There was a thread on here a while back about rebuilding rear ends. I just wanted to show you folks how bad one can be.
A club member asked me to get into his Ruckstell to see why he couldn't shift it anymore. Obviously, this damage didn't happen overnight, so he had been driving the car like this for many years.
I took the center out of the housings and gave the axles a twist. It felt a little rough, so I decided to open up the center section. Here's what I found:
The three little planet gears had frozen onto their pins and sheared the pins off.
They couldn't go far, but they ate halfway through the three "towers" which support them. You can see that in the first pic. In the process, they had destroyed the nuts which hold the halves of that inner housing together. I had to burn the nuts off to get the housings apart.
There were 3 or 4 parts which would have been usable, but all the others were toast. The car's owner opted to put a standard rear end back in, rather than spending a couple thou on Rux parts.
There are a couple of things about this which still mystify me. One is that the car could be driven in this condition for many years, and the Ruckstell still worked up until just recently. The other is that the owner drove it like this for those many years without realizing that something was wrong!
Just not enough oil in the rear end?
He's just lucky that he didn't get killed by a broken pinion gear or drive shaft with all that metal floating around in the oil!
Look at how far the pin holes are worn in the carrier!! That is amazing and a testament to how tough a Ruckstell is.
Better save all those parts and make a display for the museum!
I, too, wonder if the root problem was insufficient oil, OR, the wrong viscosity of oil. With all of the damage it may be difficult or impossible to determine if there was some mis-assembly, but if you could find the "smoking gun" it could prove informative. Inquiring minds want to know!
Does the owner have any history on this Ruckstell; when was it rebuilt, or maintenance records? Bill
I had a somewhat similar deal. On a two year old Ruckstell rebuild on a car which was used as a daily driver in the city, and while on a 600 mile rally, the Ruckstell quit.
On inspection, just one of the three gears had seized on its pin. It had gotten so hot it turned blue, and the broken off pin was literally welded into the lock plate.
I replaced the damaged pieces and never had another problem. I did not do the initial build, so cannot comment on that. It just seemed weird to me that this should happen many thousands of miles into service, and then only to one gear.
Allan from down under.
I saw one just like that on Thursday. The owner never bothered to check the oil! Dumb!
I had an almost identical failure in one of my cars. I had checked the oil level in the past and it was OK. I didn't have any big leaks, and so I didn't check it for a while. Anyway, there was enough oil to keep the ring and pinion lubed, but the level wasn't high enough to get into the Ruckstell housing and keep those parts lubricated.
Mine became nearly impossible to shift toward the end of a long and hilly tour, but was smooth and quiet in high when the Ruckstell was not being used, so I finished the tour in high without any problem. When we took it apart, we found the oil level problem. Again, there was enough that the ring gear was running in oil and keeping the pinion lubed, but too low to get into the carrier and lube the Ruckstell pinions.
I'm just finishing one now that was actually blown up worse that the one in the pictures above. Nothing was useable except the sliding gear, the stationary lock plate, the shifter, the housing and the ring and pinion. It was obvious it was run with no oil. Owner said he was just driving slowly along and it locked up solid. Amazing to me the ring and pinion was not damaged. He did admit to having one rear wheel seal leaking badly.
The R&P gears were fine in this one too. It had oil in it but it was really thick, probably 600w. I suspect that it was too thick to get into the "innards."
I wondered about that too, Mike. 600 is too thick for Ruckstells. Also, the oil holes were changed in the bronze plate a couple times to get more lubricant into the thrust surface between the bronze plate and the steel thrust plate that runs against it for a reason. If you look at the lube system, there isn't much of anyway to get lube into the inner differential, sun gears, etc. They were supposed to be packed with "good quality gun grease" according to what I have read.
In my opinion, any fluid grease today is better than anything they had back then so the cheapest off brand is probably fine to run in them. However, I have always run good quality 85-140 lube in the ones I have had and never had a problem. I also drill several extra holes in the "bell" to allow more lube circulation into the inner gears. In the ones I have rebuilt for my own use I also drill a few extra holes in the bronze plate to get more lube in there.
I hope that the one I rebuilt (using Glen's book) is Ok. Drilling those extra holes sounds like a good idea. I didn't do that, so I will keep my fingers crossed. It looks pretty. Let's hope it runs pretty.
Here is a picture:
The original Ruckstell P139 had 10 large oil holes around the outer edge, Most of these are marked Hall Scott indicating early, This provided very good lubrication for the inside of the differential but made the P139 very weak. Ruckstell then changed the design, eliminated the 10 holews and replaced then with 4 small 1/4 in holes. Most of these are marked E for Eaton meaning late. The new design provided inadequate oiling. When we made our new P139 we returned to the large holes for oiling but only used five which corrected the strength problem. I do not understand why Ruckstell did not do that? Never use 600 W oil in a Ruckstell . Always use 140 W.
I drilled extra holes in my bronze plate before I installed it in my Ebay Ruckstell.
Stan would you mind showing where you drill the holes in the bell, I've thought of that but wasn't sure if the oil would actually make it into the bell at speed. I even thought if you put some type of scoop sort of like the scoop they use in the secondary oil line accessory that goes on the side of the hogshead. On the inside there is a scoop that helps catch the oil. I wonder, since there is considerable space, could you adhere rod cap scoops on the bell in 2 or 3 locations maybe using stainless steel nut and bolt or maybe grade 8 nut and bolt. The bell is thick enough that you may be able to tap it and also add lock washer and nut as a double safety measure? Thoughts?
Actually, scoops are a really good way to make sure the planetary gears get a good supply of lube. I usually make them out of a section of small block Chevy rod bearing shell and weld them to the carrier with nickel rod but this time I decided to hold it in place with two 6-32 machine screws. The scoop is just a strip of .090 mild steel.
The hard rubber crank handle was used by Ford until late December of 1911. Well into the 1912 model year.
Royce, And here I thought you only had to shift the rear end into gear. Now I see your telling me that I have to crank it also? Where is the crank hole and will the engine crank work back here also or is it a special crank? Bob
Uncle Stan told me about his trick of drilling holes in the bell several years ago. I've been doing that on Ruckstells I've rebuilt since then. I also drill them at an angle, so the hole acts as a scoop when the car is moving forward. (Drill the hole straight through first, then lean the drill to one side to form the angled "scoop.") I usually drill 4 or 5 holes, 5/16". I'm not saying this is the "correct" way to do it, it's just how I do it.
More pictures of Ruckstell toast- The blob is actually the remains of a planet gear.