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Field fatigue failures occurred in a hand-operated gear shift lever mechanism made of 1049 medium carbon steel hardened to 269 to 285 HB. The failures occurred in the 3.18 mm (0.127 in.) radius. Redesign increased the shift lever's diameter to 25 mm (1 in.) and the radius to 4.75 mm (0.187 in.). Also, instead of the as-forged surface, it was expedient to machine the radius. The as-forged surface at 360 MPa (52 ksi) maximum working stress would not ensure satisfactory life because the recalculated maximum stress was 390 MPa (57 ksi). However, the machined surface with a maximum working stress of 475 MPa (69 ksi) gives a safe margin above the 390 MPa (57 ksi) requirement for design stress. Interpreting these values, the forged surface should have a life expectancy of 1,000,000 cycles of stress. However, because the load cycle was somewhat uncertain, the machined radius was chosen to obtain a greater margin of safety. Redesigning eliminated the failures.

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Redesign of a Forged Manual Gear-Shift Lever Mechanism to Overcome Unacceptable Fatigue Failure of Original Forging, ASM Failure Analysis Case Histories: Automobiles and Trucks, ASM International, 2019,

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