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Have you replaced your torque ball seal?


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If so, how did it go? The torque ball on the Limited is getting a bit drippier than I'd prefer and I'm kind of thinking of going after it myself. Good idea or mistake? Should I just pay Doug Seybold to do it next winter? How'd it go when you did yours? Experiences good and bad much appreciated!

 

Thanks!

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I have removed torque tube assemblies four times.  It's a bit involved but I can have the entire assembly out in 30-45 minutes. Practice makes perfect.  Further, I did not need a come-along or anything to separate the assembly from the Dynaflow and manual transmission.  Level assembly to the tail of the transmission and she'll separate without much fanfare.  

 

Order up a vulcanized torque ball.  No fussing with shims, etc.  Also, the manual shows guide pins when mating the torque ball to the torque tube.  Use them!  Makes life a lot easier.  Also keeps from buggering up the torque tube seal which I did when not using guide pins. 

 

To answer your question, it's not a hard job. I performed my four ventures into removing and reinstalling the torque tube assemblies by myself. 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Matt,

I put the car on four jack stands on the frame to get it high enough to get under it on a creeper.  Disconnect the rear sway bar from the real axle.  Wrap a come-along around the rear axle and attach the other end to something stationary.  I used the trailer hitch on another vehicle.  Unbolt the torque tube from the transmission and pull it back with the come-along.  You can then get to the seal and replace it.  I've pulled transmissions, replaced seals and throw out bearings this way.

 

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I have not needed a come along at any time.  The pinion housing supported by a wheeled jack and level to the transmission.  One or two solid pulls and they ends separate as the entire assembly rolls rearward on my wheeled jack. For me the key is level torque tube assembly to the transmission.  This requires removing the coil springs and wheels. No binding where each end meet.

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Hello I had to replace the rear differential in mine , the biggest part of the job was getting the car up high enough to roll the rear out , however you may be able to just move the rear back after removing shock links , and use the vulcanite seal one as mentioned in above post , I was planning to change mine but it had been replaced by the previous owner and was still sealing.Remember if you remove the springs lower mount they are left handed thread .Good luck.Gary

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Matt, as you can see, different opinions from different folks. I personally like to remove the rear end completely.  Some of these folks mentioned a vulcanized kit. This is  seal vulcanized into the outer retainer. I have never found one for the standard transmission. Dynaflow only. Different flange size.

 

  If that sucker is not leaking enough to require topping up the transmission oil level every few hundred miles, LIVE WITH IT.   Can you say "can of worms"?

 

  Ben

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My 54 manual has a vulcanized seal. It  was installed before I owned the 54.  I do not know where the previous owner purchased or had it vulcanized.  I have remove the manual twice for work.  The seal still seals without issue.  No shims required for proper sealing. 

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As Gary pointed out, remove the coil springs.  Left-hand threads driver's side top and bottom mount.  Removing the coil springs and wheels allows free movement of the assembly up and down using a wheeled floor jack under the rear axle.  This will allow you to level the entire assembly to the rear of the transmission so there is no binding at the torque ball.  A solid tug on the entire assembly it should separate and roll free rearward on the wheeled floor jack.  I then put on my wheeled carts as shown above and roll it out from under.  Removing completely is not necessary. I have simply separted, installed a torque tube seal and pushed back together. 

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1 hour ago, avgwarhawk said:

My 54 manual has a vulcanized seal. It  was installed before I owned the 54.  I do not know where the previous owner purchased or had it vulcanized.  I have remove the manual twice for work.  The seal still seals without issue.  No shims required for proper sealing. 

 

 Well, dang! I could not find one for the '50. Was TOLD the Dynaflow is different. Mayhaps should have bought on to see. 

 

  Ben

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I can't find a picture but I put a set of bare rims (no tires) on the rear end to roll it under the car. That helped by giving lots of wiggle room.

 

For guide pins I just cut the heads off a couple of hardware store bolts and hacksawed a slot in the end. They worked fine.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

If so, how did it go? The torque ball on the Limited is getting a bit drippier than I'd prefer and I'm kind of thinking of going after it myself. Good idea or mistake? Should I just pay Doug Seybold to do it next winter? How'd it go when you did yours? Experiences good and bad much appreciated!

 

Thanks!

Lots of good advice!  But that  Limited may have some "unique engineering" that may not translate to later years.  Consult Seybold for guidance or to do the job.

Edited by old-tank (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

I missed this Matt because I don't usually check this forum.  If you look on my "Me and My Buick" thread, there's quite a detailed discussion of the torque ball seal replacement. I did it with the transmission removed.  I think doing it with the transmission in place would be a challenge, although I didn't have a lift, of course. 

 

The kit from Bob's comes with a rubber seal instead of a cork one, but you still have to deal with the paper shims.  That's explained in my thread.  Just PM me if you have any questions and I will try to answer them.

 

Neil

 


 

Edited by neil morse (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

Left-hand threads driver's side top and bottom mount. 

 

On the '41, the threads are left-hand on the bottom and right hand on top, both sides.  You only need to remove the keepers on the bottom, of course.  But they will both be left-handed so beware!  (As you will see if you check my thread, a previous owner had stripped the left-handed threads on one side on my car -- something we fixed when I did my transmission job.)

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1 hour ago, neil morse said:

 

On the '41, the threads are left-hand on the bottom and right hand on top, both sides.  You only need to remove the keepers on the bottom, of course.  But they will both be left-handed so beware!  (As you will see if you check my thread, a previous owner had stripped the left-handed threads on one side on my car -- something we fixed when I did my transmission job.)

 

I remove the entire coil assemblies.  In doing so I'm free to lift the entire axle into the wells allowing level drive train, no binding at the ball and do not need a come along to separate. 

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6 hours ago, old-tank said:

Lots of good advice!  But that  Limited may have some "unique engineering" that may not translate to later years.  Consult Seybold for guidance or to do the job.

 

Very true. The 60 has a large spline at the torque ball end that must line up or the two u-joints will be out of synch. 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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59 minutes ago, avgwarhawk said:

I remove the entire coil assemblies.  In doing so I'm free to lift the entire axle into the wells allowing level drive train, no binding at the ball and do not need a come along to separate. 

 

Fair enough.  I did not mean to criticize your approach.  In my case, we were removing the transmission anyway in order to rebuild it, so we used the "come along" method and rolled the rear axle back just far enough to stick the tube up over the transmission while we got the transmission out.  Then reversed the process on reassembly.

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11 minutes ago, neil morse said:

 

Fair enough.  I did not mean to criticize your approach.  In my case, we were removing the transmission anyway in order to rebuild it, so we used the "come along" method and rolled the rear axle back just far enough to stick the tube up over the transmission while we got the transmission out.  Then reversed the process on reassembly.

 

No worries sir. Each of these Buicks has its own challenges when working on them.  I simply struggled with coils in the way.  The torque tube was not separating due to binding. I removed the coils, leveled the assembly with the transmission and pulled.  Out she came. Worked like a charm on both the 54 and 60.  You should see me on my back, torque tube on my wheeled floor jack and my leg pulling it towards the torque ball as I guide the nose of the torque tube to the torque tube with my hands. Crazy but it has worked for me!  In reality, there is nothing scary about torque tubes. 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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Thanks for all the feedback, guys. It sounds like a project that can be done, but I should also make sure that the Limited isn't a special one-off setup. I don't believe it is, as all the torque ball kits say that they are for 1941 ALL, but I've seen that before. However, I also believe that the engine and transmission in my Limited originally came out of a Roadmaster, so that kind of implies that the torque balls would be the same. I'll look into the vulcanized setup that was mentioned, it seems like the right choice. Hopefully it'll fit this manual transmission. I'll also review Neil's procedure.

 

And yes, most of me agrees with Ben--leave it alone if it's not critical. It isn't and I probably should!

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9 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

And yes, most of me agrees with Ben--leave it alone if it's not critical. It isn't and I probably should!

 

But, that doesn't mean you will.  For all you've done with your cars so far, I find it hard to believe this is outside your range of talent.  Make sure you post your typical write up.  If you find a source for the vulcanized torque ball seal, please share.

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For later Buicks, Steele Rubber vulcanizes your old core. I wonder if they could vulcanize one that didn’t originally come with the rubber. Might at least go straight to the source and give them a call. 
...and yes, I have changed quite a few on later Buicks including that Woody wagon that you sold that originated here in central Texas.  I did them all the time on a 2 post lift with the rear ended still in the car. 

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