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Old May 11th, 2010, 09:47 AM   #26
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

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The AXLE broke ?
Right..I think you know where I was coming from. Refering to it as a beam,as in I-beam.... as it is not a tube axle.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #27
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

I'm with Walt on this one for sure... since almost every t bucket owner I know (and I know hundreds) runs this type of setup.

We really need to know what part failed and if possible figure out why. Also need to know what parts were polished stainless or chromed steel.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:18 AM   #28
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

I sent Walt the photos I have. Hopefully it helps you guys out.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #29
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

One positive though, albeit sucky, is that if it was built once, it can be rebuilt. You guys know that many of you have taken gonner cars and made them really work. I bet this one can be put back together. Heck, that's a mint condition car in Illinois!
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #30
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Yes..... The axle broke. Now did it brake first or did it brake when it hit the tree? I also suspect that the axle is stainless steel rather than chromed steel. Either way the axle should have never broken. Bent yes. Broke no.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:58 AM   #31
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Oh...And by the way..Yes , it had way too many leaves up front so it probably road like a buckboard but as light as a Volksrod is up front it should have never broken.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #32
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

I know there are cast iron axles on the market.

Someone who knows what they are looking for,
can tell if the axle broke before it hit the tree.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #33
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

OK, I am a metallurgical engineer. I also know considerable about plating and hydrogen embrittlement (HE).

Any acid processing can induce hydrogen into the metal. Plating is especially bad since hydrogen gas is produced at the metal surface when the metal plates on. Baking after plating is done to reduce the effects of HE. HE is a failure that occurs when the part is under constant tensile stress, above the threshold value, in a susceptible metal. In simple terms, it has to be a high strength steel (typical values are Rockwell C 30 or above considered susceptible. The stress level has to be pretty high, greater than 50% of yield. A real HE failure happens within 72 hours, many times within a few hours! Not over long time and cyclic stress <-- that is fatigue cracking and an entirely different crack mechanism. HE is an intergranular fracture mechanism that follows the grain boudaries and looks like rock candy on the fracture surface with usually little corrosion. Fatigue has elliptical beach marks and is smooth in the fatigue crack area that is intragranular fracture then has ductile overload for the remainder. Can have corrosion on the beach marks area.

Just because something is chrome plated does not mean it failed by HE. The thing that is key factor is time for failure for true HE is short. Fatigue is long time to failure. HE must have three factors present: High sustained tensile loading, Part that has been exposed to some source for hydrogen, and Susceptible material. Aluminum for example is not HE susceptible; low strength steel is not HE susceptible; heat treated steel can be susceptible.

Without seeing detailed fracture surface pics and some better understanding of the crash, I can not say what the reason for failure was.

I can say that the axle should not have broke, but it could also be broken from the crash and not the root cause. Same for the rest of the broken perch bolt and rod end, need to see the fracture surface and understand the crash better.

The reason stainless bolts are not used on suspensions is because a typical stainless fastener is low strength, like a grade 2 junk steel bolt level. There are high strength stainless bolts, but they are costly. Most people using hardware store stainless are using low strength fasteners.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 11:34 AM   #34
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Don't see the passenger side spindle in the last pic.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #35
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

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Baking after plating is done to reduce the effects of HE.

And baking needs to be done right after plating, there are military specs for this. Not something you can do at home later.

Most Chrome places don't know anything about HE or baking.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 01:50 PM   #36
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

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And baking needs to be done right after plating, there are military specs for this. Not something you can do at home later.

Most Chrome places don't know anything about HE or baking.
Good point, the sooner it is out of the plating tank and into the oven, the better. Typical specifications are 1 hour max time from exiting the plating and 350-400F for 4 hours duration.

Good plating shops will know something about HE bakeout process, but you have to tell them you want that and it will add small additional cost.

Also keep ini mind any plating can cause HE, not just chrome. Zinc, nickel, acid copper can all cause embrittlement. Cyanide copper is not embrittling, but is getting hard to find due to safety issues. Most copper now days use acid copper tanks. Good chrome plating job will be three layers: copper, then nickel, then chrome as the last; which is the reason you hear "triple chrome plated".
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Old May 11th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #37
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

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Don't see the passenger side spindle in the last pic.
I'm curious about that myself Unk. There is a possibility that it is a cast aluminum axle which would explain it braking but the missing spindle is more likely the failed part.
I'm hoping to get a call from the owner of the car soon. If so I'm sure he will shead some light on the whole subject.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #38
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Walt,
I got your number on it's way to the owner. Probably won't get to him until this eve.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:21 PM   #39
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Had my eye on this thread since it came around.. just hadn't said anything until now..

first and foremost, I'm glad the owner is safe and doing well (minus the leg and other minor injuries..)

Everyone's analysis of the parts and reasons for failure is interesting..

but the first thing that came to mind for me, and i don't konw if this is possible, I know I personally couldn't do it, but I'm sure someone could.., was, wouldn't it be possible to cut the trunk off just before the windshield, and put a new front end on? Seems like all the damage is centralized to the front passenger side with some residual rippling effect damage elsewhere..

Like I said, this is WAAAAAY out of my skill level, but I don't think the car should be called totalled yet..
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:43 PM   #40
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

My buddy Matt is trying to get him to fix it.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:34 PM   #41
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.




The end of that beam sure doesn't look like cast or forged iron from the picture. The beam also doesn't quite have that "chrome" look. Aluminum sound's like a match on both those counts and the fatigue aspect as well. Glad it was just a tree he hit, and just metal that got injured.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #42
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

What a huge bummer. Glad the driver is OK.

I'm interested in finding out more details as Walt gets them. Keep us posted!
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Old May 12th, 2010, 07:55 AM   #43
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Received an email back from Lonnie. He has created a Volksrod account, just having some issue with posting. Should be hearing from him soon on the accident.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 08:17 AM   #44
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markh
Received an email back from Lonnie. He has created a Volksrod account, just having some issue with posting.
he's gotta post an intro before he can do anything anywhere else~
So if ya see this Lonnie~ go here
http://www.volksrods.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=9
make a thread with a bit about your self then you can get back here to post.
Sux about the car,
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Old May 12th, 2010, 09:41 AM   #45
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Thats too bad .
Looking at the close up .. the fractured area of the axle looks like a casting. I know alot of these axle are cast iron . The question is from where? Mr. Rodster has most of their items made it China. China as we all know do not follow through with good quality control standards. It would be interesting to see what the other side looks like .
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Old May 12th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #46
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

One of the big brand name streetrod axle companies made
some in Aluminum a few years ago, they were slightly larger.
No idea if they were cast or forged. Something tells me they
don't make them any more.

Another big name was working on a Stainless axle,
to get away from the cost of Chroming.
That appears to have been shelved.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #47
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Its a true shame, beautiful car!
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Old May 12th, 2010, 12:45 PM   #48
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markh View Post
Received an email back from Lonnie. He has created a Volksrod account, just having some issue with posting. Should be hearing from him soon on the accident.
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he's gotta post an intro before he can do anything anywhere else~
I have bypassed this for Lonnie's account. He should be good to go now next time he comes on here.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #49
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I have bypassed this for Lonnie's account. He should be good to go now next time he comes on here.



After years of ripping into newbies for not posting an intro, we finally institute software to prevent them from posting without one, and before anyone even knows it's in place, it's being circumvented...

hehe, sorry Boss man, just had to give ya some shit, special circumstances call for special deals :P
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Old May 12th, 2010, 08:05 PM   #50
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Default Re: Loss of a great car.

Gentlemen, my name is Lonnie Gilbertson, I built and own the Fire Bug. I appreciate and am humbled by the concerns expressed here. I am 65 years old and have been building cars all my life. (check me out at Lonnie's Place.com). I want to share the truth in hopes that I can prevent someone else bearing the grief that befell me. I took crap from my V8 buddies when I started to build my bug, however, I remembered the 1835 in my Dune Buggy I did in the 70's and knew the potential. Being an old Hot Rodder the early Ford straight axle kit by Speedway appealed to me, so I bought a 1975 standard Bug and was on my way. I will be happy to share the build with anyone that needs information. But for now I will skip to taking my 2332 cc 091 bus transaxxle Hot Rod Fire Bug to the Portland Roadster Show. At shows end to the amazement of several people I drove it home. I left the show floor all smiles by the time I got home I was all frowns. The car was un-drivable. To keep the car between the curbs was a major undertaking. In analyzing the problem, I discovered that sitting on the ground I had a normal 1/8" toe in, I could jack the car up at the perch bolts and it wold change to 1/2" toe out. At this point you might think bump steer, however, lifting at the perch bolds induces no suspension movement. The problem was axle flex. I could measure from the frame to the center of the king pin, jack it up to take the weifht off the tire and the king pin would move out 1/8" plus. This on a car that weighs little on the front compared to the V8 this setup should carry. With my experience it did not take long to figure out the steering set-up Speedway said to use would not work. I bought a cross steer rack and pinion and set it up in a traditional Hot Rod style. In an unconventional way I built my own steering arms and hooked everything at the top of the spindle. Thinking I might have created my own problem I bought Speedway dropped steering arms and moved the tie rod to the bottom of the spindle, like it would be stock. The net result was 1/4" tow change instead of 5/8" with the tie rod on top. I called Speedway and was told that I bought an early kit and all their early kits were junk, they have done a re-desigh to correct problems. I told them I had corrected the problems, however, I had trouble with axle flex, they told me to call the Manufacturer, it wasn't their problem. A call to the Manufacturer put me in touch with the owner he was very interested in helping me fix my problem. He suggested different alignment settings. Changing to his suggested settings the car semed to settle down. On Friday evening I test drove the car and had a friend do the same, although it was not perfect it seemed safe. Five O'clock Saturday morning I left my house by 5:10 am the Fire Bug was destroyed. A friend that was following said that it looked like the car dropped on the right front and left the road. From the drivers seat the Bug took a hard right, in trying to steer left nothing happened, I impacted a mail box, an oak tree, and a telephone pole. With cross steering the right front is the master and left the slave. If the right becomes disconnected you have no control of the left. It happened so fast I can't tell the order of events the only facts I know are:(1) it is a 5" drop cast iron axle,(2) The king pin boss on the right front is broken in half. (3) The axle is broken in half 2" inboard of the perch bolt. (4) The heavy damage to the right front wheel is on the inside as if it was turned hard right on impact. (5) I could not bring the car left once it took off right. (6) A friend that was following said it looked like the car dropped to the right before it left the road. I will never! Never! Ever run a cast axle again. On a personal note admit-tingly I am a Sunny Day Driver, however, I do not own Trailer Queens. I hope this helps someone. Thanks for letting me express myself. This is the first time I have ever posted anything to any site. I hope this will get read and not lost. Thank You,
Lonnie

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