Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dana 30/44 Axle Tube seals

I have been selling and using axle tube seals for a long time now, and a couple of the problems I have found when people purchase them and fit them there selves is not clearing out the axle tubes before fitting, and not cleaning up the axle shafts. Below I have described how I fit these items, and I hope this helps people.

First “What is an axle tube seal?” An axle tube seal replaces the plastic style washer that is fitted to the axle shaft. As you can see from this photo there is a gap between the axle housing and the washer. So water and mud/grit/dirt can enter the axle tube. The seal to prevent oil escaping from the diff is at the pumpkin end so the whole axle tube can fill up. This build up of debris can sometimes cause the seal to fail, and to replace the seal the diff has to be removed so not a quick job. The idea of the axle tube seals is to prevent water and mud/grit/dirt entering the axle tube in the first place.

002 With the axle shaft removed take a torch and have a look down the axle tube, if you have been off-road with the Jeep you might be surprised at how much muck has built up in the tube.
Now this is where some people have gone a little bit wrong. They fit the axle tube seal and push the axle shaft back in. The only problem with this is the shaft slides along the bottom of the axle tube pushing the debris into the axle housing/pumpkin, this can cause premature bearing failure. A simple solution is to make a tool to clean out the axle tube. Here you can see what I use, but a simple way to make one is a length of threaded rod and a large repair washer. Get a washer just slightly small in diameter then the inside of the tube, and cut it just above the hole in the centre, fix this to the thread rod with a couple of nuts. You can now slide this into the axle tube with the flat section to the bottom, when you reach the inner seal rotate 180 degrees and pull out. Repeat as necessary, I normally finish off with a vacuum cleaner to remove the last bits. 003
As you can see from the photo below this would not be good in the diff. Once the tube is cleaned out, remove any rush from the outer surface and the first 75mm of axle tube, this will make it easier to install the axle tube seal.
004 005
006A Put some good quality RTV on the section that pushes into the axle tube. Then push the axle tube seal into the axle tube with the grease nipple facing to the rear. Sometimes it may be necessary to use a block of wood and hammer to tap the seal all the way home.
The next area were problems can occur is in the fitting of the axle shaft. Over a period of time corrosion may have built up on the axle shaft this needs to be removed as when you slide the axle shaft through the seal a rough surface may tear the seal. I use a wire brush on an angle grinder to clean the axle shafts, paying particular attention to the area that will rotate inside the seal. As you can see from the photo on the right, before and after. 009
008 The finished install, once the shaft and the hub fitted do not forget the pump grease into the seal nipple. This fill the void in the seal and prevents dirt from getting past the seal, do not forget to grease this on a regular basis.

The axle tubes seals are available for Wrangler YJ / TJ/ JK and Cherokee XJ and Grand Cherokee ZJ’s.

For all you enquires contact FTE 4x4 Specialists Ltd on 01268 777719 / 07973 198483 or email

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