I will be looking at a T for sale in about a month's time. I truly believe this is the one for me. It is almost exactly what I want, too. I'm hoping I can make a deal with the owner and become a T owner very soon.
I have been reading this forum for about 2 years now trying to inform myself on these cars, and safety has always been a huge priority for me. After asking a couple questions on the recent thread about babbit thrust washers, it got me thinking.
The owner is not sure if it has bronze thrust washers. The car was restored in the 1970s, and the current owner has done a lot of driving with it, and has gone on some long tours with it.
In the case that I am unable to inspect the rear end at the time of viewing and I go ahead and buy it anyways knowing full well it could have the babbit washers, I am trying to figure out how much money, time, and experience is needed in the case of a full rebuild when I do open it up.
I don't have Chaffin's book on the axles (yet!), so hopefully some of you can answer my questions.
What will I be looking for in the rear end to make sure I never lose drive based on failing parts? The T I'm looking at also has a Ruckstell. Are there safety issues with an aged unit/build that could cause freewheeling? With parts in hand, how long does a full rebuild take? A few hours? A day? A week? And how much will it cost? I got an estimate a little while ago that this could cost $500-$1000 (thanks Chris!)
Remember, you have to include the driveshaft in the project too. When I dissembled my rear axle and driveshaft all I was able to save were the housings. All in all I spent about $1,400.00. This cost included some new, some slightly used and some NOS parts. I also had the driveshaft and axle housings chemically cleaned which added to the cost. It all depends on what you have to work with. If you are lucky $300.00 might do it.
With parts in hand and you've read the book and watched the 3 MTFCA Fred Houston DVD's and Steve Jelf videos, I would say a week? The problem is if you've never done it before and you don't know what is good and what needs to be replaced. I started January 17th and I hope to have mine finished next week. But, I had to learn everything and I had others show me what was wrong. After awhile you get to understand what parts are probably bad and what is good. If something feels loose and clicks or is gouged or chewed up then it probably needs to be replaced. This thread is a nearly start to finish: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/708324/713632.html?1489636876
Like everything, if I ever have to do a second one I could do it much faster.
As Charles says, how much you spend depends on how much has to be replaced. To find out what needs to be replaced, just follow the book to measure and inspect. In this case you want Glen's Ruckstell book.
I just finished my small drum axle rebuild. The only pieces I was able save were the axle housings and the torque tube. Everything else was broken or beyond trying to repair. I saved some cash by buying used gears and carrier. Everything else is new. I'm not far off from Charles estimate
Worst case scenario is that you decide not to open/inspect/rebuild, and an accident happens....
Don't risk your life or that of others.
Inspection and rebuild is not complicated - get the book and follow the instructions. You'll be glad you did.
But Ryan, I am thinking of beginning giving Model T Differential Certificate of Completion :-) Seriously it is an education to get one of these off, apart, analyzed, and put it back together again. Frustrating at times like when I botched getting the thrust pins in but very entertaining.
In the vain of what Ignacio, it has been suggested several time and bears repeating, when you do a rear end add a small brass tag to one of the housing bolts that gives the date and if brass thrust washer have been installed and rear end ratio if you like. I have not done so but I only have one car and it's going to be my only keeper one.
Sounds like a "part" some dealer could punch out and sell. Pre lettered with "Bronze Thrust" and space for the date to be stamped or scratched in.
I rebuilt my own Ruckstell using Glen Chaffin's book. The book is absolutely essential for you. It gives you every intimate detail of how to check for wear, how much is allowable, and what to do about it.
Plan to spend about 6 months and $3000 on the project. If you are not ready to do this, then don't get a Model T, especially one that needs a rear end rebuild.
Beware of many potentially bad repo. parts out there as well. There are numerous issues with axles, drive shafts, bearings, gears, etc.. If you don't want to replace those, then don't even start the job.
I did a thread on my project, something like "rebuilding a Model T rear end". I will go get a link to it and post it here.
Here is the post that I am referring to:
Thanks for all the responses.
Like I said, I am very safety-conscientious for nearly everything that I do, and enjoying a Model T is no exception.
Jon, I skimmed over that thread and will take a closer read later.
It's good to know anything and everything about tackling a project like this. I'll give it some thought about if I'm ready and prepared to do it. Being this close to owning a T makes it hard to say no to getting the car, but knowing that I could be faced with a major rebuild like this will affect my decision to an extent.
What a bundle of joy these cars are, right?
Ryan, you can do the rebuild if need be. You'll find a lot of help and support here on the forum. I found it satisfying to do the rebuild. It needed to be done so the choice was made for me. Yeah there was a little fussin' here or there I'll admit. Luckily I enjoy working on the T. It's all part of owning one.