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Swivels

The swivel housings on a classic Range Rover are prone to corrosion and oil leakage. Many people fill them with "one-shot" grease, which can delay the need for an overhaul. The grease is quite viscous, so it's a good idea to immerse the sachet in warm water beforehand as it will flow better.

However, my findings when dismantling a swivel housing which had been filled with grease showed that, although it had lubricated the top swivel bearing, none of the grease had entered the wheel bearing which was still filled with EP90 oil.

At best, the "one-shot" grease will delay the inevitable swivel housing overhaul.

Always read the proper Land Rover workshop manual which applies to your vehicle. Torque settings should be observed. Hubs and brakes are safety-critical components. There are many variations between the different year models and the component parts are different.


Ensure that the car is properly prepared for jacking - mine requires to be engaged in low-ratio 1st gear, with difflock and hand brake applied. All unjacked wheels should be chocked. Suitable axle stands should be used.

The following photographs show the rebuild of the left-hand swivel housing on a right-hand-drive car.

 

It is necessary to dismantle the hub and swivel housing off the flange on the end of the axle tube

The piece of wood between the brake pads keeps the caliper open and make re-fitting easier

 
     

The old swivel housing shows two circumferential rings where the seal lips have polished the surface. I presume this to result from micro movement around the axis of the axle

There is also evidence of corrosion within the area wiped by the seal, so the housing was replaced

 

   

The new swivel housing (left) is coated with Teflon, so we shall have to see if it lasts better than the old chrome plated version (right)

 

   

The swivel bearings need to be pressed into the new housing, as does the axle seal

The large seal and retaining plate are fitted over the inboard end, to which the paper gasket is then applied

 

   

The swivel housing has been re-fitted to the axle tube

You can see the castor angle set by the swivel bearings, determined by the position of the bolt holes in the axle flange

 

   

The half shaft is inserted, with its bronze bush on the inner side and the spacer on the outboard side

The seal has been packed with grease

 

   

The constant velocity joint looks just like those on the old Mini - except that it's much bigger!

 

   

Here it is, inserted onto the end of the half shaft

 

   

This is the inside if the hub, with the bronze bush for the outer journal of the CVJ

The bottom swivel bearing has been fitted onto the spigot

 

   

The top swivel bearing race is fitted into the housing and the hub goes on

The swivel bearing preload is set by shimming the top bearing and then testing with a spring balance hooked into the track rod arm

If there's insufficient preload then you'll get steering shudder, too much and the bearings will be under strain

 
     

The track rod has been connected, just the drag link to follow suit

Now the big seal is set in RTV black silicone sealant and the retaining plate fitted

The rest of the reassembly is as per the front hub

 
     

Hub under pressure - have a breather

At an earlier stage, I had noticed that when I removed the plug from the hub to check the oil level, there was a hissing sound of escaping pressurised air, like a deflating Lilo mattress. For a long time nobody believed me, but others have now observed this phenomenon.

So I devised this breather system to vent the swivel hub - although I would not recommend it for a serious off-roader. However, it has proved durable for road use over many thousands of miles since installation.

     

Here are the components:

an axle breather set and a filler plug drilled and tapped to the correct thread
(1/8" British Standard Pipe Parallel, I believe)

 
     
Here it is assembled  
     
When fitted into the filler hole in the swivel hub, ensure that the flexible pipe run doesn't foul on anything and that there's sufficient length to allow for steering and axle articulation  
     

I've brought the upper end out by the cooling system reservoir, with a short length of copper brake pipe at the top