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Within about one month, several knuckle pins (AMS 6470 steel failed, and required to have a minimum case hardness of 92 h15N, a case depth of 0.4 to 0.5 mm (0.017 to 0.022 in.), and a core hardness of 285 to 341 HRB) used in engines failed over a range of 218 to 463 h in operation. Visual examination revealed beach marks typical of fatigue cracks that had nucleated at the base of the longitudinal oil hole. Micrographs of sections revealed a remelt zone and an area of untempered martensite within the region of the cracks. However, review of inspection procedures disclosed the pins had been magnetic-particle inspected by inserting a probe into the longitudinal hole. Evidence found supports the conclusions that the knuckle pins failed by fatigue fracture. The circular cracks at the longitudinal holes were the result of improper technique in magnetic-particle inspection. Thermal transformation of the metal also causes a stress concentration that may lead to fatigue failure. Recommendations included insulating the conductor to prevent arc burning at the base of the longitudinal oil hole. Also, a borescope or metal monitor could be used to inspect the hole for evidence of arc burning from magnetic-particle inspection.

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