Cross-bar fracture on Eric Worpe’s TC

In the 18 years prior to my ownership, my TC must have had a hard life. Its first minor rebuild started 4 months after purchase and that revealed broken outriggers, fractured rear shock absorber bracket and cracked bulkhead brackets, all the usual suspects.

However, during its subsequent 50 plus years, an additional fractured crown wheel carrier and fractured chassis were added to the list. A second major rebuild saw reinforcements of any remaining Achilles’ heels (see note at end of article), or so I thought, until an alarming clatter came from the back axle when going over the numerous potholes. Shock absorber bracket, I thought, and drove home.

An inspection revealed the bracket was ok, but the cross-bar supporting the brackets had fractured at the nearside tight bend where it turns to run parallel with the chassis. This ‘leg’ is then riveted to the chassis.

The fracture at the nearside tight bend of the cross-bar

We decided to remove the whole cross-bar by grinding away the heads of the rivets, not easy as the angle grinder only just manages to squeeze in. We ended up using an air powered “cut off tool” nibbling away at the heads of the rivets. The rivets will probably need to be punched through with a long 18 inch punch as the hot rivets tend to spread out, gripping the chassis hole, when being closed by hammering. The bracket parts were then MIG welded together and the offside bend was also reinforced as this would have been subjected to much the same  fatigue stress, due to potholes. The repaired cross-bar was then gently curved so that it could fit inside the chassis section and secured with 8mm socket cap bolts whose shank was long enough to cover the thickness of the bracket and chassis together. These were then torqued up to 33ft.lbf.

Two views of the repair to the nearside end of the cross-bar (the offside end was suitably reinforced).

Initially, I had made the mistake of thinking it was the shock absorber bracket that had fractured and carried on driving, little realizing that the fractured cross-bar end was being jogged up and down in the chassis section that held the rear wiring loom. This had taken a beating, but was mercifully still intact. Phew! A lucky escape.               

Eric Worpe

Ed’s note:

Eric is a ‘member’ of the “over 50 years of ownership club”. He purchased his TC way back in April 1964.

Ed’s further note: The concept of an Achilles’ heel dates from Greek mythology. When the child Achilles was born, it was foretold that he would die an early death. Distraught, his mother took him to the magical River Styx, whose water promised a coat of invulnerability, and dipped him in by his heel. Because her thumb and forefinger were clasped around his heel, that one part of his body was never coated by the water’s shield and never received protection.

Achilles grew up to be a great warrior who survived many battles. No one could defeat him until a poisonous arrow was shot into his unprotected heel. He died shortly afterwards.

The moral is that no matter how strong we might be, no one is invincible. The human condition necessitates a weak point in each of us.

However, when it comes to the TC, the condition is rarely terminal. Despite their Achilles heels, they are usually repairable!

(First three paragraphs courtesy of the Internet).

One thought on “Cross-bar fracture on Eric Worpe’s TC

  1. Jan W. Garnaes Johnson says:

    When I had to take my frame apart to repair an old ‘injury’, I found the best way to remove rivets
    is to use a very sharp chisel and a big hammer on one end, then drill a tiny hole through the shank, followed by a bigger drill bit, then drift the rivet out; if it doesn’t want to move, drill a bigger hole to give the shank material somewhere to go away from the frame; sounds crazy but it works!

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