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I disassembled my 3010 differential drive shaft covers. These are the two bearing retainers on both sides of the transmission case, where the driveshafts go into the differential carrier. What I found surprised me. There is an oil slinger on the yoke, just outboard of the splined shaft. The oil slinger is lightly pressed onto the yoke. Under the slinger is an oil seal, and under that is a circlip retaining the output bearing.

I cleaned and cleaned the unit (the cover with seal/bearing) but dirt/sand kept coming out, so I pried the seal out to inspect. Inside the seal I found a pile of sand/mud, and just inside that, the load carrying bearing, with some rust having formed on both the outer race and inner race.

Looking into this bearing, it is 6006 non-shielded ball unit. The oil 'seal' is supposed to keep outside out, and inside, oil, in. However, even though the seal lips are, under high magnification, in fine shape, yet there is a pile of grit in there, behind it, and, worse, rust on the bearings.

So, I pose this question: Have any of you replaced this bearing with a one-shield type 6006 bearing? And, if so, is there any down side to doing so?

It seems to me, that with the outer oil shield in place, seal lips well greased, and the bearing being shielded, instead of open ball, that the protection to the bearing would be oh so much better.

There is another place where this switch in bearing type might apply, with beneficial results, and that would be on the input shaft, and on the final drive output to the front end.

Any thoughts, and, thanks in Advance.
 

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The Kawasaki specification calls for unsealed bearing because the film strength of the transmission oil is supposedly adequate for the balls, and the transmission oil also lubes the outboard seal.

I agree that the outboard seal system is inadequate, so I use the two for $15 SKF6006-2RS bearing that is pre-lubed and sealed, then pop out the inside shield and seal with a pick. They last for years and years, even when the Mule is operated in deep mud and the external seal leaks little gets beyond the outside bearing seal, or the owner does not do the annual spine maintenance so they are lubed (the grease seals the splines).

I also pick up the double lipped seals to replace the OEM 33mm x 55mm x 8mm units. They are readily available through your local bearing supplier for half the Kawasaki cost of the OEM single lipped seal. But, you do need to lube them when you install them because not enough oil will leak past the sealed bearing to keep them lubed.
 
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