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Old 05-15-2017, 06:03 PM   #1
RawhideKid
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Default Rear Axle Keys

Since the rear axle keys are x what is preventing me from using x HSS tool stock?

Before you say it, I know I will need to taper both ends since I have 1 good key as a pattern.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

The key is basically just a hub locator. If the axle nut is tightened properly, you could remove the key and throw it away and keep going. The fit of the hub on the tapered axle is that good. If the nut is not tight enough, the hub will fret on the axle and bad things will happen!
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Nothing is preventing you from using it-----but if you are having problems shearin an original key there is a problem with the axle or hub, the taper fit is what prevents rotation, ideally the key is just there, but not really taking any load----if you put in a key that is harder than the axle or hub they will get damaged instead of the key
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Just put my rear hubs on a few days ago, the repro keys fit great and were cheap.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

The only time the key drives anything is when the taper has let go, usually because the nut is loose. By this time, nasty things are happening in there and you should be able to feel it when you engage the clutch after going from reverse to 1st gear or overrun to drive. If there is any sound from the area or lost motion, things are loose. By having a hard key in there when this happens, you will destroy the axle and/or hub rather than a cheap key (the axle and hub might still be damaged anyway). As has been said above, the key is just there for the ride in a secure hub - it is the taper that provides the grip.
I wouldn't use HSS to make a key.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

IF you ever SHEARED a key, by GOLLY you'd use the HIGH TONED KEY!!!!--Get REAL!!!
AND, if you're DUMB enough NOT to torque the nut properly, I DON'T feel SORRY for you!
Chief always said, "I'm sorry too, BUT I've lurned to live with it"!---LOL
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Your time is worth more than the cost of new keys, let alone axles and hubs!
Outboard motors have brass sheer pins and for a good reason, to keep from messing up the lower end.
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

If the taper is what only holds the grip then why is there a key in there anyway? No reason for hub to axle location orientation.
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by harleytoprock View Post
If the taper is what only holds the grip then why is there a key in there anyway? No reason for hub to axle location orientation.
It is to keep it from creeping. Say you let the clutch out real fast. the key would keep it from creeping. But under normal driving with the nut proper torque it would not move.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

I "think" MANY of us are guilty of this: We wait for the answer we WANT to hear!-LOL
It's just our HUMAN nature. Chief always sed, "Don't CONFUSE me with FACTS, my MIND is already made up"!
Sure miss him, he was a FUN DUDE & LOVED Model As. He was sort of a "self taught" GENIUS, only went to the 8th grade, which was quite common in his day.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:13 AM   #11
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

I made several sets for my AA out of key stock, didn't take long at all and with a belt sander can match the taper pretty exact. The ford originals had the ford logo with the engine stamp star in between the repeating ford logos...
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Old 08-11-2017, 02:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Does anyone have pictures on how the keys look installed? I have some I ordered but they look like the ones pictured with two small tapers on each end. They don't have a long taper on one side like the other pictured.

I've never messed with a banjo rear before. I'm going to lap the axles and hubs but want to get the keys right. Also one keyway is pretty loose towards the taper, how does one fix this?
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

So the taper on the axle and the taper on the hup is a dry fit only, no anti seize to help take it apart many years later?
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:36 AM   #14
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

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Originally Posted by Dave N. View Post
So the taper on the axle and the taper on the hup is a dry fit only, no anti seize to help take it apart many years later?
For sure only clean, dry, and smooth.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

To create a locking taper there is a degree difference in angle between the shaft and hub. I respectfully disagree with Mr Wesenberg in this one area,I use anti-seize on tapers and splines,it doesnt alter the locking value of the taper difference and prevent galling during future disassembly.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:23 AM   #16
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Quote:
Since the rear axle keys are x what is preventing me from using x HSS tool stock?
Just use regular mild steel key stock.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:08 AM   #17
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Self-Holding Tapers

Fig 2. Self-Holding Tapers

A special case for the beneficial use of friction is 'self-holding' Tapers (Fig 2) for easy machine/equipment component assembly and disassembly such as drill chucks and lathe tail-stock accessories.
A self-holding 'Taper' is an accurately machined tapering shaft and mating sleeve (both of which are dry and clean) that lock together using the coefficient of friction between the two surfaces (shaft and sleeve) and an assembly force (F). If the Taper is machined correctly, the same force (F) will be needed to separate the shaft and sleeve.
If the angle of the Taper is 'exactly right', the shaft or sleeve will be capable of driving the other with no additional assistance for light duty applications and yet part easily with no resultant damage to either of the mating surfaces.
It is important to remember that a plain self-holding taper is only capable of transmitting a force achievable from 'frictional' grip and is thereby limited in its driving capacity. For heavy duty applications the taper is usually provided with a key, the frictional grip providing the holding capacity only.
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

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Originally Posted by Bob C View Post
Self-Holding Tapers

Fig 2. Self-Holding Tapers

A special case for the beneficial use of friction is 'self-holding' Tapers (Fig 2) for easy machine/equipment component assembly and disassembly such as drill chucks and lathe tail-stock accessories.
A self-holding 'Taper' is an accurately machined tapering shaft and mating sleeve (both of which are dry and clean) that lock together using the coefficient of friction between the two surfaces (shaft and sleeve) and an assembly force (F). If the Taper is machined correctly, the same force (F) will be needed to separate the shaft and sleeve.
If the angle of the Taper is 'exactly right', the shaft or sleeve will be capable of driving the other with no additional assistance for light duty applications and yet part easily with no resultant damage to either of the mating surfaces.
It is important to remember that a plain self-holding taper is only capable of transmitting a force achievable from 'frictional' grip and is thereby limited in its driving capacity. For heavy duty applications the taper is usually provided with a key, the frictional grip providing the holding capacity only.
Hey Bob,
Very good info for all who care to know details of this matter, and not rely on old tales and hearsay that has been passed on. NOW, maybe this will be passed on and help those with axle problems...but do not know WHY !

Proper amount of Model A axle nut torque has not been discussed, so far.
Just what is the proper amount ? When the number of ft lbs is told, the number is NOT believed by most...why ?
Without new axles/nuts, Model A owners say....oh, that's not right, is tooo much, I just torque them till their tight !
Again, if not lapped right, and not torqued right....nothing is right according to the excellent info that has been provided above.
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

The original keys are cheap/easy to obtain and made as Ford made them to perform intended function. I'd stay with that metal / key.
Because of the fit of the rear axle/hub, I occasionally check/recheck to ensure proper torque. IMO, you WILL be surprised at what you find, that is, that re-torque check is worthwhile.
Only possible exception would be 'perfect' mating/lap joint, IMO.
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Bob C,
Thanks for the explanation on self holding tapers. The model 'A' axle tapers and hubs, (sleeves) I've seen are everything but accurate and honed tapers. Mine are pitted warn and gouged. And in many cases not torqued to 100 plus pounds. Thanks for mentioning the use for light and heavy load uses for keyed and non-keyed applications.
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Old 08-11-2017, 02:39 PM   #21
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff M View Post
Does anyone have pictures on how the keys look installed? I have some I ordered but they look like the ones pictured with two small tapers on each end. They don't have a long taper on one side like the other pictured.

I've never messed with a banjo rear before. I'm going to lap the axles and hubs but want to get the keys right. Also one keyway is pretty loose towards the taper, how does one fix this?
Bump
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Old 08-11-2017, 02:57 PM   #22
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

If only the taper were needed for grip, then WHY did Henry do all the extra work to put in a KEY????---Are we over thinking this thing????
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Old 08-11-2017, 03:08 PM   #23
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by BILL WILLIAMSON View Post
If only the taper were needed for grip, then WHY did Henry do all the extra work to put in a KEY????---Are we over thinking this thing????
Bill Commonsense
It was probably standard engineering practice of the day. You didn't question it, you just did it the way you were taught. Or it may have been for the customer satisfaction/safety factor. People would be unhappy with Ford if the dealer mechanic left the nut loose.
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Old 08-11-2017, 03:38 PM   #24
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

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Originally Posted by 40 Deluxe View Post
It was probably standard engineering practice of the day. You didn't question it, you just did it the way you were taught. Or it may have been for the customer satisfaction/safety factor. People would be unhappy with Ford if the dealer mechanic left the nut loose.
I did a brake job on a Chrysler, next morning I had the manager call the customer to stop by, so I could make SURE I put in the COTTER KEYS They WERE there!
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:22 AM   #25
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

When I bought my Model A, one side of the rear axle had a "REX A " carbon steel tool bit for a key. It had been used as a lathe tool.

When we disassembled the rear axle and housing, we were faced with an entire rebuild including axles.

What a mess;
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Old 08-12-2017, 10:00 AM   #26
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Great reading just checked our 29, nuts were loose. Torque to 100.

Thanks again for the reminder. Your never to old and if you are, you don't know everything.

Enjoy.

Last edited by WHN; 08-12-2017 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:18 AM   #27
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

The use of an assembly compound like anti seize helps to prevent the pitting and galling evident on used axles. On perfect taper applications like machine tools I agree with the clean and dry concept.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:47 PM   #28
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave N. View Post
So the taper on the axle and the taper on the hup is a dry fit only, no anti seize to help take it apart many years later?
Hey Dave,
REMOVAL , at some point in time, is why pullers were made. If proper recommended torque is applied when assembling, that torque + will be used to 'break' it loose.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:01 PM   #29
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

I clean the taper and hub with gasolene or cellulose thinners and make sure they really are grease free . The key in ideal circumstances should not be loaded . I worked in the oilfield for a while and you have "tight" then "tight tight" then "tight tight tight" thats what you want,100 ft lbs nothing less . I do not like shims as I dont think you can get a good solid mechanical bond if you use them IMHO .

John in dark cloudy Suffolk County England .
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:41 PM   #30
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Railcarmover View Post
The use of an assembly compound like anti seize helps to prevent the pitting and galling evident on used axles. On perfect taper applications like machine tools I agree with the clean and dry concept.
Galling is the result of movement without lubrication. If the axle nut is tight enough, there will not be any movement to cause galling.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:36 PM   #31
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

I put mine at 125 I think or 150 cant remember. Have fun modelAtony tony white Lafayette, LA
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:55 AM   #32
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff M View Post
Does anyone have pictures on how the keys look installed? I have some I ordered but they look like the ones pictured with two small tapers on each end. They don't have a long taper on one side like the other pictured.

I've never messed with a banjo rear before. I'm going to lap the axles and hubs but want to get the keys right. Also one keyway is pretty loose towards the taper, how does one fix this?
I'm not sure if this question ever got answered. Are there any clear pictures or documentation showing how the keys are installed? Does the taper point towards the axle end or towards the brake backing plate? Is the taper facing down towards the axle or away from the axle?

Thanks

Dave
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Old 09-24-2017, 07:38 AM   #33
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

No matter what you think about keys. Please check your torque. Reason I say this.

After reading a post earlier this summer on this subject. I took a few minutes, removed rear wheels, and checked the axel nuts. You could take them off by hand.

I had a complete brake job done less than 1,500 miles ago by a really well known Model T and Model A restorer. Even if done properly, they need checking.

Anyway, I re-torqued to100. Everything looks to be OK.

Last edited by WHN; 09-24-2017 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:48 AM   #34
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

I take mine to 90 then then turn till the slots line up. If the slots line up at 90 I use a different nut. Be sure you use the correct nuts, they are not an off the shelf garden store variety. They are hardened but I can not tell you what grade they are off the top of my head.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:02 AM   #35
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Great thread. I am about to change the axles in my car as the right one has stripped threads. They are PROBABLY OK as the threads near the hub are OK but I have a good axle with perfect threads and a perfect keyway so I'm going to use it. The other axle has good threads but the keyway is wallowed out a bit. My plan WAS to have the keyway recut while I have the axles out. Two options, weld up the old one and recut it or just leave the old one and cut a new one on the other side. My concern is with the other thread about the broken axle and that they tend to break right where the keyway starts. Cutting a second keyway may weaken this area more increasing my chance of a broken axle and I don't know what effect welding may have on the axle. After reading tis thread, now I'm thinking perhaps not messing with it, just put in a new key, keep the nut torqued to 100lbs and go. Thoughts?
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Old 09-24-2017, 11:53 AM   #36
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Not sure anyone answered the question from dahrens 1, taper orientation ? Bratton's says taper in toward diff. and down (in keyway). Other prior posts/ threads may differ.
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:21 PM   #37
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Yes, the taper faces down and in.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:31 AM   #38
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Glad this thread was posted; pulled rear wheels to do some adjustments and found one axle nut loose !! was able to get to 95'# and align cotter. Also, powder coated wheels need periodic checking to 60'#, even with paint removal at nuts, etc.
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:29 PM   #39
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Default Re: Rear Axle Keys

Great thread here. After reading I removed the rear wheels and checked the torque on mine and only had 50 # or so on the right side and 75 # on the drivers side. Did a total brake restoration 5 yrs and 1500 miles ago with new parts throughout.
Disassembled to check the condition of the brakes, etc. and noticed the keys were worn.
New parts on order. Definitely will be checking torque frequently from now on.
Thanks for all the information here on the Barn!
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