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Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

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Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by scot850 »

This is a debate I regularly have heard over the years. When installing a seal like the axle seals on the trans, do you lube the outside with a little light oil or other lube before tapping into the transmission or knock them in dry?

Naturally you should always lube the axle and seal when fitting the axle back in to prevent damaging the seal. I guess it is a bit like you don't lube the back of the main bearings when fitting them or when you tighten down the crank bolts it will freeze the crank so you can't turn is (how would I know that....?).

In the case of the oil seals though, it does make me wonder knocking them in dry if you would not damage the outer sealing edge on the face meeting with the trans case.

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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by abscate »

Ive always put a bit of whatever lube they are retaining on any shaft type seal - both inner and outer faces.

I have no idea if that is standard practice, I just made that up myself.
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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by erikv11 »

Yes on the lube for installs in my garage - either a light coating of grease, or a finger's swipe of whatever is where it's going into.
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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by bmdubya1198 »

I'll usually lube the outer edge, at least, with whatever oil it's in contact with. Makes for an easier install. My hands are usually greasy enough at that point though that it won't make a difference either way.
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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by cn90 »

This is my way:
- The OUTER edge: you can do it dry or a bit of RTV sealant. When wet, the RTV sealant helps the seal go in.
Most mfg's say do it dry for OUTER edge. I like a tiny bit of RTV sealant b/c once it dries, it helps seal any imperfection.

- The INNER lip: this is where the axle rotates around, I use a bit of oil. Make sure the lip does not "fold over" when installing cam seal. Best is to find the factory seal location by using your finger for a "feel". When the new seal goes in, the lip should be in the same place where the axles rotate and leaves shiny "grooves" from millions of revolutions.
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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by scot850 »

It would appear we are all kind of in agreement here that a little lube of some sort helps the process on the outer face of the seal. Hadn't heard of the RTV option, but it sounds interesting. On the face that has the rotating shaft in it I use the lube that is going into the item (ATF/engine oil whatever).

Thanks for the inputs guys, well worth it to me to get some agreement and I don't feel as stupid for doing it in the past. Mind you so far not have any issues.

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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by mecheng »

Definitely lube, and the best type if Silicone Grease, the same one used for the Calper pins. It is very good for seals, keeps them from drying out.
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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by wizechatmgr »

Lube... Almost everything is better with lube... There are very few times you won't install something with lubricant and those times will be denoted.

I've heard of using RTV on the outside shoulder of seals but only do so when it calls for it. I still have this fear of RTV going somewhere it doesn't belong at the worst possible time, into the worst possible place, having the worst possible outcome. Paranoid? Perhaps.
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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by bmdubya1198 »

wizechatmgr wrote: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:21 am Lube... Almost everything is better with lube... There are very few times you won't install something with lubricant and those times will be denoted.

I've heard of using RTV on the outside shoulder of seals but only do so when it calls for it. I still have this fear of RTV going somewhere it doesn't belong at the worst possible time, into the worst possible place, having the worst possible outcome. Paranoid? Perhaps.
When I was reading up on my Saab, someone mentioned that you should only use Anaerobic sealant and not RTV because the RTV can get sucked into the oil pickup if it comes loose in the oil and clog it up.
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Re: Installation method for oil seals - dry or lubed.

Post by cn90 »

When I mentioned RTV for OUTER lip, I am talking a very tiny tiny tiny smear of RTV. For a typical Trans seal, it is the equivalent 1/2 drop of water in terms of volume of RTV used. I smear it ever so slightly around the OUTER edge that you can hardly see any trace of RTV.

So not worry about RTV going to other places.
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