Some observations while rebuilding rear axle.

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Some observations while rebuilding rear axle.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown North Central Arkansas on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 08:39 pm:

I am currently rebuilding the rear end in our 27 touring. This is our main driver/tour car. When I bought the car it was supposed to be totally rebuilt and only had bad paint. I have always said to "always" check out the rear end. As well as many other folks on the forum saying the same thing. So here we are at "do as I say, not as I do" time. I had to pull the engine after I got the car. I checked the rear end u-joint and front driveshaft bearing at that time, by prying it with a screwdriver and feeling for play. All looked good. Then I also looked in the rear axle filler hole, and it was clean as it could be. No sludge at all, and the gear oil looked new. So against, what I preach and should have been better judgement, I did not pull the rear end and inspect it. To make a long story/short, It failed on the cars first tour. It started to violently shake, lost power, ect. It took awhile to figure out the problem. I kept thinking engine problems. So when I pulled the engine again, that's when I noticed I had .138 thousands play in the front drive shaft bushing and u-joint. So this is what I found in my supposed to be rebuilt rear axle when I tore it down.

bad U-Joint with major side play

sheared U-Joint pin

Front drive shaft bushing had .138 thousands play and the front end play surface was worn aprox 1/8 inch or more It was original Ford script babbit (I do not have a clue why it appeared to be tight the first time I checked it )

The sheared U-Joint pin had cut a groove in the front of the drive shaft ball housing almost cutting off the front of the drive shaft.

Both Thrust washer bearings were Ford Babbitt type

When I was taking the ring gear off the differential, and as I was cutting the safety tie wire, I noticed the bolt was finger tight. I just thought at first one bolt had came loose. But every single ring gear bolt was finger tight and all were safety tie wired. It appears that the rebuilder before me had finger tightened them and forgot to torque them before safety tie wiring them. This car was restored 14 years before I got it. No telling how much it had been driven.

So now, Ill have to "eat crow" and say again as I always have. Please check out the rear end If you are not sure of it.

These pics show the groove cut by the pin and what a normal torque tube looks like
1

2

3

4

The U-Joint pin had cut into the rivet hole plugs. The center plug is a good plug for comparison
5

Babbitt thrust washers and Babbitt front drive shaft bushing
6


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 09:05 pm:

It's amazing that the previous guy rebuilt the rear end and left the Babbitt thrust washers in there.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 09:10 pm:

Looks better than any Model T rear axle I have pulled apart. The ring gear bolts are always loose. That's why you use safety wire.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 09:11 pm:

I think his rebuild consisted of changing the rear axle oil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ed Fuller on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 09:41 pm:

I agree with what Royce said about the ring gear bolts always being loose.

When I rebuilt the rear in my late '13 a few years ago they were all loose.

I just recently finished disassembling 5 rear axles I bought at an auction earlier this year for parts and the ring gear bolts in all 5 were loose as well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown North Central Arkansas on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 10:38 pm:

Royce and Ed, I do not disagree with you on the bolts being loose, but I have never seen all of them loose before. Sometimes a loose one or two, but never all loose. I have 9 rear ends to tear down this winter "mining" for good parts. Ill have to pay closer attention this time. I do use an impact most of the time taking things apart, so I guess I could possibly have never noticed they were loose. Ted, you may be correct.:-) :-) The inside of the rear end was clean as a pin. Absolutely no sludge and nice looking oil. The only "nasty" dirty part was inside the u-joint ball housing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 09:29 am:

Donnie the ring gear bolts usually come out without even using a wrench after you cut the safety wire. If you have 9 rears to take apart you might get enough good parts for 2 of them, not including drive shaft bushings which are always bad.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 10:36 am:

I recently pulled down a '13 rear axle, that had as I suspected 3-1 gears in it. I had a heck of a job getting it apart too, because of the large pinion gear, and the fact that whoever put this together still had the original driveshaft roller bearing housing on, with studs! It took me all afternoon to get it apart, but it was relatively clean, and the ring gear bolts were tight. It also had good babbit thrust washers. I put it back together with a Ruckstell and standard gears. I also learned that Ford axles were a larger diameter between roller bearing areas, and a Ruckstell sliding gear won't fit over that area without machining. I had a NOS axle that I used in it's place. You never know!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem - SE Michigan on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 03:48 pm:

Larry,

Are you saying that you put the original babbitt thrust washers back in the axle?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown North Central Arkansas on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 06:23 pm:

Royce, Thru the years I bet I have tore down close to 100 rear ends. Im not exaggerating a bit. Your ratio of good parts is about right. Most housings if they look good from the outside are usually useable. Housings that had been in a farm trailer are a crap shoot as to good or bad. I very seldom find any useable axles anymore. The two inside hyatt bearings are a 50/50 chance of being good. Very seldom are the outside ones any good. Ring and pinions are 1 or 2 out of 10 being useable. I usually have been lucky with differential cases and spyder gears. About half of them are OK. Drive shafts are about 1 out of 5 being useable. Drive shaft spools and bearings are 50/50 if they have not had water in them. In all my years of doing this I have only found 3 brass thrust washers in old, parts type, rear ends. But as Larry mentioned "you never know" A person could tear down 10 rear ends and save virtually nothing, then you could find a half a dozen in a row that are mostly everything good. On average, I usually gain about 10 or more rear ends per year that I tear down over the winter. The trip to Texas a couple months ago got me 5 rear ends, and the Hot Springs Arkansas hoard of a couple years ago netted me 23 rear ends. I still have 4 of the Hot Springs rear ends and the 5 Texas rear ends for this winter. :-) :-( (not sure if I need a smiley or a frowney face) I am going to pay close attention to the ring gear bolts this time... Ill check them before I use the impact...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 06:31 pm:

I've found brass thrust washers in one rear end. It was totally junk, the only usable part was the housings.

Model T's here in Texas tended to be run until they wouldn't move due to some failed part. Typically its the rear axle that fails. Up north I think a lot of T's got parked because more modern cars had heaters and windshield wipers. Down here those things were not as important.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Eviston on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 07:02 pm:

I think you hit the nail on the head, Royce. Up here in my neck of the woods, a lot of late T's,and TT's were parked by 1930 or '31.Even during the depression,this being a RELATIVELY prosperous farming area, the custom was still to buy a new car.It may have been a Chevy rather than a Buick, for example, but new nonetheless. Good '26-7 engines that were tucked away in a corner of a shed, saved as a spare for the buzz saw or feed grinder etc. Then when electricity came, those things were replaced with newer pieces of equipment.So that was my theory of why I found a lot of good usable parts.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Howard ( Australia) on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 07:34 pm:

I'm in the throes of stripping down my stock of half a dozen diffs in the ( apparently) vain hope of finding a good, or at least usable, crown gear and pinion and maybe some reasonable axles. All the bolts on the crown gears have been easily undone after the wire was cut. Sadly no outstanding parts yet discovered... a couple of marginal crown gears and two usable pinions. Looks like the bank account is going to get beaten up again!!!
Here's an interesting variation.. one of the differential cases had 3 studs instead of 3 bolts holding the 2 halves ... was this a production variation or maybe an after market set-up? All the diff's I am pulling down I would date at between '17 & '25.



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Donnie Brown North Central Arkansas on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 07:54 pm:

Tony, there are two styles. One has three bolts and nuts, and the other has three studs and nuts. It is a early/late rear end type of thing. Im not sure when the change was, without looking it up. I have about gave up on finding good axles and ring and pinion gears or "crown gears" as you folks call them :-) I just feel lucky anymore when I get good ones. These days it is the outer housings, the two differential housing/cases, the spyder gears, and possibly two inside Hyatt bearings. is all I really expect to find... (maybe)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Howard ( Australia) on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 09:23 pm:

`Thanks for that bit of information Donnie... another inch on the learning curve, which seems to be infinite as far as Model T's go :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Stan Howe Helena, Montana on Thursday, December 01, 2016 - 01:23 am:

I've mined probably easily a hundred rear ends for parts, like Donnie, I don't find a lot that can be used. I gave up on finding axles when they started making new ones. A lot of the ring bolts are loose. It's amazing how long and well this stuff ran with loose bolts and lots of other problems. Pretty much a crap shoot or a treasure hunt.

One of the nicest Ruckstells I ever had was buried in blow sand for probably at least 50 years, dug it out and brought it home expecting it to be worthless except for possibly the housing. It was virtually like new inside, no rust and all the gears and the bearing were like new. Never know.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Thursday, December 01, 2016 - 02:00 am:

Speaking of rear ends, this is what was found inside the tapered style drive shaft housing I cut down for my Warford;

Factory weld



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Thursday, December 01, 2016 - 05:42 am:

Tony: First the length of the studs were changed in 1915, then the studs were changed to bolts in 1920: http://www.mtfca.com/encyclo/P-R.htm#rax3


"DIFFERENTIAL GEAR CASE STUD


1909-1915

2514 52 3/8 x 2-3/4

1915-1920

2514B 52B or 2865 3/8 x 2-1/4

1921-1927

2414C 52C Now a cap screw."


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tony Howard ( Australia) on Thursday, December 01, 2016 - 12:20 pm:

Roger, Thanks for that reference. Another useful bit to set aside for a future project to build up a '17 .. found a chassis amongst my stuff that I didn't realise was there and a set of tapered springs, had a engine block and transmission sitting there for a while and now got a diff... slowly , slowly it'll come together.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charles Weisgerber- Vancouver WA. on Thursday, December 01, 2016 - 10:53 pm:

Mark, my tapered drive-line looked similar on the pinion end. There was even a dime sized flake of splatter/flash that was quite loose.


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