U-joints, Seals, and a New Toolbox

10/27/00 U-joints, Seals, and a New Toolbox

Continuing the work on the drive shaft, I needed to make new seals for the u-joint. The old cork seals crumbled away when I took the u-joint apart, so I got out my gasket punches and X-Acto knife. It took a couple of tries before I got one to fit the way that it should, and I used that one to make three more. There’s something extremely satisfying having the roller bearings move with such smoothness, and the seals fitting perfectly!

Since I’ve now become a u-joint rebuilding expert (ha, ha), I decided to rebuild the steering column bottom u-joint. The picture of this u-joint is deceiving, because it looks like the same size as the drive shaft u-joint until you compare the size of the newspaper type. Everything is miniaturized, including the bearings, which were a bear to handle. I ended up using a dental pick to position them back into the bearing race. Luckily, I didn’t lose any!

The new seal came in from Partsource, so I installed it. The differential looks so much better without that oil stain. Don’t you think? As per François’ advice I put some Room Temperature Vulcanizing (RTV) silicone sealant on the hub plate and bolt holes to keep gear oil from working past the machined surfaces that do not have a gasket. I recently read some good advice regarding RTV, and remembered to follow it today. RTV is often over used in assembling parts mainly because the manufacturer tells you to use a 1/4″ bead of sealer when applying RTV. When you stop and think about how much RTV actually fits between two finely machined parts, where do you think the rest of the RTV goes? It goes all inside the workings of the machine you’re trying to seal! That’s why a lot of people hate RTV, because it clogs up oil galleries, and sumps, but if we use less in the first place, we wouldn’t have these problems! Why does the manufacturers tell you to use so much? Probably to sell more RTV! I sparingly coated the hub assembly, enough to seal the oil in, but not so much that it would foul the bearings and gears inside.

I took some time today to stop by Sears. I decided after over a year working on my Ferrari to buy the bottom half of my tool box. At my last shop, the small upper half of my toolbox sat on a workbench, but when I moved into the shop I’m in now, I decided I needed the workbench space, so I put my toolbox temporarily on the floor. Over a year later, I decided to stop crawling around like an animal to get to my tools, and buy that damn bottom half. Its not like I was being cheap, but Ferrari parts, and more tools usually took priority. Although it took me over a year to do it, I think I’m really going to like standing up to get to my tools!

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