Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?
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Thread: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

  1. #1
    FRESHMAN ROVER Razorbeam's Avatar
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    Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?-oil-leak-2.jpg Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?-oil-leak.jpg

    After a lovely day at Cars and Coffee, my rover decided it didn't like all that oil in the rear axle and spit some of it out the passenger side onto my wheel.
    I have read that this issue typically starts with a blocked breather. I crawled under the truck and did not see anything blocking the end. I may need to unbolt the banjo bolt on the axle housing itself and see if that is gunked up.
    Even if that is the cause of this leakage, I would imagine whatever seal is supposed to be preventing this issue has failed. I ordered the kit to replace the wheel hubs and related seals after reading the RAVE manual. Now that I have been reading a little further, I'm worried I need to replace the half shaft seals as well.
    Has anybody experienced this issue? What seals are primarily responsible for keeping the oil in the axle housing?
    1992 Range Rover Country SWB

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  3. #2
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    Please do not take this the wrong way – any chance this is old (dark) brake fluid leaking from the rear caliper? I had a front caliper leak in a similar way…..
    Last edited by RRToadHall; May 10th, 2019 at 05:50 PM.

  4. #3
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    If it is proper gear oil leaking out you will smell it. Stinks.

    Assuming it is the seal and not the brakes, there is not too much to it on the rear end. To get to the seal though you need to remove the brake caliber, then remove the drive axle, remove the bearing nut and pull the hub. You will then find the seal which basically keeps the oil from leaking out at the back.

    Few buts:

    Your brake pad is likely contaminated so you really need to change that (cheap), but you really should change left and right (so more work)
    If your brake disk is worn, this is the right time to change them since you will have easy access to remove, but you guessed it: left and right..
    If your bearings look unhappy you really need to change them (not expensive). This could be the reason for the seal failure as well (running hot or something)
    The bearing preload (or rather play) is a little sensitive. Too little play and it can run hot/wear too little and the additional play pushing your pads out and increases your brake pedal travel
    The greasing thing of the bearing I never get. They say to great them like a 'normal car', but then the whole thing bathes in oil so why?

    Not that hard or time consuming a job. Good access and cheap/plentiful parts.

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  6. #4
    SENIOR ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    the rear does not have 1/2 shaft seals, just the hub seal #ftc-3145, you may need ftc-5414 as well. the job is quite messy, a few rags and couple cans of brake cleaner do the trick. don't forget to degrease your pads and rotor and if possible blow thru breather and or clean with brake cleaner.
    2k p38 4.6
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  7. #5
    FRESHMAN ROVER Razorbeam's Avatar
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    Please do not take this the wrong way – any chance this is old (dark) brake fluid leaking from the rear caliper? I had a front caliper leak in a similar way…..
    No offense taken whatsoever. I am not immune from making simple mistakes, and I appreciate your input. It is certainly the stinky, sticky, syrup that is gear oil. Once it got cold it was like molasses.


    Quote Originally Posted by 95classiclwb View Post
    the rear does not have 1/2 shaft seals, just the hub seal #ftc-3145, you may need ftc-5414 as well. the job is quite messy, a few rags and couple cans of brake cleaner do the trick. don't forget to degrease your pads and rotor and if possible blow thru breather and or clean with brake cleaner.
    I plan on cracking them open this weekend to see what's what, but the RAVE shows there are stub axles and a seal within them as well as a "joint washer" (aka gasket) between the stub axle and the axle casing itself. You're saying that it's just the hub seals that are keeping the oil in the axle?

    The bearing preload (or rather play) is a little sensitive. Too little play and it can run hot/wear too little and the additional play pushing your pads out and increases your brake pedal travel
    The greasing thing of the bearing I never get. They say to great them like a 'normal car', but then the whole thing bathes in oil so why?
    The bearing preload part of this job is the only thing that scares me. The RAVE manual shows a dial gauge and states that end-play of 0.013MM - 0.05MM is acceptable. Is there an easier way to set preload? I'm planning on putting new bearings and seals in, I want to make sure the repair lasts.


    Thanks everyone for the input so far.
    1992 Range Rover Country SWB

  8. #6
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    [QUOTE=Is there an easier way to set preload? I'm planning on putting new bearings and seals in, I want to make sure the repair lasts.[/QUOTE

    If you change the bearing make sure they (the races) are fully in at their stops. The preload you can set by tightening the bearing nut, spin the hub a bit by hand to clear the grease and then slacking the nut about 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Since the drive shaft is not fitted the hub spins easily by hand. You should be able to tighten by hand (unless the thread is binding). Just don't tighten them up as then they will have no clearance to heat up. If they are too loose you will feel some play on the wheel after some miles of driving. In that case it is fairly quick to readjust the bearing.

    Make sure you have a decent jack/jackstand.
    Buy some additional lock washers (like a stack of 10). They are cheap. You replace these everytime you adjust/remove.
    Get the suitable large pipe socket that fits over the large nut. They should not be tight, but there are two locked against each other and sometimes people chisels them on (not cool). Having a little bit more grip on the nut makes the job a little easier.

  9. #7
    FRESHMAN ROVER Razorbeam's Avatar
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    [QUOTE=JS5D;2262650][QUOTE=Is there an easier way to set preload? I'm planning on putting new bearings and seals in, I want to make sure the repair lasts.[/QUOTE

    If you change the bearing make sure they (the races) are fully in at their stops. The preload you can set by tightening the bearing nut, spin the hub a bit by hand to clear the grease and then slacking the nut about 1/4 to 1/2 turn. Since the drive shaft is not fitted the hub spins easily by hand. You should be able to tighten by hand (unless the thread is binding). Just don't tighten them up as then they will have no clearance to heat up. If they are too loose you will feel some play on the wheel after some miles of driving. In that case it is fairly quick to readjust the bearing.

    Make sure you have a decent jack/jackstand.
    Buy some additional lock washers (like a stack of 10). They are cheap. You replace these everytime you adjust/remove.
    Get the suitable large pipe socket that fits over the large nut. They should not be tight, but there are two locked against each other and sometimes people chisels them on (not cool). Having a little bit more grip on the nut makes the job a little easier.[/QUOTE]

    I ended up ordering a cheap dial indicator off amazon last night. I also watched a few youtube videos on it, and it looks pretty straightforward. Might as well do it right if I'm going through the trouble. I figured its one of those tools that will float around the garage for about 5 years before I need it again, but at least then I'll have it.
    Also, I ordered the hub nut "spanner" (as the wacky Brits say). Its LR part # RTC639 and can be found pretty cheap from a few websites.
    1992 Range Rover Country SWB

  10. #8
    FRESHMAN ROVER Razorbeam's Avatar
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    The more I have been studying the RAVE diagram, the more I think that replacing the hub seal will not do anything to keep the gear oil from coming out. I beleive that the seal which is responsible for the gear oil is inside the stub axle and I think that is what I need to get to to stop the leaking I'm experiencing.
    Here are the relevant pages from RAVE with the seal I'm referring to highlighted.
    Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?-rave-hubs-1.jpg
    Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?-rave-hubs-2.jpg

    Does anybody have experience with this and can confirm that this is the seal? It doesn't seem like the rear hub bearings are in oil at all, I don't see how they would be exposed to it with this setup.
    1992 Range Rover Country SWB

  11. #9
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    The sub axle seal (inside) has an interesting history. Yes it separates the bearing grease and the diff oil, but it was not in the same axle design from the beginning. I rebuilt several Series and RRC/D1 axles and only in the very latest is the stub axle seal included. They started introducing it at the front only on Series vehicles. On most there is no seal fitted and no means to fit a seal.

    It is therefor extremely common for the bearings to be lubricated by diff (or swivel hub) oil. What I imagine happened is that with just the one (outer) seal holding the oil in designing in a second (internal) seal provides more protection against oil leakage past the external seal which compromised the brake (not good).

    So it is an improvement in the design, but not a necessity.

    For sure changing the internal seal is a lot more work (if you want to use the lock washers etc), while the outer seal when in good condition hold the oil in just fine. There is also the added benefit of additional lubrication of the bearings with gear oil.

  12. #10
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    Just to mention that of course you can remove the stub axle while you are there and change the internal seal, which in fact on the rear is not 'that much more work'.

    When I said a lot more work, I was (incorrectly) recalling the seal replacement of the front axle, which has a 3rd seal that separates the diff oil from the swivel hub oil. It is a lot more work to get to that seal as you have to remove the swivel ball. I think on my 84 Rover that seal is passing since I keep topping up my swivel ball housing only to find the level is well over the fill plug in the diff housing.

    Oh well, at least there is oil and it is fresh!

  13. #11
    FRESHMAN ROVER Razorbeam's Avatar
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    For sure changing the internal seal is a lot more work (if you want to use the lock washers etc), while the outer seal when in good condition hold the oil in just fine. There is also the added benefit of additional lubrication of the bearings with gear oil.
    Interesting insights here. So, it seems that originally they were oil bearings, and intended to be lubricated by the gear oil, however, with the addition of the stub axle seal, they became grease bearings. You seem to imply that I don't need to worry so much about the stub axle seal.
    My question is then, what seal keeps the oil from leaking out. The rave pages I posted do not show an outboard oil seal, just the one behind the inner bearing. I don't understand how that design would keep the oil from leaking out of the hub.
    Also, is there any chance you know the part # for the stub axle seal? I can't get a firm answer online.
    1992 Range Rover Country SWB

  14. #12
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    The seal that is leaking and needs to be replaced is part #14 on the diagram.

  15. #13
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?

    Just replace both seals while you are there.

    The larger seal (nr 14) in your diagram should be:

    Item:
    FTC2783 (superseded by FTC4785?)
    Fits:


    • Discovery I | '94 - '99
    • Range Rover Classic | '80 - '95 | Has smaller "lip" than FRC8221
    • Defender 90 | '94 - '97
    • Defender 110 | '93


    Item: FRC8221 (also superseded by FTC4785?)

    Fits:


    • Range Rover Classic | '87 - '95 | Has taller "lip",than FTC2783
    • Defender 90 | '94 - '97
    • Defender 110 | '93





    Possibly the tallness of the lip has to do with creating a different running point on the seal 'land' in case there is wear, not sure. Not terribly expensive ($0.7-$10 depending on make). I suggest you also look at buying direct from the UK which might be cheaper and I find often quicker. Cortego is the preferred brand (apart from LR original). I normally use something like www.lrdirect.com

  16. #14
    FRESHMAN ROVER Razorbeam's Avatar
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    So I got the hub off today and the axle drained. It looks like the oil is escaping from the axle shaft end and not out of the rear (#14).
    Also, I’m more confused than when I started. I am able to pull the axle shaft out and if oil is allowed to travel along the splines, does it just stay in the drive member without a seal because it’s not pressurized?
    I pulled out the banjo bolt on top of the axle and the breather was clean. Not sure what’s causing the oil to come out.
    1992 Range Rover Country SWB

  17. #15
    FRESHMAN ROVER Razorbeam's Avatar
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    So, last night I was able to pull the stub axle off and I finally determined the cause of the oil leaking. The seal which seats on the inside of the stub axle had become unseated. It was inside the axle housing when I pulled it off. This seal rides on the axle half shaft and there is even a thicker machined face on the half shaft where this seal rests.
    The part # is FTC5268 and May be the same as the front axle stub seal but I’m not sure.
    These hubs, at least on later RRCs which have ABS, are grease bearings, and should not have oil in them. There is not a mechanism to keep the oil from leaking out other than the dust cap.
    I decided that even though I had a shop replace these bearings 3 years ago, it was worth it to replace everything while I was in there and pack it all with grease. There was no grease in the bearings left at all, only oil.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?-cbd08f7d-2f01-4a4d-8e98-87ad8e3acf08_1557838783948.jpg   Leaky Rear Axle - Which seals need replacing?-03db73b0-f3ea-4d63-8fbc-7a916caa2b28_1557839391767.jpg  
    1992 Range Rover Country SWB

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