Interesting swivel ball problem
For the last several weeks I have had a noise that I thought was coming from the left front spring tower. I have checked it several times, tightened any and all nuts the I could find, but the noise persisted. Several days ago I noticed oil on the garage floor that looked as if it was coming from the left side of the engine. This morning I removed the fan shroud, fan, all belts and checked the torque on all the bolts holding the water pump and timing chain cover, but they were all snug.
I had to run to town this afternoon and when I got back home within a few minutes I had oil on the floor again. This time I jacked up the left front, removed the wheel and started checking. What I found amazed me. At first everything looked fine, then I noticed that below the swivel ball was fresh oil. The seal itself wasn't leaking but the leak was coming from the joint between the swivel ball housing and the axle housing. I used a 14 mm box end wrench and 4 of the bolts holding the swelvel ball assembly to the axle housing took almost 3 1/2 turns before they made contact with the mating surface.
I got everthing tightened and torqued but I am still amazed that the darn thing didn't come completely loose and destroy itself in the process. There was still about half the amount of fluid in the swivle ball assembly, so I am hoping the the CV joint is okay. I have gone through my truck on occassion and tightened up all nuts and bolts, but have never thought to check the bolts holding the swivel housing to the axle housing, but now that will be on my regular to check list.
That brings me to a question I have for you. If I need to replace that gasket is it possible to remove the complete swivel housing assembly by removing the bolts to the axle housing rather disassembling the complete axle assembly? I know that I would have to remove the brake caliper and the tie-rod end, but if I could remove it as a complete assembly it would be so much faster.