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A tale of two leaks.

Sept 2017

Leak 1 -Sump gasket
Decided to try and stop oil seeping from the sump gasket to engine joint. No big leaks just 
the odd annoying drop now and again. Also keen to see the state inside the sump.

So drained the oil from the sump and removed the 19 bolts holding it in place. Needed a slim 7/16 A/F socket, long extension bar, (250 mm used) and ratchet socket tool to make the task easier. All came off okay, Also decided to remove the oil strainer cover to inspect and clean it.

Upon inspection part of the cover mesh had disappeared. 
Searched for a replacement oil strainer cover but failed to find one.
Anyone know where I can get a replacement?
As a fix I removed any loose bits of mess wire and filled the hole with a piece of zinc mesh, the sort you get with a fibre-glass kit. Epoxy glued this in place all round. Seemed to do the trick...only time will tell.

Cleaned the sticky mess from inside the sump, fitted a sump new gasket with non setting gasket sealer and put all back together .
Not sure if the effort was worth it but at least the oil is staying much cleaner and no drips yet!

Leak 2 - Steering Box
Again steering box was always showing signs of leaking oil.

  • Drained steering box of what appeared to be a very small mixture of oil and grease and added the correct amount of EP 90 oil. Great job! 
  • However a very little time later oil appeared to be dripping from the bottom cover plate. So I drained the box, removed 3 of the 4 bottom cover bolts ( the 4th could only be loosened as it hits the chassis) cleaned the joint and smeared non setting sealer all around. Re tightened all bolts and refilled the box with oil. Another great job done!

Well no! ...As before a lot of oil appeared quite quickly!

  • Upon deeper investigation the oil was leaking past the felt seal on the main steering shaft.

So should I replace the oil with grease or look to replace the felt seal? Could the seal be replaced without taking the steering box off the van?

By chance I had a spare steering box so took this apart to look to use the felt seal from that. However that felt seal had a hole about 2 mm bigger than the shaft, so was unlikely to be of any use.
Decided to try and replace the felt seal with a modern rubber seal. Measured shaft and housing of spare box and ordered a 36 mm OD x 27 mm ID x 6 mm oil seal off E-bay for £3.15.
While waiting for the seal started to dismantle parts to get the old felt seal out. 

  • Jacked up front of van and put on axle stands,removed offside road wheel and then separated ball joint at opposite end of drag link to the drop arm ( difficult to get the ball joint splitter in at drop arm ball joint), removed split pin, nut and bolt from drop arm. (need to remove bolt completely as it sits in steering shaft groove)
  • Drop arm was difficult to remove from splined shaft....unable to get any form of puller in place. Eventually eased off drop arm from shaft using a small crowbar. (remembering to mark drop arm to shaft position before removal)
  • Used large mole grips to free spacer piece and picked out felt seal with a sharp pointed tool.

The felt seal was in a bad state and had completely separated.

When oil seal arrived it was a perfect fit on the shaft but not quite a tight enough fit in the housing. So wound a couple of turns of PTFE plumbers tape around the outside to fix this.

( After ordering the seal I found an article in the J-Review, Spring 2002, of the same fix but using a 27 x 37 x 7 mm oil seal)

Inserted the new seal using a thin tube wrapped with masking tape to push against the seal face. Then put it all back together. Did not need to modify spacer.

Did it work?   Not sure!  

Why? As a plan B I was looking at changing from oil to grease.
Along the way I came across:-

Penrite Steering Box Lube
It is an extreme pressure, NLG100, Lithium based grease, blended with effective anti-wear, rust and oxidation inhibitors. It is a high viscosity, self levelling grease that features non -corrosive extreme pressure (EP ) additives to provide enhanced film strength protection. protection.
So this seemed a good replacement for EP90 oil.

Ordered some and used this in place of oil after fitting the rubber oil seal. It has the consistency of syrup. 

So far no leaks -but like all wise experiments you should only change one thing at a time!

Item 32 was the leaking felt seal.

PS will see if I can get a 27 x 37 x 6 seal and see if it is a better fit in my spare box.

October 2nd 2017
PPS Only managed to get a 27 x 37 x 7 seal for comparison.
Did a trial fit of seals to my spare steering box parts.

Both seals, 27 x 37 x 7 &  27 x 36 x 6 were a a good fit on the shaft.
When fitted to the shaft the 27 x 37 seal had an outside diameter of 1.4605 inches, and the 27 x 36 seal had an outside diameter of 1.4225 inches.
The seal housing measured 1.4325 inches.

Thus the 27 x 37 seal was 0.0280 inches larger than the housing.
The 27 x 36 seal was 0.010 inches smaller than the housing.

I personally feel it is easier to make the smaller seal (27 x 36) fit by adding PTFE tape than trying to reduce the 27 x 37 seal by grinding away the outer diameter. Also the extra thickness (7mm) of the 27 x 37 seal may prevent the Distance Piece from seating correctly.

Hope this helps.

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