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Old 12-13-2014, 02:20 PM   #1
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Front Brakes Oil Soaked

I have an "05 Winne Journey and I was under the front of the unit today diagnosing an air leak. I found that and can fix it pretty easily. But then I noticed the oil leaking from the driver front brake drum. I assume its the oil seal leaking and has now ruined the front brake shoes. Questions to those who know much more than I:
1. Can I do a front brake job in my bay using the RV front jacks (with some jack stands of course)? I'm very accomplished as a car mechanic, have tools up to 1/2" impact gun, etc but have never worked on stuff this big.
2. How hard to change the oil seals for the axle?
3. If I had this done at a heavy shop, approximate cost I should expect to pay for the front brake job and seal replacement (ballpark)? Thank you for your input.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:30 PM   #2
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I don't think your 1/2" impact wrench will take off the lug nuts. They are usually at about 500 ft/lbs of torque. If you have a long enough breaker bar and perhaps 3/4" socket of appropriate size, you could handle the lug nuts. Of course everything will be much heavier than a auto or pick up truck, but the process is the same. Do both sides for even braking. Also, check the bearings on the leaking axle for damage from running dry.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:36 PM   #3
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First, welcome to iRV2!!



We had to have both front brakes replaced due to an oil seal leak on both front wheels - fortunately, it was under warranty at the time. Having watched the guys do the job, I'd agree that a 1/2 inch impact wrench may not be up to it. The shop we used was set up to work on our Freightliner chassis, along with 18 wheelers. Took them about 3 hours to do the job.

Have to agree with Bob above - look into doing both sides to ensure even braking.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:39 PM   #4
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I'm just a lonely old shade tree mechanic and I replaced both left and right side seals this past February for a total of $75. The Freightliner technician I bought the seals from told me to use brake cleaner on the shoes and I would be good to go. So I did, and haven't had any problems even going through the Rockies.

The tire/rim is heavy! Be careful. I use a torque multiplier and a tire caddy to really make this job relatively easy. Both tools are indispensable to me.

PS, I have other pictures if you want.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:46 PM   #5
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You will need a torque multiplier. 1/2" impact tool won't come close ... you are gonna' need 1" . And ... you'll need to do some math to come up with the tightening torque with a multiplier. There were instructions on the web but I don't remember much about it.

TORQUE MULTIPLIER LABOR SAVING LUG NUT WRENCH - - Amazon.com
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:48 PM   #6
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Be sure to follow the axle manufacturer's instructions with regard to front wheel bearing seating and runout. You will likely need a dial indicator and correct sockets for the spindle nuts.
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Old 12-13-2014, 02:53 PM   #7
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"I'm just a lonely old shade tree mechanic - BigD9"

Let's hear it for old shade tree mechanics! Good advice...
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Old 12-13-2014, 03:31 PM   #8
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Copper58,
Well Sir, I've done EXACTLY what you're looking at. I've done it on the rear hub assembly and, the front hub assembly. In reality and technical terms, it's almost the same exact job as doing it on a smaller scale, like a pickup truck or a car. But, as you've already mentioned, THINGS ARE JUST BIGGER!

I can walk you through it and tell you what you'll need to do, look out for, be prepared for, and more, but, this is just something that, because you have previous experience, you'll have to decide, if you want to take it on or not. Many on here do lots of their own maintenance but, they draw a line at certain levels at which they won't go any further. I've stepped outside the box forever so, taking on the seal replacement jobs on the rear of our coach and, the front of a friends coach, was to me, just another job.

So, with all that being said. One of the first things is of course, to be real safe when goofing around with 10,000 lbs. worth of front end of a diesel pusher. You get squishted, and you're better half's gonna be real mad.

As has been stated, about 99.99% of the lug nuts on the diesel units are torqued to around, 450 ft. lbs. or more. So, breaking them loose, without the right equipment/wrench/socket/breaker bar and tag-a-long cheater is a pretty tough job in and of itself. Knowing I would be goofing around with my aluminum wheels and, doing my own brake inspections now and then, I sprung for a "Torque Multiplier" that I got from ebay. It has a 75:1 ratio which, allows me to break all ten of those lug nuts on mine, with one arm.

You'll have to determine, how you're going to break them free, without having something like what I have. There's other types of torque multipliers out there that attach to the end of regular breaker bars etc. I've got no experience with those.

Now, getting the coach up to allow you to remove that wheel and tire is, as you already know, quite easy with the jacks on the coach. They work absolutely flawless for this job. Yep, use some jack stands in the appropriate places to augment the jacks. Now, that tire and wheel, hovers real close to 142 lbs. ( I weighed mine). So, be prepared for some serious, awkward weight and, getting it off the hub, after all the lug nuts is not a real easy chore again, unless you have something that handles that part of the job.

Again, I knew I'd be doing things like this so, I purchased a "wheel dolly" from a tool sales place in Quartzsite a couple of years ago. It handles that wheel and tire assembly flawlessly. And, all I do is, lift on a handle which, based on the leverage involved, is only about 30-40 lbs. and, I dolly that wheel and tire assembly out of the way.

Now, you'll have to get the drum off. That drum, hovers around 50 lbs. plus or minus. It can be man-handled off the hub but, it's awkward and, like stated, heavy. So, I use a motorcycle jack for that part of the job. It works great for that.

Now, you're looking at the brake shoes and hub. You'll need to remove the cap that holds all the hub oil in place. I think it's 6 bolts that hold that cap on. Not all that much oil escapes, maybe around a cup or more, I forgot. Once the cap is off and, the oil has escaped, you're now looking at the rather large retaining nut(s) that hold that hub on to the spindle. This part always cracks me up because it's the same technology that's been used for decades in terms of how the top nut, (again, there's two) is held in place. I

It's the flat washer below it, that is bent over the side of one of the flat sides of that nut, that secures that nut, from turning. You'll need a hammer and chisel to "un-bend" that part that's bent. Once that's done, that top nut may be tight and, it might not be. If it is, then you've got two choices to loosen it. One, go buy the right sized extra large socket to remove it, or, do what a few zillion back yard mechanics (including myself) have done for decades. And that is, use that same chisel and, use it to back that nut off.

Once that's done, then remove the flat washer, and I think, a "locating, multi-perforated" is next. It is used to stop the inner nut from spinning when you tighten the top nut to lock things down. Then, remove the inner nut. OH by the way, these "nuts' are around 2" in diameter or so. That's why I said you'll need the "extra large socket".

Once that inner nut is off, then the hub will slide right off. You might encounter a tad bit of binding when trying to slide that hub off. You see, those are bearings that keep that hub perfectly parallel to the spindle and, if you "tilt" that hub, even the slightest amount, it will bind because you're not allowing it to come off dead parallel. You'll figure that part out. It's not really that hard.

Now, once that hub is off, lay it down, upside down, on some card board or, what ever surface you plan on working on. You're now looking at about a $30-$40 dollar seal. It's about 4"-5" in diameter. I've even got the part number for you, hanging around inside this computer some place, I'll try and find it.

Now, getting that seal out, with the proper tool, is a piece of cake. Without the proper tool, can be a bear. I used one of those claw foot crow bars sold by Sears. It worked great. Two things you need to be aware of here. One, you're working right up against the "toner ring" that's there for the ABS signal. So, don't damage it. The second thing is, you're also working right close to the inner bearing so, don't damage that bearing cage, when prying that seal out of there.

Once the seal is out, a good clean up and, you're simply ready to install the new seal that should be sitting right there for you to install. Now here's where it takes some "finesse" in doing a large-type seal install. I used a large type ball peen hammer and, a large block of 2"x4" wood to lay flat on that seal, to drive it into the bore of that hub, SQUARELY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep that piece of wood, dead flat against the seals outer face so it enters the bore appropriately. You'll know when bottoms out.

That part of your work is done.

Now for the brake shoes. This is where I'll catch some flack here, no biggie, been there done that. More than likely, your brake shoes are just fine. They are not "soaked" like you think. Unless that seal's been bad for miles and miles and miles, you more than likely, have very little damage to those shoes and, even at that, it's the bottom shoe only. Well, what I have done in the past and, just did it for a friends '06 Meridian is, we purchased about 2 cans of "Brake-Kleen" or, some equivalent from your local auto parts store.

You can spray that cleaner, directly onto the face of that shoe. What happens is, it enters the material of that shoe, and, as it rapidly evaporates, it EXTRACTS the oil right out of that brake material. Now, depending on just how long that seal's been leaking, that will determine how much of that Brake-Kleen will be needed to extract ALL the oil out of that shoe. We used about a can and a half and, it helps to have compressed air to blow on it to help with the evaporation phase.

Pretty soon, you'll see a completely dry shoe. All the oil will be gone. You just saved yourself quite a bit of money, and, a whole ton of work, by not replacing that set of shoes which, without a doubt, IS A WHOLE TONE OF WORK. Those are some serious springs that hold them in place.

So, now that your shoe is clean and, the entire area, components, pieces, parts, etc. are all clean and ready for re-assembly, it's time to start.



At this point, I'll stop with the narrative. I'd be glad to finish talking you through putting this job back together to your satisfaction, if you so would like. Other wise, I might be saying (typing) all this for nothing. I don't know if you're going to attack this job or not but, again, it's the same as you've more than likely already seen only a lot bigger, as is everything on motor homes. Let me know, I'm glad so assist.
Scott.


On edit: I have the same exact wheel dolly shown in post #4 and, the almost the same exact torque multiplier shown in the link, in post #5.

P.S., below is what it looked like when I did my rear hub seal.



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Old 12-13-2014, 04:58 PM   #9
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Great writeup !!! ... thanks for taking the time and including pics !!!
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:47 PM   #10
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Great writeup !!! ... thanks for taking the time and including pics !!!
bruceisla,
If you're talking about the little narrative I posted here, you're certainly welcome. I, along with the other posters helps the OP make a decision as to whether he want's to take on this project. In terms of technical difficulty, on a scale from 1 to 10 with one being something like changing your oil to, 10 being 10 being something like tearing a 7.5QD diesel generator all the way down to install a new rotor and stator, (Imagine how I know this), I'd say this project of replacing the oil seal is about a 3. The main limiting factor in this project is having the correct tools.
Scott


On edit: By the way, since I can't add it to the previous post of mine, here I think, is the correct Freightliner part number for that seal but, if I were the OP, I'd throw this at Freightliner to confirm it's correct.


35066, seal, oil Front axle
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:51 PM   #11
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Fire Up's write up is great. Just a couple of notes to add. You'll need a NEW locking ring to put under the nut when you re-assemble. Order that when you get your seals. Also, I got the "big" socket for the nut at my local NAPA and it worked fine. Finally, seating the bearing is a bit of a complex issue. Since I did mine a few years ago, I'd suggest you call the Freightliner Help line and get the correct procedure from the horses' mouth. That's what I did and it worked fine, but getting the pre-load and final set is a bit more complex than a car, light truck or trailer procedure.

It's a heavy and somewhat dirty job, but not beyond someone with reasonable mechanical experience.
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pigman1 View Post
Fire Up's write up is great. ... (I agree, -Bob)

It's a heavy and somewhat dirty job, but not beyond someone with reasonable mechanical experience.
Also think of the new tools you'll accumulate, along with bragging rights that you did it yourself. Not to mention the money saved in labor and shop costs.
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:17 PM   #13
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Also think of the new tools you'll accumulate, along with bragging rights that you did it yourself. Not to mention the money saved in labor and shop costs.

Minus the price of a new jar of IcyHot big enough for your entire body ...
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:19 PM   #14
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Pigman1--glad you jumped in with the bearing set and pre-load procedures--not as straight forward as it might seem. As a note of caution--not sure how the rear seals work but suspect quite a few front seals fail because, over time, the pre-load on the bearings gets sloppy and allows the wheel to wobble a bit. Probably overkill, but I have added checking the pre-load on the front wheels every 50k miles to my maint. schedule....
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