Thoughts on axle shaft seals - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-04-2019, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
fugitive
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Thoughts on axle shaft seals

I need to replace a unit bearing soon and thought while I have it apart maybe I should install some of the aftermarket outer axle shaft seals. My tubes get full of sand up to the inner seals. Any problems with them?

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post #2 of 15 Old 12-04-2019, 09:29 PM
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You are likely to hear many negative aspects about these and similar products, but I will relate my experience with them.
I needed to replace the inner seals about 70,000 kilometres past (leaking oil). I decided at that time to install outer seals as well, principally because I often run in muddy water and felt that the intrusion of this gritty slurry was the cause of my leaking seals. First step was to make certain the axle tubes were spotless and clean, I then painted the inside surface with tremclad rust paint. I then installed the inner seals outer seals and axles etc. The job was complete or so I thought.
One of the gurus on here mrblaine asserted that they caused more problems then they cured, and advanced that notion that it was now impossible to know if the inner seals were leaking, as no gear oil would come out the ends of the axle tubes (the exit being blocked by the outer seals). He spoke of differentials running out of lubricant with the resultant disastrous results. He was correct in that assertion, I had no way of determining if I was losing lubricant other then removing the fill plug and checking the level. Being a bit of a procrastinator, I knew (in my heart) that I probably would not check the level other then at every oil change. This concerned me, but I did not want to remove the outer seals as I felt they were doing what they were designed to do.
My solution was relatively simple. I drilled a small hole in the bottom of each housing in a protected area near the end of each tube and taped the hole out to 1/16th pipe thread. Now for normal street driving I leave the hole unplugged, but when going into the bush, I insert a pipe plug into each tube, to prevent water ingress until I return home or maybe a couple of days later even.
This has worked for me for the past 70,000 kilometres and I expect it to continue to do so in the future.
The only thing I should add is to make sure you give it a shot of grease at every service.

How can you trust an atom, they make up everything
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-04-2019, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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I hadn’t thought about an inner seal leak being undetected and now see how one could ruin a diff that way.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-05-2019, 06:17 AM
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Don't do it.

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post #5 of 15 Old 12-05-2019, 06:34 AM
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I thought about getting these a while back and for the exact same reason as the OP.

When I read up on them I good find nothing but not so good comments about using these.

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post #6 of 15 Old 12-05-2019, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fugitive View Post
I hadnít thought about an inner seal leak being undetected and now see how one could ruin a diff that way.
Indeed it would make for a bad day. Let me ask you this, do you think that an axle tube that is full of sand up to the level of the seals could contribute to an inner seal leak, and should the seal leak, how much of the oil would be absorbed by the sand before the leak showed up at the end of the axle tube? To say nothing about more sand getting into the tubes and turning into a sticky tar like substance, impeding the flow of oil even more.
I think if I were running on pavement, i would not bother with these outer seals, but I don't, so I have installed them.

How can you trust an atom, they make up everything
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-05-2019, 10:07 AM
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Not too many people would run those for offroad use either. I used to run mud all the time. A good car wash immediately after, is your friend. Your frame will love you too. I've spent $15 ($2 car wash) to clean under my Jeep after a mud run. People should listen to mrblaine if nobody else.

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Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-05-2019, 11:01 AM
Jerry Bransford
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My second TJ came with a set of axle tube seals, this is what I did with them...
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-05-2019, 02:09 PM
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A veteran snow wheeler I know recently commented that the outer front axle seals prevent what is apparently not an unusual occurrence for snow wheelers - water/slush in the axle tubes freezing solid while the rig is parked and immobilizing the front axle shafts. I can visualize that making for an "interesting" situation.

There are pros and cons to outer axle seals. Which outweigh the other depends upon one's particular situation and one's priorities.
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-06-2019, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFM626 View Post
You are likely to hear many negative aspects about these and similar products, but I will relate my experience with them.
I needed to replace the inner seals about 70,000 kilometres past (leaking oil). I decided at that time to install outer seals as well, principally because I often run in muddy water and felt that the intrusion of this gritty slurry was the cause of my leaking seals. First step was to make certain the axle tubes were spotless and clean, I then painted the inside surface with tremclad rust paint. I then installed the inner seals outer seals and axles etc. The job was complete or so I thought.
One of the gurus on here mrblaine asserted that they caused more problems then they cured, and advanced that notion that it was now impossible to know if the inner seals were leaking, as no gear oil would come out the ends of the axle tubes (the exit being blocked by the outer seals). He spoke of differentials running out of lubricant with the resultant disastrous results. He was correct in that assertion, I had no way of determining if I was losing lubricant other then removing the fill plug and checking the level. Being a bit of a procrastinator, I knew (in my heart) that I probably would not check the level other then at every oil change. This concerned me, but I did not want to remove the outer seals as I felt they were doing what they were designed to do.
My solution was relatively simple. I drilled a small hole in the bottom of each housing in a protected area near the end of each tube and taped the hole out to 1/16th pipe thread. Now for normal street driving I leave the hole unplugged, but when going into the bush, I insert a pipe plug into each tube, to prevent water ingress until I return home or maybe a couple of days later even.
This has worked for me for the past 70,000 kilometres and I expect it to continue to do so in the future.
The only thing I should add is to make sure you give it a shot of grease at every service.

Ya problem with the gurus opinion is that looking down your tube aint the way to check and maintain diff fluid level, should be pulling the plugs and checking, not looking down your tube.
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post #11 of 15 Old 12-06-2019, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ej132 View Post
Ya problem with the gurus opinion is that looking down your tube aint the way to check and maintain diff fluid level, should be pulling the plugs and checking, not looking down your tube.
You misunderstood the guru's (mrblaine) opinion. He did not recommend looking down the tubes to check the gear lube level, that is done solely by pulling the fill plug and checking from there. Mrblaine's point is that if there was an inner seal leak you wouldn't know it because no gear lube would be leaking out of the tubes, the aftermarket seal would prevent it from leaking out so you'd never know the seal was leaking.

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post #12 of 15 Old 12-06-2019, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fugitive View Post
I need to replace a unit bearing soon and thought while I have it apart maybe I should install some of the aftermarket outer axle shaft seals. My tubes get full of sand up to the inner seals. Any problems with them?

Like these
Man,how does sand get in your tubes? It's been a while since I've looked at a TJ 30 and can't remember whether there's a slinger just back of the axle shaft U joint yoke like a CJ 30. I would think a seal would be a good thing as long as the tube was vented. Maybe not.
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post #13 of 15 Old 12-07-2019, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80cj View Post
Man,how does sand get in your tubes? It's been a while since I've looked at a TJ 30 and can't remember whether there's a slinger just back of the axle shaft U joint yoke like a CJ 30. I would think a seal would be a good thing as long as the tube was vented. Maybe not.
You're thinking of the slinger on the pinion gear. There is no slinger on the axle shagts.

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post #14 of 15 Old 12-07-2019, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
You're thinking of the slinger on the pinion gear. There is no slinger on the axle shagts.
On CJ D30 front axle shafts there is a disc pressed on to the inner shaft just behind the yoke that helps prevent foreign matter from entering the axle tube. It may not be referred to as a slinger but it's there.

Edit: I guess it's referred to as a dust shield.
https://www.dennysdriveshaft.com/p96...to_keep_d.html
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post #15 of 15 Old 12-07-2019, 01:05 PM
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Although it has been stated that ". . . if there was an inner seal leak you wouldn't know it because no gear lube would be leaking out of the tubes, the aftermarket seal would prevent it from leaking out so you'd never know the seal was leaking," that isn't necessarily the case.

It is not uncommon when one does front axle work or overfills the TJ Dana 30 for oil to get past the seals and into the axle tubes. It is also not uncommon for that excess gear oil to be flung around by the rotating axle shaft, weep past outer tube seals (whether greased or not), and make a mess on the brake assembly, the inside of the wheel and the tire. Why would a leak from another cause, such as a faulty seal, behave any differently?

It is probably more accurate to say that an outer tube seal delays the discovery of a leak by reducing the flow of gear oil out the tube which could have an adverse result if one isn't paying attention to the condition of the undercarriage and lets it go too long.

Another way to look at it is that a little gear oil can make a very big mess and tube seals slow that down - not necessarily a bad thing for some people.

The pros and cons of outer axle tube seals for the TJ Dana 30 is a subject that will never result in a universal consensus.

Mr. Bills
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