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Rebuilding a 110 front hub

Les Henson

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This thread is the replacement of swivel seal, lower swivel bearing, and upper Railko bush type swivel that is the same as series, and early 90 and 110's. Instead of unbolting the chrome ball from the axle, I used what some might regard as a bodge, and split the swivel seal instead. The vehicle is a very nice example of an early 110CSW, not a forum members this time though.

Detection of worn swivel bearings is a clunk when turning from lock to lock, and usually the swivel seal leaks as well. If you jack the wheel off the ground from under the axle you may see the play in the swivel when you rock the wheel in the 6 and 12 'o' clock position. Usually the top swivel is the first to go - lack of or poor lubrication means that the top bearing - be it Railko type or taper bearing as used in later models - is starved of lubricant. In some cases the swivel pins as well as the bearings/Railko bushes need to be replaced due to corrosion or extreme wear. As it happens this vehicle had a wrecked CV joint because it had been dry for so long. Regardless of having the later or early type of swivel bearings - the method is pretty-much the same from S2's right through to Discoverys. S1's are similar as well, but have a spring and a splined arrangement for the swivel pin bearings.

Anyway - on with it. Apply transmission brake, slacken the wheel nuts (27mm), jack up the corner you are going to work on, put an axle stand under the axle, and then remove the wheel.

Initial inspection led me to think this had been caught early, but as it turned out, this was the last dregs of what oil was left in the swivel housing.


Remove rubber hub cap, and with the hub locked (or before jacking the vehicle up) slacken the 5 x 17mm bolts on the drive flange.


There is a circlip and then a selection of shims.


A pair of external circlip pliers and then the shims - they have to go back on, so clean them and put to one side.


Caliper next. The idea is to keep the brakes connected, but move them off to one side so that the hub can be removed. Be careful when doing this as the metal brake pipe can easily be fractured or worse still - weakened. The caliper itself is held to the swivel housing by 2 x 13mm 12-point bolts. These should be very tight, so make sure the socket is a good fit on the bolt (tap it wth a hammer to be sure).

One of the caliper bolts concealed in the muck that accumulates.


The two top swivel pin bolts also retain the bracket that is the junction where the brake flexi hose is connected to the metal brake pipe. These have to be undone (2 x 17mm bolts). You may find that the metal brake pipe is in the way of a socket, so carefully bend the pipe to gain access.


Using a large screwdriver - lever the pads away from the disc a small amount.


The brake pipe bracket also acts as the top achor point for the disc rear cover.


The caliper can now be rested on top of the hockey stick and held in place with a cable tie.


The caliper bolts had been removed in the past and had a layer of copperslip grease on. These bolts should be locktighted. Greasing bolts that should be dry or thread locked is a bad and possibly dangerous practice. They may come undone easier the next time, but they may aslo come undone while you are driving.


Undo the 5 x 17mm bolts that hold the drive flange to the hub - the wheel bearing retaining nuts are now visible. The condition of the tab washer and the two types of grease inside the hub, tell me that this has been taken apart before.


Bend back the tab washer.


Then using the correct box spanner, undo the outer nut, remove the tab waqsher, then undo the inner nut as well. Chisel marks in both nuts are a sure sign that someone has had this apart before.


It's usual for the outer bearing to come out as soon as the inner nut is removed.


The rest of the wheel bearing stays inside the hub - retained by the oil seal.


Inspection of the bearings seems to show that they are still ok, so I'll clean and re-grease them.

Brake backplate next - 2 bolts (10mm spanner and socket) it's a good idea to leave these things off, but I'll be putting this back on.

Nut and bolt at the bottom.


A 10mm bolt halfway up.


The backplate will now lift away. If it's badlyrusted, then either replace it now, or throw it away and don't bother replacing it.

The swivel housing has to be drained now. There's a square drain plug right at the bottom of the housing, and a 9mm spanner will fit it. Place a container under to catch the EP90 (or One shot), and remove the plug. The level plug - halfway up the side of the housing can be undone with a 13mm spanner to speed things up.


Not surprising that there's almost none in there. When little or no oil/grease comes out, you should expect there to be more damage inside.


Track rod ends next. 2 on the passeneger side, and one on the drivers. They are 19mm nuts, so clean with a wire brush, spray with WD40 or similar to flush grit out of the threads.


Remove the nut, and then whack the cast iron arm with a claw hammer or similar right here:-


It sometimes takes a few hits, but every time it'll pop off. Be careful not to accidentally hit the TRE by mistake - you may split the rubber boot.

Put the nut back on the and the arm will hang down out of the way.


The rear drag link is held by a split pin and castellated nut, but still 19mm. Use the same method to release the TRE.


Now undo the 10mm nuts that hold the swivel seal retaining plates to the back of the swivel housing.

All that is now holding the swivel housing on is the two bolts that retain the lower swivel pin, and the upper swivel pin that has already had the bolts removed.

There's no need to remove the stub axle, so these bolts can be left in place.


To help prevent dirt from getting inside the hub and axle tube, give the swivel housing a good clean.

The top swivel pin is still in place - the bolts for it were removed earlier when the caliper was removed.


The lower swivel pin bolts are 13mm - if you are replacing the backplate, then make a note of which way round the bracket goes.


The top pin is almost seized from lack of lubrication, but it can be levered out. Tap it 90dg round so there is a lip to lever on. A suitable socket and pry bar in this position will get it out.


If the main seal is still in the housing you will have to give a sharp tug and the housing will then lift away. Remove the driveshaft, and the chrome ball will finally be revealed.


Clean inside and out as best you can. The top Railko bush can then be knocked out from underneath with a suitable drift.

Then same for the bottom swivel bearing seat.


Now to replace the swivel seal. If you don't want to split the seal, then the bolts that hold the chrome ball to the axle tube need to be undone. They are 12-point, and really tight. You can't get a socket on, so make sure the spanner is a good fit, and devise some kind of lever to make it easier.

Whatever method you use - make sure the seal is the right way round - and in the correct order - that is, seal first, then gasket, and finally the two retaining plates.

Should look like this now.


The railko bush has a profile, and it must go in the top of the chrome ball the right way round. There is a flatter side (black area in this picture) this has to go nearest to the spring.


Use a drift or softer metal bar to fit the railko - if you belt it, then it will distort and the pin will bind inside it.

I use an alloy bar to do this.


Pre-grease the inside of the bush and then the fibre washer too.


The bottom swivel bearing is a normal taper roller bearing arrangement.


The seat has to be pressed or drifted in to the bottom of the chrome ball.


The CV joint was damaged on this side, so a new one is fitted to the inner shaft and the whole assembley is replaced. The seal land is cleaned and pre-greased as well.


Clean the inside of the swivel housing, pre-grease the lower swivel bearing, and sit it in place like this.


Feed the housing back over the driveshaft and hook the lower bearing into it's track. Hold the assembly in place and then replace the lower pin with the backplate bracket the right way round.


The top pin as well with all the shims that were on it originally. Tighten the bolts so set the pre-load, then add or remove shims to get it right.


Pre load is 12-14lbs, and I would advise to go a bit high as new parts are initially tight and will bed in.

Refit the seal, gasket, and retainers. If you have used the split seal method, then make sure the split is at the top and then put a small blob of RTV sealant on the split. Replace the 10mm bolts, and then replace the drain plug. Fill with One Shot grease through the level plug at the side.


That's about it. Use a new tab washer when replacing the wheel bearing nuts, and don't use a hammer and chisel/screwdriver to do them up.


You will have to remove the two top swivel housing bolts in order to re-fit the caliper, so put a jack under the swivel housing to prevent it from dropping and damaging the new seal or causing the new grease to leak out.

Use threadlock or similar on the caliper bolts - even if they weren't greased in the first place like mine.

If the swivel oil seal seat was corroded, then use a thin bead of RTV sealant inside to make sure there are no leaks. The drive flange bolts sometimes work undone, if they had spring washers fitted, then use new ones, or at the very least use threadlock on the bolt threads.

Les. :)

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Wow, great thread Les. Thanks for taking the extra time to record what you did, very valuable.

Never thought to leave the stub axle in place. Does this make refitting much more difficult?

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Basically thats what I did last wknd with the 90, but took the stub axle off for a complete strip.

What I didn't realise (learn something new every day) was that some coilers had Railko bushes, I thought they stopped with the series 3 and that all coilers had bearings top and bottom.

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Another great write up Les, perfectly timed as I've this job to do on my 90 shortly.

A question, is there any need, apart from weight, to remove the hub? i was planning to just remove the calliper and the swivel pins and take the whole hub off, after taking the circlips etc of the stub axle.

Hopefully i've not missed something. I only had the bearings apart a few months ago to change them.



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Trev -

The drivehsaft has to droop down so that the lower bearing can be hooked into it's track. Apart from a small amount of extra weight, there's no problem.

Luke -

You can leave the hub/disc on if you like. It might make the job a bit more awkward, but still do-able. I'd say that the awkward weight/shape would make it likely that the new seal could be damaged though.

Thanks Ralph, sorted.

Les. :)

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Could someone give me a one-liner on what a Railko bush is and how it differs from a normal bush?

Yes, look here……….. http://www.railko.co.uk/automotive/autoset.html

The bush actually looks like its made from Phenolic Resin Bonded Paper ……….(SRBP) ….. but that’s probably just the look of it.

Later models had taper roller bearings top & bottom …….. but the top pin still wears


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The purpose of Railko bushes is, via friction between the swivel pin and the fibre bushing material, to dampen steering oscilations caused by wheel imbalance and road surface irregularities . I reckon Railko equipped vehicles are much more forgiving of unbalanced and untrue tyre/ wheel equipment than vehicles with tapered roller bearings top and bottom. Some years ago I ran ancient unbalanced world war two 9.00x16 10 ply retreads on heavy old Morris Commercial split rims on my old 6x6 Landey with Railkos and it drove quite well considering. I made the mistake of replacing the Railkos with Taper roller bearings one day and the steering kick back offroad plus the death wobbles on road made the truck virtually undrivable until I reverted back to Railkos. I just wish Rover had made them tapered for proper adjustability. Volvo Portals have spherical swivel pins and hemispherical Railkos.


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