First of all a big thank you to everyone in this forum. I just bought my first Model T (1926 Tudor) on Good Friday and have been thoroughly distracted with Model T thoughts and day dreams since then. I've been searching and reading through old posts for quite a while, which is why I determined that I better check to see what type of thrust washers I have (unfortunately they are Babbitts, but thankfully intact).
Here's my question/situation. Almost everything in the rear end looks great. Gear teeth are great, no axle play, Babbitts intact and easily measurable for bronze replacements. Now the bad...which I did not find an answer for in the forum or in Glen Chaffin's MTFCA book.
The right axle has a line in the tapered end. I can't tell if it is a crack or a search for gouge from someone putting the wheel on. Is there a way to tell? The scratch/crack doesn't extend to the threads or the non-machined area and runs along the axle, not perpendicular.
The rear end is quiet and solid otherwise. I really hate to fix something that's not broken, but I also don't want to wreck the car when my wheel flies off!
So if you were me, would you buy new axles and do an actual rebuild or replace the thrust washers and call it good? And again...is there some sort of test besides wacking it with a hammer to see if she flies apart? :-)
This photo makes the taper look extremely pitted, it is not as bad as it looks...
Whoops, I meant to ask if it was a crack or a gouge....I have no idea where that wonky "a search for" wording came from! Must be bedtime.
I think a gouge would be straighter. It looks like a crack to me.
I'm afraid I agree with Steve. If it were me, I would replace that axle while I had it apart to be safe.
George, Looks to me like the key way is about to break out, clean the key way out real good and look to see if it is starting to crack down in the bottom towards what you are showing in your photo. I would have to agree with Steve also replace it. Jim
I really think It is a "gouge". A possible test;
Place a cold chisel in the groove and give it a whack with a hammer. If it doesn't spread, you know you are OK. You may want to dress down the raised edges you will have made a little bit with a file
Hal S' enhancement makes it look worse. I have a tendency to run parts worse than the prevailing opinion these days. They are model Ts, and run slower than modern cars etc etc etc. But that? I do NOT like the look of.
It shows in both pictures, but more so in Hal's brightness/contrast enhancement. That little curve near the end of the axle, partially in the threads. Looks like the arcing end of a long crack caused by a loose hub nut that hammered the keyway for a few thousand miles.
I don't know if I still have it in my junk pile or not. But I had/have an axle with a keyway broken out almost exactly like that.
You could try to have it magne-fluxed? But I am not that in favor of magne-fluxing. I have seen too many false positives and false negatives for me to generally trust it. A "soak in/heat out" or dye crack test could also be used. And, yes, I know I am a minority opinion on this.
What I see in these pictures? I think the axle should simply be replaced with a good one.
And as I've said before, "when in doubt, throw it out". Not that hard to take the bad axle out, take it and your new axle to a machine shop to have the gear pressed off old and onto the new, unless you have the wherewithall to do it yourself.
Usually a gouge will have a burr to catch your fingernail on. A crack won't. The price of an axle is worthwhile insurance when it comes to you or your families safety.
I'd replace both axles. There not that expensive and a little longer. Then you'd have good keyway slots and won't have to worry about an axle breaking because an anchor won't stop you. No axle no brakes.
Thanks everyone, I appreciate you all talking some sense into my cheap soul! I will be replacing both axles. If I'm willing to spend several thousand on a car, I guess I ought to be willing to spend a a few bucks on a couple of axles. Again, thanks for the responses!
Dimensions and quality vary on axle shafts, be sure to get the good ones:
George do get the rear axle book before you put it back together. It's not just a get new parts, replace and put back together. I know you probably know this so I apologize in advance. What lead me to that statement was you mentioned that the Babbitt thrust washers were intact so they could be measured when you replaced them. That may very well give you an idea of about the thickness but you need to be sure there wasn't any play in the axles before you broke it down. The bronze thrush washers come oversized for you to be able to adjust but that will take a bit of doing to get it right. Get the book my friend it will save you a lot of headaches, don't ask how I know. Ha
Glad you are getting new axles. I used to try to nickel and dime cars together (not just Ts) and was always extremely disappointed in the results. Kimchee rigging as my dad called it (he was guilty too, which is where I learned it). Do it right and do it once.
George, I have had hands-on experience with model Ts for only a few months now. One thing that I have learned is parts are readily available but there are some junk parts being sold that should be avoided. But even on here there are different opinions on who has the good stuff and who not to buy from. I hope you have somebody locally that, a club maybe, that you can hook up with for advice. There are several people in my area into Ts but they seem like a tight group and not very open to "outsiders". Truthfully if I had done some more research before buying my T , I probably would not have bought one. Just my experience, hopefully yours is good.
I believe that it is extraordinarily rare for material of this shape to crack longitudinally. There are crack detecting methods that can be used, from Zyglo penetrant to Magnefluxing. Take the axle to someone who can perform one of these tests and then use the axle after they declare that it is fine, which I bet will be the case. To simply replace an axle out of fear (it MIGHT be a crack!)or ignorance (I don't know how to tell the difference!) simply isn't warranted. Baring any other deficiencies in the axle, I'd use a good original over a replacement any day. It is right and proper to give these parts a thorough going over like you're doing. Congratulations, and "thank you" as someone who may end up touring with you some day. It's always nice to know that folks are taking good care of their cars.
Hey Tommy - I'm certain you'll find friendlier T people to join up with - and if not, it's still a fun car and you'll get a lot of helpful advise here, just don't be discouraged by a few unpleasant episodes..
And George - I think it's really hard to diagnose anything from pictures, you'll get a better view in real life. I think you'll be able to diagnose what it is with Les method, and if it isn't any crack, then you shouldn't throw it away, it could be of use for someone building a tractor. And the other side axle may be perfectly good..
Roger, thanks, I'm thankful for this site. It has been a big help.
George, I don't mean to be negative but some problems are bound to pop up.
I had a '26 roadster that had this exact fracture in one axle. My fracture was a removeable piece right to the keyway. I would replace axle. Just my 2 cents.
Hey everyone! Seriously, thank you all for the responses. Tonight I was able to finish the tear down and cleaning. The axle in question had bearing surfaces that didn't meet the specs in the axle book by Glen Chaffin's from MTFCA, so that made the choice simple to go ahead and buy a new one. However, the other axle was within spec and in great shape, so that bugger will be re-used. All washer pins were in place, but one is very warn. It'll be drilled out and replaced. The manual recommends adding a pin to the left differential housing, so I'll do that. Three of the four roller bearings were in great shape and measurements were within spec. The fourth is pitted and wobbly. It'll be replaced. The right axle outer bearing sleeve is warn badly, the others look great (still considering replacing the left outer sleeve, but it is in good shape...no shoulder/lip so that might be an exercise in futility).
I've read great things about Bob's Antique Auto Supply, so I think I will order from him. I'm new to this, but I've also had good luck with Lang's for a new voltage regulator...soon I'm sure I'll be reaching out for help with the generator, but the MTFCA manual came this week... So wish me luck!
Anyway, the garage looks like heaven. A Model T in one bay and a working area in the other with parts all over the work bench. Luckily I'm happy to tinker, but I don't need to do it for a living, so it's a great release....not necessarily work.
Goodnight everyone and thanks again for the advice, discussion and links to archived posts.
George, another thing you may want to look at are the key-ways as well as the inner tapered surface in your hubs...are they worn? I say this because the taper on the axle that's posted appears to have some galling, in addition to the crack. I'm sure most of this was caused by the wheel hub being loose for a period of time. A poor inner hub taper as well as an enlarged key-way will not let the hub remain as tight as it should be on the new axle once torqued, slowly causing the same problems once again.