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Member
Joined: Sep 13 2016
Posts: 473

I did my balljoints last year, and ever since the axle oil seal on the drivers side has been weeping.

MOT is due and the leak had reached somewhat silly levels, with the tyre and rim caked in axle oil, as well as oil dripping off the arch liner, fog lights and mud guard....

So I pulled the car apart last week, and fitted a nice new genuine seal, made 100% sure it was all fitted nicely and reassembled everything. Stuck my head under it this morning to check before i took it along to the MOT, and theres a drip of oil sitting on the axle end, and a streak of oil along the tyre. So clearly its continued leaking....

The only think i can guess, is the alignment of the balljoint is wrong? I know for sure the collet on that side of the axle was loose when i popped the balljoint free, so theres every chance its moved...

Any thoughts or ideas? Anyone know of anywhere that hires out the tool to properly reset the alignment of the balljoint?

Member
Joined: Sep 14 2016
Posts: 380

Looks easy enough to make the alignment tool, or an effective substitute, if the dimensions were known.

If anyone has the sizes I'll make one that can be loaned out as a forum resource.

Allegedly the dimensions are out on t'net somewhere but darned if I can find them.
Picture of a home made one comes up fairly easily, usually with associated comments about sizes and promises to post them but ...

Given a complete axle it could probably be reverse engineered without major problems. Saving the usual "(expletive deleted) thing is (expletive deleted) heavy" issues. At first sight the official version seems rather over-engineered. But never having used one there may be reasons that are not obvious to a casual observer.

Clive

Member
Joined: Jan 16 2016
Posts: 212

I turned a plug out of hardwood to fit in the hub and another to fit in the end of the axle. The one in the hub has a centre hole to take a laser pointer that shines on the axle plug. It has a cross hair scale on it. The theory was to adjust the collet until the red dot was in the centre.
Not entirely satisfactory, as when the plug is rotated the laser dot moves position. It should be concentric irrespective of how you rotate it.
Not entirely acurate, maybe a future mkII version might work.
Why wood? I have a wood lathe and it is dead easy to turn it. I also have a small Clarke model making lathe but I had no suitable aluminium.
I fitted a new collet when I did mine. For you to be in the right ball park, I found it needs to be screwed right in with only two threads showing.
Another thing I have heard is that the design of the seal changed from an early version. There were too many problems with leaks. The design of the inner lip was altered to one which is more accomodating to being slightly off centre.

Member
Joined: Sep 13 2016
Posts: 473

I figured you could use an old wheel hub for the outer piece, press the bearing out and you have a concentric inner hole, and an assembly that should bolt up true. Unfortunately i scrapped my old broken wheel hub as is typical with these things! The inner will need measured with the seal removed, which is less good, i'm actually pissed off, i should have stuck a caliper across it when i had the seal out. Maybe measuring a seal and just going 0.5mm under would work, but i dont know how accurate it all needs to be!

And yeh i heard about the redesign, but these are up to date genuine seals so should be maximally forgiving, but clearly its out by enough.

Just failed the MOT on rear pads and a faulty rear seat latch, which isnt too bad.

Member
Joined: Sep 14 2016
Posts: 380

Never cared much for affordable laser pointers in alignment devices. Too much futzing around to get them closer than sort of right as body and beam are rarely well enough aligned.

If a two piece device, one part plugged in the axle case and one part plugged in the swivel hub is OK, easy way is to make the facing ends square so any mis-alignment shows up as a step. Visible if large, finger feel if small.

Way I'd tackle making a two part device would be to start with an over long chunk of metal in the lathe and centre drill the far end for tailstock support. Turn one end down to sliding, shake free fit in the axle case and the other down to a similar fit in the hub leaving a section of suitable length in the middle oversize. Over to the mill and cut the oversize middle part square. Slice into two parts apart around the middle of the square bit and face ends true.

Insert the two parts in axle case and hub respectively, turn so a flat side of each square is on top and slide together. Look and feel for mis-alignment. If you want to be really precise bore both sides to take a reasonable size rod. Sliding shake free fit again. But its got to be made dead nuts in line on both to be worth the effort. I probably wouldn't bother.

Centre bit doesn't have to be square. A simple flat will do. Carefully filed if thats all you have. If you are young enough and desperate enough ways could be found to do it on a Chinee Mini Lathe! I'd ask someone else.

Clive

Member
Joined: Mar 22 2016
Posts: 1112

I’ve done quite a few sets of ball joints, never found any of the lower collets easy to move, you must of been unlucky , I would think with a jack under that you should be able to get it lined up, a torch shining at the seal should show when your pretty much straight, I’d be tempted to give it a few turns outwards and see what happens, have a measure on the good side how far out the collet is and match it,,