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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Rear axle seal


I'm rebuilding a secondhand rear axle to convert my car from wire wheels to alloys. On the axle housing the surface the hub seals run on are very grooved and pitted, and I expect they would leak. Has anyone had this repaired? What's the best way to repair the seal surface?

Also, I expect that the bearings are not greased, but run in oil. Is this correct? The replacement bearings I have are similar to the attached picture and look like they can't be greased anyway.

Thanks for your help,


DA Bellingham

The original early seal versions used a felt seal which had the very considerable advantage of not wearing grooves in the machined surface of the axle casing. New seals may be flexible enough to work OK but if yours are really bad the solution is to use speedisleves:

Guy Weller

Guys option definitely seams to be the cheaper/easier option

We were considering the options on this a while back and decided the best way to do it was to weld a layer round the entire axle and have it machined back to the original dimensions. Giving you a solid metal sealing surface. But what a lot of hassle it would have been.

Yep, Speedy sleeve is the way to go. page 97...

Daniel Thirteen-Twelve

ditto about the speedi-sleeves,

regarding your bearings, the sealed ones (shown in your attached image) are great for limiting the amount of oil leak out the end of your axle housing, and are greased for life

one note though: make sure to put some good grease on the hub seal before you attach the hub to the axle, as the sealed bearing won't let the axle oil reach that seal and if you don't lube it it will be running dry

with those bearings, speedi-sleeves and a lick of grease on the new seals, you'll be all set.

Norm Kerr

Thanks Guys,

Welding or a speedie sleave where the options the engineer I took it to offered. He thought the speedie sleeve had a square edge though and wouldn't fit the radius. I'll go and see him again today as I'd like to fit it myself.

Daniel, I have the first edition of your book that's well read to the point of falling apart. Looks like it's time for a new copy with the additional info.


D Bellingham


I think I would consult with a bearing manufacturer about the capability of the seals fitted to your bearings. The rubber seals are fully sealed, as opposed to metal shields, and so if upto the task the original oil seal may not be required at all other than a backup or dust excluder. Not something I've ever delved into but worth an enquiry. If lubrication by the axle oil is desired then the rubber seals are easily flipped out with a small screwdriver so the inner most could be removed.
David Billington

Geoff who posts here has speedie sleeves in his axle

they seem to fit OK and he doesnt have leaks anymore
bill sdgpm

It's true. The car has been leak-free for some years now thanks to speedi-sleeve.
Geoff Mears

From memory, the square edge can be removed though it looks like leaving it on worked fine for me.

Yes, time for a new copy.

Daniel Thirteen-Twelve

Daniel i have purchased the speddy sleeve on the part number you quote in your new book however it is to small to fit over my axle stub som i will have to get a micrometer and measure for another, i presume there must be some different size axles out there. Also as an aside the part that has come is made from aluminium is this correct or do i need the stainless steel one.

Cheers Dean
Dean Stanton

Hi Dean the part number 99174 is the correct part number for the Sprite/midget rear axle casing speedy sleeve and I've used that part myself.

I can't imagine axle casings varied given the rear hub and seal are standard across not only the Spridget but also Moris Minor, Wolseley, Riley etc.

Sounds more like you have the wrong part - do you have a photo of it and the box?

The sleeve ID should be 1.750.

From my (very thick) SKF catalogue I learn that speedy sleeves are made from Stainless Steel. Also, that flange or lip can be removed.
Daniel Thirteen-Twelve

Hi Daniel this is what was sent to me definately wont go on the car ( a race car) unless some modification has taken place by the PO but looks standard to me.
some pics below

Dean Stanton

And more picture, also the women who sent it said it was made of aluminium which i thought was odd as it wouldnt last very long but i assumed that it was you use, have tested it with a magnet and it definately isnt manetic ?

Dean Stanton

Just to add the sleeve only just seems to tight but will definately not go on even with a bit of square pipe made up as an install tool for persuasion
Dean Stanton

Hi David,

The speedy sleeve is meant to be a very tight fit on the axle casing. Have you ensured there are no burrs or a rough lip preventing the seal from being tapped on?

Have you tried very gentle emery paper or similar on the axle casing?
Daniel Thirteen-Twelve


If the sleeve is Austenitic stainless steel, quite likely I think, then it won't be magnetic or only very slightly so due to cold working. From your picture I would say it's not aluminium as it's the wrong colour.
David Billington

This thread was discussed between 11/05/2010 and 23/05/2010

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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