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Thread: Oil Fed Swivels, Wheel Bearings and Castor Correction Conversions - Advice Wanted

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Oil Fed Swivels, Wheel Bearings and Castor Correction Conversions - Advice Wanted

    I have to replace leaking swivel seals and pitted ball housings, replace all disc brake rotors as well as front drive flanges and CVs on the 2003 Defender 90 TD5 so now would be a good time to do any conversions.
    Currently front and rear wheel bearings are greased...ish with some minor clearance in the fronts. The staked nut and spacer set ups all seem tight but front drive flanges and splines are Kangaroo-Edward due to lack of lube (previous owner/s), hence new CVs. The CVs are currently one-shot greased (or were – not much left). The rear axle shafts have the drive flanges attached as one. The vehicle has a 50mm lift with a wide yoke front prop shaft but no modified radius arms.

    Having read a gazillion threads on this, my plan is to:
    (1) Replace the swivel ball housings with new 3 degree castor corrected ones (DA3203 but with Timken bearings and Corteco seals). Has anyone tried these?

    (2) Convert the swivel housings and CVs to oil lubricated (use Castrol EPX 80W90 or 85W140?) but maintain as three separate chambers by renewing the front axle drive shaft seals. How often should swivel housing oil be changed, the same interval as the diff?

    As swivels currently only have filler plugs I would like to drill and tap the swivels to fit inspection plugs (1/8 inch BSPT) and drain plugs (1/4 inch BSF) as per earlier models. I have the proper LR plugs and seals but locations will be guess work. Later swivel housings appear exactly the same as the earlier swivels save for the extra plugs. If I copy the earlier plug locations as close as possible, I can’t see a significant weakening. I haven’t found any relevant threads so has anyone else done this or have any thoughts?

    Below images are of early type swivel housings from YouTube and is the best I have to go by.
    Swivel Plugs #1.JPGSwivel Plugs #2.JPG

    I would also like to install breathers in the swivel housings but I am not sure how best to achieve this as I don’t want to drill any more holes in the swivels.

    (3) Covert the front wheel hubs and drive flanges to oil fed lubrication by removing the inner stub axle seal and replacing outer hub seal with double lipped type (RTC3511). I don’t plan to replace the stub axles but if the seal lands are worn, can these be fixed with SKF Speedy Sleeves fitted with Loctite 609 or similar retaining compound (I have never tried these sleeves)?
    I will replace the drive flanges with Ashcroft heavy duty flanges fitting using Hylosil 100 RTV silicone or Loctite SI5900 instant gasket. There is an integral O-ring for the metal inspection cap but is it sufficient to prevent the cap from leaking oil or should I use sealant here as well?

    Not sure whether to also convert the rear wheel hubs to oil fed as I assume that the rear axle shaft seals would need to be removed to allow diff oil to lubricate the wheel bearings – risk of diff gear metal particles contamination and any water contamination would affect both wheel hubs as well as the diff. I like the simpler bearing maintenance consistent with the front wheel bearings. Can the rear hubs be separately lubricated with enough oil if the shaft seals are retained? If so how is the oil filled?

    (4) Convert all wheel bearings to double nut and lock washer adjustment. I will replace the bearings (Timken) and grease them for initial lubrication.

    My biggest concern with all these conversions is what happens if/when a hub or swivel seal does leak oil. Does it really end up on the brake rotors cos I imagine that would be quite scary. I have to admit I have never driven a car with oily brakes so has anyone had this happen and how bad was it really?
    Have I got any of this horribly wrong? Any comments, improvements or advice for or against would be greatly appreciated.
    Martin

    The secret to happiness is to truly want what you already have
    Oil leak?...Nah, sophisticated anti corrosion system!


    ‘04 D2a TD5 Manual “Snowy” – My toy
    ‘16.5 D4 TDV6 Auto “No Name” – Wife's toy
    ‘03 Def 90 TD5 – Son's toy
    ‘97 D1 300Tdi – Gone



  2. #2
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    No need to drill extra holes for swivel housing breathers, simply replace either the fill or inspection plug with a male tube fitting.

    Use the double lipped seals (RTC3511) front and rear even if you continue with greased rears. Although I'd recommend that you go oil fed front and rear. If a seal fails with oil lubed system then you'll have an immediate indication of the failure by a visual oil leak and can rectify the problem before any damage is done. However, with greased bearings if a seal fails the bearing will become contaminated with no indication that something has failed until the bearing also begins to fail and even then you may not detect it straight away.
    Roger



    "Experience is something you don't get unless you have a go."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Melbourne
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Headroom 2.3m View Post
    ....

    (4) Convert all wheel bearings to double nut and lock washer adjustment. I will replace the bearings (Timken) and grease them for initial lubrication.

    My biggest concern with all these conversions is what happens if/when a hub or swivel seal does leak oil. Does it really end up on the brake rotors cos I imagine that would be quite scary. I have to admit I have never driven a car with oily brakes so has anyone had this happen and how bad was it really?
    Have I got any of this horribly wrong? Any comments, improvements or advice for or against would be greatly appreciated.
    Can't comment on the stuff prior to this, but my 2c worth on those concerns.
    Hated my old RRC with oil swivels as they leaked regularly after many attempts to stop them. Can't remember if there was any grease conversion options back in them days, but the only thing that helped a bit was an oil modifier additive, like Moreys or STP or whatever made the oil thicker. Never had any wear issues, but at least slowed down the dripping onto the ground and mud shield. Can't ever remember oil on brakes tho.

    Recently did an '06 TD5 wheel bearing that had totally collapsed and caused catastrophic calamity to that wheel assembly. Needed everything except the swivel housing replaced.
    My first time doing the spacer/preload type bearing, as my experience has only been twin nut versions(RRC and now D1).
    But my preference is for the spacer/preload version. Feels a lot more secure and sure when putting back together.
    Advice given by others was to convert to twin nuts for the ease of doing it and getting parts.
    And for sure if parts and time was an issue then it makes sense. But neither were an issue here, so stuck with the spacer design. Not my vehicle either.

    But what had happened to the '06 Def was that someone with zero knowledge must have had a go and didn't use a spacer at all, but used the single nut to finish it all up. So when it completely melted into a single lump of messy molten metal .. it made sense.
    Stub axle badly damaged, but no sign of any spacer as an indicator of where to start for preload when pulled apart!

    But my 2.5c worth on that topic is that if I ever have to do one again, I'd go with the spacer system.
    Your choice would be dependent on if you have a dial gauge and if the spacers were easily available to you.
    Cheers,
    Arthur.

    '99 D1 300 Tdi Auto

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Garfield, Victoria
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    480
    What you are proposing sounds good. I have done almost exactly what you have done. My swivel bearings had developed a bit of play, particularly the RHS, which appeared never to have been properly lubricated from new!

    I fitted Ashcroft CVs & drive flanges & converted front to back to oil lubrication, incorporating the double lipped hub seals. Have had no problem with leaking swivel seals, but had minor leak from the RHS ABS sensor seal - easily fixed.

    Definitely go to the 2 nut wheel bearing adjustment.

    Can't comment on the castor correction, as mine is standard height - I'm sure others can give comment on the 3 degree ones.

    I used DBA slotted discs all round with Bendix 4WD pads. Fine, except it tends to squeak a bit in reverse during parking manoevers.

    I personally wouldn't worry about drilling the swivel housings, but fitting breather tubes is a good idea if you can get suitable tube fittings in place of the filler plugs.

    You will definitely get early warning if there are any leaks from the swivels, as the oil will drip onto the inside of the tyres. As a previous poster said, oil lubed is preferable to "out of sight, out of mind" one-shot grease! If you do the job properly with new swivel balls, seals & Timken swivel bearings, you shouldn't have any leakage problems. Be careful about setting the swivel bearing preload - it is an important adjustment to get the correct amount of steering damping, & any residual movement if it is too loose WILL cause leaks.

    Good luck with it all.

    Cheers,

    Lionel

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xtreme View Post
    simply replace either the fill or inspection plug with a male tube fitting.
    I didn't think that 1/2" BSP threaded/6mm tube push fittings are available but they are so should screw straight into filler plug hole. So that's sorted . Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xtreme View Post
    Use the double lipped seals (RTC3511) front and rear even if you continue with greased rears.
    Turns out that I have only bought these so am committed. Any issues with driving or parking on a slope and oil draining to the low side? Do the metal particles from the diff oil affect the rear wheel bearings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xtreme View Post
    If a seal fails with oil lubed system then you'll have an immediate indication of the failure by a visual oil leak
    Have you had this problem and if so did it affect braking ability?
    Martin

    The secret to happiness is to truly want what you already have
    Oil leak?...Nah, sophisticated anti corrosion system!


    ‘04 D2a TD5 Manual “Snowy” – My toy
    ‘16.5 D4 TDV6 Auto “No Name” – Wife's toy
    ‘03 Def 90 TD5 – Son's toy
    ‘97 D1 300Tdi – Gone



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel View Post
    I used DBA slotted discs all round with Bendix 4WD pads
    I have bought slotted DBA rotors as well but went for genuine pads as I was concerned about squeal. The OEMs I saw had a different anti-squeal treatment on the back where as the genuines have an extra metal shim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel View Post
    I personally wouldn't worry about drilling the swivel housings
    I am not 100% on this idea yet. I can take or leave the inspection port, just fill/check with a dipping thingy. However, to drain the oil if it needs changing I assume I would need to loosen/remove a lower swivel pin bolt and I'm concerned this would affect the swivel bearing settings and possible create a leak path once the lower pin seal has been unclamped. I can see some merit in a drain plug here.

    Thanks for the heads-up on setting the swivel bearing preload, I will take extra care here.

    Do the Ashcroft drive flange caps seal well with the integral O-ring or did you use extra sealant?

    Cheers
    Martin

    The secret to happiness is to truly want what you already have
    Oil leak?...Nah, sophisticated anti corrosion system!


    ‘04 D2a TD5 Manual “Snowy” – My toy
    ‘16.5 D4 TDV6 Auto “No Name” – Wife's toy
    ‘03 Def 90 TD5 – Son's toy
    ‘97 D1 300Tdi – Gone



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK83 View Post
    ... if I ever have to do one again, I'd go with the spacer system.
    Your choice would be dependent on if you have a dial gauge and if the spacers were easily available to you.
    I have a dial gauge and I do like the spacer system as well as the set-and-forget tightening procedure. However, a full set of 28 spacer rings costs a bit over $300 although I suppose I could use the the left-overs as napkin rings - essential at any decent campsite dinner setting. I have lost a little faith in staked nuts as I have had a similar staked nut on the transfer case intermediate shaft loosened slightly so that the staking had turned onto the threads. It didn’t appear to have been re-used but I guess it is possible the previous owners may have. There is also the small issue of loosening/tightening 210Nm so I am going to try the twin nut setup. It's not too big a deal to change back if I'm unhappy with the twin nuts.

    Cheers
    Martin

    The secret to happiness is to truly want what you already have
    Oil leak?...Nah, sophisticated anti corrosion system!


    ‘04 D2a TD5 Manual “Snowy” – My toy
    ‘16.5 D4 TDV6 Auto “No Name” – Wife's toy
    ‘03 Def 90 TD5 – Son's toy
    ‘97 D1 300Tdi – Gone



  8. #8
    Join Date
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    4,702
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Headroom 2.3m View Post
    I didn't think that 1/2" BSP threaded/6mm tube push fittings are available but they are so should screw straight into filler plug hole.
    Not sure if they are readily available (the company I work for only has 10mm & 12mm to 1/2") but easy to install a reducer 1/2" to 1/4" then a 6mm fitting.


    Colin
    '56 Series 1 with homemade welder
    '65 Series IIa Dormobile
    '70 SIIa GS
    '76 SIII 88" (Isuzu C240)
    '81 SIII FFR
    '95 Defender Tanami
    '60 SII 109 ute (gone)
    Motorcycles :-
    Vincent Rapide, Panther M100, Norton BIG4, Electra & Navigator, Matchless G80C

  9. #9
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    Jan 1970
    Location
    Garfield, Victoria
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    480
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Headroom 2.3m View Post
    I have bought slotted DBA rotors as well but went for genuine pads as I was concerned about squeal. The OEMs I saw had a different anti-squeal treatment on the back where as the genuines have an extra metal shim.

    I am not 100% on this idea yet. I can take or leave the inspection port, just fill/check with a dipping thingy. However, to drain the oil if it needs changing I assume I would need to loosen/remove a lower swivel pin bolt and I'm concerned this would affect the swivel bearing settings and possible create a leak path once the lower pin seal has been unclamped. I can see some merit in a drain plug here.

    Thanks for the heads-up on setting the swivel bearing preload, I will take extra care here.

    Do the Ashcroft drive flange caps seal well with the integral O-ring or did you use extra sealant?

    Cheers
    The Ashcroft drive flanges seem to seal perfectly well with the O ring as supplied. I used the standard drive flange gasket when fastening them to the hub. All very straightforward.

    As far as the swivel oil is concerned, I am not sure a periodic change is necessary, as, without a breather system, the oil tends to migrate back into the diff with temperature change, & needs periodic top-up with new oil.

    If you fit a breather system the oil may remain more static. Maybe a drain plug would be useful? Careful loosening of the lower swivel bolt should not cause problems, but maybe others could comment here.

    Cheers,

    Lionel

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