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Swivel Ball Seal

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Does this seem familiar to you?

I have replaced the CV, Swivel Bearings, Swivel Seal recently. When driving long distances there is a lot of grease leaking out as you can see on the pictures. I have to omit that there are almost two shots of "one shot grease" in that swivel. However, there was still room for more, so that the housing was not completely filled.

I'm thinking of two options: 1) Surplus material just leaking out. 2) pressure builds up when CV is getting warm (lond distance, high speed)

However I thougt that the axle breather should get rid of the pressure if not blocked.

Will ckeck for blockage over the weekends.

Any comments or ideas are welcome!



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A swivel ball filled to the level hole with grease will create no more pressure than a swivel ball full of EP80/90. It could be the breather, so go for that first. It could be a faulty seal or poor component. To check the contact of the seal on the ball - set the steering straight, clean the grease off and then mark a circle on the swivel ball with a felt tip pen - using the lip of the seal as a guide. Turning the wheel lock-to-lock will wipe off the ink where the seal contacts the ball and will show up any areas of poor contact between seal lip and ball. If the seal is too high for instance, the ink will get wiped off at the bottom only.


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<_< May I ask how you fixed the chrome seal on? If one does not want to unscrew all the 6 (maybe 8) octagonal bolts and cut the seal at one end to get it in place. Might be you have turned it facing downwards and this could lead to leakages. When I did mine I made sure it the cut side hang upwards. This could be my best guess. However when I fixed mine, I added a chrome gaiter to avoid sand and pooh getting into the chrome ball!! :unsure:



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  • 2 weeks later...

Had time today to care for my swivel seal. No wonder it leaked with this gap.


However, I could not manage to set the swivel perload and have the seal sitting nice and actually doing its job.

Without any shims: Just a tiny bit of preload, less then 0.5 kg, but leaking.

Adding shims: No preload up to play in the bearings, but correct fitting of the seal.

I set it up now in a way that there is no play in the bearings and that the seal is doing its job (however this resuts in no preload).

There was no way to set the correct preload.

Checked if everyting is in the right direction and where it belongs and couldn't find a mistake.

The test drive was ok.

Any ideas what it could be?

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What year is this? Earlier ones still had a railko type bush in the top and a fibre washer, like a 2p piece, that goes under the pin. Leaving the washer out would make setting preload difficult without pulling things out of line.

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Did you replace the outer bearing seats, them being worn or mating with a different inner assy could throw the bottom offest all out.

The swivel hub isn't connected to the axle breather so won't relieve pressure build up - inner swivel hub seal forms a seal with the drive shaft.

Just looking at your photo of your installed seal it apears to me that seal isn't fully inserted at the top / the retainer plate is deformed. is there any carp stopping it sitting in properly.

I know its a ballacher but I wouldn't cut that seal to replace it. It becomes the weak point in the sealing of swivel hub where water can find its way in, compounded by what was a warm axle entering cold water when wading drawing water in as the swivel is cooled.

Good luck - I sense your frustration. :angry2:


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That does look out quite a bit. I set all the preloads with the seal off and when I put the seal in and tightened it up the backing plate actually pulled up when I done the bolts up. No gap at all once tightened up.

Now thinking out of the box here so please be patient!

Is it possible you have been supplied the wrong seal?

Also can anyone confirm if the Swivels in a 90 are the same on a Disco1? I only ask as when refurbing my axles I had a spare new swivel from my disco I was going to use but found the part numbers were different.

Im just wondering if there were differences it may be possible you either have a swivel (or maybe axle) different for your vehicle (maybe changed in the past?) and maybe the seal supplied isnt right for it?

Its all pie in the sky till someone can confirm the above but it may be that the seal supplied isnt right.


Grant :)

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that seal might be a Discovery 1 part as Microcat list 2 seals for them

571890 seal 12.5mm


FTC3401 seal 9mm

not sure what the mm refers to possibly the width of the seals rear face/distance between the seal lips.

Defeender list 2 seals as well but both are 9mm




maybe you have a 9mm seal but need a 12.5mm seal

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It's a 1996 300tdi.

As described i got it set up in a way that it doesn't leak anymore.

However, I did the other side and there was no problem except form the preload.

500 gramms was the most I could do.

On the side it was leaking, there is almost no preload. You can do whatever you want, with many or without any shims the preload is almost not altering at all. I did try to set the preload without the seal. However, even without preload I could set them both up in a way that there is no play at all in the bearing. The drivability is not worse than before. (bushes worn, will be replaced tomorrow or Monday and I will see than ultimately)

I've changed the complete package: both pins, both bearings and seats (per side). ther was no bush on the original pin and if I recall correctly there was even no preload before.

What is giving the preload anyway? is it by putting axial pressure on the bearings? What is it good for?

I hope I can leave it for a while as there is really no play at all when trying to move the wheel at 12 and 6 position.

Probably I will have to change the swivel balls to solve the problem. Can they deform?

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Hello mate,

I'm surprised that you can't get any preload without any shim, the design is such that you should always need shims. How did you push the seats back in? I would expect the swivel to take a significant load without deforming due to the high dynamic loads they take in service.

Preload is the initial axial load applied to an assembly to ensure that it maintains its design position under all design load conditions. So without adequate preload in the swivel assembly when you turn in hard hit a bump or both together the wheel hub will move in relation to the axle which will accelerate wear in the bearings and reduce the effectiveness of the seal. Doesn't help handling much but then its a Land Rover.

I've just rebuilt my front axle and had no trouble achieving preload I am aware that the shims after a few years in service can look like part of the hub assembly.

Another thought what have you used as a gasket behind the lower pin? if thats too thick it will loose all shim adjustment at the top.

I recon the preload is the root of your problem - gap at top as shown in photo suggests to me that the hub is sitting high ie lower pin too far out of engagement. Sort your preload and the seal will come to you. :rolleyes:


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I'll try again - have you got Railko top bush and have you fitted the fibre washer ?


As Les said although at that age I'd expect bearing top and bottom.

Looks to me like you need to replace the bottom swivel bearing as adding shims to the top should only increase the pre-load and not be able to lift the housing like that because the bottom bearing will stop it normally. That suggests the bottom bearing has either collapsed or is very badly worn.

You will probably also be able to feel movement in the hub as a result.

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Les, sorry, as stated in my last reply there was no Railko bush before and neither is now. Bearing at top and bottom.

I have replaced top and bottom pin, seats and bearings, means all new except the swivel ball and housing.

There is no preload now and ther was non before. And this if for both sides.

There is an was just one fibre gasket at the bottom pin; so that can't be it.

I slowly get the impression that something is not matching there. The swivel ball are in too good condition to be the original ones. Don't know if the previos owner made some amendments to the axle. However all is looking as it should and all parts ever ordered for this axle were fitting ok.

Many thanks to all ! Your help is much appreciated.

I will have a look again next week and see if I can find the error. I really doubt that I did the same mistake on both sides. There must be some other reason.

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  • 1 month later...

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