The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotrodkiwi, May 8, 2012.
As long as it takes 1.5 tons to BEND a GM axle and not BREAK a GM axle...
I'm not aware of anyone who casts reproduction Chevy beam axles, but please do correct me if I'm wrong. Unlike Ford axles, there just wouldn't be any demand for the Chevy ones - see the last line on post #266.
Hi guys - here's some information relating to the broken axle.
‘Magnum’-brand I-beam Axle Safety Warning
"Do you have a dropped I-beam axle in your car? Or perhaps sitting in your garage or under your bed waiting to be used in your project? Or do you know someone else who has one? If so, you really need to read this.
Earlier this year, a catastrophic failure occurred on a brand new ‘Magnum’-brand I-beam axle in a newly-completed hot rod. On January 26, Mike Whitehead of Greymouth drove his beautiful new ’40 Ford pick-up for the first time, after four years in the build. During the car’s very first day on the road, as Mike turned to enter a car park, the left-hand end of the Magnum axle, with no warning, snapped off and dropped the left front corner of the car onto the ground, lurching the car to a chassis-scraping halt. Fortunately, Mike was only doing about 10 KPH at the time, and the car stopped without hitting anything or anyone. The possible consequences don’t bear thinking about if, instead, Mike was travelling at 100 KPH and the right side of the axle broke…
The Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association (LVVTA) learnt about the incident in April, contacted Mike, and arranged to take ownership of the axle. “We purchased the axle so that we could get to the bottom of why this frightening failure occurred” said Tony Johnson, CEO of LVVTA. “We needed to immediately know, for certain, what caused the failure, why it happened, and whether it was an isolated incident or it was part of a bigger issue”.
Upon receipt of the axle, Justin Hansen of LVVTA worked with the LVVTA Technical Advisory Committee and expert metallurgists during May and June in order to gain an understanding of the cause of the failure. The final reports, based on a microscopic analysis of a highly-polished cross-section of the material, showed that the failure was caused by a fault in the casting process, either from using the wrong material (such as normal ‘grey iron’ instead of the proper ‘spheroidal graphite [SG] iron’ – otherwise known as ‘ductile iron’ or ‘nodular iron’ or a fault in the casting process such as pouring the material at too high a temperature.
It seemed no coincidence that at around the very time that Justin’s work was going on here in New Zealand, an Australian hot rod magazine reported an identical failure with an identical axle over there. Tony then entered into discussions with one of the co-owners of The Magnum Axle Company in California, and learnt the alarming news that there was indeed a production problem, and that The Magnum Axle Company are well aware of it. The shortest possible version of a long and complex story is that a batch of 500 axles, manufactured during the 2008-2009 period, was faulty, affecting all 500 axles. Some of these axles have been identified and destroyed by The Magnum Axle Company, but many still exist, having been distributed to car builders and retailers all around the world before Magnum realised that the manufacturing fault had occurred.
Tony and the LVVTA team strongly urge owners of any Magnum or unidentified axle (Magnum axles have no identification marking like, for example Superbell) to take the matter very seriously. “It’s absolutely essential that anyone who has a Magnum axle establishes whether or not it could be one of the affected items, and deals with it immediately” says Tony. “If you might have one of these axles under the front of your car, please don’t drive it until you know your axle is OK – we believe that it’s not a question of if the axle will break in half, it’s a question of when.” LVVTA have developed a safety warning Information Sheet on this matter that details the situation, and explains what steps to take. This can be down-loaded free of charge by going to LVVTA’s website, which is www.lvvta.org.nz, and go to ‘Documents’, then ‘Infosheets’, and then find ‘Info 06-2012 Magnum-brand I-beam Axle Safety Warning’ which will be at the top of the list. The Information Sheet includes information on exactly which Magnum axles are affected, the testing process that LVVTA has developed which will determine whether an axle is safe or unsafe, and the situation in regard to obtaining replacement axles from The Magnum Axle Company. More detailed technical information on this matter will be provided by LVVTA in the near future."
Hats off to the LVVTA, for giving a damn,
and proving why these axle are breaking.
Magnum knows about this, and they have known for a while.
What are they doing, to protect their customers, and their cars ?
It's been five years since this issue came to light.
I'm wondering if there had been any more failures, and figured it'd be in our interest to bump this Back up for those who are not aware of it.
I replaced a broken Superbell axle last year on a friends car after it ran off the interstate and into the soft shoulder and ditch at about 75 MPH. I haven't heard of any other failures like the original post though.
Friends don't let friends use cast axles:
River Rouge steel, for life!
I believe that I may have posted this earlier however with good quality forged steel axles available there is no excuse or reason to use these cast ductile or nodular iron axles.
Unless the foundry is at the top of their game in quality control there's too much risk of casting flaws.
A forged steel axle will be superior in all ways.
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