Author Topic: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled  (Read 359 times)

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Offline Guac-n-Lime

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Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
« on: April 4, 2017, 12:19:00 PM »
So I parked my truck at the inlaws a few weeks ago. Rear of the truck was backed in where there was a slight incline, left on the low side. A day later - what's that smell? What's that stuff oozing out from under my truck? Gear Oil! That stuff really stinks when it's hot in the sun!

Bad seal? Nope. Must have had a pint or more drip out of the breather tube (on the top of the left axle tube), probably as the air in the axle warmed up. Breather is the stock jiggle cap on top of a bolt that holds the brake hardline to the axle. Totally inadequate to offroad if you're going to ford any streams, but I haven't got around to running a hose up into the bed frame.

I have an aftermarket diff cover that let me add an inch or more of extra fluid in the diff:
http://ramchargercentral.com/mopar-trucks/guacamole-1974-w200-club-cab/#8

I'm thinking I overdid it, and should have left the level closer to the original level.

I'm also thinking that a second breather tube on the opposite axle tube would allow air out of the high side.
Or maybe a breather from the top of the center pumpkin itself?

I went back and measured the slope involved, and it was an angle of only 2.5 degrees.

Anyone else have this happen?

- Jim
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    Offline u2slow

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #1 on: April 4, 2017, 01:11:41 PM »
    Pretty sure you need to back off on the fluid level a tad and add the breather hose.

    An extra inch of fluid level is a significant volume when you consider the tubes are filling too (unlike a front diff). Tip it to one side a little and one tube gets fully flooded as the other one empties.
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    Offline dodge82273

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #2 on: April 4, 2017, 04:32:33 PM »
    there normally is a hose from the bolt in axle UP to the frame and cliped on there , with that cap in the hose end, 2wd's and autos have it just on the axle , a pint of oil ??? hummm , well just remember , oil floats on top of water , did water get in and overfill the axle ? After being  tipped side to side so full floating hubs are full , I fill to the bottom of fill hole .
    78 to 93 parts trucks
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    Offline Elwenil

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #3 on: April 4, 2017, 05:58:50 PM »
    You are kind of screwed in some ways.  If it's one of the larger capacity covers, the hole does sometimes move up but a lot of the time it's just that the cover bulges out more adding more room inside the housing for lube.  If that's the case, you are going to have to keep it filled to the normal level.  Dropping the level to prevent the slosh into one tube is not something you can do since the lube level is there to ensure that all the bearings get lube.  Putting in less will lower that level and potentially starve the bearings.  It's the level of the fluid that must be maintained, not really the volume.  Extending the vent with a hose should solve the problem, if not a "catch can" could be used.
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    Offline deathrowdave

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #4 on: April 4, 2017, 08:18:26 PM »
    Talking about covers , I just rebuilt Dana 60 front and rear for my truck . I would have never noticed this but axles were sitting side by side , front and rear covers are different , front oil level is about 3/4 inch lower than rear oil level . Need to watch this when replacing OEM cover with aftermarket covers . Overfilling front could be very easy and almost undectable if covers are not side by side
    Have a great and safe day ,Dave

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #5 on: April 4, 2017, 10:56:09 PM »
    I have some factory Dana 60 covers from different years that have the fill plug in different locations. When I get home next week, I'll post some pics. As I recall, they are a good inch to inch & a half difference.
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    Offline 4x4 440

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #6 on: April 5, 2017, 05:40:29 AM »
    I had the opposite problem after my lift, shackle flip and rotating my axle for a rear cv driveshaft. My solution was to park on a hill so cover mating surface was at 90 degrees from level then fill to bottom of fill plug. When on level ground this puts lube above fill plug but it will lube wheel bearings.
    1978 Ramcharger 440/727 with NP 203/205 doubler w/twinstick, Dana 60F and Dana 70 rear w/3.54:1 gears and an 8" lift. Puttin' out 450 HP at the crank, a little to mild. Now with Hydro Boost brakes.





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    Offline Guac-n-Lime

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #7 on: April 5, 2017, 11:19:22 AM »
    The new cover definitely moves the oil level much higher. If you look at the before and after pics (linked above), the stock cover has the plug below the case's machining index holes. The new cover has the fill plug even with the top of those index holes, so it's almost 2" higher. I usually fill to the bottom of the fill hole. I think that puts the fluid level up to only 1/4-inch below the top of the axle tubes.

    No issues with leaks or drips after several months of highway driving, including a few 100-mile trips with heavy loads. So there is still room for the fluid to expand.

    But where the old level would have the axles barely dipping into the fluid (good enough to theoretically fling it around inside), the new level has the axles themselves pretty much immersed. Maybe B&M thinks that's needed for dragstrip use? I think it's overkill here.

    Also, the stuff that leaked out was pretty gooed up with rust dust. Probably scrubbed off the insides of case and tubes. I used the Mobil 1 gear lube, and maybe it has that much better detergents.

    No sign whatsoever of water intrusion. Yes, I've seen that before on my Dakota, and the D44 on the front of this rig was filled with an icky emulsion probably nearly half water. With hubs, it's not been run under load with that in there, and it hadn't been there long. I blame the PO's kid.

    'Bottom of the fill hole' is an easy gauge. I guess I have to make up a 'dipstick' for checking the level. Certainly plan to drain this goop out and refill to a lower level. Good thing; the Mobil 1 stuff is expensive.

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    Offline Guac-n-Lime

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #8 on: April 5, 2017, 11:59:13 AM »
    Here are pics of the stock 1974 diff breather design. Front is very similar. Cap on top is almost like a tire valve cap, crimped a bit on the bottom so it stays on. I plan to change this to a tube fitting and run a hose up into the frame. I've seen a neat setup that looks like a bellows, but would that really work for -40F MT winters to 140F hot loaded diff?

    I think it would be nice to have the breather from the middle of the diff case, but I don't want to add a point where stress might crack the case. Bad enough that I think this weakens the axle tube.

    I'm pretty sure that with a more rational fluid level - say just below the midpoint of the axle - there won't be any need for a second breather on the other side. If the rig is ever tipped over enough to drown the breather tube, it won't be there for long (or the truck is upside down and leaking axle lube is the LEAST of my worries!)
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    Offline 4x4 440

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #9 on: April 5, 2017, 05:10:52 PM »
    I made a fitting out of an old tone ring sensor and connected a hose up to the crossmember. I have a small filter connected to the hose.
    1978 Ramcharger 440/727 with NP 203/205 doubler w/twinstick, Dana 60F and Dana 70 rear w/3.54:1 gears and an 8" lift. Puttin' out 450 HP at the crank, a little to mild. Now with Hydro Boost brakes.





    2001 Dodge 3500 quad cab dually with Cummins power. Loaded. Stock for now.

    Offline Guac-n-Lime

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #10 on: April 5, 2017, 05:31:44 PM »
    I made a fitting out of an old tone ring sensor and connected a hose up to the crossmember. I have a small filter connected to the hose.
    I have a pair of breathers from the Dakota I parted out. I'll put fresh, longer hose on, but the ends have nice rubbery bits to keep debris out, but let air by. I like the way Dodge did the wiring for the rear axles circa mid-90s (and probably later too). Brake hose has molded keepers about every inch along it, with the wiring to the ABS sensor (which detects ring gear motion) routed along the hose. I think it would be cool to run the breather hose like that so I minimize how many things there are to snag stuff.
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    Offline dodge82273

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #11 on: April 5, 2017, 07:46:25 PM »
    hummm , I'd rather the abs wire and the breather was NOT attached to my brake hose IF I was concerned about stuff getting ripped out , I can live without the breather and the abs wire LOL
    78 to 93 parts trucks
    91 w250 318 518 44/60 single 9 foot driveway plow locked
    87w150 44/corp727 kandy w/ ghost bats/summer
    86-D/W100 44/corp/318mag/carb/4500/aka shit box/winter
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    Offline Guac-n-Lime

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #12 on: April 5, 2017, 08:34:33 PM »
    hummm , I'd rather the abs wire and the breather was NOT attached to my brake hose IF I was concerned about stuff getting ripped out , I can live without the breather and the abs wire LOL

    Strength in numbers?

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    Never started a fire, but I always worried about catalytic when they would put a mesh screen on them that seemed specifically designed to hold onto debris. I think it was supposed to moderate the temp and act a bit as a radiator, but...
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    Offline dodge82273

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #13 on: April 6, 2017, 02:15:59 AM »
    cats DO start fires ........ LOL town supervizor , town car , a lover , parking , car fire ........ LOL   sticks ??  I'll send ya a photo of my driveway after a wind storm , yeah let the breather and the abs go , the bigger target Is bad too ....... LOL  ;D
    « Last Edit: April 6, 2017, 02:18:46 AM by dodge82273 »
    78 to 93 parts trucks
    91 w250 318 518 44/60 single 9 foot driveway plow locked
    87w150 44/corp727 kandy w/ ghost bats/summer
    86-D/W100 44/corp/318mag/carb/4500/aka shit box/winter
    93w150short/44/corp/360/le/mag "caddie"
    93w250LB51844/60posi 318"New Truck"

    Offline Guac-n-Lime

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    Re: Inclined to Think Axle is Overfilled
    « Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 11:34:01 AM »
    Here are pics of the stock 1974 diff breather design. Front is very similar. Cap on top is almost like a tire valve cap, crimped a bit on the bottom so it stays on.
    The stock setup on the front D44 is different in the breather location. Instead of the top of the axle tube where the brake line junction is bolted, the breather is on the top, axle tube end of the pumpkin. No problem with strength.

    I drained and refilled the rear. Drained out very nearly seven quarts, so I had probably lost less than a pint to the spill. Seemed like more, but it was spread out over concrete. I refilled with 4.5 qts, and using a dipstick I think it's very close to, maybe a bit higher than, the factory fill level.

    I'll try to remember not to leave the truck parked at extreme side angles. [No, 3 degrees is NOT an extreme angle!]
    I guess with a carburetted engine that's a good idea.
    « Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 04:52:17 PM by Guac-n-Lime »
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