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1940 Buick Series 70 Torque Ball Seal Repair


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I have a 40 Buick series 70 torque ball that is in need of a seal replacement. This is my first go at this.....I know there are a number of other posts related to this topic and have reviewed them.  Surprisingly I have been unable to find any sort of assembly drawing (exploded view) that identifies the parts that make up the ball assembly and show the details of how it's put together. The shop manual does not provide any useful drawings of the assembly.

 

I have a seal repair kit, torque ball lip seal and the tube flange gasket.  The rear end/torque tube is free and ready to slide back. 

It seems pretty clear where the replacement shims and t ball taper seal are installed, however, there is a flange ring (dwg 20210212_135605) that appears to have shim gasket between it and the transmission. Can someone tell me if that flange needs to be removed as part of the repair.  It does not appear to be readily removable.

Also, when I slide the taper seal back away from the ball, I noticed there was a thin split backing ring  (dwg 

 

20210212_135605) behind the seal (aft of the seal).  I'm not sure if that thin ring was once a part of the seal and has become separated from it or if it should be installed behind my new seal.   My new seal did not have any sort of metallic ring with it.

 

I would really appreciate it if someone could address the above issues and any guidance that you may have.....would like to get this right the first time.

 

-  Does anyone have an exploded view/assembly drawing of the torque ball assembly.

-  best method for cleaning/polishing the torque ball

-  proper assembly

 

Thank you,  Larry

 

 

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20210212_135605.jpg

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Maybe it's just because I did my torque ball when the transmission was out of the car, but I just don't see how you can possibly do this job without at least pulling the torque tube back and pulling the propeller shaft out of the U-joint in the torque ball.

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13 hours ago, neil morse said:

Maybe it's just because I did my torque ball when the transmission was out of the car, but I just don't see how you can possibly do this job without at least pulling the torque tube back and pulling the propeller shaft out of the U-joint in the torque ball.

Larry, Neil is correct but it sounds like you are ready to pull the axle back to access the torque ball assembly.  Neil's post on his transmission rebuild would be your best source of help here.  Check his thread here:

 

 

The split ring you mention is placed in the torque ball retainer then the new gasket on top of that.  The function of the split ring is to provide a bit of tension to the seal.  The following is an image showing the exploded parts diagram.  While labeled for a different series of car than yours, the area of the diagram that addresses the torque ball is the same.  

image.thumb.png.3d77d6ed081be9e7b248b969cef8312c.png

 

 

 

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Larry, I'm sorry I read your post in a hurry and didn't see the part about how you had everything ready to slide back.  I can't really tell from your pictures exactly what that flange is, but my point was that you will have to disassemble the whole thing to do the job anyway, so you will be able to understand it better once you get it apart.

 

Regarding the "split ring" or spring washer ("AD" in the exploded drawing that Ken posted above), Ken is correct that this goes behind the original cork gasket to keep pressure on the ball and help seal it.  However, when I took mine apart, the spring was missing.  With the new rubber gasket from Bob's, I figured the spring washer wasn't necessary, and so far that appears to be the case since mine is still completely dry after nearly a year and 1,000 miles.

 

I have posted again the part in my thread where I discuss the torque ball procedure.  Just click on the arrow in the upper right hand corner to get to the right place.

 

 

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Thank you both much for responding .....the transmission exploded view and Neil, your post, is a wealth of information.

I have the torque tube pulled back and all of the torque ball assembly on the bench....heading to shop to get everything cleaned up and see how it looks.  I did notice a small area of pitting on the ball (AE) surface but hopeful that the pitted  area may be outside of the tapered seal seating surface.  I'll know more shortly after the clean up.

On the spring washer (AD), I was leaning towards not using it with the new style rubber seal as well, but on the other hand I can't see that it would be an issue either way.  For some reason in the exploded view diagram, it shows the spring washer stack-up on the "ball" side of the tapered seal....not sure what that's about.

Larry

 

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It is strange that the spring washer is shown on the "wrong" side of the seal.

However,I think it would be best not to use the spring with the new rubber seal. There is a lot of compression of the rubber seal without the spring. The added compression with the spring installed may be too much and accelerate wear.

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That makes good sense.....I'll install without the spring   The spring as it turns out is the least of my concerns.....there is some serious pitting one torque ball surface and some minor pitting/corrosion on the inside surface of the outer retainer.  I think the outer retainer can be cleaned up, however, the torque ball is a different story.  I'm not sure but I believe any efforts to try to machine the ball surface would result in a poor/unsealable ball-to-retainer fit.

I also have some scratches/shallow grooves on the inside surface of the ball.  They don't seem to effect or restrict the ball-to-inner retainer motion so I think they are probably not a problem.1644291256_TorqueBall1.thumb.jpg.e0675f4f4a3995d42e18223730f8322a.jpg

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As a follow up to my last post..............I subsequently took another look at those areas where the pitting is located and did a fit up with the new tapered rubber seal.

It appears that the rubber seal seating surface is above and clear of the pitted areas.  I think with just a little cleaning/polishing that it should provide a good seal as is.   Thoughts?

Life is good.  Larry

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Larry,

I think you have a good chance at success as long as the pitting is not in the area where the rubber rides. Polish the ball an mating ring  out with fine sandpaper on a lathe if you can - it all helps.

You get some horrible grease with the kit. Be sure you get all the surfaes coated with it - especially where the rubber rides.

You will find that when shimmed properly, there will be lots of drag due to the rubber compression. Leaving the bolts a touch loose will be a big help when you go to align the ball and torque tube and spline on assembly.

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Thanks....On the grease ...I'm assuming that the black moly grease should be applied to the inside surface of the ball and to the inside retainer as well.  Is there another recommended grease......there is not a lot included with the kit.

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Larry, I found that the little plastic bag of moly grease was plenty enough to coat all the surfaces that needed to be coated.  You can see some photos of that in the sequence I posted on my thread.  As I mentioned in my thread, following Don's advice I made sure to wear latex gloves when applying the grease.

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I know I am late to the party, but those pits on the outer curved surface on the torque ball don't look pretty.   I would have tried some carefully applied Devcon or JB weld.   If you have to replace the seal in a hurry, or on the road, a quick trick is to pull the rear retainer off, cut the new seal, slip it around the ball and use a bit of super glue to glue it back together.  

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I'm just now beginning the reassembly of my torque ball.   I did in fact take your advice and repair the pitting on the torque ball curved surface using JB weld.  It cleaned up really well. 

 

On the spring washer.....what is the correct position of the washer in the outer retainer.  Does the bevel (raised edge) go towards the taper seal?

 

Thank you,  Larry

Spring washer.jpg

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On 2/14/2021 at 2:48 PM, larryo said:

That makes good sense.....I'll install without the spring 

 

Larry, I'm confused by your most recent question.  I can't answer your question, but I thought you had decided not to use the spring washer.

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I'm not sure that it matters, I put the outer, lower contact surface against the torque ball retainer.  The point would be to add pressure to the seal.  The contact surface of the seal is stiff enough that the force of the spring will spread out over the surface of the seal sufficiently to accomplish that task.  

 

Here's a photo of the polish job I did on my torque ball and housing.  As long as your seal surface is not touching the seal, you ought to be fine.  I've looked at several torque balls and retainers to find a good set for my car.  I am always amazed at the scoring damage on so many of them.  I always wonder if a mechanic didn't keep the dirt out of his work.

IMG_8912.JPG

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Thank you for the input on the spring washer.....I had sort of come to the same conclusion on the washer orientation (not sure it matters).

I too was amazed at the amount of scoring I found.  Not sure what the culprit is ......no apparent dirt or grit found in the area and there is really relatively little motion involved with the ball.

I didn't get my surfaces looking as good as yours but hopeful that they're good enough and that the tapered seal will do the job.

 

Neil....I've been rethinking the use of the spring washer....lots of schools of thought on that.  Whether the increased spring pressure contributes to premature wear of the seal or whether the washer helps maintains proper pressure over an extended length of time. I'm thinking maybe a little of both.

 

Fitting up the shims today and hope to get it buttoned up.

 

Thanks, Larry

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