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Old 09-06-2016, 04:29 PM   #1
Capt Kirk
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Default Awwe Crap!

So, I drove my car to work today. All was fine till the drive home. I got a half block from home...had to stop for traffic before turning onto my road. I gradually let out the clutch to go, car moved about 6 inches, before I had the clutch all the way out, and something just basically released and the car wouldn't move in any gear. I pushed the car home and in the driveway, I tried reverse again and the car moved an inch and that was it. I haven't looked into this yet...wanted to check with you guys first. I hear a noise coming from the back of the car...can't tell if it's from the center section or out by the hubs. The car has juice brakes and I don't know if the backing plates were the only change or if the whole diff was changed. It's a closed drive line. Can the hub keys shear? Where should I look first? Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

I would start by pulling hubs and inspect axle shafts...but usually when they break the wheels will pull out. My guess is a broken drive shaft
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

Ok - this happened to a friend of mine recently. the axle key had sheared. Take the hub caps off and get someone to look at the hubs as you try to (carefully) drive away. The axle on the side that has sheared will be turning.

Well it will if it is the axle key. If not it will be something else. May be a relatively easy fix. In my friends case the axle had twisted quite dramatically. We managed to get him moving again by cutting down a key and putting it in the first inch of shaft where the keyway was still straight. The jury rigged fix is still holding up while he sources another axle.

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Old 09-06-2016, 05:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

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Ok - this happened to a friend of mine recently. the axle key had sheared. Take the hub caps off and get someone to look at the hubs as you try to (carefully) drive away. the axle on the side that has sheared will be turning.

Well it will if it is the axle key. If not it will be something else. May be a relatively easy fix.

This is what I'm really hoping for. I'll take a look a bit later...I'm putting new thermostats in the clothes dryer...gotta keep mama happy first!
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

Cap'n, Good vibes going out to the Ford-iverse!
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:41 PM   #6
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I replaced many axle keys in the 40 I drove to high school. Of course the whole car was worn out.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

I just can't imagine it being a driveline...this was about as soft of a start from a dead stop as possible. No bang, clunk or grinding...essentially it stopped like I had pushed the clutch back in. There is a slight noise that I hear now and I can tell things are turning. If it was a broken driveline, the car wouldn't have moved slightly backward when I tried revers in the driveway would it? Dryer is back together but the wife is at the neighbors so my sheared key test will need to wait till she gets back. In the mean time, are these keys hardened and need to be specially ordered or is hardware stock going to work? If these keys sheared during my dad's tenure with the car I would bet he stuck whatever would work in there...and I used those same keys during restoration.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

I also have to confess an error in my ways during restoration that I discovered by reading a recent thread about problems with tightening an axle nut. I am certain that when I bolted those rear hubs back on, I tightened them as tight as I could get them with the breaker bar I have. I have since learned that something in the neighborhood of 200 ft-lbs is required. I can guarantee that they weren't that tight. If a key sheared, this would likely be a contributing factor. I'm learning and sometimes a lesson costs money.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:06 PM   #9
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I had this happen on a 40 tudor some 15 years ago. Very gentle start from traffic lights then a slight "ping" and no drive.
Towed it home a couple of miles, then jacked up rear, pulled the drum/hub and the end of the half shaft came with it it! A very old grubby fracture and a tiny bit of clean metal, obviously an old fault. I hope this is not the situation in your case and it is only a sheared axle key.
Interestingly I was going through a few half shafts looking for a good one and in one I found the remains of a sheared key wedged into the slot, no distortion on the slot but the key must have been seized in and sheared along its length.
Good luck.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

As has been stated before--The key isn't there to drive the hub. If the key sheared, the hub wasn't tight enough. The friction between the taper on the axle and the taper inside of the hub is what is supposed to move the car.
IF it was loose enough to shear the key you really need to make sure there is no crack beginning at the inner end of the keyway.
I never take the nut right up to max torque first . I tighten it up really tight, drive around the block and tighten again--do this maybe 3 times then use your cheater bar or torque wrench and move the nut to the next slot where it lines up with the hole and insert the cotter key. ( use a felt pen and draw a line on the end of the axle so you know where the cotter pin hole is.)
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:08 PM   #11
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Well, I have my answer...ugggg. Started the car and put it in gear with the wife watching the axle nuts...neither were turning. In neutral, there was a slow and steady clink, clink clink. I wedged my butt under the car and put my ear to the axle housings and it was clear that's where the noise was coming from. Put my ear to the pumpkin and could hear the noise but wasn't as pronounced. I grabbed the top of the right tire and gave it a jerk and all seemed well, did the same to the left and it rocked back and forth significantly...checked the hub while I was doing that and it wasn't the hub that was moving. Guess that means a broken drivers side axle?? If so, stand by for a lot of questions on finding an axle and how to repair it.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

If the axle is actually broken, and from your last post it sounds like it is, you are actually very fortunate that the failure occured while starting from a dead stop. Another scenario with the car in motion could have been much worse.
It will be a good learning experience for you to make the repair yourself, and we can help you along the way.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

JM, I've never been into one of these diff's but I'm definitely not shy in exploring uncharted terrorties. I would really really like this to be a project I can do without dropping the whole axle and torque tube. I have a great shop in Fairbanks but here, I'm basically a driveway mechanic. The garage here is full of my tools. What kind of information or photos do I need to provide in order to know what axle I need? I don't know if the axle has been changed over all this time There's a 9-34 on the bottom rib which is a 3.78 ratio if that helps.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

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I would really really like this to be a project I can do without dropping the whole axle and torque tube.
Well that's not going to be happening!!!
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: Awwe Crap!

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JM, I've never been into one of these diff's but I'm definitely not shy in exploring uncharted terrorties. I would really really like this to be a project I can do without dropping the whole axle and torque tube. I have a great shop in Fairbanks but here, I'm basically a driveway mechanic. The garage here is full of my tools. What kind of information or photos do I need to provide in order to know what axle I need? I don't know if the axle has been changed over all this time There's a 9-34 on the bottom rib which is a 3.78 ratio if that helps.
You could probably do this repair while not removing the complete rear, by just removing the left side axle housing, and then remove the axles, differential carrier, and ring gear as an assembly. BUT, this could windup being a bit more complicated, and taking more time when removing everything that needs to come apart while working on your back in a confined area. Another reason to remove the complete rear might be to do a complete check of all components, and replacing anything that may need replacing, including new seals and gaskets. Also, if you were not completely happy with the gear ratio that's in this car now, this would be an opportunity to make that change. I sometimes seem to be a gluten for punishment when I tackle these kinds of repairs on my cars, so you would need to make the call on how you want to proceed with this project.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:58 PM   #16
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Well that's not going to be happening!!!
FREE...35 Ford Cabriolet. Broken axle...heading to the crusher if no takers.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:06 PM   #17
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FREE...35 Ford Cabriolet. Broken axle...heading to the crusher if no takers.
Put me down as a low bidder , since I'm now old Ford car poor, with no space left to fit even one more car part, let alone a complete car .

oh wait....you said FREE, I'll be there tomorrow morning.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:14 PM   #18
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JM, is there a better option than 3.78 gear ratio for these rear ends? I've had the rear end out of this car so I'm not a stranger to it. I work full time and I've discovered here in MI it's either 90+ and 1000% humidity or 30 below and I don't have an inside environment like I used to. If this is a weekend job then I can swing it...I don't want to be caught by the weather with my car outside if this is a protracted process. I store it in my trailer. If this is more than a quick weekend job, I'd rather put the car to bed for the season, get what I need over the winter and hit it hard in spring when temps are more conducive to human life. This is the last thing I expected!!!
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:32 PM   #19
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You could find another complete rear end and swap it in while you rebuild the one thats in it now.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:00 PM   #20
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You could find another complete rear end and swap it in while you rebuild the one thats in it now.
Now that's an idea to concider, but the catch might be that it may need to be torn down to confirm its goodness.
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