Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

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jesselashcraft
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Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jesselashcraft » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:29 pm

A tap on a punch with a hammer brought the right key out, no problem. But the left wheel key won't move. I tried putting some heat to the axle but I'm probably heating up the key as well. I'm starting to deform the exposed face of the key and I broke my 1/4" punch in two with a 5 lbs. sledge. Still, it won't budge.

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DanTreace
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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by DanTreace » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:13 pm

If rusted in place, wire brush to clean metal, lots of real good penetrating oil...then tap with punch along each side of the length of the key, that works in penetrate and vibrations and rocking action helps.

Lots of multiple light punches along the key should get it loose from the keyway.

Rarely someone may have center-punched the key to the keyway, upsetting the key mechanically, those are bit harder, might try a file along the length of key at the axle to remove such large burr.
The best way is always the simplest. The attics of the world are cluttered up with complicated failures. Henry Ford
Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain. Henry Ford


Les Schubert
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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Les Schubert » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:32 pm

I would heat the key RED hot. Focus the heat using a acetylene torch as much as possible on the key. As it cools touch a wax candle to it when it is at the point where it doesn’t really smoke. Walk away and let it thoroughly cool. It should now remove fairly easily.
The science is as follows. The key tries to expand but is restrained by the much cooler axle. It is important to do it as quickly as possible as the difference in temperature is important. The candle wax will “wick in” to lubricate the joint.
I have used this approach many times on rusted pipe plugs and bolts and nuts.
All the best


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by John kuehn » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:21 pm

I’ve used a good pair of vise grips to grip the top of the key and use a hammer against the grips to get them to start moving. It works sometimes.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Tim Moore » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:49 pm

I would never use heat in this area. If a sharp punch or chisel up the taper won't knock it loose I would drill lots of small holes down into the key that is soft. That will release the bond and let it collapse. No way I would ever heat anything around a rear axle red hot.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Les Schubert » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:35 pm

Tim
Please note that he has already used heat, so not much to lose anymore


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:14 pm

I have never had a key that would NOT come out, but given that this is the status of this one, I'd be inclined to get out my handy MIG welder and run a bead down it's length. Once cool, I would be very surprised if it did not come out, and the amount of heat transfered up the axle shaft will be negligible.
Scott Conger

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Ruxstel24 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:19 pm

Maybe carefully cut it longways with a cut-off grinder/wizzy wheel ??


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jesselashcraft » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:39 am

Thanks fellas - got it out this morning. Let it soak with Aero Kroil overnight and hit it some more with my now stubby center punch and a 5 lb sledge.
No rust involved. It's a new axle on a new Ruckstel. That's not right, is it? Shouldn't those keys slide out of the channel with your fingers?

By the way, Les. Are seals in danger when applying heat to an axle? What are we worried about losing?


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Les Schubert » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:54 am

The axle shaft is made from quenched and tempered material. Heating it will affect the properties of it.
If you are running safety hubs I wouldn’t worry. With original Hyatt bearings maybe


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:11 am

And now I have to ask: Why on earth did that thing have to come out? And if everything was brand new, why didn't you SAY so??? Procedures for a brand new axle and a rusted up hulk would be VASTLY different.
Scott Conger

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jesselashcraft » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:35 am

Just so I'm clear, those keys should slide out with finger pressure, yes? This was as if it might have been pressed in there.

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by JunkyJud » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:48 am

I would rather have the key a little snug than so loose that you can slide it around with your finger. Here is how I have removed every kind of key and it always works. By lifting the key up and out with the side cutters gripping it, you aren't working against all of the surface area along the length when trying to slide it with a hammer and punch.

Key removal.jpg
Justin in Western PA

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by RajoRacer » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:00 am

I brought the subject up regarding "new" axle keyways & the currently available keys a while back - they don't marry up as is - axle keyways are cut within standard Ford specs. I was assured BUT a standard 1/4" will not "tap" in - one needs to dress down the width of a new key. I ran into this matter once before which I used my Dremel tool w/a cut-off wheel and cut it lengthwise to remove.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:24 am

This will give you key tolerances (parallel keys) for shaft and hub: https://www.cnccookbook.com/keyseat-cut ... -cnc-work/

The key stock tolerance is (for up to 1 1/4" key stock) is +.001/-.000

Ideal fit would be dead fit to slight interference on the shaft and slight clearance on the hub.

Junk keys purchased at the hardware store will vary all over the place due to no standards adhered to either in rolling or plating.

If the key just slides out of the keyway, it was a poor fit and will continue to pound and wear
Scott Conger

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by d stroud » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:27 am

Steve T. is correct. Most, or at least a lot of, keystock is made .001 or .002 oversize to fit better in "worn" keyways. or so I've been told. I've had to dress down the sides on keystock for fifty or so years. Dave
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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jesselashcraft » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:11 pm

Thanks for all the info. I used a 250 grit diamond sharpening stone to shave a bit off the sides of the keys and got a snug fit that I can still dislodge with my fingers. So anyway, now that the keys are out, I can push the carcass around by myself without impedance. And if Sears hasn't closed its doors yet, I can trade in my broken Craftsman center punch for free.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Scott_Conger » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:03 pm

Jesse

yes, you can push the car around without the key in place, but it is very very very (very!) bad practice.

I would make a suggestion regarding this but will not due to the appearance of remotely condoning this idea.

Particularly with a new rebuild with new axles. GADZOOKS!!!! :o
Scott Conger

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jesselashcraft » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:02 am

Do tell. Why is it a bad practice?


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Layden Butler » Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:55 pm

It is the tapered fit of the axle to the hub that properly holds the assembly together and makes them one. Any scoring, dirt or wear will tend to not let them mate together well and thus allow them to work and wear against each other.
As for heating the key to remove it from the axle, if it is that tight, you run the risk of breaking out the keyway in the axle when the key expands as it heats.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by DHort » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:18 pm

Jesse

The wheel will spin around the axle damaging both the hub and the axle.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by John kuehn » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:27 pm

As far as being difficult in removing a new key from a new axle it must have been difficult installing the key to begin with. Or so it seems. Just wondering. Seems that I remember having to dress the key down a bit for a snug slip fit in a new axle.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jesselashcraft » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:06 pm

DHort wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:18 pm
The wheel will spin around the axle...
Isn't that what's supposed to happen? It seems to me that the shape of the axle or inside of wheel will not change if the key is removed. Tightening the axle nut will put the wheel where it needs to be on the axle to hold everything together - isn't that right? If there's something I haven't been considering, I'm all ears but 1) I want to make moving this thing around easy for a single man pushing 70 and 2) we're not going that far - in and out of the shop door so I can have some space to work and get the carcass out of my way. I'm having a hard time understanding what the concern is.
HPIM0493.JPG

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Ruxstel24 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:21 pm

jesselashcraft wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:06 pm
[quote=DHort post_id=56009 time=<a href="tel:1571001531">1571001531</a> user_id=215]The wheel will spin around the axle...
Isn't that what's supposed to happen?
HPIM0493.JPG
[/quote]

Simply put...no.
It’s a taper fit between the hub and axle, it is not supposed to slip....metal to metal turning in this area can make it were the taper is compromised and not tighten down as it should.
As said before, the key only lines things up, the taper seat keeps it from spinning.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by DHort » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:52 pm

The wheel is suppose to be firmly attached to the axle so they turn together. If they are not attached to each other the axle will spin and the wheel does not move. The key and the nut hold the wheel and axle together so they essentially become one. The nut can loosen and then the axle turns inside the wheel. Otherwise it is like putting a pencil in a pencil sharpener - the wheel(sharpener) will remove metal from the axle(pencil). Does that help to make it a little clearer?

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Mark Gregush » Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:55 am

He is only rolling it a few feet, if that compromises the axle or hub there are other issues to start with and chances are when he puts the nuts back on, the axle and wheel will roll together anyway.
I know the voices aren't real but damn they have some good ideas! :roll:

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Allan » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:34 am

A good hub on a new axle will bind on the taper just as it should, given the correct tension on axle nut. The key is there to make sure it does not get a chance to break the fit on the taper. There is nothing to line up with the key and keyway other than the three components being put together.

For the purpose of rolling the car around a workshop, there is no vital need to have the key in place if the axle nut is tensioned up to prevent the hub rotating on the axle. However, there is then no reason not to have the key in place. Leaving it out would make no difference when pushing the car around.

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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by Mark Nunn » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:11 am

Just use car dollies under rear wheels.

https://www.harborfreight.com/1000-lb-c ... 61283.html


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jesselashcraft » Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:24 am

Thanks for all the input. I'm glad we had this chat. I'm thinking about alternatives.


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by philip » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:43 pm

you are lucky mine fell out. philip


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Re: Any ideas about removing a stubborn wheel key?

Post by jab35 » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:01 am

Justin nailed the removal, it requires a substantial side cutter as shown. Regarding fit of new keys, keyways, axle gears and hubs, I recently fit a set of used Ford gears to new Snyder's axles using new keys received with axle order. Keys were snug in axles as they should be, gears pressed on with approximately1500 lbs force, and new axles/axle hub keys also fit tight and the wheel hub axle/key/taper fit was perfect as it should be. The vender-supplied new keys absolutely fit the new axles! Now, if only the correct new manufactured ring gear and pinion would come back on the market,,,,, jb

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