Popeye's Rear Axle Rebuild

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Popeye's Rear Axle Rebuild
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Saturday, July 23, 2016 - 10:36 pm:

My son and I dropped Popeye's driveline in less than one hour today. Big shoutout to Steve Jelf for the U-Tube video, made the process very easy:
driveline on floor

The gear oil was clear of "golden nuggets", but I found no babbit or bronze thrust washers on the unit.

Only problem so far is the safety wire, looks like copper wire. Since I am changing the ring/pinion gears from 3:1 to 3.64:1, will install the safety wire properly:
safety wire

Tomorrow will clean the entire unit, inspect, and install ring/pinion, new axles, and safety hubs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Saturday, July 23, 2016 - 11:46 pm:

Cliff, with a Ruckstell there will be no thrust washers or plates on the left side, just that big ball race. The other side should have two steel thrust plates and a babbit/bronze thrust washer.

If you remove the ballrace, make sure you put it back the right way around.

Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 09:12 am:

Nice going Cliff! The drive shaft bushing and rear bearings are the next thing you need to inspect / replace.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 09:39 am:

I see what should be a Babbitt or bronze thrust washer in your photo Cliff:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 11:20 am:

Hey guys, thanks for the advice! Will need all I can get. Royce, there appear to be two steel washers, but no bronze or babbit:
steel washers


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 11:23 am:

The babbitt probably dissolved after being ground up by the gears. Time to buy a bronze washer to go between the two steel plates.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 11:55 am:

Be sure to check the height of the pins on the bell housing. They need to be tall enough to fully engage the steel plates, the bronze thrust washer, plus any shims you need to set the clearance, yet not so tall that they stick up above the last plate. The vendors sell taller pins if you need them.

pic


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Dugger on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 12:37 pm:

Cliff: Be very careful handling these parts as they have a chance of biting your finger when you are not watching. Been there done that.
Good luck on the rebuild.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 01:53 pm:

So far, so good.... no major problems seen. The safety wire I thought was copper turned out to be thin plastic-coated stranded steel wire (like the plastic ties on some grocery items). It's in the trash already, though I should save it as a souvenir..... Now, all the individual parts are headed for a kerosene bath, while I figure out how I'm going to liberate the axle shafts from the pinion gears (I don't have a press at home, but this could be a good time to get one)...
disassembled


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 03:13 pm:

My, oh my, am I glad I bought a new ring/pinion set.... the ring bolts did not require as much force as I anticipated to break loose...wondering if this is a consequence. Now, at least, I have a real "souvenir" to hang on the garage wall....ring gear


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 03:37 pm:

Forgot to mention that as I washed the individual parts the kerosene developed a heavy silver-metallic sheen. Probably evidence of a completely dissolved babbit thrust washer. Happy that I have a couple new bronze thrust washers on hand, along with several steel washers & shims.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Benedict, Humboldt, TN on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 04:23 pm:

Mark Strange, Are you saying in your post that the pins engage the bronze thrust washer. I thought they were only to be a little below flush with the steel washers. I'm confused.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 04:32 pm:

Oops, you are correct, they do not engage the bronze washer. Just a little below flush with the steel washers.

Sorry. :-(


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 04:36 pm:

One question - I noticed that Cliff's ring gear is recessed on the back side, and I have seen mention of the recess on other threads, do all ring gears have to have the recess to fit properly in a Ruckstell?

I ask because I put a standard Ford 40 tooth ring gear (no recess) in my Ebay Ruckstell and I was able to set the proper gear mesh and backlash. I did have to add a few gaskets between the driveshaft tube and the rear axle housing, though.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 04:59 pm:

It appears to me that there's a pin embedded in one of the steel washers. Is that a special Ruckstell thing?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Benedict, Humboldt, TN on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 04:59 pm:

Mark, I'm rebuilding a ruckstell I recently purchased and the standard 40 tooth ring gear in it has no recess on the back, However the fit around the bell is a snug slip fit, Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Glen Chaffin on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 05:01 pm:

Mark, The only reason the Ruckstell ring gear is recessed is because the pinion is larger than the ones used with the Standard Ford ring gear. We now make the original 40 tooth Ruckstell ring gear. All of the Ruckstell gears made previously were 39 tooth which worked but wasn't correct.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 05:24 pm:

Ok, thanks Glen, that's a relief (pun intended).

My Ebay Ruckstell was an assemblage of new and used parts that were assembled to keep them together, but were never run. It came to me with a brand new 11 tooth pinion and an extremely worn 40 tooth ring gear (see photo below). The worn ring gear did not have a recess on the back side. I bought a new 40 tooth ring gear from Lang's and was able to set the gears up with a few gaskets between the driveshaft tube and the rear axle housing.

Sorry to hijack the thread - back to our regular broadcast! :-)

pic


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Sunday, July 24, 2016 - 05:57 pm:

Steve, that errant pin should be a light press fit into the bell and a loose fit in the hole in the steel washer. Hopefully the hole in the bell isn't wallowed out.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Sheldon, Grass Valley, CA on Monday, July 25, 2016 - 07:57 pm:

Mark S, You call that "extremely worn"??! You ain't seen EXTREMELY WORN! Badly worn? Yes, definitely BADLY worn. But it still has some edge left. Wait until you find one in a car you have been driving that has no edge left on the corners of the teeth. One side of every tooth is flaking away, with small hollows where tiny pieces have fallen out. The edges of the teeth around the outer side, all curled up by the hammering from the pinion gear.
Then, you will know what an extremely worn ring gear can look like.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Monday, July 25, 2016 - 08:01 pm:

Thanks Wayne, I stand corrected - "badly worn". :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 05:39 pm:

Continuing the adventure...got the axle housings back from hot-tanking, need to prime and paint after I finish with the Ruckstell shift lock. Also am looking at a new back plate on one side unless I can find a brake band tab set that bolts on. Too, I need to closely examine the emergency brake levers to see how difficult it will be to install new cams and bushings (they are rather loose). Clean housings:
housings

Driveshaft dis-assembly is next. When I was initially ordering parts I kinda went berserk over anything with 'modern bearings' (reduce friction), so as well as the Fun Projects adjustable pinion bearing I bought a roller bearing to replace the driveshaft bushing. Has anyone had experience with this?
roller bearing
Looking forward to your advice...Cliff


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Stephen D Heatherly on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 07:03 pm:

Use the bronze bushing for the drive shaft instead of the roller bearing. The roller bearing will rapidly wear the drive shaft out because the rollers are hard and the driveshaft is not.

Stephen


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 02:20 am:

Cliff, the bushing in U joint end of the torque tube has a thrust face on which the back of the U joint runs. That roller bearing does not. With it in place, all that maintains the crown wheel and pinion mesh is the pin in the driveshaft. You'd better have a really good U joint too, so the shaft cannot move back and forth.

The fun projects pinion bearing kit will eliminate this end float, but still it is good insurance to have the U joint pinned and the thrust face in place in case the collar of the bearing kit come loose.

Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 01:36 pm:

Cliff,

The bronze driveshaft bushing will last many many years. The needle bearing will NOT. It will cut into the soft driveshaft, as others have confirmed. I don't know why reputable dealers even sell them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 02:30 pm:

Thanks, gents for the advice! Bronze driveshaft bushing it is. I also ordered a new driveshaft from John Regan.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 02:34 pm:

Ruckstell shift lock mechanism disassembled, parts look good. Time to re-read the club Ruckstell book for assembly instructions.
shift lock


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 02:55 pm:

While you have the shift lock apart, uncle Stan recommends installing a zerk fitting to keep it greased:

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/80257/85123.html

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/179374/245444.html?1320445355


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 - 05:38 pm:

As always, thanks for the advice! I disassembled the driveshaft this afternoon. Was amused to see that the last mechanic must have lost his half-inch wrench as he (she?) tightened the housing plugs with a hammer and chisel. Had to take them out with a channel lock. Also, the universal joint pin just fell out with light pressure:
housing plug

Though I am economical (read: cheap...) and I could reuse the plugs, pride dictates new ones. Also, the front bushing (T-2581) is quite worn, so time to replace it as well.

At least the u-joint is in good condition, absolutely no play in any dimension.

Off to the catalogs....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Saturday, July 30, 2016 - 06:01 pm:

Cleaning up the driveshaft in preparation for reassembly when the Fun Projects driveshaft arrives. I noticed that the u-joint housing appears, as best I can see, to have been cut down. Inside diameter of the mouth of the housing is 3.5". If it was cut, perhaps it was for installation of a ball bearing 4th main?

u joint housing

So here's a question: what is the correct inside measurement at the mouth of the housing?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Saturday, July 30, 2016 - 06:15 pm:

Yours has definitely been cut down.

I couldn't measure the inside of the driveshaft ball on my Ebay Ruckstell because it has the U-joint installed and pinned.

However, I did measure the length of the ball on the outside from the rear flat to the end and came up with 2.6 inches.

Hope this helps. :-)

(Message edited by cudaman on July 30, 2016)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Saturday, July 30, 2016 - 07:43 pm:

Thanks Mark! I measured mine in the same position and I get 2 1/16". Time to check the 4th main to see if it's the ball bearing type....a cut of roughly this size off the front lip of the housing is required to install the modern 4th main. Cliff


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Saturday, August 06, 2016 - 06:16 pm:

Took a break while parts arrived. Today, made good progress reassembling the Ruckstell:
inner
Then, began assembling the bell housing and ring gear. Uh, oh...the ring gear bolts looked a bit short, but I installed them anyway. Looking into the threads, the bolts only thread about 1/3 of the way in. Way too short for comfort:

bolts

<sigh...> Back to the catalog for a set of new ring bolts....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 01:05 pm:

Started on the driveshaft - the front bushing definitely needs replacement:
bushing1
bushing2
The original babbit is almost completely worn through on the front end, and is flaking off the interior.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 01:15 pm:

Cliff,

You also seem to have one of the ring gears that was made with the bolt holes aligned with the gear tooth spaces, instead of the gear teeth themselves. Not too big an issue, as long as you know about it. You might find that the tips of the pinion gear teeth will hit the little bit of ring gear bolt that will extend out of the ring gear. If that's the case, trim the length of the bolt down till it's flush with the ring gear face.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 01:18 pm:

Your new gear:


The old gear:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 01:26 pm:

I'm pretty sure Chaffins is VERY specific about using the NEW ring gear bolts they sell for this application. Yes, they are expensive, but for a very good reason. They are special high strength bolts, made just for this application.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 02:39 pm:

Thanks for the heads-up, Jerry! Yes, I ordered a new set of bolts not only because the old ones did not extend even 1/3 into the bolt holes, but also because two of the old bolts were not drilled for safety wire. Chapin's book says I need every thread I can catch, and these just don't make the grade. They did come all the way through on the old 3:1 ring gear, but they were fairly loose upon disassembly, did not take much to unbolt them (that could partly explain the cracked ring gear...?) I will be certain to keep an eye on how far the new bolts extend above the housing surface.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 02:42 pm:

Popeye is going to drive like he just ate a can of spinach with the new gear ratio!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 03:05 pm:

Hey Royce! You were correct about the driveshaft needing attention. I have been having fun on this entire project, has challenged my "shade tree mechanic" skills. So far I have found ways to get the job done without too many trips to my local machine shop. I used a hardwood drift to set the u-joint thrust bushing this morning, for example.

Truth be told, I think the machinist enjoys working on the car as much as I do - he builds high performance engines for the local racing scene, but is getting a kick out of working on parts from a 20-hp car.

I agree that the standard ring/pinion will make quite a difference in performance.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 03:21 pm:

Oops! "Chaffin's book", not "Chapin"...sorry Mark, that's what happens when I don't proofread....

The Ruckstell rebuild book has answered every question thus far - a most excellent resource!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Glen Chaffin on Monday, August 08, 2016 - 04:29 pm:

Thank you for the compliment Cliff. We wrote the book just for you. If you have any questions just call us. 951-735-4791. We're here to help.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 05:44 pm:

Halleluja! New ring gear bolts came in, and they fit perfectly - don't believe any grinding off the ends will be necessary. HAPPINESS!

ring gear bolt 1
ring gear bolt 2


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Saturday, August 13, 2016 - 06:28 pm:

<sigh...> Here we go again...when I disassembled the driveshaft I did not pay attention to the pinion nut. Covered with old oil, it looked good so I did not order a new one. Mistake. Once cleaned up it looks like this - pulled threads:
pinion nut 1
pinion nut 2
I placed an order for a new nut, hope it gets here quickly. As much as I hate to return unused parts, next project I will 'over order' and endure the hassle of returning what I don't need.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Saturday, August 13, 2016 - 07:00 pm:

Dan Hatch is advertising a bunch of NOS pinion nuts in the Classifieds:

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/3487/656823.html?1470992393


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Thursday, August 18, 2016 - 08:34 pm:

The stars and moon seemed to have aligned for me...today was a good day. Pinion nut arrived Wednesday, but the honey-do list took priority on Wed evening. So I tackled gear mesh this evening.

My handy-dandy axle housing holder (2x2 piece of 3/4" plywood, screwed to my workbench with a 'custom' cutout to slip the housing into). Don't laugh,it works. Note the elegant custom light fixture...
housing holder

So I installed the Fun Projects pinion bearing, set the shims, and got this contact pattern:
gear pattern

I think it looks good, what say you?

Negligible runout on the ring gear, and the dial indicator tells me I have .008-.010 gear lash.

Only problem encountered, as others have commented, was the collar behind the pinion bearing spool - the set screw is hitting an area inside the driveshaft. It's not a 'strong detente' but very noticeable when rotating the driveshaft. A little grinding tomorrow will remedy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Friday, August 19, 2016 - 09:40 am:

On 3:1 ring gears a few of the fastening screws lines up between two teeth, so the pinion tends to touch. Did so on one of my rear axles, so I had to grind some off the end of the pinion teeth. Shortening the screws would have weakened it more.

Seems like your screws lines up between the teeth too - how close does the pinion teeth get?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Friday, August 19, 2016 - 03:38 pm:

Hi Roger,

This is a standard setup (3.64:1) and the ring gear bolts stop just before the surface of the gear.

There is no danger of contact with the pinion gear.

Might have been different had I installed the original 3:1 set.

Cliff


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Saturday, August 20, 2016 - 08:31 pm:

Quite a bit of progress today...yay! Got sideplay under control fairly easily, did not have to take much off the bronze washer. I will admit to a stupid mistake, though: I was moving right along, not planning my steps ahead of action, and I buttoned the unit up without having placed the inner carrier bearing. Had to re-open, clean all the permatex off, install the bearing, then close again. Thank heaven I had a second housing gasket....
housings assembled
If I can talk my son into coming over tomorrow, I might have a shot at finishing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Saturday, August 20, 2016 - 09:10 pm:

Great progress! Be sure to insert the fronts of the radius rods into the driveshaft tube at the same time you bolt the tube to the carrier. There isn't quite enough room to slip the rods in afterwards. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Sunday, August 21, 2016 - 07:16 pm:

Had a good morning, mounted the safety hubs. Son came over and we installed the radius rods and driveshaft:
drive train assembled

That done, we took time to check the fourth main. There was a substantial oil leak there (gusher style, mostly due to torn gaskets repaired with gobs of permatex) so we decided to install the ball bearing 4th main I had ordered. It went in just fine. The u-joint housing had already been cut down, which is a requirement to use the ball bearing 4th main.

So we pushed the driveline back into place and hooked her up:
driveline installed
Now I have to reline the brake shoes and finish installing the brake drums and hubs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Sunday, August 21, 2016 - 07:23 pm:

Can't wait to hear your driving impressions Cliff - this is going to be a big improvement for Popeye!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Cliff Colee on Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 09:25 pm:

Today was D-day: time for a test drive.

So, with heart pounding I fired Popeye up and backed out of the garage. So far, all good. I got onto a neighborhood street and sped up to about 10 mph. No noise from the rear end. Still good. Made it down the second street and Popeye quit. Looked under hood, gas running out of mouth of carb. One light tap with a wrench, gas stopped spilling and Popeye started back up.

Stopped and pulled the handbrake all the way back but Popeye rolled forward - emergency brakes need adjustment.

Managed to drive up the driveway (10% grade) and into the garage without running through the back wall of the garage. Parked and promised Popeye I'd adjust his brakes tomorrow.

I did not try to shift the Ruckstell, that's a tomorrow project.

I do have a question for the experts, though: it was my impression that when the handbrake lever is in vertical position, the emergency brakes should not be engaged (neutral position?). However, when I read the service manual it says the brake should be engaged when the handle is vertical. If the manual is correct, what is supposed to happen when the lever is pulled all the way back? Not a problem to adjust the rods, but I am curious how you guys adjust them in relation to the position of lever. Appreciate the advice, as always.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 09:37 pm:

I approach it this way. When the lever is forward and the car is in high gear, I don't want the brakes dragging, so adjust them to suit. They will be on the cam a bit, so in neutral, they will be a bit further off when the cam is level.
This setting means the handle will not start setting the brake until it is past the angle at which it was at rest when in high gear.
The nett effect is I have a little less travel on the lever for full engagement, but there is no chance of dragging brakes.
Others may differ.
Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Friday, September 16, 2016 - 09:57 am:

I adjust my brake rods the same way as Allan - I don't want my brakes dragging in high gear, and I don't want the brake rods pulling on the brake handle, potentially reducing the high gear spring clamping force.

I use a block of wood in the floorboard slot to make sure that the emergency brake handle stays fully forward during the adjustment process.

While the brake rods are disconnected from the shaft, I also move them individually forward and back and feel for the "null" spot where the brake cam is horizontal (brakes fully off). If the rear wheels are off, I confirm the brake cam position by visual inspection.


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