Preventive Maintenance on Front Axle 80 series.

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I rebuilt the front axle left (passenger) side last year. I try to always check how the axle is looking including bolts, nuts, and grease. I put some grease about 6 months ago. I use my truck for off-road
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IMG_2447.jpeg
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mostly and recently checked and see some possible grease leaks. I will post some pictures and appreciate any feedback regarding the status and any recommendations.
Thanks a lot!
 
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Looks a bit dry (not enough grease in the knuckles) but hard to tell with the dirt/sand.

What type of grease did you use when you packed the CV joints and knuckles? Did it have any Moly (Molybdenum) in it??

You might want to clean off the old grease, sand, and dirt by hand (paper towels, rags), do not spray with water or solvent directly on the swivel balls). Then drive a couple days on pavement and post up new photos.
 
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The recommended grease should have some Molybdenum (MOLY) in it. Many of us on the forum have used Valvoline Palladium which has 3% Moly. You can find that also at NAPA stores.
 
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So you recommend putting that the next time I refill the grease? what about now, should I wait till that grease it's over?
 
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Those look dry, so I’d say check how much is in there, zip ties stuck down in the hole work decent, then put some in. Make sure it’s Moly, like @Kernal said. There’s not a hard fast rule on quantity, some is always going to be coming out as the knuckles move, but for me I use about half a tube in each knuckle at every other or every third oil change.
 
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As mentioned you can remove the inspection port plug and look in
and stick a long thin screw driver or other tool into the cavity and pull it
out to get a very rough idea of how much grease is in there.

After cleaning everything off (and not driving in the dirt) often you may get an
idea of how much grease is inside by looking at the smear of grease on
the swivel balls.

Assuming the grease that is in there now is Lithium base (standard automotive multipurpose grease) you can add the Valvoline Palladium into the knuckles, they will mix. If you don't have one already you'll need a manual hand pump grease gun. IME the type with the long pump handle is easier to use compared to the type with a small squeeze handle.

FWIW
 

80t0ylc

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Might want to consider these TG wipers and seals. I've been using them for the last 5 yrs and here's a pic of my DS knuckle currently. No leakage or residue of expelled grease on axle, knuckle, dust shield or steering arms.
IMG_2032a.JPG


I'm sure there'll be comments that it looks dry. But there is no need for the exposed surface of the ball to have the grease smeared on it - if the grease can be retained inside the knuckle and the dirt kept out, the only PM necessary for the knuckle is to maintain the grease level of the knuckles. In fact it's the compromise of the felt seals that require constant cleaning. Most owners that do their own axle maintenance keep a wary eye on their knuckles and rely on the appearance of the knuckle ball to gage the grease level of their knuckles. And that works - with the downside of this expelled grease migrating to the surfaces around the knuckles. IMHO, for it's purpose, this polyurethane seal does a much better job than the original style wipers. Yes it's an added expense to a front axle PM, but worth it and can extend the PM interval.
 
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Might want to consider these TG wipers and seals. I've been using them for the last 5 yrs and here's a pic of my DS knuckle currently. No leakage or residue of expelled grease on axle, knuckle, dust shield or steering arms.
View attachment 3095900

I'm sure there'll be comments that it looks dry. But there is no need for the exposed surface of the ball to have the grease smeared on it - if the grease can be retained inside the knuckle and the dirt kept out, the only PM necessary for the knuckle is to maintain the grease level of the knuckles. In fact it's the compromise of the felt seals that require constant cleaning. Most owners that do their own axle maintenance keep a wary eye on their knuckles and rely on the appearance of the knuckle ball to gage the grease level of their knuckles. And that works - with the downside of this expelled grease migrating to the surfaces around the knuckles. IMHO, for it's purpose, this polyurethane seal does a much better job than the original style wipers. Yes it's an added expense to a front axle PM, but worth it and can extend the PM interval.
Depends where you live.

If you live in the rust belt or drive your rig in the winter where salt and other ice melters are used then the lack of excess grease will lead to corrosion and pitting of the surface.

Then those polyurethane seals will not provide the seal that the felt seals will provide. The felt seals will provide better protection if the ball is pitted vs the poly seals.

So, a little grease on the balls, depending where you live, is necessary.

If you live in a non corrosive environment then the poly will be OK.
 

80t0ylc

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Depends where you live.

If you live in the rust belt or drive your rig in the winter where salt and other ice melters are used then the lack of excess grease will lead to corrosion and pitting of the surface.

Then those polyurethane seals will not provide the seal that the felt seals will provide. The felt seals will provide better protection if the ball is pitted vs the poly seals.

So, a little grease on the balls, depending where you live, is necessary.

If you live in a non corrosive environment then the poly will be OK.
Just to keep it informative, there's a slight layer of grease on the ball, just not enough to allow dust and dirt to adhere. They're not as dry as it appears. And they've survived the ODOT winter ice treatments, which have proved to me very corrosive to many vehicles.

Edit: If you look carefully in the pic, you can see my finger print where I touched it to see if was dry. There is a fine, evenly spread layer of knuckle grease. And this makes sense considering that it gets exposed to the packed grease in the knuckle on turns.
 
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Or, there's this:

 
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IMOP one of the small things that gets missed frequently is the OEM vent for the axles.

I’ve learned over the years the best thing to do is eliminate them all together.

I remove them and extend the line utilizing a 5/16 fuel hose up high in the engine compartment.

They are a failure point on our aged trucks. You can clean them and free them up but they stick quickly causing migration of oil and grease to exchange constantly.
 
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Also to the OP, you need to clean your balls more frequently to remove the sand and grit which accelerates the wear on the felts and seals.

Clean balls ensures a happy rig 😉
 
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My concern with the split boot is if water does enter, you'll be accelerating rust because of the lack of drying.
 
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I had the same concern about water getting trapped in the boots but apparently that CV boot was designed for and used by large open pit mines on their 70 series trucks with a solid front axle design like the 80 series. Purpose is to keep out water, so maybe they do??
 

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