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Thread: Another leak, another question...

  1. #1
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    Another leak, another question...

    Sometimes I think I'm playing a game of whac-a-mole chasing oil leaks on my Healey (well at least I've got something to do with my spare time!).

    Here's a picture of where the latest one seems to be coming from (hopefully you can see the arrow). It's dripping down the seam between the two flanges.

    All bolts are tight...is there an oil seal or gasket inside?

    Thanks!
    Chet
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Darth Vader Michael Oritt's Avatar
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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Chet--

    It's the dreaded pinion seal. Most people replace it by pulling the diff but it can be replaced in situ.

    Best--Michael Oritt
    1954 Austin-Healey 100 Lemans
    1958 Elva Courier
    1959 Elva MK IV Sports Racer
    1961 Ginetta G4

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    Jedi Trainee davidb's Avatar
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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Chet,

    Yep, the best Christmas gift to give a Healey owner is a set of chromed axle stands, because you'll be spending a good deal of time on your back under these Liberian tankers, locating/fixing leaks. The solution is beer, and a sense of humor.

    DB

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    Jedi Knight Healey Nut's Avatar
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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    As my email signature says “its not an oil leak ,”its my patent pending automatic rustproofing system”
    "If it aint broke ....dont fix it "
    " Thats not an oil leak ..........its a special automatic British rustproofing system "
    Best Healey in show ABCD Ottawa 2013
    Best Healey in Show Boot n Bonnett Kingston 2013

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Chet, check for wear on the flange. It is amazing how a rubber seal can wear a groove in steel.
    Moss use to sell a "redi-sleeve." NAPA may also have the correct size.

  6. #6

    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the pinion oil seal is located behind the dust cover where the yellow arrow is. I don't recall there being any gasket or seal between the driveshaft flange and the front of the pinion flange where the red arrow is. It's replaceable in the car by removing the driveshaft and removing the pinion shaft nut. It's torqued to 150 lb/ft so you're going to need a big breaker bar or a high-power air or electric torque gun. It helps to have a seal puller to remove it and even more to have a seal driver to make sure it goes in square when you replace it (both available at reasonable cost at Harbor Freight) You might want to buy an extra seal in case you bugger it in the install, they're only 3 or 4 bucks. You may be tempted to use a socket to seat the seal, but it's tough getting the seal in straight that way and you won't know until it still leaks when you get it all back together (ask me how I know).


    Rick

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Put a pan under it. Chasing leaks on a Healey (or any old car) is really a waste of time. Yes, attend to severe leaks if you have one. Otherwise, relax and enjoy your Healey, leaks and all. If you really have a problem with leaks, consider switching to a Miata.
    Bill Sullivan
    Albuquerque, NM

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Quote Originally Posted by HealeyRick View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the pinion oil seal is located behind the dust cover where the yellow arrow is. I don't recall there being any gasket or seal between the driveshaft flange and the front of the pinion flange where the red arrow is. It's replaceable in the car by removing the driveshaft and removing the pinion shaft nut. It's torqued to 150 lb/ft so you're going to need a big breaker bar or a high-power air or electric torque gun. It helps to have a seal puller to remove it and even more to have a seal driver to make sure it goes in square when you replace it (both available at reasonable cost at Harbor Freight) You might want to buy an extra seal in case you bugger it in the install, they're only 3 or 4 bucks. You may be tempted to use a socket to seat the seal, but it's tough getting the seal in straight that way and you won't know until it still leaks when you get it all back together (ask me how I know).
    So if I'm understanding you correctly, the pinion seal is leaking and I'm seeing the oil seeping out from between the two flanges?

  9. #9
    Darth Vader Michael Oritt's Avatar
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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Bill--

    You said: "Put a pan under it. Chasing leaks on a Healey (or any old car) is really a waste of time

    While the quest for a Healey without engine oil leaks may be a fool's mission when the leak is coming from either the transmission or differential it bears fixing. As opposed to the engine sump level it is not easy to check the oil level and add to it in either the gearbox or the diff and the consequence of not having enough lubricant will be generally disastrous.

    Best--Michael Oritt
    1954 Austin-Healey 100 Lemans
    1958 Elva Courier
    1959 Elva MK IV Sports Racer
    1961 Ginetta G4

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    When I had my TR-6 one of my goals with the car was to get it to be leak free and I pretty much succeeded. But with my Healey I’ve grown into Bill’s approach. I read somewhere (and choose to believe, regardless of source or actual data) that these cars were intended to leak and blow oil (see: road draft tube), drip and squirt coolant (see: radiator overflow tube), and vent gasoline vapors (see: entire fuel system).

    Healey owners tend to have cookie sheets whether or not we bake cookies, and kitty litter whether or not we have cats.
    1955 Austin Healey 100

  11. #11

    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chet Zerlin View Post
    So if I'm understanding you correctly, the pinion seal is leaking and I'm seeing the oil seeping out from between the two flanges?
    Chet,

    What I'm trying to figure out is if there's a way for differential fluid to creep up from the pinion seal to the two flanges. I might suggest removing the four bolts holding the two flanges together (mark their relative positions, first, so you can put the flanges back in the same position) and see if you can see traces of diff fluid coming up from the differential. When my pinion seal leaked, it traveled downwards along the diff and dripped at the drain plug. I thought I had a leaky drain plug until i eventually saw the fluid track coming from the
    area near the seal.


    Rick

  12. #12
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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    This is confounding. I've had the dreaded pinion seal leak, and usually you get the drips a couple inches back from the tip of the pinion housing (don't know the proper name off the top of my head). Centrifugal force, the lip on the dust cover and the movement of air under the car cause the oil to be smeared backwards. My first thought was oil from the U-joints; grease can separate into fluid--oil--and thickener--molybdenum, lithium, diatomaceous earth, etc.--if it sits immobile for a long time. I don't think it's a leak from the pinion seal but, besides this SWAG I'm stumped.

    If you do end up replacing the pinion seal it needs to be driven in 'just so;' there's a bevel on the inside end of the housing and the front edge of the seal should align with the rear edge of the bevel. If not, there is a rough surface on the front of the yoke where the seal rides, and you won't get a good seal and the seal will wear out prematurely (ask me how I know). The pinion seals are almost $13 from Moss. As an aside, I had to replace my front yoke, and an old-timer parts guy matched it up with a Volvo part, at less than 2/3 the cost of the 'special' Healey part.

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    After reading these posts I've been looking at the parts diagram of the rear differential on the moss motors website and I'm damed if I can see where a leaking pinion seal would cause fluid to drip out where I am seeing it. I'm going to take a closer look at everything to see if there's something going on here that I haven't noticed....

    Stay tuned....

  14. #14
    Darth Vader Michael Oritt's Avatar
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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Chet--

    I jumped to a conclusion when I made my first post and assumed that the arrow was meant to point toward the suspected source. Even if the oil is appearing where the two flanges come together it is originating somewhere else as there is no oil in the driveshaft.

    You might try to locate the source of the leak by identifying the oil. Differential oil has a distinctive smell/taste and it is pretty easy to tell it from engine or transmission oil. If it does not seem to be diff oil and, like many folks, you are using the same oil for the engine and transmission you will still have narrowed down the possibilities, and engine oil will appear sooty whereas tranny oil will pretty much be as it came out of the can.

    Best--Michael Oritt
    1954 Austin-Healey 100 Lemans
    1958 Elva Courier
    1959 Elva MK IV Sports Racer
    1961 Ginetta G4

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Chet
    When you say that the oil is dripping down the seam, - how much are we talking about - pool on the floor? Is there any oil around forward of the Hardy Spicer joint because it will get every where if there is. Under normal conditions there is no oil reservoir in the vicinity of the joint itself - the bearings in the joint are kind of sealed and it is grease in them anyway, there is no oil in the propshaft, only the diff.



    Bob

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Put a pan under it?
    Where can a get a VERY LARGE pan?
    Bob

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    It is possible that the oil could be coming from the rear OD seal and running down the drive shaft to the flange. However, as Bob Hughes has indicated, the oil would be flung around the trans/drive shaft cover and, depending on the amount, cover nearby components. Additionally, rolling leaks could be sourced from a number of nearby locations including unexpected sources such as Brake fluid. Yes, an open mind is necessary until you narrow the source of the leak sufficiently to address its resolution.

    Ray(64BJ8P1)

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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I'll check out all areas nearby and let you know what I find.

    Chet

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    Yoda Randy Forbes's Avatar
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    Re: Another leak, another question...







    I don't know who first put it into print, but somewhere, and long ago, I read that "... the British were so thoughtful that they even made the shock absorbers refillable, so that they could leak too..."

    Between the engine, transmission, rear axle, steering box, four (4) shocks (all filled with oils of one type or another) AND the radiator (for water/coolant), plus the two (2) or three (3) carbs (for gasoline), there's practically no end of fluids ejecting itself from where we try to keep them contained (and that's not even counting the windshield washer inside the cockpit ).

    I keep an opened up/flattened out corrugated box under the car in my garage__the 1" lip of a cookie sheet would probably catch on something__and always park in the street when visiting friend' housess (most of the ones around here have decorative "paver brick" driveways). My car doesn't leak profusely__like it used to__but I figure there's always going to be a little drip from somewhere; there's just too many opportunities for it to ignore.
    http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/image.php
    57 Healey BN6L-942 Wine Red/Honey Tan
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  20. #20
    Darth Vader John Turney's Avatar
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    Re: Another leak, another question...

    When a Healey stops leaking oil, it's out of oil.

    You might try to locate the source of the leak by identifying the oil. Differential oil has a distinctive smell/taste and it is pretty easy to tell it from engine or transmission oil. If it does not seem to be diff oil and, like many folks, you are using the same oil for the engine and transmission you will still have narrowed down the possibilities, and engine oil will appear sooty whereas tranny oil will pretty much be as it came out of the can.
    John, BN4

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