Front end axle boots leaking both sides

jaws4518

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Both of my front end ball-joints are leaking oil. Left side just a little bit, the right side looks like a seal is out. I'm sure this has something to do with filling them up with oil a few weeks ago. I haven't searched the forum yet for HOW-TO answers, but I will. I took possession of this truck a year ago and it was straight from the depot. I have already fixed various oil leak issues by torquing down flanges etc... It looks like the boot flange is leaking?

I'm going to cut the wire and torque the boot flange bolts down before I take the front wheel hubs apart. I have already torqued the guard plate bolts to spec. They weren't that tight to begin with.

Any suggestions? Just don't want to tear down unless it is necessary.
 

snowtrac nome

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other than grease weeping out of kingpins that cavity is dry, if you are getting oil its coming from the inner axle seal insid the inner c on the axle. the knuckle must be disassembled and the axle removed to replace the seal. the boot around the knuckle is only there to keep water out of the axle tube in the spindle and dirt away from the seal its not there to hold in grease or oil.
 

M35A2-AZ

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Did you put oil in the knuckle or Grease? Only the Pumpkin gets oil (80-90w) The boot is just to keep grease in and water out.
 

sandcobra164

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When you filled the front differential with oil, did you stick with the "one finger knuckle in" before you touch oil technique or fill until oil ran back out of the fill plug threads? If you did the latter, that's likely you're problem. Looking at your signature, you have this issue on an M809 series truck. In that case, I'd keep a close watch on the oil level and see if it's still leaking once it's at the "one finger knuckle in" level. I have an M939 series truck that developed an occasional leak on the passenger side boot. Oil level was fine but since my truck is equipped with an air shift transfer case, I installed a set of de-splined hubs on the front axle. Now nothing turns and nothing leaks. You don't have that option since you have a sprag type transfer case. There is a modification for that but I've never owned one so I can't say for sure how effective it is. It involves making sure the sprag selector stays in the "neutral" position by applying or removing air pressure to both sides of the selector at all times instead of having it move when shifted from reverse to any forward position. If it works as the gurus say, you could also install de-splined hubs on your front axle. One additional benefit I've noticed is more power moving down the road since I'm not spinning my front axle internals. Call it a 2 hp upgrade but it is noticeable.
 

Floridianson

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Did you put oil in the knuckle or Grease? Only the Pumpkin gets oil (80-90w) The boot is just to keep grease in and water out.
Yep we put grease in the old Timken style ball axle so as to grease the old style CVJ with the balls. There is no way a spinning cross type u joint will allow grease to enter the needle bearings. It just slings the grease off before you go one mile down the road. That is why when you take them apart you find a cavity where the u joint spins. New style cross u joint axle knuckles just wipe out the old grease in the knuckle with lots of paper towels and leave it.
 
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jaws4518

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other than grease weeping out of kingpins that cavity is dry, if you are getting oil its coming from the inner axle seal insid the inner c on the axle. the knuckle must be disassembled and the axle removed to replace the seal. the boot around the knuckle is only there to keep water out of the axle tube in the spindle and dirt away from the seal its not there to hold in grease or oil.
Ok. Well, I guess I have three differentials now topped off with oil. Left side, right side, and middle. :p I took off the guard plate to see what was going on and oil came out of the bottom bolt holes, so I figured I needed to fill them back up. Those knuckles have (2) Allen plug screws. U-joint oil bath now. [thumbzup]

I probably do have a leaky seal on the passenger side due to the amount of oil that came out when I took the guard off. So, I will drain those knuckles then drain again after some use to get ride of the residual oil, then check again in a few weeks to see if there is any amount of oil in them. I shouldn't have oil coming out of those bolt 2 bottom bolt holes, right?
 

Floridianson

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Tell me really you did not put oil in your knuckles. For know keep you axle filled to the second knuckle on you finger and the axle knuckle drained. You have cross type u joint axles. Also buy having clean knuckles that means without packing grease in them for no reason if you go fording you can check to see if you got water by dropping one of the bottom bolts.
 

jaws4518

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Tell me really you did not put oil in your knuckles. For know keep you axle filled to the second knuckle on you finger and the axle knuckle drained. You have cross type u joint axles. Also buy having clean knuckles that means without packing grease in them for no reason if you go fording you can check to see if you got water by dropping one of the bottom bolts.
I sure did. Lol!:-D They leak just fine!

So, your differentials should be filled 1-1/2 below the fill plug. I have midget hands and fingers, no knuckles! :p

Just kidding! I will follow your instructions. So should I drop the oil level in the other differentials? I'm not seeing any issues with the rear axles. Not a big deal if I need too. I need to review my TM's LO maintenance procedures again. Yea, the day I did this I assumed I needed to fill those front end knuckles up because there was oil there, and there were 2 fill plugs also. I was on a roll...

How about the guy who filled his DEF tank with diesel? I heard a funny story about that incident. It was rather costly, plus total embarrassment.
 
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Floridianson

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I bet the two Allen plugs were put there when the axle housing was spected for the ball type axle. The old axle housing might have been up graded to the newer cross style later or maybe someone did not tell the manufacture to stop putting them in after the up grade. If you do one side at a time replacing the axle seal then your going to need a good size slide hammer to get the seal retainer out.
 

jaws4518

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Ok, thanks! I will drain those and let things dry up for awhile. Before I added the oil, it was leaking gear oil but not bad at all. Maybe it will stop on its own. This truck sat unused for 5 years before I got it. It had 17 hours on the drive train when bought it. I only have 144 hours on it now. I've hammers and tools to replace them if needed.
 
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