What's new in wheel seals?

Design, materials improve durabilityAs components, they may be relatively small, but in terms of the havoc wheel seals can wreak when things go awry, the stakes are big. A leaky seal that leads to soaked brake linings, for example, has the potential to create serious - and expensive - maintenance problems. Here's how manufacturers are responding.Chicago Rawhide offers a long-life version of its original

Design, materials improve durability

As components, they may be relatively small, but in terms of the havoc wheel seals can wreak when things go awry, the stakes are big. A leaky seal that leads to soaked brake linings, for example, has the potential to create serious - and expensive - maintenance problems. Here's how manufacturers are responding.

Chicago Rawhide offers a long-life version of its original Scotseal that's geared to withstand the tougher operating environment created by synthetic lubricants. Made from a hydrogenated nitrile material with a higher temperature capability, it's more compatible with the harsh additive packages found in synthetic lubes.

Federal-Mogul's National 5-Star Gold Teflon wheel seal is designed to address excessive wheel-end movement and loose bearing adjustment. The seal features a Teflon "lay down" lip with enough contact area to absorb wheel-end movement and floating dirt excluder.

Freudenberg-NOK's Outrunner is a premium oil-bath wheel seal designed to meet the performance demands of low-maintenance wheel ends. The seal lip withstands extremely high temperature; a labyrinth design keeps the wheel end free of dust and grime; bi-directional helixes continuously pump oil away from the primary sealing lip. Pre-lube grease protects against dry-start wear, and unitized construction makes installation easier. Outrunner seals, which are manufactured at the company's new Northfield, N.H., plant, are compatible with synthetic, mineral, or semi-fluid lubes.

Meritor offers a hub-installed, unitized version of its one-piece MVP oil-bath wheel seal. As part of a unitized wheel-end system, the seal doesn't have to be installed separately, thus eliminating a major cause of seal leaks. A graphite-loaded rubber compound and large vent holes protect the wheel from high brake temperatures. Meritor also offers a two-piece seal, the MVP-2.

Stemco's Guardian HP seal, a semi-unitized, spindle-installed unit, features a high-performance sealing lip. The Voyager, which has double-case steel construction for improved durability, is characterized as a cost-efficient, hub-installed unitized seal. Stemco's premium seal, Discover, also has a hub-installed, unitized design, as well as an anti-rotation feature that locks the seal to the spindle and makes installation easier.

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