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Installing floating seals

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by willie59, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Floating, duo-cone, cone, metal face, toric ring, all names used to describe a very old seal design used primarily in undercarriage components, finals drives, and rollers. Recently a thread asked how to properly install floating seals. Installation tools are available, I'm pretty certain a Cat store can supply the tool, but in a pinch you can still achieve a proper install with some simple materials.

    A floating seal assembly consists of two matching seal halves. Each seal half has two components, 1) the white iron (cast iron) seal ring which has a precision ground surface that mates with the other half to form a rotating seal, and 2) the toric ring which is the rubber elastomer (think bohunkin o-ring) that provides both the tension to force the two seal halves together and provides the external seal. When installing a floating seal it's imperitive that the toric ring is not twisted, is not rolled up the ramps of either the seal ring or ramps of the housing ring it fits in, and is uniform in installed depth, no spots where toric is installed deeper than other spots.

    First thing to do is clean the housing ring that the toric ring presses into. Use only a soft wire brush on a die grinder, do not use any form of abrasive tool. As far as the housing goes, it's useable as long as the outer lip which holds the toric ring in place is still good, and as long as the ramps aren't deeply pitted, defaced, or worn. A little bit of imperfection of the ramp is tollerable as the toric ring is under a lot of pressure which will make a seal, but you at least need a good smooth surface for a good seal.

    Now prepare the floating seal for install. Always work with seal on a clean cloth and keep work equipment and area as clean and dirt/dust free as possible.


    floating seal installation 002 resized.jpg


    Find some automotive type insulated wire that will fit snug in the groove between the toric ring and the underside of the seal ring face. I happened to find some 12 GA insulated wire that worked perfect. It can't be a loose fit or it will allow the toric ring to walk up the ramp of the seal ring, and it can't be too tight or it will push the toric off of the seal ring, you just need a good snug fit.


    floating seal installation 004 resized.jpg


    Work the wire around the circumference of the seal, just be careful with your fingers around the steel seal surface. Although the edge of the seal ring isn't sharp as a knife, it's plenty sharp enough to put a nasty cut on a fingertip.


    floating seal installation 006 resized.jpg


    Then join some zip ties together and gently zip them down centered on the wire to hold wire in place. You don't have to pull them excessively tight, just snug enough to hold wire in the groove.


    floating seal installation 007 resized.jpg


    Although it's recommended to install the seal dry, no oil or grease on the surfaces, installing the seal dry creates a lot of friction working against you. I typically use spray silicone lubricant as it leaves a dry lubricating film. Others use lubricants such as WD-40 as it's a thin film lube that evaporates the liquid as well, and even dry talcum powder will do the trick. Flip the seal ring over so the toric ring is on top, spray the toric ring and the housing ring that the seal fits into with the spray silicone.


    floating seal installation 008 resized.jpg
     
  2. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Place the seal squarely on the housing, use gentle even pushing pressure, pushing seal straight into the housing. After enough pressure is applied it will pop in place.


    floating seal installation 009 resized.jpg


    Once seal has popped in, remove the zip ties and the electrical wire.


    floating seal installation 010 resized.jpg


    Keep in mind we're doing this by hand, chances are when toric ring popped in that the seal isn't perfectly aligned with the housing. Note on the right that the seal is in a bit farther than the left side of pic. We can work with a little misalignment, but if it's way off, pull seal out and repeat process.


    floating seal installation 013 resized.jpg


    On the right side you can see a gap between the toric ring and the lip of the housing indicating toric is installed deeper in housing.


    floating seal installation 011 resized.jpg


    On the left side, no gap between toric ring and housing at all. We need to get the toric ring even all the way around the housing.


    floating seal installation 012 resized.jpg
     
  3. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Using a dull flat screwdriver, place blade of screwdriver flat on the high spots of toric ring. Gently push toric ring with blade while working your way around the toric ring. Don't try to bury the toric, just light pushing pressure pushing it inward. Work your way around the toric ring until the gap between toric ring and housing lip is equal all the way around, and that gap should be very little, no gap at all is prefered.


    floating seal installation 014 resized.jpg


    That has this half ready for assembly. Once you get both halves of the unit ready, make sure there is no dirt or dust on seal surface and give seal surfaces a very light coat of oil before mating the assemblies. And above all, make sure you keep the face of the seal clean and free of any dirt/grit when mating the cone seal halves.


    floating seal installation 016 resized.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2013
    Numbfingers likes this.
  4. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    Cool idea with the wire. Talking about the cat install tool, I went to my local cat house to get that tool years ago, only to be told they'd have to order it on the next tool order in about a month. I then asked it I could borrow theirs for the evening and was told they had them since Cat required them to, but they didn't know where they were since their guys only used blunt screwdrivers.
     
  5. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    LoL, that's just all kinds of messed up Mitch. :D
     
  6. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    The shame of it is I've been using blunt screwdrivers for 15 years with good results. :beatsme
     
  7. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Rock on brother. I just posted this thread hoping it helps others who are not familiar with the tricks to these things. If someone else has ideas that help, please let us know. ;)
     
  8. alrman

    alrman Senior Member

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    Ahh! The grand master continues assisting many on the road to enlightenment :D

    Good to see you are always thinking of new project threads willie!

    Since you were performing this trick with no protection, I'm amazed to see you wearing a ring while working. I stopped wearing mine not long after I was married as it once, nearly ripped my finger off during a heavy lift, & again, when it shorted to earth when working around some electrics.
    This thread could also pass for "Zip Tie Tips & Tricks":cool:

    Keep up the good work ol' timer :tong
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
  9. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    I must yield to the great Case wrench bender alrman. :notworthy

    Too hot in the southern states in summer to wear my favorite nitrile gloves, sweat fills the gloves with water. As for the project threads, would love to do more, but this rental bizz keeps me busy with the short get it fixed and get it going thing, I hate everything being emergency 911 type of repairs, but alas, it's my world for now. And the ring, it's the only jewelry I wear, no wrist watch, no nose ring, no neck chain, nothing, just the band. Yes, I've snagged it to the point of stressing the finger, considered tossing it, but being with the same spouse for 32 yrs in Sept, I choose to make this small risk and sacrifice for her. :cool:
     
  10. ScottAR

    ScottAR Senior Member

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    Odd, I always figured you for a nose ring guy... :rolleyes:
     
  11. stumpjumper83

    stumpjumper83 Senior Member

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    Thanks wilie, I'm sure you will save some poor soul a lot of frusteration!
     
  12. theironoracle

    theironoracle Senior Member

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    willie59, that is some great posting, i also have gotten away with cleaning everything with either and working the toric in slowly, however i will try this next time, thanks again.........theironoracle
     
  13. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    I have to admit it surprises me how well it works iron O. I fitted the half that goes in the motor housing today. Cleaned everything good, sprayed it down with silicone spray, placed the floating seal on the housing, began pushing. First attempt, got all jacklegged when it popped in. Pulled seal back out, and the silicone was so slippery that it pulled out intact, didn't even have to re-adjust my set up of the seal and toric ring. Second attempt, pop right in square, didn't even have to make any adjustments, a welcome lucky shot. :cool:
     
  14. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    I'm definitely gonna try the wire method next time, and just save my blunt screwdrivers for final adjustments. :D
     
  15. profrooky

    profrooky Well-Known Member

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    Hi Willie:

    Any chance I could use one or more of your Duo Cone pics in my text book?

    Great tips by the way. I used to work for a Cat dealer in Toronto and starting out I always tried to use the proper installers (fiberglass ring) but found them very tedious and not real effective.
    Blunt screwdriver usually finished the job.

    Thanks, Scott
     
  16. willie59

    willie59 Super Moderator

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    Sure, wouldn't bother me a bit. :drinkup

    BTW, one of the nice things about the zip ties, after you slip them off of the cone seal you just installed, you can slip them right onto the mating cone seal and reuse them, no need to fit new zip tie for the next seal install. :)
     
  17. HDMRice

    HDMRice Well-Known Member

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    I too, am among the blunt screwdriver users. It was taught to me by a seasoned fella while doing some loader axles. The trick with the wire is pure gold, and I will be sure to use it next time I do set of duo's.

    Thank you for the tips!

    Mike
     
  18. huey

    huey New Member

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    Just the information I was looking for
     
  19. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    Welcome to the Forums huey!:drinkup
     
  20. Nige

    Nige Senior Member

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    Willie, I'm not going to argue with your procedure because based on your experience it works, TBH I love the idea of the electrical wire and the tie-wraps. However I think our readers need to be aware of the way a Duo-cone seal functions and the need to use as little lubricant as possible when installing them so that the installed seal works as designed. That's why the procedure calls for everything to be clinically clean and to use alcohol as a wetting agent to install the 2 halves of the seal. I've had issues with seals leaking when the "Ramp" in which the Toric ring sits was not rough enough and the whole shooting match was sliding down the ramp instead of rolling down and springing back under pressure. I've even had cases where we've shotblasted the ramps to roughen them in order to get a seal to grab hold properly. Also in larger wheel seals the Toric Rings have to resist turning in the housing which will result in the rings burning up and hardening and of course a leaking seal.

    Let's take a look at a diagram of a typical seal. First what the numbers & letters mean: -

    (A) Stationary side
    (B) Rotating side
    (C) Axis of rotation
    (1) Gap
    (2) Housing ramp
    (3) Seal ramp
    (4) Sealing surface
    (5) Bevel
    (6) Metal seal ring
    (7) Toric ring
    (8) Stationary Side Housing

    Duo-Cone Seal.jpg

    The 2 most critical parts for the seal to function as designed is that each Toric Ring (7) should "grab hold of" its respective Housing Ramp (2) and Seal Ramp (3) so that when the 2 halves of the seal are mated up the compression (shown by the 2 large grey arrows) put on the 2 metal Seal Rings (6) causes the Toric Rings to rotate as shown by the arrows. The rotation is what generates the "Spring force" and thus keeps the two metal seal rings together so the seal doesn't leak..........or at least it's not supposed to. If the Toric Rings tend to slide down the ramps instead of grabbing hold and rotating as they should then the likelihood is that you'll end up with a "leaker".
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
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