I have been thinking about posting this "how to" on the forum for a while. I have noticed lately that it seems like a lot forum members are rebuilding rear axles over the winter and thought this would be a good time to do it.
This may seem very basic to some people, but I have seen many times on this forum and other automotive forums that sometimes people have trouble doing it properly.
I have learned an enormous amount of information on this forum and I would like to do my share to give back. I hope others will find this post helpful.
OK, enough rambling let's get to it!
First, you will need to procure some safety wire and a pair of safety wire pliers. I will be using stainless .032 wire but you could also use .042. It can be found anywhere online, just do a search for stainless safety wire. I would recommend buying a can of it. It's one of those things that once you have it you will find lots of uses for.
As far as pliers go it's pretty much like anything else. You get what you pay for. I bought mine off of a tool truck and they have lasted close to 20 years of every day use. For those unfamiliar with safety wire pliers they have both a regular set of plier jaws and side cutters. The handles lock to clamp the wire in the jaws and when you pull on the knob on the back the pliers will spin and twist the wire. Some, like mine, are reversible so they can twist the wire in both directions but they are not necessary.
First, cut a piece of wire about 10"-12" long and feed it through a bolt hole.
Wrap the wire around the bolt head in the direction that it will be pulling the bolt right. Clamp the jaws on the wire at the hole in the next bolt head.
Twist the wire in a clockwise direction.
Next, feed one end of wire through the next bolt hole so that it will also pull it in a clockwise direction and pull the wire tight.
Clamp the ends of the wire in the jaws of the pliers again and twist the wire in a counterclockwise direction to make a pigtail.
When the pigtail is made take the pliers and, to quote my instructor at A&P school, "whip" the wire around to tighten the twists up.
The last step is to cut off the wire so the pigtail is about 1/2" or so and bend it over.
Like I said before, a lot of people probably know how to do this, but if it helps a couple people out then it was worth me posting.
Also, I know that this is a different way than Henry used. Some purists out there might not agree with my method but, if a Model T ring gear was on an airplane this is how it would be safety wired!
Thank you for the nice tutorial, Ed.
The only thing I would add is that after completing the job, it is valuable to stand back and take another look at what you have done. Sometimes (for me, at least) you will spot one bolt or nut that is wired backwards. It looks right while you are concentrating on doing the job, but a second look when it's all done is like a "fresh set of eyes".
That's how we do it on the East coast...
And on the West coast.....
That little bit of info will be used soon.
In the middle, we use Loctite .
My safety wiring is agriculture quality that nay farmer might be proud of.
Thanks Ed! Your pictures and explanation helps me!
I printed this post out and put a copy on my workbench. Right next to my almost finished Ruckstell....
Thanks Ed. Will keep this for future. I have one of those tools, but it's crappy, gotta get a better quality one. Get what ya pay for!
Thanks Ed, I love this forum, I learned a lot and still continue .... Thank you all guys posting things like that. All the best
I knew safety wire is important but never saw the proper way to do it. This is the main reason I like the forum. I can get many years of experience from it. Thank you for your time in showing this.
I suppose this could apply to the transmission also
Video taken of a USAF safety wire instructor:
I'm glad to see that my post was helpful.
Mark, thanks for posting the YouTube link. You can get a good idea of the "whip" technique to tighten the wire.
I guess I should have mentioned you can do it by hand without the pliers, it just takes longer and is hard on your hands after a while. My fingers started to hurt just watching it! When I was in A&P school they made us learn how to do it by hand first.
I wired my transmission following your instructions but it took me about four tries to get them all right, great instructions. Being an ex-pilot I am somewhat partial to the procedure.
I am about ready to wire my ring gear.
Are Harbor Freight pliers okay?
And how about the wire?
Those look just like mine, tough to lock but my hands can just manage. I get my wire from McMaster.
Good luck, I'll be doing another within a couple of days.
I used Ed's photos to wire mine. Worked great. I used small vicegrips. Worked for me.
Those should work.
I normally use .032 wire since it's a little easier to twist but .041 will work perfectly fine also.
Ed, Thanks for posting this. Here is my first attempt:
Feedback is appreciated.
For your first time they don't look that bad.
If you want to get real picky all of them besides the one at about 12:00 should be redone if they were going on an airplane.
The other four all have one bolt each that is neutral and not really pulling the bolt tight.
You could give it a second try if you feel like it, but they would probably be fine since its going on a Model T and not an airplane! They are still a lot better than how they got wired from the factory.
Yup, Ed is right. Those wouldn't pass on our CH 47 Chinook helicopters. Close, but no cigar. Dave
Ed and David,
Thanks for the feedback! I see the error in my ways and since i missed your post this time, I will have to refer back in the future.
I pray that my model T doesn't go in flight or war!
Ring gear and mag ring bolts afford the luxury of being easy to reach. Fly wheel bolts are another story.
Thanks for whomever cross-oosted this from a recent very long and very informative post on a fellows rear end rebuild!
...and I thought any ol' fence wire would do!
Can most all the 'wire-able' bolts on the T use the larger wire?
Can the heavier wire be used in lieu of cotter puns, on a pinch??
Thanks for the great post!!
I think I have posted this before. My old buddy once tore down a T engine and the flywheel bolts had a cotter key neatly installed in each bolt. Maybe the "mechanic" thought the cotter keys would "encourage" the bolts to stay tight.
I am glad that the very long post regarding the rare axle rebuild was helpful. I did it hoping it is helpful for others beyond just myself.
From a materials science/engineering standpoint, not all wire is the same. The more wire is bent it tends to break because of something called strain hardening. Wire can be strained in the process of manufacturing to make it have a higher tensile strength. Another issue is hardening due to carbon content heat treatment. In both cases if it his annealed it can be bent/formed with less chances of breaking. The amazing thing with carbon steel is that it can be changed drastically by heat treatment and strain hardening process.
To answer your question am sure many Model Ts have ran fine with bailing wire. What Ed has shared is how aviation wiring takes us from the barn/backyard mechanic to something much more reliable. Four $20 at Harbor Freight. I was able to do this and likely have a supply for a lifetime of wire and the tool (with 20% off). For $1 at Harbor Freight I could have bought mechanics wire.
David, I think someone needs to start a thread of laughable backyard mechanic madness!
Ì ran right over to HF and grabbed the 6" version of the pliers, and the last coil of ,041 wire they had. ... had to walk the store 3 times before I found them, though! lol My diff was drone with a single, untwisted wire, running through the bolts. I'd rather twist wire than to clean any more of this sticky goo! I should have gone with the deisel mix for cleaner. The bio- degradable stuff doesn't quite 'curt' it!!
It seems to me that where you start the wire there's only 1 strand of wire going through the sharp hole in the bolt head. Twice I've found a piece of wires in the trans screens. I'm with Kohnke. Thread locker. I in my opinion think if they would have had such a product such as that and the bolts and holes were dry and clean we would never have seen a wire in a motor.