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Old 11-25-2018, 01:50 PM
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Default Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Some months ago a new forum member started a thread inquiring about purchasing a used axle assembly for a Tucker with a broken axle housing. Reading the thread and looking at the photos revealed this was the machine Scott and I had re-cabbed and sold several years ago. Here's that machine.

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In addition to the cab modifications, we did a bunch of work to it - basically repairing anything and everything we found wrong. After talking with Scott, I made the offer that if you bring us the machine - we’ll fix the axle housing at zero labor cost. Here’s a link to that thread: http://www.forumsforums.com/3_9/show...cker+1642+axle

The Tucker showed up toward the end of October and the owner requested we perform some additional repairs and maintenance. But the first order of business was the axle housing, and that’s the primary focus of this thread.

We removed the track, the track slide, sprocket hub and the carrier while leaving the machine on the trailer. I left to spend a few days in Southern Utah and Scott and a mutual friend, John worked on the axle repair in my absence. To get better access to evaluate the damage, as well as to make the repairs, they decided to unbolt the axle assembly from the springs, and subsequently decided to remove the axle assembly from the Tucker altogether. They supported the rear of the machine on pipe stands, and then used ratchet straps in a criss-cross pattern to secure the rear of the machine in place on the trailer. They then removed the axle housing with the left rear track and carrier still fully intact on the axle housing.

Here’s the machine with the right carrier and associated parts removed.

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In this photo you can see the journal is bent up from the axle housing at an unnatural angle.

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Here's a close-up of the cracked housing.

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The journal end of the cracked housing has been cut away, revealing how little was holding it.

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Here’s the journal side of the damaged housing.

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Here’s the rear axle assembly with the left rear carrier still attached after removal from the trailer.

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The Tucker on pipe stands.

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As mentioned, I was away at the time, so I’m relating what was told to me. Scott decided to remove the carrier and track from the left side to make it easier to work with just the axle housing. After thoroughly cleaning the fractured area, Scott welded a sleeve inside the axle housing to the differential side, which protruded several inches in both directions. He then carefully positioned the journal side of the axle housing over the sleeve and ensured it was correctly aligned vertically, horizontally and rotationally, and he adjusted the in-and-out spacing, as well. At that point he welded the journal side to the sleeve. All of this was in preparation to join the broken parts. By having the sleeve in place it makes sure the weld goes all the way to the bottom of the housing. Without a sleeve, there’s nothing to weld to, and though one could "fill the gap”, the weld wouldn’t necessarily be as complete, or as strong. Interestingly, the axle housing “tubes" are not tubular steel, but are actually cast steel. Prior to welding that, Scott used an acetylene torch to heat the housing on both sides and then made multiple passes to get a full penetration weld rejoining the damaged sections. Normally after welding something, he breaks out one of his angle grinders and “cleans up” the weld, but other than some very minor clean up, he wanted to leave all the weld beads in place for maximum strength. (Incidentally, I queried Tucker as to the approximate cost of having them replace a broken Dana 60 axle housing. The answer was it depends on exactly what else has to be done to the axle assembly, but they wouldn’t do the job unless it was done “right” (totally understandable). The estimated cost was between $10K and $15K. Ouch!)

At this point I was back home and when I went to his shop I saw the repaired housing. We decided to inspect the rest of the housing for any other damage and we found a crack in the housing on the left side where the differential casting meets the axle tube, and we found cracks in both journals and in the spring perches, too - all of which we fixed.

Here’s a photo of the repaired axle housing.

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Here’s the crack in the axle housing on the other side.

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One of the cracked journals.

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The crack “Vee’d out” prior to welding. (Yes, the surface the seal rides on will get a Speedi Sleeve.)

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After welding, grinding and sanding to get the shape and contour correct.

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After grinding out the crack in the axle housing and heating it prior to welding.

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After welding and minor cleanup.


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Unfortunately, we weren’t done. Rotating the pinion yoke by hand, we detected a roughness that shouldn’t be there, suggesting a bad pinion bearing. We removed the differential carrier and ring gear, and then the pinion gear as well. All four tapered roller bearings, and their races were worn and needed to be replaced. We purchased a complete rebuild kit and replaced the above mentioned bearings, and also we re-shimmed the pinion and the differential carrier during reassembly. A new pinion seal, new washer and pinion nut completed the repair. BTW, the pinion nut torque is substantial (240-300 ft lbs), and depending on the individual pinion yoke casting, it can be difficult to get a socket inside the yoke and around the pinion nut to full depth. When your pulling on a torque wrench to 300 ft lbs, you really don’t want your socket to slip. The pinion nut size is 1 5/16 and a few years go I asked my machinist friend in Vermont to turn down the OD slightly of an impact socket for better clearance. The modified socket works great!


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At this point I’d like to say “...and the axle assembly was ready to give several years of trouble free service”... except I can’t. The journals on the axle housing had significant wear. Replacing journals is both time consuming and expensive. However, as Track Addict explained in his excellent thread, one can use a product called bearing tape to add life to worn journals. Neither Scott nor I have used this, and I spoke to both Jeff Godard and Sterling Mathis at Tucker about the product. Presently Sterling is manager of the Parts Department, but previously he was the Service Department manager.

If you look at an older rubber belted Tucker from straight ahead or straight behind, especially one with worn journals, the carriers may look splayed out. What happens is the weight of the machine and the way it transfers that weight to the carriers causes the journals to wear on the outside bottom of the journal, and the inside on the top part. Over time as the clearance grows - it just gets worse. Sometimes you’ll see a machine with one, or more, inner drive sprockets rubbing against their respective carriers; because the carrier is no longer perpendicular with the axle housing. To correct this condition, bearing tape can be used to essentially shim the carrier into proper alignment. The bearing tape is quite thin, and it's made of a low-friction material with adhesive on the back side. The adhesive is covered by paper, which is removed just prior to installation.

Never having used it before, I wanted to know how Tucker does it, and Sterling Mathis explained: You start by removing anything and everything on the journal in terms of old grease, crud, etc. Then you use a stainless steel wire wheel to remove anything you missed. At that point, wipe the journal down with lacquer thinner or a similar solvent to give the bearing tape a pristine surface to adhere to. One buys the bearing tape from Tucker by the foot. You cut it into 2” wide strips and you wrap the journal around the circumference. Sterling suggested making the wraps about 2-3” from the journal ends, and if necessary make multiple wraps to build up the thickness. The carrier should fit very tightly over the journal with minimal clearance. Sterling said they fabricated a tool that fits over the axle spindle and against the carrier’s outside end, and they then use the spindle nut to persuade the carrier into position. He said though seemingly it’s initially too tight, the weight of the machine will make the carrier rotate on the journal as it should, and it will wear into a proper fit.

Scott and I decided to take some measurements to see just how much wear there was. We took measurements of the journal vertically and horizontally, on the inside and on the outside of the journal. There’s little wear on the sides, the vast majority is (again) on the bottom outside and the top inside. But just how egg-shaped is the wear pattern? On the inside the horizontal measurement was 5.140 and the vertical was 5.081. The outside measurements were horizontal 5.127 and vertical 5.051. If you assumed zero wear on the inside horizontal at 5.140, and compared that to the outside vertical measurement of 5.051, that’s .089 or almost 3/32” of steel that’s been worn away. That’s a lot!

We thoroughly cleaned the journal, and we cleaned the inside of the carrier as well. After cleaning everything from inside of the carrier, the surface still felt somewhat rough. Scott used a dingleberry hone for a huge Cummins cylinder he had on hand, and used that to clean up the inside of the carrier. The journals are steel, which is a lot harder than the low-friction plastic bearing tape, and if the surface that rides on the bearing tape is at all rough, it would seem it would wear the tape in no time.

We tried using the factory’s procedure as explained, but even with only one circumferential wrap there wasn’t enough clearance on the sides (where there’s very little wear) to slide the carrier on. We discussed the situation and came up with an alternate method we think is more logical: The objective of installing bearing tape is twofold: to reduce the excessive clearance between the carrier and the journal on the axle, and to correct the misalignment caused by the wear pattern. Adding bearing tape circumferentially adds tape to areas that have very little wear. While that does reduce the excessive clearance, it also maintains the misalignment. Scott and I chose to locate the tape in the high wear areas, and put no tape where there was no/minimal wear on the journal. We also decided to position the tape right on the edge of the journal, where the wear is greatest, instead of 2-3” back from the edge as suggested. We did this with some trepidation. We have a lot of respect for Tucker’s recommendations, and deviating from them may be ill-advised. But after a lot of back and forth discussion, we went with our plan.

We cut the bearing tape into two inch widths per Sterling’s recommendation. We cut our first layer 3.5” long and installed the two pieces parallel with the journal on the bottom outside and the top inside. Then we cut four pieces 2.5” long and put them parallel with the journal overlapping the first layer by one inch and on either side of the first layer (the pic below will make sense). Then a length 5” long installed perpendicular to the other pieces, and extending past them equally. On the outside bottom we added a fourth piece 6” long installed perpendicular as well, and also overlapping the previous piece equally. We measured the thickness of the bearing tape with the adhesive backing paper removed at .022. So we added .088 on the bottom outside and .066 on the top inside, which would bring the bottom outside measurement to 5.139 and the top inside to 5.147.

Here’s a pic of the outside bottom with the first layer 3.5” long, and the second layer’s two strips laid side by side and 2.5” long. Subsequent layer(s) were installed perpendicular to these.

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Here’s the journal with the next layer added.

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Our pattern concentrates the tape where the wear is greatest, and yet tapers the thickness of the bearing tape as the journal’s wear pattern is reduced. Not exact, but a reasonable approximation. Realize too, the tape’s thickness is somewhat limiting as you can’t shim less than .022. I wish I could say we’ve used this for hundreds of hours on the machine, with minimal wear and great success, but this is our first experience.

We sprayed some white lithium grease on our taped journal to make the carrier slide more easily during installation, and then slid the carrier onto the journal. It wasn’t exactly easy-peazy. The axle housing was supported on horses and we had the carrier suspended with the shop’s crane. I tried to hold the axle housing while Scott both pushed-on and rotated the carrier.

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We discussed our procedure afterward and concluded we really wouldn’t want the carrier to fit more tightly. There’s a tiny bit of play, but it would be difficult to get it to fit much tighter, and what if you’ve forced the carrier onto the journal - and then have to remove it?




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  #2  
Old 11-25-2018, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

I have never tried the bearing tape. Wonder what is made of? Beautiful work by the two of you. What rod/wire did you use welding the tube to the cast carrier housing? Great job of documenting as well. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 11-25-2018, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Bill Cook came up with a solution that GetSno discussed as an option.

It involves cutting off the existing journals and installing new smaller
Diameter ones with a special tool for locating.. You then insert UHMW sleeves for a permanent serviceable fix.

Was 1200$ x 4 in parts. Think the pictures are on the forum somewhere.

Tape has worked on the rear so far 100 miles strong.
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Old 11-25-2018, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

This is the link to the discussion on the bushing kit.
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Old 11-25-2018, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

http://www.forumsforums.com/3_9/show...arrier+bushing
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

I just have to ask...

Could the carrier hole have been bored out, and a sleeve installed? There are folks who not only can bore holes, but weld them and cut them back to size as well. I think my Caterpillar dealer can do this, or has contact with those who do this on earth moving machinery.. This is common on loader buckets and lift arms. Bearing tape seems like a short term fix... I hope it works better than expected..

Also pre heating the weld area is a good idea, and post heating, and packing in powdered limestone or sack crete is a good idea to let it cool slowly, and the post heat will help remove hydrogen from the weld, making it less prone to cracking.. I had the experience of welding some medium carbon steel in harvest, and until I pre and post heated, and stich welded to keep the heat generated to a minimum, and slow cooled with sack crete, the weld did not hold well enough.

Nice work. The season of snow cats is now officially open!

Regards, Kirk
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

In the later years tucker stopped welding the tubes at the end of the housings , that made them prone to cracking at that point! my 1985 1644 is not welded . now is a prime time to truss the unit A brace acroos the top to tie everything together tubes to diff
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Regular wear or extremely overloaded at some point?
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:48 AM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by sno-drifter View Post
I have never tried the bearing tape. Wonder what is made of? Beautiful work by the two of you. What rod/wire did you use welding the tube to the cast carrier housing? Great job of documenting as well. Thank you for sharing.

Thanks for the compliments.



I Googled "bearing tape" to try and learn more about it before we went that route. Several references said the tape had PTFE, which is the abbreviation for the chemical compound more commonly known as Teflon.



Scott used 3/32" 7018 rod to weld the axle housing.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:26 AM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by 300 H and H View Post
I just have to ask...

Could the carrier hole have been bored out, and a sleeve installed? There are folks who not only can bore holes, but weld them and cut them back to size as well. I think my Caterpillar dealer can do this, or has contact with those who do this on earth moving machinery.. This is common on loader buckets and lift arms. Bearing tape seems like a short term fix... I hope it works better than expected..

Also pre heating the weld area is a good idea, and post heating, and packing in powdered limestone or sack crete is a good idea to let it cool slowly, and the post heat will help remove hydrogen from the weld, making it less prone to cracking.. I had the experience of welding some medium carbon steel in harvest, and until I pre and post heated, and stich welded to keep the heat generated to a minimum, and slow cooled with sack crete, the weld did not hold well enough.

Nice work. The season of snow cats is now officially open!

Regards, Kirk

The wall thickness of the carrier's tube (also called a journal) is not a lot, probably a shade under 3/16", but I haven't measured it in years. So there's not much that can be removed. On a previous project several years ago, those journals were worn to the point we replaced them. Tucker had changed the design of them slightly since, but would make them like the originals... for a price. It was not a price I wanted to pay and my friend in Vermont made them for me. Scott cut away the old ones with his "air-arc" which uses gouging carbons as an electrode to heat the existing weld, or the steel, and compressed air to blow away the molten metal. Then he carefully put the new ones in place and checked the position for proper alignment. He did that multiple times before being satisfied they were located perfectly, and then he welded them in position. Quite time consuming to do all that, actually.



I completely understand your concern with bearing tape, and it's potential short life. I'm not a believer yet, as I'd like to see how it does hold up. But my gut feeling is Tucker wouldn't be using it unless they had some confidence in the product, and it's use in this application.



The cost for new axle journals and the plastic sleeves from Tucker is jaw-dropping. Before I went that route, I'd once again call my buddy in Vermont and discuss options with him. He's super-talented and has been rebuilding heavy machine tools for years, usually Fellows gear shapers. Fellows went bust many years ago and my friend fairly often is faced with a worn out part; and nothing available as a replacement. He then must reverse engineer the part, and make one. When he does that, he thinks about improving the original part, with better materials or manufacturing processes, so he'd be a source of knowledge, as well as have the ability to make the parts for a Tucker.


Thanks for the welding tips. I'll pass those along to Scott. My welding skills are sub-mediocre, which makes me a "wanna-be" rather than someone who does it, and does it well. Very often I'll put on a welding helmet and watch Scott. He makes it look so easy- anybody could do it. Except when I try, my work product doesn't look much like his. Frustrating!
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAVENET View Post
Regular wear or extremely overloaded at some point?
The original owner of this machine was Sun Valley, the ski resort. I was told it was used by their maintenance department, and it has had other owner(s) since. But some of the repairs that had been done over the years were downright criminal. For example, rather than using alternator belts of the correct length, they'd use the wrong ones and then bend brackets that were in the way. And that's just one example.

When we removed the carriers from the journals, there was no oily-gooey grease, just dried-on hard crud, which would not provide the same level of lubrication. I think the wear may have had several causal factors such as inadequate maintenance and hard use, and both of those over many years.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:43 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

I thought I'd add a bit more to the thread in terms of issues we encountered, and how we addressed them.

Most leaf springs have a small hole in the center of the spring for a special bolt, and the spring perch similarly has a hole for the bolt's round head. The springs Tucker used don’t have that hole, but rather are “dimpled”. During manufacture, while the individual spring leaves are red hot they use a press and a die to create the dimple on each spring leaf. When the spring is assembled the dimples align. Most of the leaves are held together by bands on the front and back of the spring pack, but the bands don’t include the shortest leaf. It gets held in position by the dimple and the U-bolts that clamp the axle housing to the spring pack. One of the short leaves had a broken dimple.

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I went to a spring company in SLC to get a replacement. The cost is both minimal and reasonable at $19, but the volume of business for their furnace is such that they run it only when they have enough to make it economically viable; about once a week. Sure enough, a week later it was done.

Two of the de-icer wheels on this machine were what I’ll call “modular" wheels. There is a center hub section with the bearings, then there’s a steel wheel form section that bolts to the hub, and then the two plastic rings bolt to the wheel form. The plastic rings were so worn, the grousers were running on the steel wheel form. Steel-on-steel without lubrication is not a recipe for long life.

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Unfortunately replacement plastic rings are no longer available from Tucker, and haven’t been for about 20 years! Jeff Godard at Tucker told me a tip from former Tucker dealer Bill Cook: Remove the plastic rings and cut down the diameter of the steel wheel form’s center. So we did exactly that. Scott used his circle burner and acetylene torch to trim off about 1/4”, which of course reduces the outside diameter about 1/2”.

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Here you can see how the wheels will once again be riding on plastic.

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New de-icer wheels from Tucker are Spendy (capitalization intended), costing about $550, each. So at first blush, one is looking at over $1K to replace two de-icer wheels with new ones. After trimming the wheel form centers, Scott and I kicked around the idea of making new plastic wheel rings, and maybe having the modular wheels is a blessing rather than a curse!

The diameter of Tucker idler wheels is 14” and out of curiosity, I priced 14” x 14” UHMW plastic sheet in one inch thickness. The cost was under $70.00 each, and you need two per wheel. Of course one needs to machine them to spec, but we’re thinking maybe that wouldn’t be so difficult. The inside diameter of the rings is about 9.625 and if you cut out the center section as a whole, you could then cut that into ice breaker blocks fairly easily and save even more money. There are two ice breakers per carrier, and though they’re only roughly 2” x 2” x 1” thick (with a 3/8” hole), Tucker sells’ em for about $20 each. So for less than $300 in materials (and a few hours labor) you could avoid a bill of probably $1,300 (with shipping). But that’s a project for another day…


When the machine was dropped off, they also dropped off eight replacement track belts from Tucker. We put all four rear belts on the right rear track. Scott has an overhead crane and a long steel welding table in his heated shop. Those who have wrestled with belts on the ground, and while on their knees, will appreciate this, but we lifted a track assembly on to the table where it could be spread out. Then one of us used the impact wrench while the other held a wrench on the bolt head for all the grouser bolts. That sentence may not seem like a big deal, but if you’ve tried to do this by yourself and on the ground, you can appreciate being able to put two hands on the wrench to hold the bolt head from turning while the impact wrench does its thing. And you can bend down and see what you’re doing. It’s still not a fun job, but that makes it a whole lot faster and less miserable. All new hardware was used for reassembly: 3/8-24 x 1 1/4” Grade 8 bolts, Grade G (equivalent to Grade 8) flanged Stover Nuts, and Grade 8 SAE flat washers under the bolt heads.

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Old 11-29-2018, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackfoot Tucker View Post
After talking with Scott, I made the offer that if you bring us the machine - we’ll fix the axle housing at zero labor cost. Here’s a link to that thread: http://www.forumsforums.com/3_9/show...cker+1642+axle
Someone is getting a heck of a deal! Very encouraging to see there are still good folks in the world.
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:56 PM
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Default Tucker Axle Housing Repair

I was able to use a rotary table on my Bridgeport and lathe to turn a $75 1” thick square of UHMW into a new ring.



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Old 11-29-2018, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

The same place that I purchased the 1” UHMW for the ice breakers also sell the UHMW bearing tape in 2” widths in multiple thicknesses but you have to buy a 50’ roll. The .010” roll is $84, .030” was $156 and .060” $138.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill666er View Post
The same place that I purchased the 1” UHMW for the ice breakers also sell the UHMW bearing tape in 2” widths in multiple thicknesses but you have to buy a 50’ roll. The .010” roll is $84, .030” was $156 and .060” $138.
anyone want to halfsies......

I have a mid engine 1642 that could benefit from a little less tucker knock knee
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Old 11-30-2018, 11:56 AM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill666er View Post
I was able to use a rotary table on my Bridgeport and lathe to turn a $75 1” thick square of UHMW into a new ring.
VERY NICE! I love seeing beautifully executed work.

I've lusted after a Bridgeport mill (or even a clone) for quite a while. Your post and photos just renewed that lust! Now I need to make it happen.
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill666er View Post
The same place that I purchased the 1” UHMW for the ice breakers also sell the UHMW bearing tape in 2” widths in multiple thicknesses but you have to buy a 50’ roll. The .010” roll is $84, .030” was $156 and .060” $138.
Inquiring minds want to know:

Where did you get the UHMW material?

Did you use any of the bearing tape, and if so, how did it work out?
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

A CNC could do that in no time, but it also could be done with just a lathe, and a
Drillpress. Turning the rings and using the old piece as a jig to do the through holes then come back and do the counterbores with a piloted counterbore


The black UHMW is more resistant to the UV than the white and is usually less costly

https://www.interstateplastics.com/U...ss=1.000&qty=1
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: Tucker Axle Housing Repair

When I rebuilt my 542 I wasn’t aware of the bearing tape and ended up installing addition grease zerks at the worst wear areas and thought all I could do was minimize any new damage. If I jack the cat up then I am able to get grease to the worst spots but I’m sure it just squeezes out when I let the cat back down. I bought my UHMW for the wheels and track guides from Professional Plastics because they had the best price with shipping.

https://www.professionalplastics.com/UHMWSHEETRODTUBE

I did also have to chuck them up on the lathe to get the correct press fit inside diameter and cut a chamfer on the back side to make clearance for the welds on the steel wheels.



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