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markpj23 05-24-2021 02:00 PM

Stemco Seals - Fluke or Frequent Issue?
New to us '07 Essex / K2. PO had the bearing oil changed all around about 6 months prior. Front hubs have Stemco seals.

After about 2500 miles, we stopped for a night and I noticed oil leaking from the driver side hub cover onto the tire. Popped the cover off and the red plastic fill plug fell out. Easy fix - I figured it was just a careless service tech who didn't push the fill plug in all the way.

After another 900 miles, now the passenger side has oil leaking from the cover. Same thing - the red plug fell out when I popped the hub cover off.

So is this a fluke or a common problem with the Stemco seal fill plugs? We did go from sea level to 4000ft but I doubt that would cause an issue.

Do I need new plugs because they get worn / soft? :confused:

Oldkarphart 05-24-2021 04:17 PM

Make sure the vent (middle of plug) is not clogged. Take a needle or awl and check to see that it's open. If they get soft or damaged they're cheap to replace. :D

mackwrench 05-24-2021 04:52 PM

As posted, the plug has a very small hole, directly in center of plug, use a small paper clip to be sure it's clear.

The hole is a breather, vents when hub get warm. If breather vent is plugged, it'll either pop the plug out, or blow out the inner wheel seal (worse)

markpj23 05-24-2021 04:55 PM

Good to know - thanks!

JC2 05-24-2021 06:43 PM

Since the plugs shouldn't be to expensive, I would definitely buy 1-2 sets to keep on hand. Maybe someone on the forum can find out the p/n for you for your particular unit. I remember having our hubs leaking slightly after I requested they be checked. In our case, the screws on each hub were "slightly" snugged up; no more leakage. ��


Originally Posted by markpj23 (Post 5764239)
Good to know - thanks!

Ray,IN 05-24-2021 09:02 PM

The red plug is part of the Stemco hub cap. I'd say they were not installed correctly. My replacements are only 7 yrs. old, originals were 14 yrs. old; I've never had one come out. Be sure not to over-fill the hubs, half-way between the add mark and full mark is fine, naturally the full mark is ideal but over-filling will get messy real fast.
NAPA sells new Stemco hub caps and gaskets, there are two kinds 5-bolt and 6-bolt.

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