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Axle shaft


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I thought I would share some experience with 32-50 rear axles.  They are made from forgings.  The general surface of the shafts are really rough and you can often see occlusions into the shaft.  The axles are held in place with a C washer inside the differential gears.  With the high gear ratios on these cars the axle can be subjected to torque spikes and the axles will stress crack.  The entire wheel can then exit the car.  The other design feature is that the outer roll cage bearings are inboard of the wheel center  line, so the axle will  flex and this also can lead to axle failure.  


The brake drums are held in place by means of a tapered axle shaft and a key.  If the brake drums are not tightly torqued  onto the axle, the drums will work loose and wear the taper on the axle and drum.  The key will be the only thing keeping the wheel from spinning on the shaft.  The key will fret and wallow out the keyways.  This means finding new axles and drums.  Many jackleg repairs were made with shimstock and step keys in an attempt to keep the cars on the road.  


On the grease seals, the good news is that you can find modern seals that will fit in the seal retainer.  If any of the above failures occurred, the seal retainer has probably been damaged and will need replacing.  


Bob Engle



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