After visual inspection, the tech team noticed certain axle cages appeared to be substantially different compared to the OEM reference sample. The tech team measured the axle cages that were visually different and discovered the measurements to be significantly different compared to the OEM reference sample. Additionally, the OEM size ball bearing would not pass through the OEM reference sample but would pass through certain axle cages that were determined to be different in size and shape than OEM.
Further research on axle cage sampling proved that all legal axles contained balls that would not pass through axle cage. Axle ball must rest on inside of axle cage as depicted in image 6. Any axle sample that has an axle ball that passes through the axle cage is out of compliance with factory and remanufactured specifications.
NASA sent all cage samples to an independent Third-Party specialist for analysis of cages. The report concluded that the suspected illegal cages were proven to have altered machined surfaces and were out of tolerance compared to OEM or remanufactured spec.
It is through these findings that the axles were deemed illegally modified and penalties issued.