Got the 12 out yesterday to take it to a fund raising for a friend who is in the hospital. Stopped at the end of our street and hit low like I always do. It chattered somewhat but went on to the next stop. Took off for about 20 yards and then nothing. No low, no high, and no brakes. Towed it back as I was only a little bit from home and got the Marmon and took it to the affair. All the while I'm thinking about what the problem could be. Best guesses right now is a broken universal, a broken drive shaft or worst case rear end. Will find out this week as my plan was to take it on our annual Summer tour which will be the week after next. That's life!!
Sorry to hear that. Sucks.
I would think it is the rear end. The "babbit" spacers fell apart which will cause the ring gear unit to fail. It has happened to me.
Doesn't a '12 have the bronze thrust washers originally?
Pinion gear key or axle shaft key ????
Well here is my story! Here in town we have KOOL APRIL NITES, a huge car show. My next door neighbor wanted me to show my 1917 Hack. So I took it out of the garage and did some circles in the front parking area, down the drive way to the next corner and made a right turn, speeded up and shifted to high pedal and a vvvvvvvveeeeerrrrryyyy loud was heard and there I stopped. Bottom line left axle snapped just out side of the center spider unit-it is my garage waiting for me to put it back together. WaWaEa no car show and not back together yet!
This is my story and I will surely stick to it!!!!!!!!!!!
I appreciate the thoughts on what could be the problem. I guess I will proceed to uncover the cause. I must say that this some thing happened to a 1920 touring I had. What I found amazed me. The drive shaft was broken. That was not the amazing thing however. I found that it broke where I would think was the strongest area, under the bearing race near the rear end. Also, it looked like it was not a fresh break and maybe I drove the car for some time before it finally separated. All it will take is some time and effort to uncover the cause. Then it will take some time and money to fix it!! It's kind of hot in the shop now so I think I'll plan on taking one of the other cars on tour in two weeks.
Maybe you just sheared the axle key(s). Check the easy stuff first.
The first Model T I owned broke a driveshaft. About a foot from the pinion gear. The shaft had been welded and only around the edge, not all the way through. It happened when I pushed the low pedal. Just went into free wheeling. The engine still ran but would not pull the car. Fortunately I had Rocky Mountain brakes.
A very logical place to break would be near the pinion gear, because when you start out the twisting force is concentrated at that point. the breaking force is also concentrated at that point, but in the opposite direction, so it is constantly being twisted one way and the other until a small crack begins. Then the crack continues to grow until BANG.
I would expect the U joint, the driveshaft, an axle shaft, thrust washer, or gear. So you will just have to pull it down and check everything until you find the cause. Whatever it is, it is behind the brake drum in the transmission.
If you have rebuilt the rear axle around 2010 or 2011 and replaced the axle shafts, you got shafts that were not heat treated properly. I had the exact same problem in Gothenburg Ne. while traveling in May. Drove it 80 miles high speed then the shaft broke while I was barely moving in a McDonald's.
Just lift up the car by the rear axle and see if you can pull a wheel out of the axle housing.
I had a similar issue, but heard a 'pop' that sounded like it was from the u-joint.... the pinion gear had popped in half.
If you put the car in gear (or the way it would normally be in gear) and you can crank it them something came loose. Most likely it is in the rear end.
Could be old thrust washers, could be the key, could be the pinion... all require opening up the rear end.
The good thing is it probably is in the rear end, and that's a whole lot easier and cheaper then anything in front of it!!!!
With my recent experience of UJ failure, there is LOTS of noise just before the failure.
Lift one wheel and release the brake and see if you can turn the lifted wheel. If you can, remove the drain plug and look inside the diff and see if the ring gear is turning. If it is then that drive shaft is OK. If not check the axle key. Just follow this kind of logic and you will locate the problem. However to fix almost anything, except the axle key, you have to remove the axle and spend 10-20 hours and up to $500 to make it whole again.... JMHO
Pretty much what everyone else has said. The odds are, it is somewhere in the rear end, from the U-joint clear to the hub bolts. I think, at some point, I have seen nearly every piece in there broken at some time or another. I myself have sheared a pinion key (one LOUD snap followed by a total loss of drive). And once, I broke the bronze piece inside a Ruckstell (lost high gear, drove home in Ruckstell low). Broken axles, driveshafts, and split pinion gears, like my sheared key, usually make a single loud noise. Broken U-joints, stripped ring or pinion or broken thrust washers usually make a continuing clatter for at least a little ways.
There are several things inside the planetary transmission that can produce the same symptoms (to this point). There are some diagnostics that can narrow it down? Simply opening the band's cover and looking inside while someone cranks the engine over (ignition off, rear end off the ground, watch both with the hand brake locked and in high gear) MIGHT reveal the problem if it is around the clutch and output shaft. However, the actual output cannot all be seen there.
I have twice seen cars that sheared the rivets between the brake drum and the output shaft.
Generally speaking, I think it is easier and cheaper to go through the rear end than it is the engine and transmission. When I sheared the pinion key in my boat-tail, I missed the Endurance Run because it was only hours before I was supposed to be there. I knew I needed to do a bit more than the minimal replace the sheared key, although I also knew it had bronze thrust washers. I was back on the road in 24 hours, before the Endurance Run was finished, but too far away to go.
Now. WORK SAFE!!!!!
Before pulling a rear end out, make certain that the car is blocked properly! And use proper stands! NO CEMENT BLOCKS EVER! Be under a suspended car AS LITTLE AS PRACTICAL!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
When u-joints break they don't just totally let go and send you freewheeling. And, when babbitt thrust washers fall apart it's not a totally freewheeling thing either. It usually makes lots of noise. Sounds like a broken driveshaft, or a split pinion gear. Might also be sheared rivets at the driveplate output shaft or maybe sheared ring gear bolts. Might also be a broken axle.
My experience with rabbit thrust washer failure was that it would skip or ratchet the gears on deceleration and braking (trans brake) but still drive, as the gears were still somewhat meshed.
Broken driveshaft, broken axle, and broken pinion are all possibilities, as well as sheared ring gear bolts especially if it is a ruckstell. One of my ruckstells quit in a similar fashion to yours. I started in low pedal, shifted to high pedal, and there was no more drive, nothing! Another club member recently had the exact same thing happen to his ruckstell. It seems that they were assembled with the wrong bolts holding the ring gear to the carrier. There are special bolts available. The wrong bolts, no matter how tight, will eventually allow the gear to work back and forth, and one by one, the bolts break until finally the last few cannot take the pressure and you fail to proceed.
Still looking but found the pinion gear with less teeth and while the babbit thrust washers are good, now is the time to add bronze. I will continue to see if anything else needs re-newing. Thanks everyone, Dick C.
The rest of the story--The pinion gear was chipped badly and the key for the pinion gear was toast along with the end of the drive shaft. Replaced the pinion gear, ring gear, drive shaft and drive shaft front bushing (was not brass so decided to replace before any further damage). I have no idea why this all took place but hopefully I'm good to go on the tour next week. Dick C.
Thanks for the update! I hope you have a wonderful time on the tour next week.
Bronze thrust washers are generally good forever (as long as they haven't been somehow damaged), and can be reused provided they look decent.
Babbitt or other soft metal thrust washers that have been used in model Ts for more than a hundred years are NOT reliable. Even if they look to be in great condition, the soft metals (including Babbitt) can be eaten away by water, acids, corrosion, and just plain old time. As they approach a hundred years in age, they can become brittle no matter how nice they look. Once they become brittle, they can break inside the rear end and fail to hold the ring gear in position. You can do considerable damage to the gears if you are lucky. Or worse, total failure and loss of drive and brakes can result in a serious accident. There is no sure way to test the Babbitt washers, so regardless of how nice they look, replace them with the new bronze ones.
Seriously. It is very possible that a set of bronze washers, inside a rear end with a little grease, could be left outside in the elements for 10,000 years, and the washers inside would still be safe to use. However, the Babbitt washers have been known to become brittle in spite of being inside a greasy rear end for only about 50 years. The prettiest one I ever saw was almost fifty years ago, and it snapped in my fingers like the proverbial twig.
Just me expounding for the benefit of others.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Babbitt thrust washers are sometimes found intact...
...but often not.