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leon bee

53 Torque Tube and Rearend Service Advice

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I guess I just need a little hand-holding if anyone has time to type a little bit. I'm reading the manuals on my disc, and I have a 54 Motor Manual. I'm kinda hoping to round up parts before I pull it all out of there, but we know how that goes. This car has had ATF leaking into the rear for years, but not many miles on it since I noticed. This is all for a 53 322 with it's matching twin turbine Dynaflow.

 

Questions I have are like: does it take a rocket scientist to pull the axles out to replace those seals? One side leaks out on the brakes if I drive it. And the rear bearings were grease packed between the seals? Is that still the way to go? Would a prudent guy order the bearings, or wait to inspect the 65 year old bearings?

 

Another thing I gotta do is, I vaguely remember a bushing up in the back of the trans being too loose 30 years ago. That rear chunk, the seal retainer I think, that can come off leaving the rest of trans undisturbed? And I or my machine shop guy can replace the bushing? Thanks a lot for any advice!

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Here's the best and cheapest advice I can give you for starters...

♦  Get yourself a paper (not a CD) 1952 Buick Shop Manual if you don't already have one and spend some time reading it.

♦  Start working from the front (Dynaflow transmission) to the rear (differential & rear axle assembly).

♦  Analyze and comprehend what is causing the transmission to leak in the first place. It could be more than the torque ball seal.

♦  Understand why the ATF is seeping through the front seal of the torque tube and pinion seals and winding up in the rear axle housing. Forget about the Band-Aid fix of drilling a hole in the bottom side of the torque tube. Fix this problem before going rearward.

♦  You might want to consider installing a rear axle breather.

♦  Clean and inspect the rear axle bearings and anticipate replacing the rear axle inner and outer seals and oily brake linings as a minimum.

♦  Anticipate the Buick to be 'out of service' for awhile.

♦  It's a lot of work and you need the space, equipment, and the correct tools.

♦  A high percentage of 1950s Buicks up for sale have these Dynaflow issues and the Owners have decided they don't want to go thru all this work. Did you buy it this way?

Good luck.

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"   

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2 hours ago, 1953mack said:

Here's the best and cheapest advice I can give you for starters...

♦  Get yourself a paper (not a CD) 1952 Buick Shop Manual if you don't already have one and spend some time reading it.

♦  Start working from the front (Dynaflow transmission) to the rear (differential & rear axle assembly).

♦  Analyze and comprehend what is causing the transmission to leak in the first place. It could be more than the torque ball seal.

♦  Understand why the ATF is seeping through the front seal of the torque tube and pinion seals and winding up in the rear axle housing. Forget about the Band-Aid fix of drilling a hole in the bottom side of the torque tube. Fix this problem before going rearward.

♦  You might want to consider installing a rear axle breather.

♦  Clean and inspect the rear axle bearings and anticipate replacing the rear axle inner and outer seals and oily brake linings as a minimum.

♦  Anticipate the Buick to be 'out of service' for awhile.

♦  It's a lot of work and you need the space, equipment, and the correct tools.

♦  A high percentage of 1950s Buicks up for sale have these Dynaflow issues and the Owners have decided they don't want to go thru all this work. Did you buy it this way?

Good luck.

 

Al Malachowski

BCA #8965

"500 Miles West of Flint"   

Good post.  Ok to drill a hole in the bottom of the torque tube to monitor for fluid, not as a fix.

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Thanks, guys. I have allowed for most of the things mentioned. Except I've never heard that about drilling a hole anywhere. What's that about?

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To actually get into the rear end, the fluid has to pass through the pinon seal. Also, have heard that fluid [oil] building up in the torque tube can cause out of balance condition with the pilot  [drive] shaft. Drilling a small [1/4 in] hole in the bottom of the torque tube just in front of the flange at the rear end should allow it to drain before building enough level to do harm.  Maybe!

 

  Ben

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The whole torque tube should be completely dry. That's why there's usually not a gasket on the flanges.

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All good advice above.  A little concerning the 1953 torque ball , torque ball bushing and the seal to prevent Dynaflow fluids from running back to rear end.

There is a torque ball bushing (bronze) that the U-joint passes through.  Some suppliers sell them but in my experience Buick seems to have installed bushings with slight differences, possibly between models and build dates.  Prior to 1953 there was a spline seal made of rubber that fit over the splines on the drive shaft inside the front of the torque tube as it enters the torque ball.   In 1953 they placed a sleeve over the end of the driveshaft and then used  a simple circular seal that fit over the exterior of this sleeve to seal it from fluid leakage.  The seal is tapped into the front of the torque tube with the pooch facing towards the front.  This is Gr. 5.449, Part # 1346034 or I used a National  #470774.  This seal comes with the torque ball seal kit , along with the outer retainer with the rubber bonded to the inside that is sold by several vendors, including Dave Edwards.  With the newer outer retainer there is no need for the old rubber boot used earlier.

Hope this helps some, but you may already be aware if it.

Joe 

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Not mentioned above but if you drill the "inspection" hole in the torque tube, tap it and put a screw in it. Saves cleaning the garage floor. Ask me how I know....

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5 hours ago, leon bee said:

Continuing thanks, everybody, I'm reading and studying.

 

 leon bee, forget about the jack, come-a-long or chain falls. After everything is loose to allow the rearend to be pulled that way, remove the bolts [ left hand threads ] holding the springs at the bottom. Roll it back enough to do the job. Of course, if working on a lift, the other way may be better.

 

  Ben

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Really strange symptoms can have really strange causes. Has transmission fluid ever come out of the fill tube after driving the car? Does the car roll easily on a level surface in neutral?

 

I'm just thinking that your brakes may be dragging due to weak return springs or mud in the wheel cylinders. The engine can overpower the drag, but overheat the transmission something fierce. I remember a '57 Cadillac with a completely rebuilt cooling system that always had a puddle under the radiator on cruise night, a '56 Caddy that puked transmission fluid all over the engine, and a late '50's Rolls-Royce that four guys couldn't push onto the lift for the engine rebuild (that never happened after the brake job).

 

I don't know the history of your car. If you pulled into my driveway with it today the first thing I would do is is touch your wheels to see how hot they are. Then put it in neutral and see if it rolls.

 

Untenable problems make me ask "How could I make that happen?" Boiling fluid under pressure would be a logical way the duplicate the symptoms.

Bernie

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This is sure a good example of how I find these forums incredibly valuable. And I don't understand people with similar interests who don't use them. I rebuilt this engine AND the Dynaflow with my two bare, dirty hands about 35 years ago. Actually, I went through the Dynaflow 2 or 3 times before things seemed right. It works well, but I'm haunted by remembering a bearing being too loose at the rear of the trans last time I looked.

 

So. If I ever knew the torque tube was supposed to be dry, I forgot that years ago. So my next area of study will be replacing that pinion seal. I just did that in my daily ride, took about an hour and a half. Hope this one doesn't take a month and a half.

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13 hours ago, leon bee said:

So my next area of study will be replacing that pinion seal. I just did that in my daily ride, took about an hour and a half. Hope this one doesn't take a month and a half.

Save yourself some grief and leave the pinion seal alone unless you disassemble to service other parts like bearings.  A defective pinion seal will leak into the torque tube and will find a level below the driveshaft and will not cause problems other than a leak at the flange.  A leak at the flange can be sealed with a bead of RTV.  Just monitor the nature of the fluid in the torque tube with a plugged hole at the back.

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Just to expand on "whole" idea in the bottom of the torque tube. A friend of mine showed me his idea. After you drill a hole the tube thread in a 90 degree barbed (as in fuel fitting)brass fitting. Push on a length of clear fuel line and secure it up the side of the tube vertically as a "site glass". You can tell if something shows by the color if it's trans(red) or rear diff, black. No mess on the floor. Ongoing monitoring with a look with a light. Drain in a pan by removing tube from fitting and replace.

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