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Axle shaft keys


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For some years (until some teeth fell off of my pinion gear last fall) I thought that my axle seals on my 1930 Pontiac were leaking. Upon dissassembly I discovered that the only leaks were past my axle keys. There was no oil at all in my drums or on my brake shoes. My keys are loose in my keyways. Back in the early 60's when I had my back wheels off for the first time the keys actually had to be driven into or out of the keyways. I have not been able to locate new keys that are tight in my axles. As I am now ready to reassemble my differential could I use high temp silicon gasket stuff in the keyways to stop leaks???

Please help.

Happy hobbying

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if the keys r loose in the keyways (i assume in the shaft?) then they will only get looser. Check to see if the key possibly not square. It mite be that the key if rectanhulat shaped and when installed at one time they were put i wrong. Usually loose keys will result in battered key ways. Are the key ways battered???

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The keys are actually rectangular as they always were but they are about .040" undersized now. I am not really concerned with holding them in place. I don't want the gear lube to work it's way out past the keys.

Happy hobbying

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I know about the taper and that the key only keeps the axle from turning inside the hub. My question is How can I keep gearlube from leaking out through the keyway???

Can anyone help with a suggestion.

Happy hobbying

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On my Pontiac the outer grease seal runs on the outside diameter of the inside end of the hub. The keyway is open to outer bearing. Therefore if the key is loose gearlube will work itself out through the keyway.

Happy hobbying

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I would have to think that snug-fitting keys are a wise idea, particularly if you plan to put another 300K-400K miles on your Pontiac.

If you have a friend with some machine shop equipment he could make them for you easily. Alternatively, you could buy some oversize key stock and hand-file to fit. You could even build up your old keys with braze or weld, and file them to fit.

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As Fordee9r said, there should be an inner seal that keeps the oil from the hub. The outer seal is basically a dust seal to keep dirt out of the bearing. Usually there is a plug or grease fitting at the end of the axle housing to lube the bearings. If you have gear lube at the hub, the inner seal is bad. The only thing that wears the key and keyway is an improperly tighten axle nut.

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'....dust seal ...' . Yeah, but i kind'a think maybe he's trying to cheat alittle bit here. He can use the RTV to seal the key until he can correct the inner seal.

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Thank you for all your input. My keys now (if you look at one from the end) are more like 2 squares (offset by about .025") rather than 1 rectangle. Caused of course by only tightening the axle nut to 1 and 1/2 grunts. When I finally looked up my spec's it was 175 ft. lbs. And when I used my torque wrench it was a lot more than using a half inch ratchet and stepping on the end. Right now my desire was to get the car back on the road while I keep looking for new keys. By the way the inner seal (a felt ring) works excellent with real 140 gearlube in the diff and proper chassis grease in the bearing. However one pump too many with the grease gun unseats the felt seal or if I use the lighter 90 weight or multi grade gearlube it just washes the grease out.

By the way (other than exercise) how can I get my 60yr old abdomen where my teen age one used to go so easily. At least that is my excuse why I have been letting the garage lube my car when I should have been doing it myself. I can't understand how the car keeps getting lower to the ground every year.

Happy hobbying

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