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  • Rear Axle: Hub keyslot crack

    Probably have to much time on my hands and mind these cold snowy days but I keep thinking about the rear hub cracks mostly attributed to greasing the axle before installing the drum/hub. My feeble mind can't seem to fathom how a light application of grease could cause so much damage. I realize the tolerances are extremely close on the tapered axle but why doesn't the hub just push the grease out instead of apparently trapping it and creating enough pressure to crack the hub in its admittedly weakest point ....the key slot. Its also hard for me to understand how you could create that much pressure with 170 foot pounds of torque on the axle nut. I can't help but think there must be a flaw in the key slot casting or the wrong key stock is used. The axle key is just 1/4 inch key stock isn't it?? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • #2
    It's not that the grease gets trapped and cracks the hub. It's that the lube makes the hub slide easier on the axle and the torque can't get reached before the hub swells too far.

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    • #3
      Exactly what Tex said. Any lubricant at all will cause that; the axle and hub must be as dry as possible. BP
      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

      G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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      • #4
        Well crap..That makes perfect sense. I wonder why I had never heard that. Thanks. Now, ponder this...I was down to the local Spicer/Dana outlet today just exploring the possibility of a flanged axle conversion and if the benefits would outweigh the price. We were discussing this cracked hub problem and in the course of the conversation one of the techs seemed puzzled by this grease controversy. He related how he had pulled literally hundreds of hubs from tapered axles on 40's vintage Fords and later American Motors, Jeeps and other brands and couldn't recall it being a problem. He said he lightly lubed the axle on every hub installation as a rust preventive and thought there was a Dana service recommendation supporting the practice. No one else there was old enough to have done it so couldn't offer an opinion. Maybe he was just lucky. Go figure.

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        • #5
          Might have just been the angle of the dangle. Hee Hee My Dad was a old school mechanic, and he taught me to use alcohol to be sure the old Fords were dry. I do remember seeing cracked ones, on Ford , Jeep, and Studebaker. NOW PONDER THIS, Course there was the one time, a friend and I "repaired" a 1931 Ford rear end and we split one hub trying to get it to "pull down" . Come to find out we had assembled it wrong (ring gear on the wrong side of the pinion) and one axle was too short. It also had 3 reverse gears and one forward.

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          • #6
            Who knows how many hubs that mechanic may have cracked-only to be found at a later time? The flanged axle conversion has been done,and is available from Stude' vendors! Fairborn Studebaker,comes to mind.[$500.00]
            Oglesby,Il.

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            • #7
              Yeah, Ithink these guys were thinking between 5 and7 hundred depending on the inevitable "gremlins" that will pop on a changeover of this type. I have kind of decided that at my age and the limited driving I do anymore it would probably not be fiscally feasible. If I was racing or long distance touring I would probably do it but right now I would be just doing it for the "next" guy. Thanks for the input anyway.

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