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Unread 07-03-2010, 01:37 PM   #1
VMI Jeeper
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Axle Seal Leak?

Alright, I have two questions for all you guys and gals who are smarter than me out there in the Jeep world.

1. Earlier this week I went and had my tires balanced and got my yearly state inspection. During the tire balancing the mechanic told me that my right rear axle was shot and needed to be replaced. So after a quick trip to Advance Auto Parts for a new seal and some gear oil I got to work. Changing out the seals wasn't too much of a problem. I did get a little bit of dirt/sand/grime in the axle tube but I cleaned it out pretty well. I popped the new seal in with a short piece of 4x4 and a hammer and all looked good. Finished up and I was on my way.

Well earlier today I walked outside and I was smelling gear oil. I jacked up the rear end and popped the tire and drum off real quick. Sure enough, there was a little bit of gear oil around the seal and axle shaft. There wasn't a whole lot of gear oil, just a little bit collecting towards the bottom of the seal. There wasn't any dripping on the driveway or anything like that. Now I don't think I got a bad seal so I was wondering if there was anything else that could cause the leaking gear oil. There is very slight play in the axle shaft (about a millimeter). Is this normal for the axle shaft to move like that? Could the dirt and grime getting in the axle tube or bearing have something to do with this?

Ok, now for the second question...

2. Before I get flamed for posting this next question, just understand that I've searched and I've seen a million different solutions for this, I am just confused about one thing.

From about 45-55 mph I have some shaking in the steering wheel. It is NOT a death wobble, just some shaking. Like I said, I've had the tires balanced, I rotated them and I've checked the steering components and everything looks good. I'm not asking for a solution for the problem, I just want to know if a new steering stabilizer will fix this problem. All the other threads I have read said that steering stabilizers are just a band-aid fix for a death wobble, but I do not have a death wobble. Just an annoying shake in the steering wheel. I am just not clear if a steering stabilizer is band-aid solution for both a death wobble and an annoying vibration/shake in the steering wheel.

I hope nothing I wrote was too confusing and thank you ahead of time for any input!



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Unread 07-03-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
Mousejockey
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1) with the wheel/axle in the air, lift up on the axle flange or tire if its still on. If there is up and down movement your bearing is probably bad, allows the axle to move and oil to leak.

2) Steering stabilizers only mask/cover up problems Yes it may help you, but it is not solving any problem which will prob just get worse.
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Unread 07-03-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
VMI Jeeper
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1. Well there is no up and down movement to the tire. Just the slight in and out movement (about a millimeter). That's making me assume its not the bearing.


2. As for the shake, when I had my tires balanced, I didn't get them Road Force Balanced, so I think that is probably the reason for my shaking.
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Unread 07-04-2010, 08:06 AM   #4
VMI Jeeper
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Anyone have any other thoughts on the leaking gear oil?
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Unread 07-04-2010, 09:16 AM   #5
mrblaine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VMI Jeeper View Post
Anyone have any other thoughts on the leaking gear oil?
It's not uncommon for a seal to weep slightly. Dirt, dust, and brake grime collect on the oil and as the axle moves in and out slightly, some of it can migrate between the lip on the oil seal and shaft. As the axle turns, that grit can wear a groove in the seal surface on the axle and let it weep or leak more.

I've also had them leak slightly like that and do nothing more than pull them and clean out the mess and make them quit weeping.
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Unread 07-04-2010, 09:26 AM   #6
rock-rocker
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Did you put any grease on the seal after you installed it? It's agood practice to put a good film of grease where the shaft runs on the seal. This will help it to seal and not run dry causing pre-mature wear.
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Unread 07-04-2010, 09:29 AM   #7
mrblaine
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Did you put any grease on the seal after you installed it? It's agood practice to put a good film of grease where the shaft runs on the seal. This will help it to seal and not run dry causing pre-mature wear.
It's a bad practice to grease the seal surface. If you want to put some grease somewhere, take the seal and fill up the lip on the INSIDE of the seal.

Any oil or grease next to the lip on the seal holds dirt and will take out the seal surface eventually.
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Unread 07-04-2010, 11:46 AM   #8
Mousejockey
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How was the axle when you replaced the seal? Is it bent? Was there a grove in the axle where the seal rides?
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Unread 07-04-2010, 11:57 AM   #9
VMI Jeeper
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The axle looked good. There wasn't any grooves or bends that I noticed. The only offroading I really do is the on the beach and a few trails around here, nothing serious. I can't imagine anything I do causing the axles to bend or get jacked up. I wiped the axle shaft and axle tube very clean when I replace the seal, although there was still a lot of dirt/grime on the brake assembly. In hindsight I probably should have gotten a couple cans of brake cleaner and really cleaned everything up while it was all apart.
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