you have at least done your preliminary inspection. To ensure it stays in place, you might leave the right hub in place so it all stays there. You can always remove it if you have to. I hope you have a hub puller (or access to one), sure makes the job easier
Bronze thrust washers were available in the early '70's when I started playing with T's, so it may be just fine.
But please be sure you have the car supported in a stable fashion, a little extra effort here is worthwhile. I don't want to hear of you as a "statistic"
Yip ok will do I also dont want to get hurt.
I dont have a hub puller but may be able to source one.
I guess the fact the oil is clean with no material or bits in the bottom imply its either already bronze in there or the old style havent broken down yet.
I will guess that you may well be pleasantly surprised when you open it up, given the history you have provided.
This is why I am suggesting the easiest way I know of to verify.
It is also a great chance to make sure the pinion is tight on the driveshaft. I have observed a couple of broken pinions, one of which could have turned into a multiple fatality, except for some incredible good luck along with the bad luck. It actually resulted in a roll-over of a touring car, but all 4 passengers walked away.
It is one of the sources of my distrust of the use for cotter pins on critical mechanical components. It is so easy for them to be either over-tightened or under-tightened. We have so many really good alternatives (LOKTITE, lock washers, or just the use of a torque wrench, etc) today that it is a un-neccessary risk.
I have no problem with using cotter pins on external "cosmetic" connections. And certainly safety wiring the wishbone cap is a absolute essential "no-brainer"!!
If you have wooden wheels the proper T hub puller threads onto the hubcap threads. This threaded area has a slit in it and then there is a "pinch bolt" which allows the threads to tightly engaged. It then has a "push bolt" that engages with the end of the axle. I torque the push bolt down and then smack it with a BIG hammer. A couple of repeats of tightening and smacking has removed even the most stubborn hub.
When you are putting it back together torque this to at least 110 ft lbs then drive it a bit and then torque it again. Repeat this process until the nut doesn't move when you apply the torque. t this stage the taper is thoroughly seated. At this stage I then remove the nut and apply a "breakable" LOKTITE and then torque it one last time.
I have wire wheels Les, different process?
The puller is different design. Take off a wheel and look at a hub.
When you get into engine rebuilding, here are the freeze plugs Les mentioned.
Canadian freeze plugs
American freeze plugs
Please explain what a "freeze Plug" is?
We have "frost Plugs in classic cars which if the block freezes these push out instead of cracking the block, in some country's they call them "Welsh Plugs", are these what you guys call freeze plugs?
Kevin -- You can take nickels and dish them like a Welsh plug, using a socket and a couple of ball-peen hammers. They fit the holes and won't rust out.
Correctly they should be called "core plugs ". The holes exist because the "cores" used/needed during the casting process to create the water jackets need to be supported on that side of the block. Hence the holes exist. A drive in plug is easy to use. And on RARE occasion they have probably prevented freeze damage
Today I'm driving to Christchurch to pick up a fresh import for a friend who is too busy. Its a 1913 Brassy from the US, that will make 2 model T's in our street. Will post a pic later.
NZ money is copper or nickle plated steel and i don't think it'll work for that purpose.
Good point, might have to dig out my collection of Gold coins...I wish!
It'll suck but I'd tear it down. I did it by my onesie this past fall, and it was messy and fiddly work, but not too hard. Grab a couple Garage Project Death From Above IPAs and have at it. Teardown took me an hour, wait a week for parts then 2 hours to put it together (all that safety wire and gear lash setting.) All told it took me 4 beers, about 6 bandages, some mew crisp four letter words, and time. It isn't hard, once you get the hang of it. With a buddy or two you can do it in a sunny afternoon.
It is a safety issue if the axle locks, or spins free taking the brakes with it.