Early into Thursday's route while driving my 1911 Touring, a horrific noise came through the drivetrain. It stopped briefly then repeated, forcing me to pull off the road and put the car on the disabled list for the remainder of the tour. A week later, having torn down the complete driveline, I found that the Ruckstell ball bearings could become separated from its outer retainer. Evidence shows that it was turning in its recess in the axle housing, causing wear on both it's face and circumference. This is what caused the entire assembly to shift and rub on the housing, thus causing a severe noise. When the thrust shifted in the other direction, the rubbing ceased.
The ring and pinion mesh must have been minimal and I'm fortunate to not have lost several teeth!
This assembly was completely rebuilt to within acceptable specifications some 2000 miles ago using roller thrust bearings and Fun Projects spool bearings. These both are intact with no damage evident.
My question to Ruckstell fans out there is: Is there a history of failure of the big ball bearing (P-211) and how tight should it fit into the housing? If the housing recess is now worn, what can I do to renew its tightness in accepting the bearing? Any other thoughts are welcomed as well. Thanks in advance.
Sounds like the thrust ball bearing was installed backwards, was it?
Or it may have been a bearing designed for only radial loads.
It appeared to be an original bearing an I did make sure it was installed correctly according to thrust direction. I may have to check the bronze P-139 fir wear or breakage.
1. A good machine shop should be able to cleanup the bore where the bearing fits and install a sleeve. It is likely worn on the thrusting face as well, so the sleeve will likely need to deal with this as well. A problem for you will be to get the correct dimensions. Maybe Glen can provide that information as they make new housings
2. The bearing MUST be tight on the rotating bronze part. Either fix what you have or buy that part new
3. I have found that there are two different bearings available. Buy the expensive one!!!
Put a new ball bearing in it when you put it back together. The correct number is 7212becby. SKF, Fafnir and others have that bearing readily available; the vendors also sell them.
If you did not check the housing for straight/alignment/bearing fit/ etc, do it this time. Nearly all the old ones are bent to some extent.
Thanks guys for your good suggestions which were just what I was seeking. I understand a tight fit is necessary for the bearing to keep it from turning as well as a good tight fit with the bronze P-139. Any thoughts on "tack welding" the bearing to the housing once the tolerances are set? Will save much $$$ on machining and sleeving. Will post some pix when I get them resized.
"Any thoughts on "tack welding" the bearing to the housing..."
Absolutely not, is my thought.
I'll go along with Jerry. Welding will destroy the metallurgy of the bearing. An early failure is virtually guaranteed.
Personally I would be leery of machining much stock off the hole in the housing to install a sleeve. There is not a lot of meat in the axle housings and I have seen a couple break in that area. I've used a thin shim fitted between the hole and the ball bearing. Kind of shade tree but it worked OK.
I tend to agree with you, but it is worth looking at. Obviously I would only remove enough material to "clean up" the wear. Maybe no material at all!! Maybe just make a sleeve and install using "Devcon" or "Loktite"
What many people don't seem to understand is that only the rotating race needs to be locked in place. The non rotating race just needs to be properly supported (close non press fit)
First a big Thank You guys for all your comments and suggestions. I definitely will NOT do any tack welding! Also, I got some very good advice and information from Dave at Chaffins and possible causes for my failure. Look at the below pictures and tell me I did not install the thrust face the wrong way. Hope it was just a cheap or old worn bearing that I originally used and will now replace with new. Hope this new rebuild will last a long, long, time and get me across the country in 2019.
There is something missing from this story. The bearing would have to bind for it to spin in the axle housing. The bearing shows no evidence of overheating. I wonder if piece of something worked its way into the bearing and jammed it.
The ball bearing appears to be installed correctly. However, the outer race should not come off the ball bearing. This indicates a badly worn bearing. In my experience the needle thrust bearings are two narrow and require shims to get the proper side play with the differential inside the housings. If you had too much side play the old ball bearing will come apart and not properly support the differential assembly. There should be virtually no side play which will prevent the ball bearing from coming apart even if it is worn. The ball bearing should be a press fit on P139 and a slip fit in the Ruckstell housing. A shim in the Ruckstell housing to correct any wear in the recess in the housing works good.
The roller thrust bearing is really not needed. That side of the differential gets very little thrust load anyway, basically only when you're making a left hand turn. The ball bearing side sees lots of thrust during braking and acceleration, in addition to right hand turn loading.
Don't misunderstand my comment above. I don't mean to say that it needs no thrust bearing, just doesn't need a roller type as they make things harder to adjust as Glenn describes above and they give no real benefit in return.
I will replace the thrust bearing with a bronze unit which I have used in the past. Will have to do some careful milling to get proper fit, but well worth the effort.
I believe you were in Branson but missed meeting you in person. Maybe next time.