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Changing Dana 27 Knuckle Seals And New Lube

Discussion in 'Early CJ5 and CJ6 Tech' started by kenb, Apr 26, 2022.

  1. Apr 26, 2022
    kenb

    kenb Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

    Detroit
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    I need to replace the knuckle seals on the Dana 27 on my 67 CJ5. I've sourced the new seals and reviewed the procedure in the service manual. I'm replacing them because one of the seals is bad, there aren't any other problems I'm aware of on the axle. Because of this I was hoping to just swap the seals and not disassemble anything else. The FSM describes cutting the felt gasket on a diagonal at the top to get it around the axle.
    The thing I'm trying to sort out is what to do about the lubricant. I need to add some and have enough new lithium based lubricant on hand to completely fill both (https://torqueking.com/product/777/closed-knuckle-lubricant-for-closed-knuckle-4x4-front-axles/). The question is the removal of the old. From what I've read the factory fill was sodium based lubricant and I understand I can't mix that with lithium base. I have no idea of the service history or what's in there now.
    Is there a practical way to flush the knuckle without pulling the hubs?
     
  2. Apr 27, 2022
    Twin2

    Twin2 not him 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    you could pull bottom bearing cap
    just remember to seal it up good when you put it back
     
  3. Apr 28, 2022
    Rick Whitson

    Rick Whitson Detroit Area 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    I want to do the same thing Ken. I filled my axels, transmission and transfer case with Staylub GL 4 90wt when I done my Jeep in 2007. I noticed my knuckles were getting rust on them, so I topped them off last spring, and they leaked some oil for a while, but not as much as I put in, and stopped leaking. I want to replace my seals too, so keep me posted on what you do, please, so I get it right, Thank You, Rick
     
  4. Apr 28, 2022
    colojeepguy

    colojeepguy Colorado Springs

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    I think if you're planning on using a non compatible lube, you need to disassemble the knuckle & clean everything thoroughly. God only knows whats in there after 50 years. Think of it as a good opportunity to repack the wheel bearings & replace the seals.
     
    timgr likes this.
  5. Apr 28, 2022
    timgr

    timgr We stand on the shoulders of giants. 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    +1. Seems like every Jeep with closed knuckles that was not owned by an enthusiast needs the front knuckles gone through. They seem worn out / broken / neglected universally. Lots of maintenance with a Jeep, compared to a passenger car.
     
  6. Apr 28, 2022
    cj2atruck

    cj2atruck Member

    Spokane, WA
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    John Deere Corn Head grease. Pull the axles and clean everything out (easy process) then use a grease gun to pump in new corn head grease. Best stuff around for closed knuckles, and your local John Deere shop will have it in stock. One tube is all you need for both sides.
     
  7. Apr 29, 2022
    Oldpappy

    Oldpappy A.C. Fults - Curmudgeon at large 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor

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    That opinion comes up every time the topic is discussed, but in my opinion "Cornhead Grease" is about the worst thing you could put into your steering knuckles. It is great for what it was designed for, but it was designed to stick to stuff, so it is great for sprockets and chains, and rollers, and other slow moving parts. It does not flow.

    Though many disagree about this, it simply is not appropriate for steering knuckles or steering boxes. It won't leak out which is why farmers started using it in leaking steering boxes on old tractors, but it won't flow enough to lubricate anything in a steering box or steering knuckle it will just stick to the sides and the moving parts will spin dry inside a tunnel of the stuff. With spicer axle joints it doesn't matter so much, but with either of the other types of axle joint used in Jeeps it will lead to premature failure.

    There are a couple of specific lubricants made for steering knuckles, these are expensive, but so are axle joints.

    Some use the black CV joint lubricant like was used in VWs, and that is probably a good choice, or you can mix chassis grease with gear lube to a cold molasses consistency (knuckle pudding).
     
    Lockman likes this.
  8. Apr 29, 2022
    cj2atruck

    cj2atruck Member

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    If the original axle shafts with the Rzeppa joints have been replaced with 1310 ujoint shafts, the type of grease is less of an issue, but those upper and lower bearings still need lubrication.

    However,if you still have the stock shafts (like me and mine are in great shape) grease is essential to preserving these joints, as the only lubrication is what is in the knuckle. I've been using corn head grease for a while, and I believe it's the best thing you can use since the original recommended grease isn't available. Some guys mix gear oil and axle grease into a slurry, which I think is a poor solution, and standard gear oil will just leak out.

    Corn Head thins while in use, so acts like an oil, then thickens when at rest, so also acts like grease which helps keep the lubricant inside. It's pretty unique.

    I would recommend folks watch the John Deere video and decide for themselves instead of reading what others think about corn head grease, as you own the cost of repairs. If you decide to use heavy gear oil, it will work as long as it stays inside, just make sure you check the oil at regular intervals.

    Rick
     
  9. Apr 29, 2022
    59cj5

    59cj5 New Member

    Central WI
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    I have been using knuckle pudding but I bought the torqueking product and will swap the first chance I get. I’m banking on a product specifically made for a closed knuckle system being better than something I made up or something made for another use. Just my .02 cents
     
  10. Apr 30, 2022
    Rick Whitson

    Rick Whitson Detroit Area 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    I use what the FSM says, I don't know any better.
     
  11. Apr 30, 2022
    Arnold Layne

    Arnold Layne Member

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    FWIW, corn head grease is used only in a specific gearbox on each row unit of a corn head, nowhere else. And it is a snapping turtle of a gearbox, it runs hard in horrible dirty conditions with little regard for leaks or daily upkeep.
     
  12. Apr 30, 2022
    Oldpappy

    Oldpappy A.C. Fults - Curmudgeon at large 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor

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    "the original recommended grease"

    Grease was never recommended. The lubricant recommended by the service manual was specifically made for steering knuckles, and it was not grease. True that particular lubricant is no longer available, which is why I have used my own version of "knuckle pudding" for years.

    Some manuals recommend 140wt gear oil as a substitute in the knuckles, but in my experience that will leak out.

    I do use 140wt in Ross steering boxes, and if they leak with that I tear them down for servicing. With good seals and bushings they will hold 140wt fine.

    The guy who goes by "Metalshaper" knows what he is talking about, and he offers a lube made for steering knuckles, and as mentioned above Torqueking sells a lubricant specifically made for steering knuckles, and the CV joint lubricant some folks use is probably a real good alternative.

    The "upper and lower bearings" are what some of us call "king pin bearings". They are supposed to be cleaned and packed with bearing grease at regular service intervals.

    They seldom do get serviced, probably because so many people think whatever is in the knuckle will take care of them. It won't.

    Worn out king pin bearings are one of the leading causes of slop in the steering system, so I take care of mine.

    If you think corn head grease in your knuckles is going to lubricate those bearings you are wrong.

    Lubricant of the correct consistency will ooze through the seal and coat the ball. This is desirable, but it will consume lubricant over time which is why the knuckles need to be serviced from time to time.
     
    Ol Fogie and mickeykelley like this.
  13. Apr 30, 2022
    cj2atruck

    cj2atruck Member

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    At the end of the day, we own the cost of our own repairs, so hold no grudge to those who decide to mix their own, us 90 weight gear oil to just decide to use axle grease. I was just providing the OP what I use and why.

    To each his own...
     
  14. Apr 30, 2022
    Brislin06

    Brislin06 Member

    Pennsylvania
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    If you message “metalshaper” through YouTube you can purchase the lubricant he sells for the steering box. When I did my Ross rebuild that’s what I installed 3 years ago no tight steer no leaks it works great.
     
  15. Apr 30, 2022
    Oldpappy

    Oldpappy A.C. Fults - Curmudgeon at large 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor

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    Rick,

    No grudge at all. It is your Jeep, use whatever you want to in it. Heck, if you want to use Crisco shortening in the transmission that is okay with me, it is your Jeep.

    I just know what I know, and gave my opinion on what you recommended the "OP" use. Yes, the cost of repair is what we own, and that is a very good reason to use appropriate lubricants. The OP will make a choice, perhaps based on what is said here, but hopefully also based on some further research.

    We all learn through experience, and someday maybe you will too.

    Also, you seem to be a little confused about axle joints here:

    "If the original axle shafts with the Rzeppa joints have been replaced with 1310 ujoint shafts"

    Early Jeeps used Bendix, or Rzeppa joints.

    Beginning with the CJ3A they used Bendix, Rzeppa and Spicer joints so all three types are "original". We don't know which joints your Jeep has, and from what you have said I am convinced you probably don't know that either.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2022
  16. May 1, 2022
    Fireball

    Fireball Well-Known Member 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    Or Tracta. You missed one:

    [​IMG]

    And for what it's worth, the OEM 53-71 manual simply specifies SAE-140 oil for the knuckles. https://oljeep.com/53CjDj/53-71JeepCjDjServiceManual.pdf

    If you have sealed Spicer cross joints and decent grease in the kingpin bearings, I'm not sure that the knuckle pudding is doing except lubricating the spheres.

    I'm guessing as long as these two criteria are met it doesn't matter what you use:
    1. It's not too thick so it gets flung around a bit to lubricate the sphere
    2. It doesn't leak out
    Special stuff from Torque King, special stuff from Metal Shaper, corn head grease, CV joint grease, or any other thin grease that doesn't separate I suspect will work fine. Something that comes in a tube makes for easier filling.

    Of course if you have Rzeppa, Bendix, or Tracta joints then knuckle pudding becomes much more important because that's what's lubricating the U-joint itself.
     
  17. May 1, 2022
    Oldpappy

    Oldpappy A.C. Fults - Curmudgeon at large 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor

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    I always forget there was a fourth type, probably because I have never seen a "Tracta" joint.
     
    Ol Fogie likes this.
  18. May 1, 2022
    Ol Fogie

    Ol Fogie 74 cj5 304, 1943 mb 2020 Sponsor

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    Yeah, I did not know they existed either. But I am not surprised. Their use must have been only a short time.
     
  19. May 2, 2022
    jeepdaddy2000

    jeepdaddy2000 Member

    Eagle Point oregon
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    One of the biggest issues I've seen is both the buildup of old lube on the knuckle and the wear groove. Both usually require extensive cleaning and dressing. I've found the easiest way to do this is to simply bite the bullet and pull the knuckle. It also gives you a chance to take a look at that upper bearing, which usually starves when the front is disengaged.
     
  20. May 2, 2022
    Twin2

    Twin2 not him 2022 Sponsor 2021 Sponsor 2020 Sponsor

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    this is true
    while I really don't drive my jeep on a regular basis . I do lock the hubs and drive a mile or two just to lube that bearing
     
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