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Easy, Cheap Wire Axle Replacement


Snake45
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Ever work on an old wire axle kit--either a resto or a legacy reissue--and discover that you don't have the original wire axles, or you can't find one long enough for what you need, or you just want to fill in the holes in the engine & pan and not have the axle running through it? I've got a cheap, easy fix. 

Common round wooden toothpicks are almost perfectly sized. Shave or sand just a little taper into the pointy end, and jam it in the wheel back. Cut the shaft off a little longer than you need for the chassis. Sand just enough taper into that end to get it started in the chassis axle hole, and then press it right on in there. The wood will compress and it'll be tight.  Done!  Just did this to finish up an old AMT '69 Galaxie and it definitely works! :D

No glue needed. If you ever want to replace the wheels, or you find the right size axle, you can just pull everything back apart. 

Downside: The wheels won't rotate, so you can't push your model around the floor and make engine noises. Personally, I can live with this. B)

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Great, cheap tip Snake.

I've used the smallest aluminum tube I have to do that with, cut to length. You may need to drill out the wheel-back and locating hole a bit. I superglue them in. 

I don't build mine so all 4 wheels rotate. I'd hate to have one roll off at a height of something it's placed on;).

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1 hour ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

if you happen to live near any kind of decent hardware store, you can get 3 feet of 1/16" steel welding rod for about a buck. Cuts easily with dykes.

Permanent replacement.

Good tip, might try that. I have some 1/16" "piano wire" from the hobby shop that was my former go-to solution, but you sure can't cut it with dykes. I used a cutoff wheel in a Dremel, but this is such a PITA process I started looking for a simpler solution. B)

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I just make short axles from plastic rod with the ends heat swaged.

Then I just insert them from the inside of the chassis into the wheel.

This way you can attach the wheels without having the axle run through the engine block, and you can still allow the wheels to roll if you prefer.

 

 

 

Steve

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9 hours ago, Snake45 said:

Good tip, might try that. I have some 1/16" "piano wire" from the hobby shop that was my former go-to solution, but you sure can't cut it with dykes. I used a cutoff wheel in a Dremel, but this is such a PITA process I started looking for a simpler solution. B)

I also use the piano wire. I can cut it with dykes, but it's not easy.

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6 hours ago, Repstock said:

I also use the piano wire. I can cut it with dykes, but it's not easy.

You either have super hard dykes, or you don't  mind that the piano wire being cut damages the jaws.  I tried that once and the wire damaged the cutting edges.

What brand of dykes are you using?

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1 hour ago, peteski said:

You either have super hard dykes, or you don't  mind that the piano wire being cut damages the jaws.  I tried that once and the wire damaged the cutting edges.

What brand of dykes are you using?

get a pair of Kleins 

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20 hours ago, peteski said:

You either have super hard dykes, or you don't  mind that the piano wire being cut damages the jaws.  I tried that once and the wire damaged the cutting edges.

What brand of dykes are you using?

They're just an old pair that's been lying around forever. The jaws on them are undamaged. I have had piano wire damage other tools, as you have mentioned. There is clearly some risk to the cutting tool. 

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On 9/30/2021 at 2:01 PM, Snake45 said:

Ever work on an old wire axle kit--either a resto or a legacy reissue--and discover that you don't have the original wire axles, or you can't find one long enough for what you need, or you just want to fill in the holes in the engine & pan and not have the axle running through it? I've got a cheap, easy fix. 

Common round wooden toothpicks are almost perfectly sized. Shave or sand just a little taper into the pointy end, and jam it in the wheel back. Cut the shaft off a little longer than you need for the chassis. Sand just enough taper into that end to get it started in the chassis axle hole, and then press it right on in there. The wood will compress and it'll be tight.  Done!  Just did this to finish up an old AMT '69 Galaxie and it definitely works! :D

No glue needed. If you ever want to replace the wheels, or you find the right size axle, you can just pull everything back apart. 

Downside: The wheels won't rotate, so you can't push your model around the floor and make engine noises. Personally, I can live with this. B)

I used some round toothpicks on a '65 Pontiac 2+2 as a temporary set up and they worked so well on the Pegasus wheels I used I might just paint the toothpicks black and be done.

 

Edited by ZTony8
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To each his own. I use 1/16" stainless steel TIG welding  filler rod because it won't rust. Comes in straight 3' lengths.

You can also buy larger diameter rod for promo axles. Cuts easy with some USA made electrician's pliers or endcutters. Think Channellock.

 

Edited by Foghorn Leghorn
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On 10/2/2021 at 12:28 PM, Foghorn Leghorn said:

To each his own. I use 1/16" stainless steel TIG welding  filler rod because it won't rust. Comes in straight 3' lengths.

You can also buy larger diameter rod for promo axles. Cuts easy with some USA made electrician's pliers or endcutters. Think Channellock.

 

This is exactly what I do. Being a former welder, I happened upon this trick many moons ago. It works for me!

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A few years ago, the city came by and pounded a bunch of small, colored flags into my yard and other houses on the street as part of a gas/electric line revamp. After the work was done, I pulled the flags out and saved the wires from them - they are exactly the same as model car axles, but about 15" long; perfect for 4x4 trucks and other projects that take extra-long axles.

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