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Old 10-08-2019, 12:04 PM   #1
1963turnerjohn
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Default Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Looking for practical advice from those who have Not run a torque tube center bearing.

Question is - if I do not run a center bearing in my 41 Ford car torque tube - is there any practical negative issues to expect? I know earlier year Fords did not use the center bearing so Iím thinking of removing it entirely.

Reason is that I have had a Skip Haney bearing fail and cannot locate a good used or nos center bearing...
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:07 PM   #2
J Franklin
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Would it have been engineered and added in the first place if there was no reason for it? Ask yourself and answer that idea. Were there other factors causing bearing failure?
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

The earlier driveshafts (without the bearing) were actually built-up utilizing a long piece of tubing of a rather substantial diameter, not un-like the basic idea behind current-day drive shafts. When you rotate a piece of tubing at the speeds that driveshafts normally turn, the very physical make-up of tubing resists any kind of bowing or "whipping" in the center of the span. On the other hand, Henry decided that it would be cool (probably 'cuz they're easier to manufacture) to start making the driveshafts out of one solid piece of machined steel shaft material. As long as those drive shafts (like the one in your '41) are, they can tend to whip in the middle at higher speeds if not supported in that bearing. Clear as mud, right? DD
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Give Fred at Southside Obsolete in MN a try.He might have a NOS one.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:19 PM   #5
19Fordy
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

For sure, someone in the Ford old car world has one of those bearings sitting on a shelf.
Yes, they are hard to find and very pricey if you do find one for sale. I am convinced that a modern day encased in rubber bearing could be adapted to fit inside the 41 torque tube. The idea would be to drill and tap the torque tube for several 3/8 x 24 set screws which would hold the bearing in place. A second retainer could also be made and fitted inside the torque tube so that it pressed up against the center bearing. That retainer would also be held in place with set screws. It would be worthwhile to experiment on an old torque tube.The OEM center bearing uses roller bearings thru which the driveshaft slides. It's not a tight fit.
https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showthread.php?t=186780
and peruse this:
https://www.google.com/search?q=rubb...hrome&ie=UTF-8 and something like this that could be adapted if the ID was correct.
My experience has been that the OEM center bearing itself doesn't fall apart or wear out. Instead,the outer rubber case deteriorates rendering the bearing useless and it literally falls out of place. In the photos below,the big black blob is the dissolved rubber.The metal bearing buried in the blob was still good. I am thinking that there must be a way of making a new rubber casing of the required OD so that the old bearing could be reused. With today's polymer technology perhaps a rubber compound could be poured around the OEM metal bearing ,making it reusable. For instance, the polymer used for making skateboard wheels. It would be fun to try. Last photo is of the tool I made to install the new OEM bearing. Without the center bearing,I think the whipping action of the drive shaft would put extra wear on the needle bearing at the front of the torque tube. Not good.
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Last edited by 19Fordy; 10-09-2019 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:33 PM   #6
Gary in La.
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

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A tubular driveshaft will whip if it is fairly long. The Hughes 500 (369) helicopter had a large diameter aluminum driveshaft for the tail rotor drive but at midpoint there was a damper encircling it to minimize whip.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Well I ended up getting a original bearing so will install - V8COOPMAN made a good point on the differences between tube and solid driveshafts
Thanks fellas
John
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Skip Haney sells a replacement - at least he used to.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:47 PM   #9
Gary in La.
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

See post #1
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by swoopNZ View Post
Skip Haney sells a replacement - at least he used to.

THE important question here would be.....Does Skip warrant replacements (that have gone south) that he used to sell? DD
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:37 PM   #11
1963turnerjohn
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

He did send a replacement bearing, though that does no where cover the shop cost to remove rear axle asm fix bearing and reinstall

Given the first bearing failed after 680 miles, I was not about to try again so found an original Ford bearing based on feedback here
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Make positive sure the shaft is straight.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1963turnerjohn View Post
He did send a replacement bearing, though that does no where cover the shop cost to remove rear axle asm fix bearing and reinstall

Given the first bearing failed after 680 miles, I was not about to try again so found an original Ford bearing based on feedback here
My vote is this isn't a problem with the bearing but something else. Skip has given me parts that I didn't deserve just because he was involved in my crisis but not the cause.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:14 AM   #14
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

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My vote is this isn't a problem with the bearing but something else. Skip has given me parts that I didn't deserve just because he was involved in my crisis but not the cause.
That's a good point Jeff, and also who's to say the "mechanic" who installed the first Skip Haney bearing in the '41 torque tube didn't do something correct, and screwed that bearing up, possibly causing it to fail early.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:40 AM   #15
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
I am thinking that there must be a way of making a new rubber casing of the required OD so that the old bearing could be reused. With today's polymer technology perhaps a rubber compound could be poured around the OEM metal bearing ,making it reusable. For instance, the polymer used for making skateboard wheels. It would be fun to try.
I'm with you - would not be too difficult to do this . . . just a lot of time involved to make the "mold", etc..
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:48 AM   #16
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Put a Mitchell in it and the bearing problem is gone, plus you have overdrive.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:24 AM   #17
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Just a thought here for any of us with a late '37 to '40 or '41 pickup.......if the torque
tube center whip bearing fails it is quite possible to replace the solid drive shaft' with a '35 - early '37 tubular drive shaft. I bore the fine female spline out of pinion end of the shaft and press in the six spline adapter from the solid shaft. I button weld the adapter in place

and that is the end of that issue. I always keep one of these tubular drive shafts handy.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:06 AM   #18
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in La. View Post
A tubular driveshaft will whip if it is fairly long. The Hughes 500 (369) helicopter had a large diameter aluminum driveshaft for the tail rotor drive but at midpoint there was a damper encircling it to minimize whip.
All of the Hughes light helicopters use the specially formed aluminum type drive shaft. These tubular shafts were designed to be able to flex a bit plus be light weight. The tail booms on the 500 and 300 aircraft flex too with strong tail rotor inputs. They shimmy a bit and can whip under extreme torque pressures so a damper was necessary for these types. Bell's shafts were supported so they didn't need dampers. Robinson uses long small diameter steel shafts but they put a damper in there due to the long length and small diameter. It also protects the couplings on both ends on shafts that have dampers.

The tubular shafts for the early Fords up to 1938 or so were either short enough or well shaped & large enough plus being fabricated from steel, that they didn't need a damper to calm the shimmy that naturally happens with long solid shafts or smaller diameter shafts. Dampers also help protect the U-joints on the shafts that use them.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:03 AM   #19
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Another torque tube design question:
Question: Would it be possible to redesign the outer hollow torque tube by accurately cutting it in 2 pieces near the location of the center bearing and welding a steel flange on each half such that the torque tube could be bolted together (on center) like 2 pipe flanges? There would be an interlocking lip on each flange for concentricity.. That way you could have easy access to the center bearing, if needed. I realize the OEM torque tube acts like a torques arm for the entire rear end with lots of forces being generated.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Another torque tube design question:
Question: Would it be possible to redesign the outer hollow torque tube by accurately cutting it in 2 pieces near the location of the center bearing and welding a steel flange on each half such that the torque tube could be bolted together (on center) like 2 pipe flanges? There would be an interlocking lip on each flange for concentricity.. That way you could have easy access to the center bearing, if needed. I realize the OEM torque tube acts like a torques arm for the entire rear end with lots of forces being generated.
A good pipe fitter could do this but the driveshaft would have to be out anyway.That would almost guarantee the next bearing will last longer than you do.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:31 AM   #21
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

True, but my idea was to also modify the inside of the torque tube so that a modern day replacement needle bearing could easily be installed. Yes, you are correct about my longevity. Just thought it would be neat to try it on an old torque tube. Kind of a personal challenge.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:43 AM   #22
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Yes we had the shaft checked - it is straight
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:17 PM   #23
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

John,
How would you desribe the "fit" of the OEM needle bearings as they ride on the solid drive shaft? Snug, lots of play, very little play.

Are the leather seals in the new OEM bearing a tight fit or sliding fit? Just curious.

DO NOT over grease that bearing. What grease do you plan to use? Thanks. JIM
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:00 PM   #24
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
True, but my idea was to also modify the inside of the torque tube so that a modern day replacement needle bearing could easily be installed. Yes, you are correct about my longevity. Just thought it would be neat to try it on an old torque tube. Kind of a personal challenge.

Yo, Jim.....I've witnessed a few of your "personal challenge" projects and you certainly seem to excel on most of them. So, why don't ya just get to cuttin' measurin' and welding"? Oh, and report back! DD
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:42 PM   #25
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Would love to do it but. I don't have an extra torque tube. Thanks for the kind words.
Stay well.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:41 PM   #26
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Another torque tube design question:
Question: Would it be possible to redesign the outer hollow torque tube by accurately cutting it in 2 pieces near the location of the center bearing and welding a steel flange on each half such that the torque tube could be bolted together (on center) like 2 pipe flanges? There would be an interlocking lip on each flange for concentricity.. That way you could have easy access to the center bearing, if needed. I realize the OEM torque tube acts like a torques arm for the entire rear end with lots of forces being generated.
The concept is fine, but I would recommend an 'alignment bar' that picked up the front inner roller bearing (snout of the driveshaft) and the centerline (maybe a coupler) of the pinion. One can ponder all day long about ones ability to cut and splice a torque tube - unless you had a way to truly align the front/rear halves, I would not volunteer to do the welding. This is especially true for a solid driveshaft that requires a bearing in the middle. On a tubular driveshaft (think 32 - 36), it is not as much of an issue as there is no bearing in the middle . . . so you can get away with a bit more misalignment in the two halves. BUT, one still wants the centerline of the front roller bearing to be in alignment to the pinion centerline.


This is no different than welding on a rear end housing - and the need to have an 'alignment bar' before you tack the housing ends in. If the centerlines are aligned, then bearings will last . . . if not, then you'll have issues.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:09 PM   #27
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Couldn't the solid drive shaft be used as an alignment bar?
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:46 PM   #28
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Not sure I'd ever run with out the bearing. Although the shaft is strong it covers a distance that I wouldn't want to let slap around.


Torque tubes have made a come back with modern chev vettes. Was used on a old pinzgauers for durability (pinzgauers did not go fast).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhgPvxckysU
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:43 AM   #29
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Would love to do it but. I don't have an extra torque tube. Thanks for the kind words.
Stay well.
Come up to my place in Rising Sun, MD and I'll give you one. I must have two dozen of them that I have no use for.

PS....I am thinking about using some for light posts on the drive way leading to my barn/work shop.
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Old 10-10-2019, 07:56 AM   #30
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Quote:
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PS....I am thinking about using some for light posts on the drive way leading to my barn/work shop.
And have banjo housings with light bulbs. Now what to use for lenses?
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:16 PM   #31
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

Saw where a fellow mounted a headlight lense to the banjo. Looked nice. There was an ad on the hamb selling a translucent lense with v8 script for this purpose. Can't find the ad anymore.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:32 PM   #32
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Default Re: Running without a torque tube center bearing ?

The failure of the driveshaft center bearing is often due to not getting the place in the center bearing sheath lined up with the hole in the torque tube before reinstalling the grease fitting which holds the sheath in place, or using a grease fitting that is too short or too long for the purpose.
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