Saturday, 4 April 2015

Rear Axle Seal Replacement

Axle Seal Replacement

Helpful Information
A differential requires three shaft seals (2 axle - 1 pinion gear) to maintain gear oil which is used to lubricate the gears while in operation. When these seals fail disassembly is required to replace them. When replacing an axle bearing a special puller is needed to extract the bearing from the housing. It can be reinstalled by using a hammer and a punch, or bearing driver.
Best Practices
  • Use high quality silicon rubber to ensure a proper seal.
  • Always refill the differential with factory recommended fluids.
  • Differentials that are limited slip require special fluid.
  • Use jack stands when working under a vehicle.

Step by step guide on how to replace a rear axle seal. This guide pertains to inner axle retainer vehicles only.
Difficulty Scale: 5 of 10
Tools and Supplies Needed
  • Replacement axle seal
  • Socket set
  • Screw drivers set
  • Wrench Set
  • Protective gloves and eyewear
  • Breaker bar
  • Large pry bar
  • Gear oil
  • Differential cover gasket
  • Gasket sealer
  • Fluid catch basin
  • Dikes (side cutters)
  • Shop towels
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Jack stands
Before work begins, park the car on level ground, in park with the emergency brake on.
Step 1 - Once the vehicle is safely in the air, remove the tire on the side where the repair is needed and remove the retainer clip.

Removing Retainer Clip
Step 2 - After removing retainer clips (installed for manufacturing, not needed on reassembly) remove the caliper mounting bolts.

Removing Caliper Mounting Bolts
Step 3 - Next, lift the caliper off the brake pads and secure it out of the way.

Removing Brake Caliper
Step 4 - After the caliper has been removed, lift the brake pads out of the caliper mounting bracket. (Note: If gear oil has leaked onto the rear shoes or pads they must be replaced. Visit - Rear brake shoe replacementRear brake pad replacement.)

Removing Brake Pads
Step 5 - Once the brake pads have been removed, loosen and undo the caliper bracket mounting bolts to remove the bracket.

Removing Caliper Mounting Bolts
Step 6 - Sometimes rust can hold the rotor to the axle, in this case use a plastic or rubber hammer to "shock" the brake rotor to loosen. 

Brake Rotor Shock
Step 7 - After the hammer shock loosens the rotor, simply grasp the rotor to remove it.

Removing Brake Rotor
Step 8 - Next, remove the parking brake shoe retainer bolt.

Removing parking Brake Shoe Retainer

Step 9 - Once the retainer has been removed, lift the brake shoe from the axle assembly.

Removing Emergency Brake Shoe
Step 10 - Only loosen and don't remove the bottom three cover bolts, fully remove the remaining bolts. Have a fluid catch basin ready to catch gear oil which will start to flow from the cover.

Removing Cover Bolts
Step 11 - Once most of the gear oil has drained into the catch basin, remove the remaining three bolts to remove the cover, use a large screw driver to release the seal.

Loosening Differential Cover Gasket Seal

Step 12
 - Next, remove the cover while exposing the inner workings of the differential.

Removing Differential Cover
Step 13 - Then, rotate the driveshaft until the pinion pivot shaft bolt is exposed. (Note: keep fingers clear while rotating the gear set.

Locating Pinion Pivot Bolt
Step 14 - After the pinion pivot bolt has been located, use a small ratchet or wrench to loosen and remove the bolt.

Removing Pinion Pivot Bolt
Step 15 - Once the pinion pivot bolt has been removed, rotate the driveshaft to maneuver enough clearance to allow the pinion pivot to slide completely out. Use a finger to push up from the bottom, grasp to remove.

Removing Pinion Pin
Step 16 - After the pinion pin has been removed, again rotate the drive shaft until the "C" clip access port appears.

C Clip Access Port
Step 17 - Next, at the axle flange (wheel side) move the axle inward, it will move slightly, to allow enough clearance for the "C" clip to be removed.

Removal Clearance

Step 18 - Use a small screwdriver or magnet to work the "C" clip out of the assembly which will release the axle.

Removing C Clip
Step 19 - Once the C Clip has been worked out of the gear set check the clip for wear and replace if needed.

C Clip Removed
Step 20 - Next, grasp the axle at the flange and pull outward. The axle should slide completely out of the differential housing.

Removing Axle

Step 21
 - Once the axle has been removed inspect the bearing and seal surface of the axle and replace if worn. If this axle was worn you would see an obvious groove in this area.

Bearing and Seal Surface
Step 22 - After the axle has been removed the axle seal is ready for replacement.

Axle Seal
Step 23 - Next, use a large pry bar to leverage the seal out of the differential housing.

Removing Axle Seal.
Step 24 - Once the axle seal has been removed, inspect the axle bearing for wear and replace if needed.

Inspecting Axle Bearing
Step 25 - Using a shop towel, clean the seal mounting surface which will ensure proper installation.

Clean Seal Mounting Surface
Step 26 - Once the surface has been cleaned, match the new axle seal to the differential housing.

New Axle Seal


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