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Model T axle shaft material

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  • Model T axle shaft material

    I would like to turn out some axles for my '25 T project and was wondering what grade of vanadium steel would be correct or what the redially available substitute material would be.
    Rob Comer

  • #2
    I don't know what the original makeup was for the axles but I'm sure it would show up on the original drawings available from Ford. Someone on the MTFCA or MTFCI site (bbs) may have the information. It doesn't show up in the "usual" charts. If someone there knows the Ford material designation (A,AA, AAA, FS HS, etc) there's a chart on the MTFCI site that gives the formulation. With that, a close match to current steels might be found.

    Snyder's sells them made from 4140 for $75 EACH. I don't recommend 4140 because it's not high on the wear resistant chart. If you run the stock bearings, you'll need a high wear resistant stock. Also, the axles are in constant flex so hardness will have to be a prime consideration. You don't want them too hard or the constant flex will crack them. Not hard enough and the bearings will eat them up.

    I've got a '25 Touring in progress. Good to see you over here.


    • #3
      Bruce McCalley who has written many articles and books on the Model T says Ford's material designation was "AA" as of 1920. That would mean the axles did NOT have Vanadium added.

      Type AA steel:

      Carbon - .26 -.30
      Manganese - .65 -.80
      Chromium - .80 - 1.00
      Silicon - .10 - .20
      Phosphorus - .03 Max.
      Sulphur - .04 Max.

      According to MatWeb, that puts the composition in the 4130, 5130, 5132 group so I guess I was off a bit on 4140. My impression of 4140 doesn't seem hard enough.

      Hope this helps


      • #4
        Thank you,
        I'll have to look more into the exact material. I talked to some friends and they seemed to think that the snyder's axles may be too brittle and sometimes snap. The machinist here at school sudjested that i use 1144, supposedly it machines real nice as well.


        • #5
          1144 is rated poor for Toughness and only fair for Wear Resistance. Toughness is defined as: "The ability of a metal to absorb energy and deform plastically before fracturing".

          That doesn't sound like something you'd want for a Model T axle.