Morgan Rear Axle

The reason for this website is to document my issues with the rear axle on my Morgan so that:

1. I can get advice on how to procede.

2. Others may learn from my experience.

Here's the little beauty up in the air (jack stands in back) so that I can grease the drive shaft and universals. While I was at it I decided to change the oil in the differential and grease the rear axle bearings. While it was up, however, I noticed that the rear wheels had some play. The wheel could rotate a little before anything more than the wheel turned, and it seemed to rock a little as well. Felt like the wheel was loose on its hub, but it wasn't.

This is a side issue, but I couldn't get grease into the rear universal, so I ended up taking out the seats and the drive shaft cover so I could see what it looks like.

Here's another view. I was able to lubricate that universal now!

Again somewhat off track, but here's the transmission cover. Looks like it has seen hard times!

By the way, the little hole way at the front of the cover is to lubricate the clutch throwout bearing. Its right under the heater (which I have removed).

Anyway, I removed the rear wheel. There are 4 small hex bolts that hold on the drum. The round-headed slotted screws are for positioning, and don't have to come out. I didn't know that, and removed them as well. It was obvious that the hub was loose on the shaft. It could rotate a few degrees and wobble without the axle shaft moving. To remove the hub I needed to remove the cotter pin from the axle shaft. Removing the cotter pin at the bottom of that tube was a real battle, but I finally got it off. The nut was tight, about 40 ft-lbs. The hub, despite being loose on the axle shaft required a puller, but not very much effort. I think the washer was preventing it coming off easily.

The book says there should be .006-008 (or .001-.005) end play. Pushing and pulling on the axle by hand I could not feel any movement, nor could I measure any play with the dial indicator.

The tapers on the axle shaft and hub look ok to me. When I just push the hub on by hand, it sticks and seems firm, requires some effort to break loose. But the hub seems to go on too far, the taper is coming through the hub about 1/8" so that the nut doesn't actually tighten the hub. There are 4 washers under the nut (there should be 1) but only one thin one has a large enough id to allow it to go over the taper. The woodruff key is somewhat beaten up. The hub is in enough on the shaft to have worn a groove in the brake cylinder.

The hub is stamped 3 H A. Based on the measurement of the differential, I have a 3HA axle, which would be correct for this car (1960 +4).

Here's a diagram of the axle. Here's another. Here's an article on the axle.

So I'm wondering how to proceed. I haven't removed the right side wheel or hub yet. There seems to be less motion on the right side than there was on the left. I believe I should:

1. Remove right side wheel and hub, see if it has the same issues.

2. Remove differential cover, see if it looks ok in side. There is a axle shaft spacer that might be worn.

3. But the big issue seems to be the hubs on the axle shafts. Based on the 4 washers and the fact that the cotter pin barely engaged the nut castellations, I'm wondering if I should just get a new woodruff key and enough washers to allow the hub to seat properly on the axle, and leave it at that. I've had the car almost 30 years, and this condition must have existed when I got it (although the woodruff key probably masked it for awhile) and I'm not likely to drive it for another 30 years!