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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a small leak from the front right driveshaft seal. Trouble is I have now replaced the seal twice (not sure I'd got it in straight the first time) and it is much the same. Oil is seeping onto the top of the lower yoke that holds the ball joints. The sealing face on the dive shaft looks fine and the seal fits fine on the shaft. Near side seal is fine. I suppose wheel or diff bearings could cause the shaft to wobble and 'open' the seal but the bearings seem OK. Any other ideas please?

I'm also tearing my hair out with my diff oil leak. The seal face between the diff and the axle casing is dry but I get drips on the bottom of the case. In desperation I put two coats of POR 15 on the lower part of the diff casing including the drain / filler plug threads but still it drips. The highest place that is wet is the back plate (the plate with the filler plug) about 5 mm from the bottom. It seems to be leaking through solid metal and two layers of paint!

It's a 2000 4.6 Vogue but I don't think this makes any difference.
 

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Is your diff/axle vent plugged? If your diff is not venting it will build pressure when is hot and force the fluid out the weakest spots.

The diff/ axle vent is one of the black candy cane hooked plastic pipes in the engine compartment. There is a banjo bolt on the axle the secures the vent on that end. Crawl under reach up the vent as far as you can and wiggle it so a helper can stick a piece of masking tape or similar on it up top for identification. Clean around the banjo bolt and remove it. Blow out the vent from the bottom to ensure it is clear and reassemble. If it is plugged you dont want clear it from the top because whatever is in it will contaminate your diff fluid.
 

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Even if the vent is clear, it's not unknown for hairline cracks to appear where the diff casing was welded to the axle casting itself. Three options, new axle, weld it or epoxy putty.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I have just discovered that the height of the driveshaft in the swivel hub is adjustable (see RAVE section on swivel hub removal). A quick check shows that the O/S drive shaft appears to be way too high, judging by the gap between the driveshaft collar and the axle yoke, whereas the N/S one appears central. RAVE even says that you'll damage the oil seal if the alignment is wrong. I was a bit baffled as to how it would adjust with only the bottom ball joint being adjustable, however it appears that the top ball joint is not actually a ball joint but rather a sliding pin. Supposedly all I have to do is break the taper on the lower joint and turn the adjuster - we'll see if it is that easy. Of course you are supposed to use a special service tool that reportedly costs over £1000. I'll try to centre the collar in the oil seal annulus and see if that is good enough.
 

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You may want to replace that seal. If you go through all the work to centre the shaft it would really be the pits if the seal has formed itself to the higher position and leaks.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Had a look this morning but didn't get very far before I discovered that I have some play in the lower ball joint (MoT man missed it only about a month ago!). I think I need to replace the ball joints before I do anything else. I did have a try at breaking the tapers on the swivel joints but no joy. I may use an angle grinder on them if I'm replacing the joints anyway.
 

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1995-2002 Range Rover P38A
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121 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well I've replaced the ball joints and adjusted the hub by centring the collar in the driveshaft bore. All good so far, the slight clunk I had is gone, the steering feels tighter and no oil leak (yet!).

As others have posted, the swivel pins are quite a journey. I had had the driveshaft out to do the seal so I could get as far as the swivel hub quite quickly. The steering ball joint succumbed to my biggest ball joint puller without much fuss but I had nothing big enough to attack the swivel pins. In the end I put an angle grinder through both of them. Top one is easy enough but there is precious little clearance for the bottom one and I had to use a 9" disc to get through it. Sod's law ensured that the only orientation that would work meant the sparks were aimed straight at my face and prevented me from seeing what I was doing easily. (mind the air bag with the angle grinder!). Anyway once through the pins the swivel hub drops out and the pins bash out easily with a drift and a club hammer (so easy off the car).
To remove the swivels I used one of those eBay 21 piece puller kits. I did manage to do it with this kit but it was distinctly marginal. The top joint came out easily enough but the lower one was a complete pain. Despite heating the yoke several times it took several attempts and much more force on the puller than I wanted, indeed I bent the C clamp slightly. Although there are enough spacers in the kit to do the pins, they are not always ideal i.e. a little over-size which allows things to go out of line.

When it was all assembled there didn't appear to be that much play in the swivels - just a slight wobble at the bottom. Once I got the pins out I was shocked by how much play there was in the bottom joint, it would move vertically by a couple of millimetres - no wonder the oil seal leaked. I think the top pin joint resists side to side movement and fooled me (and the MoT examiner) into thinking the joint wasn't too bad. I didn't check for straight vertical movement and anyway the spring in the upper pin joint may well make it difficult to detect.

Having bent the C clamp slightly and splayed the notched spacer it was very difficult to pull the pins in straight. The top pin seemed to straighten itself but the bottom one put up a real fight. I left the adjuster where it was and re-assembled everything only to find that the alignment was miles out - the collar was practically touching at the bottom and about a 4mm gap at the top. So now I had to break the tapers again to move the adjuster - joy! Hitting the swivel hub downwards with a club hammer did the trick. I managed to re-assemble everything with the bottom swivel just lightly in the taper so I could turn the adjuster easily and centralise the collar. I ended up with the adjuster further out that I would have liked but so far everything seems OK.
 
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