Lotus Elan

bolt on front hub seal question

PostPost by: YellowS4DHC » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:58 am

In changing out my front hub bearings (knock on) I found that the felt hub seals don't seem to work all that well. The inside of my disc brake dust shield was coated with a greasy film that appears to have come from the hub.

It makes me wonder. Does anyone know why felt seals are used here? Is there a standard rubber-lipped seal available that fits the Elan knock-on front hub?

thanks
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PostPost by: oldelanman » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:35 am

My understanding is that the felt seal is there to keep road dirt out of the hub, not to keep grease in. The seal is greased or soaked with oil prior to fitting to prevent friction burning of the felt and the oil film you have on your dust shield could have come from the seal itself not from the hub.
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PostPost by: 45bvtc » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:39 am

In the 26T327 Elan Workshop Manual, pages J6 and J7, the seal (item 18) is described as an 'oil seal assembly' i.e., a felt seal in a metal cup. The arrangement is pure Triumph Herald/Spitfire/GT6/Vitesse, etc.

The seal's function is two fold: 1) to prevent lubricating grease getting out and 2) to prevent brake/road dirt getting in; and is perfectly suitable in this application.

However, these felt seals do not last forever. I think in 50-years of Triumph Spitfire/GT6/Elan/+2/Europa motoring (all self-maintained) that I've replaced 4-sets, maybe, and always with bearings.

Take a look at eBay item #370378554097, this shows a typical bearing(s), felt seal, and grease kit.

PM me if you want a copy of pages J6 and J7.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:01 pm

In the Dave Bean catalog, he lists "Nilos hub bearing seals". These are metal/rubber replacement seals that do away with the felt seal and the grease cup.
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PostPost by: YellowS4DHC » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:55 pm

Thank you Bud, your info was exactly what I was looking for. You saved me a lot of time as I was getting ready to hunt up a suitable Federal-Mogul alternative.
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PostPost by: Bud English » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:20 am

Glad I could help.

...now just 16,204 more "helps" on my part and I'll be close to even for all the help this forum has been to me. :wink:
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:38 am

The Nilos seals that Dave Bean supplies are a good alternative and i have used them for years on my Elan. Especially good if you want easy access to adjust the end float. They work through metal to metal contact from the seal edge to the outer rotating bearing race edge. They leak a very very small amount of grease / oil after a track session on my elan after the hubs get very hot but never enough to get on the brake disk itself.

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PostPost by: Elan45 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:06 pm

But S4, if you are looking for a rubber lip seal the Nilos seal is not what you are looking for. They are simply thin formed sheet metal and they work very well on track cars. I've never used them on a street car but I do have them on my Eleven S2 LeMans and my 20/22. They work great in those applications. I don't think tha the Nilos would keep water out of the bearings as well as the felt seal or a rubber lipped seal. I have stayed with the felt seals on my street Elan.

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