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Tickover Ford Capri V8 in 1995

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Leaky rear wheel bearings ?

Nov 2018 and I thought it was about time to add to this acrticle a bit as this was written a few years ago now. Most of it still holds true, but some things have changed. The main one is the brands. Firstline bearings were OK back then, but for some reason they changed the design on their inner seal and it is now incorrect and will not seal. QH don't seem to make these at all now. Other brands seem to come and go and have seal problems too. We have some bearings available though that we use and the seal is the right way and they work. The original article follows below:

Here's a question that's cropped up a lot over the years, but seems to have become more common recently. Currently we seem to have ready access to 2 brands,  QH and Firstline. We've heard tell of some people insisting that QH are better and Firstline leak oil and also the other way round. We sell wheel bearings through our online shop, and what we sell depends on what's actually available at the manufacturers.  We did have one guy get quite stroppy about receiving one make instead of the other, insisting the brand we sent was inferior. We're pretty sure his opinion was wrong, and we find no difference in quality. So, before jumping to conclusions about brand favourites here's a list of possible causes of oil leak in this area.

1) Bearing fitted wrong way round on half-shaft

2) Bearing seal damaged during fitment to shaft (fitting press mistake)

3) Bent half-shaft

4) Bent axle case

5) Rear disc brake kit fitted

6) Half-shaft damaged by angle grinder

7) Faulty bearing or seal (poor manufacturing)

Looking at the picture here and the above list we can carry out a few checks to rule some of these errors out. The side of the bearing shown is the inside. This faces inwards into the centre of the axle. Do not get this wrong - many have! If you look closely at the outside edge of the seal you will see it is raised slightly above the height of the outer metal edge of the bearing. This is crucial, make sure it is raised up, and make sure there are no nics out of it, before you put it on the shaft. If there is anything wrong get your supplier to change it. We check ours before we post them out.

Now a very important note on getting these pressed onto your half-shafts. The bearings are pressed down using a press tool, as the fit is very tight. It is absolutely essential that the press does not push against the seal during this process. This will crush the seal and it will not work properly. The reason the seal is raised like this is so it presses and seals against the smooth flat surface it meets inside the axle case when the shaft is bolted into the case.

Next up make sure your shafts and the axle case are straight. Eyeball it all, check it all with straight edge ruler, do whatever it takes to be sure.

How did you remove the old bearing? Usually (99.9%) of the time you will not get this off with a puller and you (or your mechanic) will have to resort to using a grinder to chop the old bearing to pieces. This is fine but must be done extremely carefully. Any nics in the surface of the shaft are potential routes for oil to track its way under the bearing and out onto your brakes.

Now my favourite! The rear disc brake conversion. God I hate these things, but the biggest reason is that they are often a cause of rear bearing oil leaks. It's really simple this one. In most kits (well the bolt on types) you get a plate that replaces the original drum back plate. This is clamped in place by the half-shaft clamping plate. Well guess what! This new plate is thicker than the drum plate it replaces. What other job does the shaft clamp plate have to do? Apply enough pressure to the bearing to push it firmly into the case so the seal is pressed tightly up against the flat inside surface in the case - that's what. Suddenly we have a thicker piece of metal in the way stopping it from going all the way in - leak time !

So there we have it - a simple job that needs a lot of care - and can give bearings a false bad name.

Buy yours here: Capri wheel bearings


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