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1954 Buick Forum - the 54 Buick Highway

Trans Fluid in torque tube


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I was installing my new exhaust a couple of weeks ago and I noticed one of my back tires and the backing plate for the drum we’re wet. It turns out to be gear oil from the rear end. So my wheel bearing seals are leaking and I need to fix that, but in the mean time I figured I’d check the level in the rear end to make see how much I’d lost. When I pulled the plug,  approximately a pint of fluid spilled out of the hole. Since gear oil doesn’t multiply, that told me trans fluid was running down the torque tube again and getting into the rear end. I ordered a seal and a new bushing for the prop shaft and pulled everything apart this weekend. There was a lot of fluid in the torque tube when I separated it from the rear end, about a quart I’d guess. I stood the tube up on end and sprayed some brakleen down inside it and let everything drain overnight. I installed the new bushing on the prop shaft and put the tube back on, installed the new seal at the front flange and put it back in the car. I got the car back on the ground and called it a day. When I came in the next morning there was a puddle of ATF under the car (I have a drain plug in the torque tube that I had not put back in) I had not started or driven the car, I just slid the torque tube into the torque ball, bolted the flange, put the springs, panhard bar, and wheels back on and put it back on the floor. So, I’m assuming that there must have been ATF inside the prop shaft that found its way out. There’s no other way for fluid to have gotten into the torque tube without starting/ driving the car right? It’s still dripping from the tube drain hole. I don’t want to pull it again unless I have to.

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Sounds like there was some residual ATF in the torque tube?

Also look at the condition of the bronze bushing that the back end of the universal joint in the torque ball.  If that is worn, it will cause the seal to go bad more quickly.

Just some thoughts...

You might think of drilling a small check hole at the rear bottom of the torque tube - I threaded that hole and use a small Allen screw in the hole to open up and check for any ATF.  It will begin to accumulate there before rising enough to leak into the rear end...

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Unfortunately, it's not residual from the tube. When I pulled the tube off of the prop shaft, I stood it on end and let any residual drain out overnight before I put it back together. Tube was clean and dry when reassembled.

I did not look at the bronze bushing in the u-joint, but even if it was worn I don't see how it would leak into the torque tube without running the car. All I did was bolt things back together. I haven't started the car yet.

I've already got the check hole at the bottom rear of the tube. I put one in a little over a year ago. Checked it every 2-3 weeks for the first 7-8 months, then since there was never any fluid I stopped checking regularly.

As much as I don't want to do it, I'm leaning toward ordering another seal and pulling the whole rear end out again. I re-read an old thread where Willie suggested drilling small holes in the prop shaft due to fluid getting in around porous welds on the shaft. However, I had not noticed any balance issues one might associate with fluid inside the shaft. 

 

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1 hour ago, Avgwarhawk said:

Possible the new seal got buggered during the reinstall.  Did you use guide pins when reinstalling?   The new seal was installed like the old one was found?  I had to ask because I installed my backwards.   Fortunately I was able to remove it with damaging.     

I don’t think the new seal was hurt on reinstall. I taped the bushing to protect it when I slid the tube back on. Pulled the tape off once the tube was bolted back in place on the rear end. Then seal was installed in the front flange spring side forward. I did use a set of guide pins to align the tube and torque ball flanges. Everything slid together nicely. I didn’t even use the comealong to pull the rear forward, just put a strap around the rear end and pulled by hand.  

Over the past 3 days it has probably dripped a half a pint or more out of the little drain hole I have in the torque tube. 

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Change the gear oil and drive it.  Monitor for fluid in the tube.  If there is fluid in the prop shaft it may take awhile to get out.  Is the bushing that the seal rides on in good shape?  National Seal 470774 is the one for the front of the torque tube and should be available locally for a good price (if you need to change again)

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5 minutes ago, old-tank said:

Change the gear oil and drive it.  Monitor for fluid in the tube.  If there is fluid in the prop shaft it may take awhile to get out.  Is the bushing that the seal rides on in good shape?  National Seal 470774 is the one for the front of the torque tube and should be available locally for a good price (if you need to change again)

The bushing on the prop shaft is brand new. I had flipped the old one around a little over a year ago but I went ahead and replaced it this time.

I changed the contaminated gear oil in the rear already. I’ll bleed the brakes and drive it for a few days and see what happens.

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