Part Spotlight – Wheel Seals

by | Truck Parts Cross

There are millions of parts that make up heavy duty commercial trucks. Each individual part has its own primary function and in some way is critical to the overall operation of the vehicle itself. Obviously there are some components that are less critical than others, but they all have a job! At we wanted to spotlight some of the common parts we see cross referenced in our system. This week we are spotlighting a small component with a very important job..part number 47697 a Chicago Rawhide Wheel Seal.

What is a Wheel Seal?

First, what is a wheel seal? A wheel seal is essentially exactly what it sounds like, a seal. On any vehicle with wheels there is a component that connects the wheel to the actual vehicle itself. This component is called a wheel hub assembly and consist of multiple additional components. Inside of the wheel hub assembly you will find a wheel bearing that allows the axle, that is attached to the wheel, to spin freely. It is important that the wheel bearing stay lubricated in order for everything to run smoothly and reduce heat. If contaminants are able to work their way onto the contact surfaces, or the lubricant is expelled, the bearing will fail.

In this exploded view of a wheel end assembly for an International 9900i you will see the wheel seal located on the inside of the wheel bearing. On the outside of the bearing you will find a component called the race, which provides a surface for the bearing to spin on and also helps keep everything in the correct place. Isn’t it amazing how important these relatively small components can be??

Chicago Rawhide is probably one of the most popular manufactures for sure. That being said if you head over to and enter in Chicago Rawhide part number 47697, you will find multiple pages of both Direct and Indirect crosses. Say you are looking for a Stemco Wheel Seal cross, you will find it listed there. Perhaps you want to cross to a Rockwell/Meritor, its there. Multiple pages of crosses from not only these companies but others like Mechanex, National Seal and more!! 

Which Wheel Seal Is The Best

When it comes to finding the best one, well, we will let you make that determination! We can however give you some information to help you choose! The type of seal you need will be dependent largely on the application its going on. Some wheel seals come equipped with or without dust shields for added protection against contaminants. Some seals also come with or without wear sleeves. Wear Sleeves are designed to either protect or take up an imperfection on a shaft. Sometimes the shaft or spindle that the seal rides on may have some imperfections or be damaged and you would need to have these sleeves to make up for it. Wheel seals are classified as either heavy duty or light duty. This is mostly determined by the chemical makeup of the material in the actual seal itself. 

Which Do You Prefer?

At the end of the day, wheel seals are one of those parts that most people have their own specific preference. For every truck driver that will only run Chicago Rawhide wheel seals, there is a parts pro that will only recommend Stemco seals. Lets not also forget your technician will also his very own preference, this is often driven by the ease of install or replacement! No matter what brand wheel seal you’re looking for, if your looking to cross reference a wheel seal part number, has you covered.