Front axle seals and boots stepXstep

Banshee365

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I could easily take the brakes off and pack some grease in the spindle. That sounds like something I overlooked and something worth doing.

-Kelly
 

Floridianson

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:D The only reason I knew is that I did not see a lot of grease on the axle end when you finished. Mine had a big blob and had to catch before it hit the ground. Also pack the axle cap heavy slip it on without the gasket. Wipe off all that comes out, take off cap clean gasket area install gasket and cap. 8)
 

red devils dude

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very well done not many peple could do such a good write up. [thumbzup]
luckly for me my truck was some sgt's baby and it needs noting once the winch and paint is done.
 

rmgill

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How do the front bearings in the front wheels get serviced per the normal lube order? Does grease somehow migrate from the knuckles to the bearings or does that task fall under a separate but longer interval task than the rear axles and front boots?
 

No.2Diesel

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Thanks for the time and effort in posting the tech article. I think I need to do similar maintenance this week. I just started to notice my driver's side boot was wet but no fliud was leaking from the drum onto the tire. Is it correct to say that the inner grease seal is bad?

Maybe for a quick fix I can somehow RTV the zipper? and pump some more grease into the boots for now until I order all the necessary seals. Who is the one stop shop for these seals? When I first replaced the axle seal on the driver's side front rear axle I had ordered six seals, lock rings, and gaskets from Boyce Equipment. Would they carry everything for the front too?

Is it possible to obtain these parts without mail order from my local truck shop? Did Meritor (UK) buy the Rockwell drivetrain division? Does anyone have Part #'s for all seals inner & outer, boots, lock rings, gaskets, boot clamps?
 

Floridianson

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RMgill I could argue the fact of loading down the u joint type knuckle as I think it would only be for the ball type. I did not see a grease Zerk on my u joints and when they go out I will put Zerk type in. The bearings will only get what you load in the trough of the hub.The spindle should be loaded before you put it on. Was think about taking an old axle cap and drilling a hole and putting a Zerk on it and maintaining the bearings and the spindle housing that way but if it was over pressured and did not relieve it self buy flowing the axle shaft and in to the knuckle it would blow the grease seal in the hub.The wheel bearings should be good for many a mile as Long as you do not see water service.
Also it does not take a lot of water to enter the hub. If you ever have the spindle off look at the bottom there is a drain slot. Know it was said before but go in water check the front bearings as soon as you can.
 

Banshee365

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I removed the spindles today and repacked them with grease. I also honed the wheel cylinders some more today but I'm not happy with them. I need to get the truck rolling asap so I'm going to rebuild them for the time being. There isn't hardly any pitting but there is just enough to make me uncompfortable. I'm going to rebuild them for now and order replacements and replace them with new ones in after a little while. I'm going to reuse my lock washers but when I replace the cylinders I'll put new lock washer's on. Not near as much work as doing all the seals and worth it to me to get it driving for the time being and replace the cylinders later.

-Kelly
 

houdel

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Forget trying to buy boots and seals locally unless you live near a MV parts place. You aren't going to find any of the front boots, seals etc. at your local truck shop. Bearings and such maybe, but not axle seals or boots, they have no civilian counterpart. See the parts x-reference list at http://www.steelsoldiers.com/index.php?module=pagesetter&tid=10 for the civi parts you may be able to find or order locally.

IMPORTANT POINT No. 1: THE BOOT INNER CLAMP MUST BE INSTALLED AT THE TOP OF THE KNUCKLE! If you do not, the knuckle will knock the inner clamp out of it's groove when turning. I know, I replaced my inner clamp 3 times before I got it right. The illustration in the TM shows the clamp at the front of the knuckle, but the text tells you to install it at the top.

IMPORTANT POINT No. 2: USE A SELF LOCKING NUT ON THE INNER AND OUTER CLAMPS! If the new clamps you bought do not have self locking nuts, go down to your local hardware store and buy locking nuts. If the new clamps have metric threads and you cannot buy a metric locking nut to fit, buy a US (SAE) nut and self locking bolt to replace them. The SAE Bolts will not be the same diameter and length as the metric bolt, so buy the next larger diameter and next longer length SAE bolt. The extra length will not be a problem, but if you buy a shorter bolt it will be a real PITA to get the nut started on the bolt. This is the voice of experience talking! Also, the manual says to bend the bolt after the clamp is secured (presumably to prevent the nut from loosening). DO NOT BEND THE BOLT!. User a self locking nut and it will stay secure. Then if you have to remove the clamp for any reason, you can remove the nut & bolt without a problem.

IMPORTANT POINT No. 3: DO NOT CUT OFF THE EXCESS ZIPPER! If you use a zipper boot the TM instructs you to cut off the excess zipper after the boot is installed. DO NOT DO IT! The excess zipper is not in the way, does not contact any rotating parts, and does no harm if left in place. On the other hand, if you cut off the excess zipper and have to later remove the boot for any reason other than damage to the boot itself, the zipper will unzip at the cut end and you will have to replace a perfectly good boot for nothing! Again, this is the voice of experience talking!
 

houdel

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Very nice job, great explanation of what was done and great picks. Great to see another of my wheel socket wrenches in service (I've sold over 100 so far including 17 over the pond), with no complaints. My only suggestion - After removing the outer bearing cone, wrap the spindle threads with a couple of wraps of duct tape or a small piece of aluminum flashing rolled to a tight fit over the spindle to protect the spindle threads when pulling the hub/drum assembly off.
 

houdel

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rmgill said:
How do the front bearings in the front wheels get serviced per the normal lube order? Does grease somehow migrate from the knuckles to the bearings or does that task fall under a separate but longer interval task than the rear axles and front boots?
The bearings (front or rear) do NOT receive grease from any other component. They must be individually packed. There are specific bearing packing tools available, all the ones I have tried sucked.

I have packed more tapered bearings than I can remember. I use the "PALM" method. I put a good sized glob of bearing grease in my palm, then I take the WIDER side of the bearing (inside of an inner bearing, outside of an outer bearing) and squish it into the edge of the grease glob on the the inside of my palm at one edge of my glob. The intent here is to force grease between the inner and outer cages and through the rollers.

Then I rotate the bearing in my hand and repeat the process. This forces grease between the cages and the rollers. I continue, adding grease to my palm as necessary, until eventually grease is extruded out between the cages on the far side of the bearing around the entire perimeter if the bearing. At this point, when grease is forced out between the cages on the narrow side of the bearing, the bearing is fully packed and ready to install.

My method is more than a little messy and fairly labor intensive, but it does get the bearing fully packed with grease and ready to install. The important point to remember is that you have to continue the process until grease is forced out of the bearing on the narrow side of the bearing, opposite of the side you are forcing the grease into, around the entire periphery of the bearing. When you finally get to that that point, the bearing is ready to install.

It sounds more confusing than it actually is. Once you get the technique down, it only takes a few minutes to fully pack a bearing. the important point to remember is that you have to have grease coming out the far side of the entire narrow side of the bearing to insure the entire bearing is fully packed with grease.
 

clinto

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I did it Houdel's way for years until I bought a bearing packer from Lisle (same thing Snap-on and all the others sell). It's awesome, you just put the bearing in, press down and voila! You can see the fresh lube coming out.

But when we did BFR's axle seal (and repacked the bearings) we hit a snag........the bearing is too big! My style packer will only go up to 3.5" o.d.

The second style will go up to approximately 4.5" in diameter and can be used with any grease gun.

The third style is more of a production shop environment unit. You buy a 5 gallon bucket of your preferred grease then the bearing packer goes on top. You sandwich the bearing between the two halves, pump the grease into it and you're done. Maximum o.d. on that one is 5".

Some of our resident big diesel techs will have to show us what they use for bigger bearings.
 

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Banshee365

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When I get some time I'm going to make the article and Word document for a tech article for the TA part of the site. Are there enough pics? I didn't take pics of putting it back to gether because I did it alone but the steps are just reversed and the pics would be the same. Do you guy's think the article is incomplete or good enough. I'd like to know before I start working on it. Any large job I do I'll try and take pics and make a article out of it. Including doing head gaskets whenever the time comes for my truck.


-Kelly
 

tshields

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This is great!!!! I'm getting ready to replace the seals on my front axle of the duece I just brought home 2 weeks ago, but I do have a question. Where or how do you put the 1.5 gallons of gear oil back in the axle? I have drained mine, but I'm not sure where to fill it from.

Terry
 

Banshee365

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On the front axle, there is a plug on the back of the differential. Remove the plug and you will need a pump to pump the oil into the axle. I got one from advanced auto for like $6. I used MT-1 spec GL-5 80w90 oil. Fill the oil to where you can feel it a little below the threads on the fill hole.

-Kelly
 

maxim

Member
After reading and following this excellent article about front bearing and boot replacement I need to replace some bearings/seals too. I got to the inner seals and retainers, and bent up two sets of seal removers trying to get the inner seals and retainers out. Banshee35 says it is possible to knock them out if both hubs are apart by using a 6' long rod or pipe. Would the proper procedure be to push the pipe through from the other side and line up and the edges of the inside seal and strike the pipe from the other side while working around the seal/retainer? The retainer and seal should then start coming out? Does only pressure hold the retainer in the inner hub? I get the idea, but these seem to be in quite tight. Just perhaps some encouragement from some one who has used the pipe/rod method.
 

Banshee365

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I used the big heavy harbor frieght slide hammer with just the 2-jaw puller adapter with no claws on it. It took alot of might and not being afraid to do it as hard as you can to get them out. I went wussy on the first side and it knocked a few years off until i get arthritus and a sore hand. On the next one I gave it 3 good wacks with all my might and it came right out. The seal is punched out of the retainer after the retainer is out. You must obviously remove both axles to use the long rod method. When you remove them you can look right through the axle housing out the other side. Insert a long piece of rod and have a soldier 2 help you guide the rod into the right spots on the retainer before you go banging on it. I would rather do it this way other than the slide hammer but I didn't have a rod long enough. I had a bunch of rebar but didn't like the idea of sending that through differential gears, you want something smooth.

-Kelly
 

littlebob

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I'm very glad to see that this will be in a tech article. I've still got more painting and assebling to do, but that will be my next project after I complete the paint work. I would like to know where to get the unzippered boots for my project. I haven't looked too hard yet because I have a little way to go yet.
littlebob
 
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