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Old 05-08-2013, 01:21 PM   #1
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Stubborn Inner Axle Seal

My question is this, based on research I've done it seems my inner axle seal was leaking. On my way home from a vacation (1,000 miles on way or so) I started noticing a grease smell and saw there was gear oil inside my rear rim and on the outside of my brake drum, I think there was a minimal amount inside the drum as well. Did some research and it seems the inner seal was leaking. I got in there to fix it since everyone says its a fairly easy and common job (never done this before). I snapped off one of the flange nuts on the back of the brake assembly. Just used a tough bolt with a lock washer to replace it and it seems to be doing just fine. The dang inner seal fought me to death. I had to tear that thing out and it took about an hour. Put the new on it and ended up bending it a little since I don't have the right tools to press it in correctly. The only thing I had was some big diameter exhaust pipe. I also realized after the job was done I forgot to place on the O-ring on there. All this being said, I'll probably be re-doing this real soon.

Any suggestions to make this easier? Anything special tools to pull that seal out or get the new one in without damaging it? I changed the diff. fluid as well (I swear its running smoother). If I pull that shaft back out while it's full I'm not sure if I would lose any fluid or not.

Thanks for the help!

Earlier that day I also had to replace my outer and inner tie rod. The outer was bad but it the jam nut was completely frozen, tried heat and everything. Had to just take the inner out with the outer stuck on it and replace both. Jeeez.....Good thing I love this truck.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:48 PM   #2
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It is pretty much impossible to get one of these inner seals out without damaging them. They are considered a press fit, and this means that you will pretty much have to buy a new one. If you want to install it without damaging it, get yourself a small, rubber faced hammer and just take your time tapping it in as you go around. Once the shaft assembly is out, tearing out the old seal and installing the new one should take less than 2-3 minutes.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:29 PM   #3
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Gotcha. That seal is set back kinda far into the axle however, I'm not sure if a hammer would reach the seal or not. Do you have a special kind of hammer to reach in there to hit it in place?

I just read about a seal driver kit that Harbor Freight sells for $25 bucks called a Bearing Race and Seal Driver Set.

Seems like these seals are a common problem. Might be worth the $25.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:46 PM   #4
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its alot more than a cheap repair.... u need to remove the axle. replace the inner seal, press apart the bearing off the axle. replace inner seal, bearing and snap ring. and u need to replace the rear brake shoes now because they r soaked in gear lube. bring it to a shop, one that know what they're doin! people mess this job up alot. happens all the time, i make lots of moneyz on those:-)
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:31 PM   #5
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a 2-3/4 PVC pipe coupler fitting with a flat cap on the back and rubber mallet is the perfect tool for installing a inner axle seal
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:53 PM   #6
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Awesome that's what I'm talking about. Thanks Wolfgang and bamatoy. I'm not messing with the bearing, just the inner seal. Now I need me some shocks. Looking at Bilstien 4600 HDs. Too bad they're 300-400 bucks.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #7
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lotsoftoys makes a valid point that you need to inspect the brake shoes. If they are wet with gear oil, replace them.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainbiker42 View Post
Anything special tools to pull that seal out or get the new one in without damaging it?
I used a slide hammer to get the old one out, took about 2 seconds.

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Old 05-09-2013, 05:29 AM   #9
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I checked them out and they didn't have gear oil on them thankfully. Sprayed them down with brake cleaner anyways.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainbiker42 View Post
Awesome that's what I'm talking about. Thanks Wolfgang and bamatoy. I'm not messing with the bearing, just the inner seal. Now I need me some shocks. Looking at Bilstien 4600 HDs. Too bad they're 300-400 bucks.
thats a mistake..... the bearing has now been washed with gear lube. the grease that was once inside is now gone. youll have a bearing failure soon after that repair.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lotsoftoys View Post
thats a mistake..... the bearing has now been washed with gear lube. the grease that was once inside is now gone. youll have a bearing failure soon after that repair.
Mind sharing supporting information on this? The inner seal is used to seal axle fluid inside the axle tube. The bearing is self contained. If he had evidently a small amount of axle fluid leak past the seal, it is not going to "wash" the bearing. I have replaced many inner seals that were beginning to leak at my shop, and never had them return with a bearing failure.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lotsoftoys View Post
people mess this job up alot. happens all the time, i make lots of moneyz on those:-)
You got that right.


OP, it is going to be your call on replacing the bearing. Here's a couple of things to keep in mind.

The leaking oil can wash the grease out of the bearing.

A worn bearing could be the cause of the leak in the first place.

It seems like a lot of fooling around for what looks like a simple seal instal BUT, read on.
The ABS rears with the seal way down in the tube are very tricky. They must be driven in absolutely straight and not seated to hard. If they get a little crooked and you try to "correct", the potential for distorting the seal is great. Toyota has a special seal driver for the ABS rears that was introduced a while back to lessen the chance of distortion. This was after they upgraded the seal yet still had a high rate of failures. There are also other issues with the placement of the little ring (retainer) that the seal rides on. There is a ton of info out there on this issue and I would suggest as much research as you can stand. There is even a theory that a slight bend in an ABS shaft, within production specs, can contribute to seal failure with no other symptoms.

This fellows write up has some good info/tips and the idea of "flipping" the retainer will cover a world of sins associated with installing the seal.
http://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-ge...ml#post1060244

All the issues with this job are interrelated. Like, get the position of the retainer off a little and distort the seal face a little = leak, no sealer on the retainer/seal, could = leak and on and on. It is really about cumulative errors throughout the process and this is why there will be continuous debate on "what worked for me".


My seal driver is a BINFORD TOOLS prototype. It is self centering in the outer bore of the tube and only contacts the outboard metal face of the seal at the outermost edge, lessening the chance of distortion. Made from an old reluctor ring, some screws, magnets and some solid round stock


THE BINFORD ABS2000
WITH MAGNAGRIP


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Old 05-09-2013, 08:49 AM   #13
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You can read some of my threads of my axle seal nightmare that I had to deal with on my wife's 98 4Runner. The Toyota mechanic had to use two inner axle seals put together and then pressed into the axle housing to finally get it to work on a brand new axle. Axle seals suck!
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:56 AM   #14
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I guess I have been the lucky one. Over the years I have replaced hundreds of these seals without any special tool, and never had one come back, or had a bearing issue. Granted if the leak was severe, I always recommended rebuilding the entire axle assembly.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaToy1997 View Post
I guess I have been the lucky one. Over the years I have replaced hundreds of these seals without any special tool, and never had one come back, or had a bearing issue. Granted if the leak was severe, I always recommended rebuilding the entire axle assembly.
Said the guy who told the OP to "tap it in with a rubber mallet, 100% impossible.



If anyone should care here is the TSB on the new seal/seal driver.
Note that in real life the "AA and BB cross section" view of the old/new seals is completely wrong. Neither seals look anything remotely like that. The drawing shown of a generic seal driver set is just that. Even in full size, this TSB offers no clues to the profile on the special driver head or the critical differences.


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Old 05-09-2013, 06:25 PM   #16
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That Toyota SST looks to be nothing different than a standard race/seal driver. Same basic thing that I use.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:08 AM   #17
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When I replaced bearings and seals on my Tacoma, the oil seal was leaking on one side and not the other. The bearing on the side that wasn't leaking was ok, I just replaced it due to mileage. The bearing on the leaking side had a soupy mix of gear oil and grease oozing out of it and the runout from that bearing was bad enough that it broke part of the plastic seal on the bearing.



Maybe the bearing went bad first and the runout caused the oil seal leak, but I'm guessing it was the other way around, i.e. the oil seal leak diluted the bearing grease and eventually caused the runout. Can't say for sure though.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:24 PM   #18
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I had this problem with a new to me 99 T4r in March 2012. After 3 attempts to fix it using the instructions from the factory service manual, I decided to study it more closely. I found a solution to the problem and after 15 months leak free, I am confident it will solve this issue for others as well. Here is the link to my thread. Igore the neysayers.

http://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-ge...xle-seals.html
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:46 PM   #19
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I've got gear oil leaking again. Its coming from the lug nut side of the axle shaft right where it goes into the backing plate (I believe that's what it's called). I recently replaced the inner axle seal. I guess the inner must have failed for gear oil to make it's way in there but I'm wonder if the outer bearing was damaged with the gear oil. I also noticed the differential gets pretty warm after driving 10 miles or so in town. Normal? Just trying to get to the bottom of this.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainbiker42 View Post
I've got gear oil leaking again. Its coming from the lug nut side of the axle shaft right where it goes into the backing plate (I believe that's what it's called). I recently replaced the inner axle seal. I guess the inner must have failed for gear oil to make it's way in there but I'm wonder if the outer bearing was damaged with the gear oil. I also noticed the differential gets pretty warm after driving 10 miles or so in town. Normal? Just trying to get to the bottom of this.
yes diffs get warm...normal

this is why you replace breathers when doing axle seals, cuz they
are cheap and a plugged one can cause a seep

inners have 1000 ways to do it so it will leak, and one way it won't

must use OEM seals and must do it perfectly with SST or the
correct tool. eyeballing it often results in wet shoes all over again
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