Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Model T Axle

Model T Axle and Tire from the Brook-4.jpg
Rear axle for 1923 Model T Ford

We have found many things here during the house and stream restoration, but this was big. Upstream of the brook that runs through the back yard, during the continuing clearing and restoration of the stream bed, John found this rear axle to a 1923 Model T Ford. A tire remained draped around it, and a tire rim was also in the brook. I know folks back then dumped most everything in the woods, but this axle surprised me. In all the years I have lived and explored here, I never saw evidence of this axle in the brook. It was buried under blowdowns and leaf litter. (Photo from

I know nothing about cars, but I found this interesting description of the design and construction of the Model T rear axle at The Frontenac Motor Company site:

The rear axle uses a "3-point drive" system, unique to Ford. This type of construction necessitates the use of only a single universal joint and permits of the housing of the entire driving mechanism in a dust proof, oil tight case. If plenty of oil is supplied to these parts there should be no trouble during the natural life of the gears, made as they are of the best special alloy steel obtainable, carefully cut and case hardened. The rear axle runs on Hyatt roller bearings. End thrust tendencies of the large bevel gear are taken by fiber discs between hardened and ground steel discs—the best possible construction for this service. The propeller shaft runs in babbitt bearings at both ends. The entire axle is lubricated by a copper tube which leads from the oiler and enters at the ball joint. The oil flows down through the tubular torsion tube to the gears and finally to the Hyatt roller axle-bearings. These bearings are spiral rollers and each alternate spiral is reversed so that they distribute the oilautomatically over all parts of the bearing surface. Dope cups are installed on each drive shaft bearing and the four rear axle bearings to assist lubrication, as dope will be retained longer and therefore gives better results than oil. Note: The rear hub brakes are intended to perform the function of emergency brakes as their name implies and consequently they take hold severely. Used only in emergency they should outlive the rest of the car. Many theories to the contrary notwithstanding, the transmission brake is not injurious to the driving gears if used judiciously, as every other part of the car should be used. And inasmuch as this brake equalizes the forces between the two rear wheels uniformly, is more easily lubricated, inspected and adjusted, it is better practice to use it for service than the hub brakes.

Model T Axle and Tire from the Brook-2.jpg
Rim from the Model T

I’m wondering what else we will discover around here.



  1. Very cool. My boyfriend is doing a documentary right now about this kind of stuff, just finding old things that have been abandoned or use to be owned by someone. I wonder what the store behind it is!



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