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Paul’s Putting on Powder

• CATEGORIES: Builds, Features • TAGS: .

Take it away Paul ….

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been disassembling, cleaning, bead blasting and repairing parts for the little Willys and the M100 trailer so they would be ready to be powder coated.  I still need to install new wheel studs in the hub flanges along with pressing in the new bearing races but that task should be finished tomorrow.  The driveshafts need one to be shortened and one to be lengthened before they’ll go to the powder coater but progress is being made.

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The blast cabinet is 48 inches wide overall and the axle is slightly over 53 inches long so I had a bit of a problem fitting the axle in the blaster and still having room to clean the rusty steel.  My solution was to leave the side door open and block the opening with multiple layers of cardboard (taped to the cabinet)  with a hole cut slightly larger in diameter than the brake backing plate mount on the axle to allow movement of the axle during blasting.  

Before I began blasting I added two more pieces of cardboard (cut to fit snug around the axle tube) to cover the larger hole in the cardboard end cover.  With this cardboard and duct tape combination I was able to carefully blast two thirds of the axle without filling the air with glass bead dust.  Once the axle section in the cabinet was clean I removed the axle, turned it end for end and inserted the rusty end into the cabinet to finish cleaning the metal.  This photo shows the low tech cardboard and cheap duct tape alteration of the blast cabinet so the axle blasting could begin.

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The air compressor was blowing lots of air but the glass beads still had to work pretty hard to clean all of the rust off this 65 year old axle.  The metal is lightly pitted (especially on the forward side) but I don’t feel the original strength of the axle has been weakened in any way.  I checked the axle and the spindles with a straight edge and a level every 90 degrees of rotation to see if it was bent but the axle tube and the spindles are straight.

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Here’s the axle just out of the blast cabinet ready to visit the powder coaters where it will receive a nice satin black coating.

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The first batch of parts has returned from getting powder coated but the parts for the trailer will be stored until after I complete the fabrication of the stainless trailer box and fenders in a couple of years. The trailer axle, backing plates, hubs and brake assemblies will be assembled as a unit before getting tucked away until they’re needed sometime in the future. After the Christmas/New Years activity calms down I’ll concentrate on the remaining jobs waiting for my attention on the little Willys along with ordering the necessary parts.

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The remaining parts for the M100 trailer axle have been powder coated so I was able to finish the final assembly before storing it in an out of the way location for the next few years until needed for the trailer..  I’ll continue with the Willys rebuild but when time permits I’ll begin duplicating trailer parts (grab handles, tie down brackets and other small items) from stainless steel.  Once the little Willys is completed I can work on duplicating the trailer box full time but I’ve already come up with a few ideas on modifications I’d like to incorporate which I think will improve the trailer’s appearance and function.

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Every part has been cleaned, inspected, glass bead blasted, powder coated (as necessary) or replaced with new parts (bearings, races, seals, lug nuts, studs and brake adjusters) before reassembly.  I didn’t like the thin covers that bolted to the ends of the wheel hubs so I installed a pair of splined flanges along with derby caps to match the front axle.  I feel the splined flanges add to the appearance of the axle and if I ever need a replacement flange for the front axle while on the road I can grab one from the trailer.  I really doubt this will be necessary but I like to be prepared.

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There was very little wear on the brakes and the drums so I reused these parts but all the hardware was replaced with new.  The m100 trailer was built in Texas in 1951 so I think this axle assembly looks pretty good when you realize it’s over 65 years old.

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3 Comments on “Paul’s Putting on Powder

  1. Alaska Paul

    The reason I use glass beads to blast rusty parts is because the glass beads don’t damage the metal like sand blasting can. After bead blasting the axle, the surface where the grease seal rides is as smooth as the day the axle was made so I don’t expect anything but the normal seal wear and that’s only after thousands of miles of use.

  2. Bob

    I love powder coating, but some things I would never do. Stuff that is in close proximity to the ground, stuff that flexes, wheels, etc. It chips, I’ve seen it come off frames and such. Remember when Ford was powder coating stuff under Rangers?

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