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Ulrich independent front axles?


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#1 LolaGT

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 01:37 AM

Hello all,

 

I was reading an article in the July 1965 Rod & Custom magazine about Bob Braverman's mods to a Monogram Lola GT, and read about his use of independent front axles in this model.

 

I found a package of Ulrich independent front axles on da Bay, and bought them. Now I'm curious, as I don't think I've ever seen them before.

 

What are the pros and cons of these axles, and when were they popular? Why did people stop using them?

 

Thank you,

 

Ken


Ken Lyons




#2 Gary Bluestone

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 04:03 AM

They do get a bit sloppy or wobbly when they get worn out, and they are limited to a certain width, but using new ones should be good. They prevent the faster spinning inner front wheel from driving the guide out of the slot like any other independent front wheels.


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#3 don.siegel

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 06:44 AM

Not sure these were ever widely used in the States - don't remember using them at the time, or thinking about them very much... and then in '67 or so there were a lot of piano wire front axles with 1/16" holes on the wheels, thus giving independent action a lot easier. For what it's worth, many of the cars I've found on UK eBay from the same period (64-67 roughly) do have independent front wheels, using a variety of methods. 

 

For the width, you can cut them in the middle and use a sleeve to widen or narrow the axle...

 

Don 


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#4 Mattb

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:18 AM

We had them, but I don't remember them being much in use back in the '60s. I bought a couple dozen packs in a lot of parts back in the '90s. I don't remember getting much for them when I sold them.

 

Today guys put them on eBay and ask $8-$10 for them. Not sure they sell many.


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#5 Cheater

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 11:18 AM

Years ago, I had a couple of these Ulrich axles and never found them to work particularly well. The outer parts that are supposed to rotate freely on the center part of the axle simply didn't rotate all that freely IMO.


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#6 Samiam

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:09 PM

I'm guessing the original concept was to have independent fronts but still use your original threaded wheels. Keeps that original look.

 

Like steerable front ends, drop arms, and working suspension, just another slot car technology that became extinct.  


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#7 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:59 PM

They were the steel treaded axle stubs set into a brass tube? They would tend to bend and break at the tubing junction if they did not get worn out.  I have a couple in some (early 1960s) Pittman powered cars that still work, but there are better ways to make independent rotators.


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Larry D. Kelley, MA
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#8 Mattb

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 11:40 PM

That was it, Larry. The stub axle slipped into a piece of brass tubing that was crimped to hold the stub in place.


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#9 dc-65x

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 11:46 AM

Here's a picture of what is being talked about and one of the problems that can occur with this type of axle:
 

Here's the pieces-parts for the build:

Wilson890Screamer-082.jpg

Wilson890Screamer-083.jpg

The Ulrich axle was cracked right out of the package:

Wilson890Screamer-085.jpg

I seem to get a lot of them like this. You can rebuild the axles into a new piece of 1/8" tube... I found another Ulrich axle that was OK and moved on...


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#10 Cheater

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 11:59 AM

Interesting, as that not something one normally sees happen with brass tubing.

 

I would guess the brass work-hardened around the punch marks, which set up stresses that ultimately resulted in the cracking.


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#11 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 12:42 PM

Mine are soldered into tubing frames - no splits yet, just wobble a bit.


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#12 LolaGT

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 05:20 PM

Thank you for all the input!
 
I bought a 2-1/4" long axle for my Lola GT to use with my set of Cox Ford GT wheels. 
 
I agree it looks a little flimsy for 'big car' racing, but for 1/32 club track racing it might work OK.
 
The only problem I can see is that it's a little wide for my Lola, in fact the ends of the axle stick out of the fenders on my car. So, it looks like some shortening is in order.
 
One of my machinist friends came over yesterday with an interesting idea. He told me to solder a tube the axle will slip fit into between the axle tabs on my Mono frame to stiffen up the front of the car. Then, install the Ulrich axle and red loctite it in place, and drill a very small oil hole in the top center of the new axle assembly into the Ulrich axle.
 
He said red Loctite lets go at about 350F, so if your axle wears out you can remove and replace it without having to desolder the front off of your car. Also, if you decide to not use the axle anymore, a regular axle should still slide right into the tube.
 
Now, I'm just waiting for a couple more parts to show up.
 
Thank you,

Ken
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#13 Gill A

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:02 AM

Loctite 248.

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#14 TSR

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:46 PM

These axles came from a Japanese company of which name has been lost in the yonder of time, and existed in various lengths, from 2" to 3". They were marketed in the USA not only by Ulrich, but were standard equipment on many Pactra and Competition kits and RTR cars. They were also offered by Polk's Hobbies in Aristo Craft packaging.

If you go to some Japanese websites dealing in old slot car parts (deciphering nebulous Japanese language necessary...), you can find them in baggies of 100 in each available length, with only marking on a little cardboard label, their price in Yen...

#15 LolaGT

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:55 PM

I found this photo on eBay, it's the one the seller used to ad his axles. Whoever made these must have had some interesting quality controls - the top axle has much more threading than the lower one, and the lower one doesn't have the 'retaining'? indents on either side like the top one has, or not even punch marks. I have visions of the car this axle is mounted in spitting both the front wheels out the fenders. :shok:
 
There was a problem with my axles and the Monogram 1/32 brass frame. When I put the axle in correct position in my frame, the ends of the axle stuck out past the fenders on my Lola.
 
I ended up shortening my axle down to about five threads left on either end, and ground a couple of small flats next to the threads so I can lock a wrench down on them. Now I can thread my Cox Ford GT front wheels onto them and tighten them down, and the wheels do not stick out of the fenders too much. The alternative was cutting off both the front axle tabs off my frame and moving them in about 1/8" or so on either side. At least this way if I don't like this axle, I can remove it.
 
ulrich.jpg
 
Thank you,

Ken
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