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How To: Rear Axle Bearing/Seal Replacement

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by 6 gearT444E, Aug 28, 2021.

  1. Aug 28, 2021 at 8:14 PM
    #1
    6 gearT444E

    6 gearT444E [OP] Certified Electron Pusher

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    I referenced Max’s thread which was very good and helped me through most of it, but figured I’d add some part numbers, other tools used, etc. for those that might be interested.

    There's also a pretty good video I'd recommend watching but I think this was for a first gen so there were some subtle differences for the 2nd gens.


    Edit: Added South Main Auto's recent video on the replacement which he makes it look easy, especially on a rusty clapped out shitbox taco like the one in the video:




    Doing this job isn't terribly difficult but on a scale of 1 to 10 for the shadetree mechanic I vote it maybe a 6 due to the need for some specialty tools. The cost for a dealer or a shop to do this is quite expensive, I was able to replace the bearings/seals/backing plates for under $500 and that includes the cost of the rear axle bearing puller tool so I view it as still coming out way ahead of the game.

    I also listed some of the tools I used, these tools aren’t necessary but will make life easier, and I’m at the age where I like to work smarter not harder.

    OTC 4507 Bearing Race and Seal Driver Set - 10 Piece
    IMG_2972.jpg

    Rear axle bearing puller tool, aka something even better than the Toyota SST from “donald-the-bonald” on eBay:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/202909661596

    IMG_2194.jpg

    A nice large set of snap ring (lock ring) pliers, none of those HF models, get something beefy otherwise you’ll be sling shotting that lock ring all over the place. These worked perfect and didn’t require any finagling of the snap ring with a screwdriver.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UHUCR6?ie=UTF8

    HF 20 ton press Seal puller (if replacing your seals) I used an OTC 4508.
    IMG_2974.jpg

    OTC 1123 bearing puller, along with a few other hex push puller legs
    IMG_2265.jpg

    I used these plugs to cap the brakes lines while I had the wheel cylinders out
    64729692965__F4CD083A-F9EB-473E-B651-F1F865EB5066.jpg


    Parts

    TIMKEN 512295 Bearing (RH side aka passenger)

    TIMKEN 512294 Bearing (LH side aka driver)

    The following parts are optional since you can re-use these but figured I’d add them here. I’ll leave it up to the reader to determine what they’d like to do. I replaced mine because I have bad luck of getting halfway through a project and breaking something else I wasn’t planning to replace.

    My driver’s side bearing going bad was a result of a bum axle seal so that was my whole reason for diving into this project; but you may just need to replace the bearing. I can say that the seal is easy enough to replace so if you’ve gone as far to replace the bearing I view it as a good insurance policy to replace the seal unless you’re planning to reuse the old seal retainer with the old seal (there will be a groove worn where these parts will ride against and match with each other):

    9020844001 – Belleville washer for axle shaft, qty 1 for each bearing

    9052041019 – lock ring, qty 1. For each bearing

    4242360050 – seal retainer, qty 1 for each bearing

    9031058003 - Drive Axle Shaft Seal, qty 1 for each bearing

    9030183002 - Hub & Bearing O-Ring, qty 1 for each bearing

    90114A0009 – bearing case serration studs qty 4 for each bearing – I ordered 8 to replace both sides

    90178A0052 – bearing case nuts qty 4 for each bearing - I ordered 2 extras in case I damaged one or lost one while pounding off the old studs.

    4704404030 - Brake Backing Plate (Left, Rear)

    4704304030 - Brake Backing Plate (Right, Rear)

    I also replaced all my rear brake hardware and shoes since the seal leaked gear oil and ruined the shoes, but I won’t clutter the thread with that info.

    Pile O' parts:
    IMG_2234.jpg

    IMG_2858.jpg

    Symptoms of a bad wheel seal, I park my truck and come out the next day to this
    IMG_1975.jpg

    After removing wheels, brakes, etc. you'll be down to just the axle shaft which is removed with 4-14mm nuts that holds the bearing to the axle housing. Refer to the three attached PDFs for the FSM describing in some details. It's not necessary but probably a good idea to drain the differential fluid, otherwise you'll likely get some to be spilling out of the side of the axle tubes.
    IMG_2038.jpg

    Bad seal, axle fluid leaking past the seal causing bearing damage
    IMG_2066.jpg

    Other side did not look great either
    IMG_2067.jpg

    Bearings were crusty and not smooth.
    IMG_2069.jpg

    Once you have the axle shafts out of the truck, remove the lock ring. Make sure you remove the wheel speed sensor so you don't damage it during the pressing operations. You will then set up the rear axle bearing puller tool. The one I bought needs an adapter which came with the kit (yellow circle) to remove the taco bearings since the studs are shorter and the tool will not have enough threads to allow the axle flange nuts to engage fully to the pulling tool. Thread the bearing housing into the adapter and the adapter into the tool, then set up on the press to push the axle shaft out of the bearing.
    IMG_2726.jpg

    You'll hear a loud pop, it takes alot of pressure, but eventually the axle shaft will start moving it's way out of the bearing, and likely the outer race will be stuck on the axle shaft still.
    IMG_2729.jpg

    IMG_2860.jpg

    On the second bearing, it ended up bending the adapter plate pretty bad. I was able to bend it back using the press, but the vendor on ebay sent me a new one free of charge! :thumbsup: Unfortunately this also bent the serration studs so I needed to get new ones and getting the old ones out were proving difficult, so that I just decided to get new backing plates and start fresh. The new backing plates weren't that expensive in the grand scheme of things, and made things actually go alot quicker once all the parts were in.

    IMG_2730.jpg

    Once you have the axle shaft separated, take note of the orientation of the retainer and belleville washer as they have to be oriented a certain way. Then you'll have to either cut the old outer race off the axle shaft being careful not to score it, or use a bearing puller like I did. Sorry I didn't get a picture of that setup but it's pretty simple, use the bearing splitter and hex legs and thread into the bearing puller tool.

    After that clean up your axle shaft really well making sure there are no gouges on the surfaces where the new bearing/seal retainer will be pressed in.

    Press out the studs off the backing plate, put new bearing onto your backing plate, and press the studs back in. It's the same deal as a wheel stud, not too difficult. I used a socket and a long bolt to clear the bearing housing to press the studs back on.

    Install is somewhat the reverse of removal, you load up the axle shaft with your new bearing now on the backing plate, then install the belleville washer (the concave portion goes against the inner bearing race, then the seal retainer with the bevel facing the splined side of the axle shaft.
    upload_2021-8-28_22-48-38.jpg


    IMG_2864.jpg
    I like to put a light coating of wheel bearing grease on the axle shaft to help reduce the friction a bit.

    IMG_2865.jpg


    Flip the whole setup over onto the press and get it set up to press the axle shaft into the new bearing/backing plate assembly.
    IMG_2861.jpg

    Make sure that the adapter to press the bearing on is lined up in the center of the retainer., and the belleville washer is centered in the axle shaft so that there will be minimal binding as you install.
    IMG_2863.jpg

    From there you press the axle shaft into the new bearing, it should go fairly smooth here. If something is binding stop and reassess, something is probably not lined up right.

    Once pressed in they will look like this, then you will reinstall the lock ring
    IMG_2866.jpg

    From there it's back to installing the axle shafts into the truck. If you decided to replace the axle seals (I'd highly recommend) you'll need to clean up the mating surface where the O-ring sits, and remove the old seal from the axle housing. I used a wire wheel and some scotch brite pads along with liberal amounts of brake cleaner.
    IMG_2964.jpg

    New seal and O-ring installed
    IMG_2969.jpg

    Finally, install your new axle shaft into the housing, being careful not to dent or disturb the baffle assembly near the differential, it's only held in via spring pressure and if you dislodge it, you'll be removing your 3rd member to fix. (picture of the baffle location inside the differential housing for reference).
    IMG_2961.jpg

    From there, torque everything back up, reinstall the speed sensors into the new bearing housing, and you're good to go as far as the bearing replacement procedure. After that it's reinstallation of the brakes and wheels, bleed your rear brakes, and refill your differential if you drained it which is pretty straightforward.

    IMG_2970.jpg

    IMG_2971.jpg

    Go crack a cold beer or 3 knowing you saved yourself some money and learned a thing or two about your truck :cheers:
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2021
  2. Aug 28, 2021 at 9:26 PM
    #2
    TnShooter

    TnShooter The TacomaWorld Stray

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    Excellent write up.

    I too was a victim of a bad axle seal.
    I went cheap, I used Brake clean on the shoes.
    I still think mine was do to a bad diff breather.

    My rear bearing has made it almost 70k since, but it’s getting pretty noisy now.
    Definitely perfect timing on this post :thumbsup:
     
    6 gearT444E [OP] likes this.
  3. Aug 28, 2021 at 9:41 PM
    #3
    6 gearT444E

    6 gearT444E [OP] Certified Electron Pusher

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    Thanks, mine was at 56k when the driver side took a crap. I'm not sure why the seal failed, but I have pulled the axle shaft several times on the trail before this due to breaking a ring gear so that may have had something to do with it, or the fact that I occasionally take the truck scuba diving :D. I've heard others have their rear bearings last 150k plus miles if you get lucky I guess
    54518141_10118906872118604_1564241666322202624_o.jpg

    55444973_10118905307958194_2818059331465904128_n.jpg
     
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  4. Aug 29, 2021 at 3:37 PM
    #4
    Grossomotto

    Grossomotto Complete 3rd Member

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    Sweet write up!

    Subbed for 2026
     
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  5. Dec 15, 2021 at 8:29 PM
    #5
    6 gearT444E

    6 gearT444E [OP] Certified Electron Pusher

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    I edited the first post to add videos recently done by South Main Auto's youtube channel on a 2nd gen :)
     
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  6. Dec 15, 2021 at 9:16 PM
    #6
    Steelhead Bum

    Steelhead Bum Well-Known Member

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    Hats off to you, excellent write up. Subbed for future reference.
     
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  7. Dec 15, 2021 at 10:58 PM
    #7
    TacoTuesday1

    TacoTuesday1 Well-Known Member

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    bookmarked for use in the near future

    thank you
     
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  8. Dec 16, 2021 at 7:30 AM
    #8
    tak1313

    tak1313 Well-Known Member

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    Great write-up. I got the tool from him last year to do my 5 lug. I used the old bearing race that I had to cut off the axle as the bushing when pressing the new stuff back in.

    One of the bolts keeping the hub to the backing plate was so rusted in, I couldn't get it out with heat and my 9x Chicago Pneumatic rivet gun. I ended up using a cutting wheel on my grinder to cut into where the bolt was, parallel to the backing plate and below where I thought the majority of the rust/corrosion was between the bolt and hub. I was then able to finally knock it out.

    After all that, I realized that the pounding I did with my hammer (before using the 9x) warped the backing plate anyway, so after all the effort, I ended up getting another used replacement.:(
     
  9. Jan 1, 2022 at 10:12 AM
    #9
    BassAckwards

    BassAckwards Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up
     
  10. Jan 1, 2022 at 10:39 AM
    #10
    pahaf

    pahaf Well-Known Member

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    can people post at what mileage they had to change theirs? i understand its all about how you treat and drive your truck, but just so i have a rough idea.

    i have a 2015 with 76k miles and "knock on wood" i have no issues with anything except battery died. but im afraid, or not looking forward to doing front bearings, rear seals. etc.
     
  11. Jan 1, 2022 at 11:06 AM
    #11
    tak1313

    tak1313 Well-Known Member

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    Mine was about 142k, BUT, it looks like it was due more to the seal failing and allowing water intrusion than the bearing itself having failed on its own.
     
  12. Jan 1, 2022 at 1:54 PM
    #12
    pahaf

    pahaf Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for that long list. Lol sorry if that’s what you understood from my message, but I was just asking about the wheel bearings and seals.

    oil, breaks, tires, coolant is typical car maintenance. I get that. Wheel bearings are little different. They wear out also, but on sooner then later on some cars.
     
  13. Jan 6, 2022 at 3:30 PM
    #13
    Steve_P

    Steve_P Well-Known Member

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    Good writeup. I did mine a few weeks before you did; I had one bad one at about 140K miles. Like the front bearings, it's not a load issue, it's a water intrusion issue.
    It's not that difficult a job, but you'll want to have a good air compressor and a die grinder or cutoff tool to cut the race off the axle. If you use a "dremel" tool, it'll take a long time. Also, have some smaller OD cutting discs than 3" as you'll need the access. I bought new serrated studs, nuts, etc from a toyota dealer online as it was only $25? for all new hardware. I was too lazy to crawl under the truck beforehand and see if the nuts broke free. And of course they all did. But if I didn't.....
    I bought a ~$70 China made adapter tool on Ebay for the press, knocked out the serrated studs, and replaced them with longer 3/8" bolts. I tried to deal with Donald the B on the press adapter tool, but he only wanted to sell me the $100+ super kit and all I needed was the weldment. Oh well, his loss. The tool I used worked fine, didn't bend anything.
    As stupid as this sounds, the biggest PITA for me was the main drum brake spring. I have all the drum brake tools, I'm old LOL, but that thing was insane. I ended up putting the spring on both shoes and then prying the other shoe into place.

    edit: for snap ring pliers, here's another alternative. I have these, but also the parallel opening jaw type which I can't find. The parallel jaw type are awesome

    Wilde Tool G409.NP Angle Tip Lock Ring Pliers, 9 inch with Satin Finish - - Amazon.com

    edit 2: here they are
    Wilde Tool G705.B/CS 10" Compound Lock Ring Pliers-Black Oxide - - Amazon.com
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2022
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  14. Jan 13, 2022 at 8:06 AM
    #14
    Steve_P

    Steve_P Well-Known Member

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    This is the press adapter I used: Rear Axle Bearing Puller Tone Ring Tool for Toyota 4Runner Hilux T100 Tacoma | eBay

    It isn't exactly pretty, but it worked fine and saved me from going to Napa and having them do the press work.

    You will need to knock out the serrated studs and replace them with longer bolts:

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (29).jpg

    My truck has done stream crossings, but nothing too extreme. I have a local friend with a 2009 Tacoma that had one of his rear bearings fail and the truck had never been offroad, let alone crossed streams. You can see below that there was water intrusion that snuck past the o-ring. To help prevent this from happening again, I added a thin coating of RTV on the housing ends where the bearing mates and also where the brake backing plate mates to the bearing.


    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (28).jpg


    Cleaned housing end with RTV and new o-ring. I do the RTV thing on the front bearings also as they also fail from water and not loading.

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (24).jpg

    Part numbers for everything but the o-ring, which I forgot to include. As I said, I bought all new hardware, but in retrospect didn't need any of it- everything came off with no issues. I bought the axle seals from Rock Auto and the Timken bearings that the OP did; the Timkens are identical to OE and USA made.

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (13).jpg


    Good bearing and bad. I got gold balls!

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (30).jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
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  15. Jan 13, 2022 at 8:51 AM
    #15
    Steve_P

    Steve_P Well-Known Member

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    To press the new bearing on, I used a pipe nipple that I already had. I had to ream out the threads a little bit with a die grinder for it to fit.

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (21).jpg

    getting ready to cut off the inner race. If you do this just right, it will fracture because of the press fit and come right off. If you don't, you will destroy your chisel trying to split the bulletproof steel that the race is made from. Be careful to not nick the axle when cutting. I used both 2" and 3" fiber discs on a pneumatic cutoff tool (no pics of that)

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (11).jpg

    I marked the backing plate where the ABS sensor goes so that I wouldn't screw it up when installing the new bearing LOL

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (12).jpg

    This spring was a huge PITA for me. I mounted one shoe, then put the spring on both of them and pried the other shoe in place. I bought new brake shoes locally, I think from Advance Auto. Also, if your brake drums have never been off, you might find them to be rusted to the axle. Mine were. That was another PITA, but I took care of that a year or two prior when I inspected the rear brakes. As you can see, I put some anti-seize on the axle where the drum mates and they came off with no problem this time.

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (52).jpg

    I used a slide hammer to remove both the axle and the housing seal. One axle came out easy, the other took a few more whacks. The reversed brake drum trick would have worked though. I have a HF bearing and seal driver kit which worked fine to install the seal in the housing.

    new bearing and studs installed. With a little extra grease for the seal

    Tacoma_Rear_Wheel_Bearings_202108 (34).jpg

    Edit: I've put about 10k miles on the truck since changing the rear bearings, and so far so good- no leaks or issues. This is something you can do at home if you have a press, the necessary hand tools, and air compressor and cutoff tool to cut off the races. If not you can take the axles to a local shop. I believe the dealer charges more than $1k per side to do this as it's something like 8 hours labor and I'm sure their bearing price is 2X+ what Rock Auto charges for the exact same part.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
  16. Jan 13, 2022 at 8:56 AM
    #16
    DavesTaco68

    DavesTaco68 Well-Known Member

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    My rear seals and driver side bearing went at 160,000 miles but not from to much mileage, I had a plugged rear diff breather. Really important to make sure yours is in good shape. It’s a 10$ part that can cost you.
     
  17. Jan 13, 2022 at 9:38 AM
    #17
    MY50cal

    MY50cal ---- Tread Lightly ---- Leave No Trace

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    Yep.
    FYI, if you don't mark your backing plates or note the orientation, the ABS system will still work as advertised with a sensor 180 out. The harness may need a little adjustment to reach the front side though. AMHIK :oops:

    Did a complete rear axle refresh at 140k (now at 170k). Both my bearings were still good, but there was milky grease and clear evidence of water intrusion. I like the earlier post about fay sealing the mating surfaces and wish I would have done the same.
     
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  18. Jan 13, 2022 at 10:23 AM
    #18
    Alealexi

    Alealexi Well-Known Member

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    Had this done to my prerunner last year. I didn't have the tools to do it myself so I bought all the parts needed per the OEM diagram including the entire drum assembly, and found a shop do the work for me for $400. It rides just like when I first got it at the dealership 8 years ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
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  19. Jan 13, 2022 at 10:39 AM
    #19
    Alealexi

    Alealexi Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I read how this is a common failure point in Toyota diffs. If it is clogged the pressure will cause the oil to leak out of either the axle seals or the drive shaft yoke seal. Found out about it on Faye Hadley youtube channel.
     
  20. Jan 13, 2022 at 11:19 AM
    #20
    Grossomotto

    Grossomotto Complete 3rd Member

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    I've heard this so many times. Really easy to relocate it higher with an open breather

     

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