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I have just discovered that dana 44 front axles don't have outer axle seals. This seems to me to be a very dumb design. Has anyone found a way to create a seal? Or if these can't be sealed what can be put on the inside of the tube and axle to prevent rust?

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All open knuckle front ends are like this. The seal is on ether side of the pumpkin. To clean it I tie a rope around a rag and pull it from the center to the knuckle(when its apart). Paint it with the same stuff you paint your housings / frame ect. I wouldn't be worried about the 'rust' factor, the tubes are 3/4"-1/2" thick. The dirt catching spots on your frame will rot through 4 times faster than an axle tube.
 

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The axle shafts actually need this little bit of space at the ends to move a bit when the wheel turns and the axle shafts move in and out slightly. Otherwise the U-joints would buckle up when you turned.
 
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