How Difficult is Rear Axle?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2018: How Difficult is Rear Axle?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Arthur Babitz on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 01:39 pm:

I'm two months into Model T ownership. I've rebuilt my front end (new spindles, arms, bushings, radius rods, spring perches, axle straightening, etc.), I've replaced the exhaust manifold, rebuilt the parking brake mechanism from control lever to pads. I've put a buffalo nickel in a leaky block.

Now I'm thinking I should open my rear axle to inspect the thrust washers and see the state of the axle, gears, etc. At a minimum there is more end play than I would like. I have purchased the MTFCA rear axle manual and the Ford bible, but would like some honest opinions on how big a job I'm getting into. Assuming I don't find any unserviceable parts, is this the sort of thing I should expect to complete in a weekend? Or should I expect the car to be up on the jack stands for a longer period? Think back to the first time you opened a rear axle...

If you were preparing for this job, what parts would you buy before cracking the case? I'm thinking of having a pair of bronze thrust washers on hand since I fear the worst. I've got a gasket set and the heavy oil. What else?

Thanks!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 01:58 pm:

Good luck! Sometimes you can find a nice ring and pinion, and Hyatt bearings, and then a nice little worn carrier with its triple gears.

But, then the axles are usually worn at the outer bearing surfaces, showing grooves or other damage, and keyways enlarged, and/or compromised axle nut threads.

So be prepared with, in addition to what you have, new seals for the inner side of the outer bearings, get then new modern neoprene seals.

To put those in you remove the Hyatt sleeves, so then and get all 4 new Hyatt bearing sleeves, and a Sleeve Puller Tool. (Oh, you need a rear hub puller too). Then new New axle keys, and new axle nuts and cotters.

So with luck, maybe the axle shafts are good, and then you got it made with minimal parts. Doing the job is more than one day for me, but then I work real slow with no boss watching..... :-)

Now once done, then tackle the drive shaft, that's another day a least, best to use IMO the Fun Projects Modern pinion bearing, and then you need a new front bushing, and at least a new rivet for the U-joint, and ......maybe a new drive shaft and U-joint....how much luck can you stand!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 02:09 pm:

Here are my two cents:

Are you running auxiliary rear brakes, like ACs or Rocky Mountain?

If yes, and they work well, I would be tempted to drive the car as-is at least for a little while to help keep your interest level up.

If your only brakes are the stock trans brake and the emergency brakes, then by all means pull the rear axle now and do at least a quick check and freshening up. Yes, you can do a quick refresh in a weekend provided you don't get any nasty surprises, like a trashed pinion and ring gear.

Be sure you have a rear wheel puller so that you can get the rear wheels off.

In addition to new bronze thrust washers, if the axle Hyatt bearings look OK, I would still replace at least the outer Hyatt bearing sleeves with new, proper hardness ones from Chaffin's. Get the removal tool that the vendors sell to remove the old sleeves. Measure your axle Hyatt bearings and put the two best ones on the outer ends and the two worst ones on the inner ends.

If any of the Hyatt bearing cages are loose, peen the ends of the struts to tighten them back up.

Also, if the axles have the old style inner seals with the leather and the hardened steel fingers, ditch them and replace them with the modern neoprene seals.

The stock outer axle seals work fine with new felts (they may be included in the gasket set you bought). Many people choose to use the aftermarket aluminum seal caps with the lip seal, but that is a matter of personal choice IMO.

If the ring and pinion look good and the driveshaft doesn't have excessive end play, you can leave the driveshaft assembly intact.

So, to summarize, here is a minimum list of parts I would have on hand before I startted the job:

1) Gasket set
2) 600W lube
3) New Hyatt bearing sleeves from Chaffin's
4) Bearing sleeve removal tool
5) New bronze thrust washers
6) New neoprene inner axle seals
7) New felts for the stock outer axle seals (if not already included in the gasket set)

Good luck! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 02:15 pm:

It's an involved job, the difficulty level depends on your own skills and the tools and equipment you own. Compare, the "bible" says it's about a three hour job. I've pulled a wrench or two, but the re-build for my '13 took me three months ! ; ) - mind, I wasn't exactly hurrying things either.

It's nice to have good spare parts on hand, but really, you won't know what all you'll need until you tear it down. Consider there may be days getting hold of the parts you'll need - for example, when I was doing mine last winter, there were no new drive pinions to be had. Good luck, mostly it's a messy job but enjoyable.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Arthur Babitz on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 02:59 pm:

I've pulled the rear wheels before, which is one of the reasons I'm wanting to inspect further. When I was feeling around the axle nut to find the cotter pin, the nut just started turning. No cotter pin, finger tight. I threaded the puller on the hub, and when I went to wrench the puller tight against the threads the wheel just fell off on my foot.

My goal is to make this a fun and reasonably safe driver, one system at a time. Don't worry, I'm not discouraged at all. I knew this car needed work when I bought it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ROBERT BERGSTADT on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 03:27 pm:

1ST Go to the dollar store and buy a cheap hard sided swimming pool, support the rear end as to to crush the pool, then separate the pumpkin and let the old grease drip out, then throw away the pool clean up is a lot better than all the grease on your floor, then diss assemble on a cheap tarp
Bob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Booth@ Bay City, Mi on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 03:36 pm:

Its not that bad of a job Art. The worst of it is the mess. Be sure to follow the book and keep track of which side of the ring gear goes in relation to the axle. I've done a half dozen and haven't had any problems at all. Its nothing you can't do. Have fun with it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 03:37 pm:

I never thought about using a cheap kiddie pool as a disposable drip pan!

I did use one once as a catch pan for stray sand during sand blasting. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 03:44 pm:

Aw, you guys ! Where's the fun in that ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis R on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 03:47 pm:

I've done a couple of T rear axles but am not an expert by any means. You have the T, book, tools and the best resource of all- This Forum! Take your time, read the book, go slow. If you get stuck- get on the forum (the folks are amazing).

As my alter ego likes to say- "Model T rear ends are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get".

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Model T. Keep the work as fun as you can. Walk away when you need to, don't rush it.

Keep us posted on your progress.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis R on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 03:50 pm:

I've done a couple of T rear axles but am not an expert by any means. You have the T, book, tools and the best resource of all- This Forum! Take your time, read the book, go slow. If you get stuck- get on the forum (the folks are amazing).

As my alter ego likes to say- "Model T rear ends are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get".

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Model T. Keep the work as fun as you can. Walk away when you need to, don't rush it.

Keep us posted on your progress.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Cole ---- Earth on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 04:02 pm:

I have done 2.First 1 I did,I had 2 reverses and 1 forward.:-) Aint run the 2d 1 to see how it turns yet.
My suggestions are to take numerous photos at different levels of disassembly.
This way if you have a question putting it back together you can go back thru your pics and see it.
i have a cheap old computer in the shop for looking at photos on a memory stick for this purpose.It has saved me from asking alot of questions on alot of projects.
I also have a copy of the video you can get from a catalog vendor.I watched it several times when I did each rear end. Sometimes the theater in your mind is not showing you what you need to see when you read words.When you can watch it and hear it being said it helps.
Mess, ug,I used cardboard and then raked the trash off in the trash and heated the shop with the cardboard! :-)
That old 600 weight oil out of those rear ends STINKS!Wear old clothes.It will not come out of clothes for several washing's. Being single I do my own laundry,I could be missing something but that detergent I get does not get all of that awful smell out from the axle oil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 04:10 pm:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mZzAt9Q_4k&t=7s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDcmsir6bPU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta2NCzXcZnA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfxWPsF4KhQ&t=18s

On the fourth video, the washers on the front ends of the radius rods should go behind the flange, not in front as the video shows. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By JIM WILSON, AMORY, MS on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 05:34 pm:

I'd say it's a big job. Took me a couple of months to rebuild my rear end but depends on available time and your age.

You can see from the first video that removing the assembly requires some special fixtures. Not having a floor jack and the fixture to elevate the rear end I had to jack up one side and put a jack stand under the axle then do he same on the opposite end of the rear end. Took a couple of iterations to get the vehicle jacked up high enough to build a 6X6 support under the frame. I can't find my photos but my 6X6 support is the same idea as Steve's large jack stands and horizontal beam. Don't even think about using cinder blocks.

I also built a dolly that I lowered the rear end/drive shaft assy down on to and rolled out from under the vehicle. Dolly was t-shaped made from scrap lumber and 3 three-wheel furniture rollers from Harbor Freight.

About 5 minutes into the fourth video you can see a fixture Steve made and attached to his work bench that will support the axle housing. I made a similar fixture but made mine from a 2X12 that I supported between two ladders. The 2X12 was long enough that it would support the drive shaft when I was mating the pinion and ring gear. I also cut a hole in a thick piece of plywood that I supported between two saw horses. I dropped the axle thru the hole and used the plywood to support the differential while I was working on that assy.

Rebuild of the drive shaft required a homemade tool to pull the front bushing and a tool to install the new bushing. The bushing has to be faced off to get the correct end play in the drive shaft. May have to be reamed to fit the driveshaft.

Part of the extended rebuild time was visualizing and building the required fixtures, studying the rebuild book and figuring out how to do what had to be done, coming up with the tools to make measurements/adjustments and waiting on parts as I realized what I needed.

As to my age issue, I could only pick up the heavy assembled pieces a few times then went in the house wondering why I was doing this. In the end, it got done.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By William Hoffer on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 06:34 pm:

I am a first time owner also and was forced to rebuild my Ruckstell to make a tour. Missed one at the end of April when I discovered my babbitt washer in pieces. It took me a solid month to get it done, but I also rebuilt the brakes, perches, and shackles while I was at it. I bought all new parts and am glad I did. I still needed my lathe and had to build a bunch of jigs and fixtures to do the job. It may be more straightforward for you, but plan for the worst. I will never tackle a major component again with a tour as a deadline, but the axle performed like a champ and made the tour much more safe and enjoyable. Best of luck!

Cheers, Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By tommy coffey on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 07:11 pm:

Arthur, the best thing is to jump in there and get it over with. When we bought or '21 Touring, almost two years ago, the drive shaft was with the car, but not installed. I could see the passenger side thrust washer thru the hole where the driveshaft went. The passenger side was brass. I figured surely no one would tear down a rearend and replace one washer and not the other, WRONG. I put it off as long as I could and finally made myself tear into it. I'm very glad I did. The drivers side washer was the old babbit and starting to crumble. At least the housing was clean and dry inside so I did not have the usual mess to deal with, although I did clean everything well before I reassembled it. The hardest part for me was the actual removal and reinstallation of the rearend and spring. BE VERY CAREFUL. Those things can hurt or kill you. The spring is strong. I also replaced the ring and pinion gears with a new pinion and very good ring gear. I put the driveshaft and pinion gear setup back as it was originally. Good luck with yours.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don - Conroe, TX on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 07:22 pm:

I recently tore into mine...with good overall mechanical skills, but ZERO knowledge of Model T rear ends.

I'm learning as I go, and expect to have it buttoned back up soon.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rick Duquette Grand Forks, ND on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 08:30 pm:

Do it. Take your time. Take advantage of all of the wise information on this forum and the books you have purchased. I've done a couple rear ends and both have taken a couple months each. When a friend stops by and looks at my 25 chassis on my latest project I spend most of my time talking about the rebuild of the rear end. I think I'm most proud of that part of the chassis. You will be too.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Eckensviller - Thunder Bay, ON on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 10:27 pm:

If I can do it you can do it. Hereís what I recommend:

Read the book and order the stuff you think youíll need. If thereís no evidence of a recent rebuild Iíd go with bearing sleeves, grease seals, thrust washers, and the modern bearing replacement drive shaft spool. Oh, and a jug of differential lube. Tear it down, clean everything and measure every part against the specs in the book. Order in whatever you still need (I needed a universal joint, ring and pinion, and some hardware) and while thatís on its way you can strip and paint the housings and install the bearing sleeves. When the rest shows up stick it all together and reinstall.

My rebuild took a couple afternoons but they were spaced a couple weeks apart because of shipping.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 10:50 pm:

It's not terribly difficult, but it's likely to take more than a weekend because you'll have to order some parts. Nobody has mentioned the #2531-B thrust pins which often need to be replaced. Not a big deal, just another part of the job. I agree with Dan about the FP pinion bearing. I'll never try to do another rear end without one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charles Weisgerber- Vancouver WA. on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 11:33 pm:

Greetings Arthur, I really can't add more mechanically speaking then what's been said so far, but when I rebuilt mine I had the driveshaft tube and axle tubes Hot Tanked. This was an added expense but well worth it, as they came back fresh bare metal both inside and out.

Another tip, paint everything after it's been assembled for the last time. I say for the last time because you may find that you will need to assemble and disassemble things a time or two while you're adjusting clearances.

Please keep us up to date.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Eviston on Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 11:37 pm:

Arthur,all of the above advice is excellent.
I especially like the using of the cheap Kiddie pool to spot the rear end over.
If someone mentioned this above,I missed it.
Steam cylinder lube as was/is used as differential lube in early cars contains beef tallow.Which goes rancid.
Unless you are a bachelor hermit that piks up cans along the road for a living,you need HEAVY RUBBER GLOVES when dealing with internal parts.
The smell of that stuff is VERY difficult to get off your hands.
Women especially intensely dislike it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duey_C west central, MN on Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 12:56 am:

Arthur, I'm glad you piped back in and said you aren't discouraged.
Read all of these posts again completely. There's so much info nestled into your thread. Neat. :-)
My own silly thread is long gone but all I saved were the grease cups and radius rods. :-)
I had a pile of axle housings hot-tanked and used a round toilet brush on a U shaped extension rod with a drill to remove the "fly-ash" from the hot-tank process. I'm glad somebody gets good results from hot-tanking! :-) I think the fella didn't know what to do with my filthy model T axle housings!
1200-1400 bucks and my first axle should be good for my children's lifetimes. :-)
Give yourself time to "adjust" the bronze thrust washers to suit.
Give yourself time also to "adjust" the washers in between the axle shafts in the differential carrier!
Like Charles said: Keep us up to date. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jason Given - St. Paul, MN on Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 01:32 pm:

I'm no expert, I just did my first rear axle this past winter. I did have some good knowledgeable help. It took three days in his shop. Prior to that, I stripped, cleaned, and inspected everything down. Bought all the parts I thought I needed.

If I was doing it 100% on my own it would have taken atleast twice as long.

Biggest issue is having the right tools. I had to replace the driveshaft and axles. So we needed a large press to get the pinion sleeve on. Another issue is reaming the thrust surface at the u-joint.

My recommendation is to find someone in your area, that has the knowledge and tools.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 02:58 pm:

Expect the unexpected . . .


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Neil Kaminar on Thursday, June 07, 2018 - 06:37 am:

I just finished rebuilding my Ruckstell. Hardest part was facing the bushing at the front of the drive tube. The tool being sold cannot be used by hand. I hooked it up to a drill motor and used high speed and a lot of pressure.

Getting the clearances right requires a lot of trial and error. I am limited by not having a machine shop. A lot of heavy lifting. I made a holder for the rear end with saw horses and 2x4's and clamps. I had to make some new pins for the spacers. Grease held the spacers in. One old spacer for the trust bearing was put in wrong and had large dents where the pins pushed on it. I really don't know how it worked like that. I had to dress the housings to get rid of raised areas where the housing had been damaged.

Holding the car up to get the rear end in and out can be tricky. I made some wooden bases for my tallest jack stands to make them high enough.

Pressing the new bushing in for the shackles can be done with a long bolt and some washers. I used a gear puller to get the old ones out. A hammer just mushrooms the end.

It took about a month working after work to get mine rebuilt.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charles Weisgerber- Vancouver WA. on Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 12:38 am:

Arthur, can you give us an update. Have you started the project, ordered parts or postponed it for some reason? Just curious.

Charles


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Nevada Bob Middleton on Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 12:48 am:

Hardest part getting old goo scleaned up


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 03:43 am:

Arthur, with the cost of shipping so high, I would tear it all down and order what is needed so it can be sent in one package. There is no point in guessing what is required and then having to get another parcel or two sent.

This is even more important for parcels coming to me in Australia.

Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 09:25 am:

The Ford Service book is the best. For good lubrication, I find SAE 140 to work good.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 09:43 am:

I have never did one but if i were to,the first thing i would do is build a rear axle carrier and bolt it to a floor jack with a good stance as per Steve Jelf pictures! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Arthur Babitz on Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 10:43 am:

Have you been peeking in my garage? My friend with a welding shop just dropped off a rear axle carrier he built after watching that video, and he's working on a stand to go along with it.

Meanwhile another friend picked up white oak at the mill and today we're planing boards for my new pickup bed.

I had a funny experience yesterday. I've been tuning the carburetor and learning how to adjust spark properly while I drive, but yesterday nothing was working right. I went downtown (5 blocks) but driving back uphill the engine kept lugging, I kept stalling, and I barely made it back to my garage. It seemed fuel starved, but no carburetor setting would work. Took out the sediment bowl drain, and very little fuel was flowing even though I just replaced the screen. Problem? The tank was bone dry. I've been getting cocky and forgot to do the "preflight": fuel, oil, water...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Matt the Headlight Lens Guy n California on Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 01:21 pm:

Arthur,
I rebuilt my first one last year. As a engineer you should find it fun. If you have a source for used parts it is helpful to find a good set of bearings and other parts if you run into a need their. The good thing is that the internal parts are the same.

It is very likely you will need to to replace axles, drive shaft and gears. Be prepared to spend $500-$1000 if you do it right. After getting all the correct parts together it is not too bad.

Here is my story from last summer.

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/708324/762844.html?1500181914

Matt


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