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MG TD TF 1500 - Rear Axle Seals

First, I want to thank you all for the input on my master cylinder replacement. It was a piece of cake thanks to your help. The next task is to replace my rear axle seals and I'm wondering if you know of any pitfalls or tricks for accomplishing this task. I'm not sure if my brake shoes are oil soaked or not at this point but I think I'm going to have to replace them based on the feel under hard braking. In any event, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Art Todd


Can't answer on the seals, but if they were in question, I would definitely have your brake liners re done. Bring the drums with you as well so the shoes can be arced to the drum. Also, have them look at the drums for glazing. I had been tracking down a problem on my brakes for some time and it finally turned out that my drums had glaze all over them. I'd not turned them in the past as I was concerned about the cost of having to replace them. The brakes are now what they should be with good seals on the bearings (mine were fronts that thew wheel bearing grease out onto the drums) fresh liners and turned drums delivering a straight stop.

ABW Waugh


I would recommend that you change your rear axle bearings to the sealed type rather than replacing the rear axle seals. If you fit sealed bearings I can garrentee that you will never get diff oil in your drums again and as the bearings are sealed for life you will also never need to grease them.

I believe these are the correct size sealed bearings you would require, but check sizes see link

Kind Regards Chris
Chris Pick

I trust you are talking about a TD or TF. This spring, I removed and replaced my rear axle with one rebuilt using the 4.3 MGA gearset. While Dave Clark did the interior work, I did all the heavy work of installing the axle and brakes. While at it I installed new rear outer bearings and seals.
First, I recommend you remove your rear wheels and drums and look things over. Hard braking might be due to any number of issues. You should be able to tell the difference between oil fouling versus brake fluid. If you see oil and go to replace the seals, make sure that you clean up the spacer cones. These can become pitted causing wear on the seal and then oil seepage. Of course, to remove these items, the half axles come out.
My first suspicion for hard braking would be brake fluid fouling or just worn shoes.
As far as sealed vs. traditional bearings go: I used the non sealed bearings Moss sells. They were cheaper than what my NAPA store could source. Everything is sealed tight.

'54 TF
Tom Norby

Check, rebuild or replace rear wheel cylinders. Pull the axles and check for the very common twisting on the inner spline- much easier to change now that after it twists off. Also change the rear brake flex hose if yours is not pretty new. I know that isn't the seals, but you are basically looking right at that stuff.
George Butz

Sorry guys I did not specify that this is a 1953 TD. I just had all the wheels off to replace the master cylinder and also have the wheels dynamically balanced. Everything looked pretty good but I could tell the axle seals were leaking. I have good brake pedal but I have ordered shoes, seals, as well as cylinder kits just in case. The car only has 16K miles on it since a total frame off restoration in which everything was gone through and I'm totally confident in what was done as the entire restoration is picture documented. I should mention that the restoration was done in '91 through '93 so I anticipate that some of the rubber stuff is starting to go bad. In any event, thanks a bunch for your input and I have a pretty good idea of what to look for.
Art Todd

Certainly check all your rubber bushings .... some last only a couple of years and then crack and deteriorate...
gblawson(gordon- TD27667)

Hi Art,

Probably a bit late now, but I use a seal identical to the standard one, but the lip ID is slightly smaller, and potentially gives a better seal ie
1 5/8" instead of 1 11/16".


J C Mitchell

This thread was discussed between 27/08/2010 and 28/08/2010

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