I am about to start the process of building a Ruckstell + rear axle and torque tube assembly for my 1926 coupe. I have most of the main components, including the Ruckstell itself, the right Ford axle housing, a stepped torque tube, radius rods, pinion bearing housing, and a pair of used axles and axle gears.
I am considering purchasing new reproduction driveshaft, pinion bearing, ring and pinion gears, axle shafts, sleeves, thrust washers, and seals, rather than taking the time, expense, and gamble to find good used or NOS Ford parts.
I see quite a few posts on the forum detailing various issues with reproduction rear axle parts, anywhere from the axles being too long, the keyways being cut incorrectly, driveshaft being the wrong length or incorrectly machined, bearing sleeves being the wrong hardness, etc.
Can someone recommend a manufacturer or vendor for these parts, or at least outline what issues to look out for with reproduction parts?
Be sure to parallel face off bronze washers both sides, and thoroughly remove any sand from the grease grooves. Some washers are rough lathe turned where these chattered surfaces will wear down rapidly, reducing the tolerance fit with the differential. Some are sand cast parts where 3 new sets that I have used required this additional cleaning.
Call Dave at Chaffin's Garage in Corona CA.
Glen Chaffin has a great new color catalog online and has written the book on the Ruckstell axle.
My experience to date with reproduction machined parts has been a general disappointment. Typically, I find them with some dimensions out of tolerance as well not having the same heat treatment or alloy as the originals. I have had to rework a number of items in order to get them to fit correctly. Fortunately, I have a home machine shop and the experience to make the corrections. I have successfully reworked them without having to send them back. It helps to have access to an engine lathe and milling machine. The only exception I have found were spindle bolts I installed earlier this year, they were hardened correctly, tolerances and finish were held tight.
Definitely talk to Chaffin's. I bought their Ruckstell kit because by the time I priced out all the components and time chasing them down it was cheaper. Besides, If you want to keep tolerances within spec., there's nothing better than CNC machined components.
For new Ruckstell parts you have no choice. They all come from Glen, no matter where you buy them, so you might as well get them from the source. I would get the new (correctly made) drive shaft from John Regan, who is a stickler for getting such things right. I would also use his pinion bearing.
Whether you building up a Ruckstell or a standard T rear end John Regans pinion bearing set up is a BIG improvement.
He sells them or most any of the T vendors do.
A definite improvement!
Glenn has corrected the hardness problems that plagued the axle bearing sleeves in the past.
Try to use good original Hyatt bearings. The reproductions with the solid rollers have been known to give problems. You'll find that original axle bearings that were removed from the inner ends of the axle shafts will show little wear. This is not a 100% situation however. All bearings should be measured first before using.
Since you have a '26 coupe, I assume that you're building a "Big Drum" Ruckstell. If your Ruckstell housing is missing the I.D. tag or it's badly damaged, Glenn now has perfect reproduction "Big Drum" Ruckstell I.D. tags in stock. These have never been offered before until now.