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MG MG Y Type - leaking rear axle

Oh, what a joy it is to own a Y! I spent last night on my knees, up to my armpits in a smelly mixture of wheelbearing-fat and rear-axle oil in a damp, cold, badly lit garage and actualy enjoyed it; I wonder what that says about my phsycological condition?

Last week we had some nice dry weather so I clocked up some miles in Y5888. As it (or she?) stood still for the last eight years I was confident all kinds of horrible things would show up, and they did.

After smelling rear-axle oil and noticing a rather low oil level in the rear axle (it's so nice to have a dipstick under the rear seat!) I removed the brakedrum and was horrified by the greasy/oily mess.
I then removed the driveshaft and hub to look for a possible cause; the wheelbearinggrease seemed to be washed away by the axle-oil, and this mixture found its way into the brakedrum.

The only cause I can find is the oil-seal in the hub, which will be replaced. The drive shaft had been sealed with a silicone layer to the hub.

When I look at the NTG catalogue and other sources, some questions arise:
1) The YA hub-oilseal seems the same as the TC, is that true? It would be nice to know when ordering the part at the local MG-(but not Y)specialist?
2) The TC seems to have some kind of oil bush that forces back the oil into the axle, I miss that on the YA. Should the Y have something like it? What stops axle-oil going through the wheelbearing into the hub, or is that meant to be? And if it is why is there a grease-nipple on the hub?
3) Is a faulty oil seal the cause of my brakedrummess? Or should I look elsewhere?


Willem Y5888
Willem van der Veer

I know the feeling well Willem, though my own first attempt at resolving the problem has not been 100% successful, so my local MG man is trying again for me as we speak. There is only one reason in theory this mess is created, so I believe you are on the right track.

The 'oil' seal is just that.... the lubrication from the back axle comes down the half shaft and in to the bearing. I've used a good Rocol high load bearing grease as well in fairness (belt & bracers). The flange gasket on the half shaft and spring lip on the seal SHOULD then prevent the lubricant reaching the brakes.... my original problem which is much better now, but not totally resolved. So, this time there will be sealant around the oil seal AND sealant on the flanges, in addition to the paper gasket.

The diff cover is also weeping on mine, so that's on the list of jobs to do as well.

I am told it was/is possible to apply oil with a quality grease style gun, hence the nipple. I've had the brake linings changed as well, as the previous attempt to wash & dry out appeared okay, but continued to bleed out when placed on tissue paper. A bit like a manganese bronze bush when impregnated with oil..... it bleeds out for most of its life. Only 10 for both sides from NTG. I found no additional bush, nor was one referred to in my manuals.

Hopefuly she'll be back from the garage in time for my annual Christmas Day run. Good luck & I hope you sort it out soon. Kindest regards, Ken.
Ken Jones

The seal, nut etc. are common for the TC and YA/T. The current thinking among TC owners is that the original set up is guaranteed to leak and usually sooner than later, so for TCs Phil Marino in the US, Roger Furneaux in the UK and Bob Gruneau in Canada have developed a lip seal with a new nut. Tried it on the YT and it won't work, the TC has hubs which provide the room needed for this set up while the Y doesn't.I used sealed bearings but have yet to find out whether they are the solution. Terry
Terry O'Brien

Something to think about: I informed about prices for the seals at the local MG-specialist: EUR 10,81 incl. tax APIECE! That's about 7,70 Pounds and God only knows how many declining Dollars (sorry I couldn't resist that one).

The local car-partstore had them "on the shelf" for EUR 2,23 apiece.....

Lesson learned: never buy oil-seals, bearings etc. from the classic-car specialist! I don't mind paying a bit more if that ensures a financially healthy MG-specialist, but four times as much? No, thank you!
Willem van der Veer

On assembling the hub/driveshaft I discovered that the paper gasket between the driveshaft-flange and the hub is not the same as the TC, which is smaller. So maybe I got the wrong gasket, or the TC hub is indeed smaller as the YA's?

The recommended oil for the rear-axle is EP140, a mild version is available at the local MG-specialist.

I can also get a 70W/140 multigrade (for free!) which is meant for trucks, but i'm afraid thats to heavily doped for the Y.
Are there bronze parts in the axle that are dope-sensitive?
Can I use "normal" thinner 80W/90 as an alternative to the thick 140?
Willem van der Veer

Willem: the paper gasket can be made very cheaply from brown parcel paper, and I use a smear of modern self-vulcanising sealant for 100% leak free service.

The Y hub is different from the TC, as you have found.

My suggestion is to use the monograde EP 140 as axle lubricant. My car's diff is the only part of the car never to have been opened up or restored in any way, and at 130,000miles it is still quiet. I am using the Penrite EP140 and changing it at 12000miles/20000km
Tim Griggs

I have a template for this gasket which you can printo ff and then cut out and use if anyone wants a copy.


Paul Barrow

This thread was discussed between 12/12/2003 and 12/01/2004

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