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Rear axle seal??

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by mmbretts, April 26, 2010.

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  1. mmbretts

    mmbretts Member

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    alright, well its exam week here at Michigan Tech and ya know what that means! summer break! well, i have to drive 8 hrs home, so over the past few days ive been goin over the ex to make sure shes up for the challenge of pullin all my furniture home.

    well, all was good (cept front u joints which arent urgent at the moment).... until i take off the drivers side drum... and find this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    in the fall, i had to replace drums, shoes, springs, hardline and pistons.

    its not brake fluid, so that means my axle seal is bad correct?
    so, i guess my question is: is this going to make it home? How hard is it to replace the seal?
    Also, i have another set of axles with 3.73ls instead of the 3.27 that ive been wanting to swap anyway. so would it be better to just swap those or fix whats there?
     
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  3. little x

    little x Well-Known Member

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    If your panning on eventually swapping the axles out, and you already have the new ones, just top off the rear diff before you leave and drive it home. It will be a lot less work and cheaper in the end. Just remember that you won't be able to brake quite as quickly with gear oil all over the back brake, but most braking is done with the front axle anyway.
     
  4. mmbretts

    mmbretts Member

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    thats what i was thinkin. ive read that theres a bolt in the carrier thats prone to break, and i dont have a whole bunch of time to blow on it since i have to study and pack...
    driving across the u.p. shouldnt be a huge problem with 3wheel brakes.
     
  5. ericautopart

    ericautopart Active Member

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    I disagree. I would change the $5 seal before driving home. Why jeopardize your trip home and the entire diff over 5 bucks and some time? You need to drain the diff, pry the old seal off (Can be a PITA but it'll come off with some love) and tap the new seal on. Given there is no housing damage causing the leak, refill the diff and you are on your way.
     
  6. mmbretts

    mmbretts Member

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    its still up for debate. the seal will probably be replaced tomorrow... (dad's hinting for it)

    im reading like crazy on how to do it... its just intimidationg taking apart my rear axle 3 days before i have to move out of my apartment and make a long trip home.

    last year, i had to leave my xj up here because it died the day before we were going to leave, and we had to load up my buddy's truck and leave it until we trailered it home. Im just a little gunshy because i dont want to have a repeat of last year.
     
  7. ericautopart

    ericautopart Active Member

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    1. Drain diff.
    2. Remove Cover
    3. Un do cross pin bolt and slide the cross pin out of the carrier
    4. Push axle shaft in so you can remove the C clip
    5. Slide axle out of housing.
    6. Remove axle seal and then replace axle seal
    7. Reverse steps.

    Not in detail but it's pretty simple..
     
  8. mmbretts

    mmbretts Member

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    thanks eric. youve given me the confidence to tear into my axle on finals week.

    i just wish it was on my own terms... maybe with an aussie on hand......
     
  9. Vargas

    Vargas Active Member

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    Get a can or two of brake cleaner and wash the goo out of the brake assembly and drum.

    You said [pulling furniture] which means towing a trailer? You don't want compromised rear brakes when pulling a trailer. So clean it, reassemble, drive it a bit, pull drum and see how bad the leak really is. A long highway drive with a greasy drum can mean smoke/fire.

    I'd fix it if it were mine.
     
  10. ericautopart

    ericautopart Active Member

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    No prob..if you run into an issue shoot me an e-mail. It goes to my blackberry so I'm pretty quick to respond.
     
  11. ahodges

    ahodges Elite Explorer

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    Yeah replacing the seal itsn't very hard as long as that pinion shaft lock bolt isn't broke. I've replaced a set of axle seals on my X with no problems, but now i'm preparing a 3.73 axle to swap in and that one has the broken bolt... I'm in the process now of figuring out a way to remove it. It can be done.

    I have a Ranger and an Explorer, replaced the X's last summer in about an hour, not including refilling the diff. Now my ranger's axle seal is beginning to leak, on the same side (drivers)

    I see yours is also leaking on the drivers side, Does anyone know why its more common for them to leak on this side or is it a huge coincidence??
     
    Last edited: April 27, 2010
  12. Carguy3J

    Carguy3J Well-Known Member

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    I hope you aren't planning on trying to keep those brake shoes. You'll never get all the oil out of them. Not only will your braking be reduced, but with them be saturated in oil like that, there is a good chance of the friction coming apart from the backing, and possibly jamming up your brakes. Would you rather spend $20-$30 for new shoes now, or spend hundreds for a tow truck, when you break down on the way home?

    Fix it right, replace the bearing and seal, at least on that side, if not both. (You've already got the diff drained and open) At least be sure to check the other side. It's actually easier to do both the bearing and the seal, the just the seal. Why? Because then you can use a slide hammer and bearing puller to pop them both out at the same, which is much easier then trying to get out just the seal. Besides, with the sel bad, the bearing may have gotten crap in it. You can "rent" the slide hammer and bearing puller set at Autozone, as well as a bearing and seal installation kit. These 2 tools (ok 3), will make the job a ton easier, and they are free, once you bring them back.

    As I said, you really need to replace the shoes, but you can thoroughly clean and resuse all the hardware. Be sure to also COMPLETELY clenan the drum, and the backing plate area of any oil.

    Also, a little tip: Gear oil stinks, as you may have noticed. The smell has a tendency to stay with you, so A.) you may want to wear "disposable" clothes when doing this, and B.) You may want to use synthetic gear oil to refill. It can be had reasonably cheap (Coastal brand at Autozone, is only a couple bucks more then conventional oil) Synthetic gear oil also doesn't have that really nasty odor. It also lubes "better", and may slightly improve your fuel economy.

    Don't forget to add the friction modifier to the oil, if you have a limited slip rear.
     
    Last edited: April 26, 2010
  13. Carguy3J

    Carguy3J Well-Known Member

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    A.) Many 2nd gen explorers (like your '96, but not the OP's 1st gen) have what is known as the "gangster lean" wherein they tend to lean to the left, because of premature uneven wear of the left rear leaf spring; due to Ford placing the fuel tank longitudinally on the left side, along with the weight of the driver and the battery, all on the left.

    B.) This lean may place additional weight/stress on the left rear bearing/seal, actually causing it to wear faster then the right.

    AND/OR

    C.) The lean makes the fluid more likely to be pushed, by gravity, to the end of the left rear axle tube, making it appear to be the first to fail, simply because the fluid spends more time there.
     
  14. mmbretts

    mmbretts Member

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    yea, i knew the shoes were shot.
    well, the seal is gettin replaced along with the shoes and whatnot. i thought id replace the bearings too, but at $20 a pop, ill just hold off.
    lots of brake cleaner... and a new bolt for the carrier.
     
  15. Tony H

    Tony H Well-Known Member

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    Here's my thoughts.
    It all depends on the tools you have at School.
    Doing the Seal is not bad providing the Bolt in the Diff doesn't break.
    If you are confident with taking that bolt out, sliding the Center Diff Pin out to get to the 'C' clip then you can easily mangle the old seal out and tap in a new one. Put bearing grease on the inside of the seal to hold the spring in.

    The bearings are tougher without a Slide Hammer they are in there tight. When did my seal started leaking I did both the seal and bearings on both sides. Just to do it all while the axles were pulled. Plus the X had over 300K miles on it so I felt it deserved new bearings.
    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=277037
     
  16. mmbretts

    mmbretts Member

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    well, bearings are 20 bucks a piece... and i dont have a slide hammer...
    im just replacing the one seal since its cheap...
    once i get home and start my summer work, i'll replace the bearings and seals on both sides..

    if i get it apart and i find the bearing is shot, then i will go to the brake shop across the street and see what help i can get from them...
     
  17. Tony H

    Tony H Well-Known Member

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    What a bummer. The Springs and shoes were looking really nice.
    Before you even pop the Rear Diff cover off and lose all the fluid, Make sure you can get the Fill plug out of the rear axle housing. 3/8th drive, Drivers side. The gas tank is right in the way just for fun.

    This is perfect for filling the Diff. http://www.hopkinsmfg.com/10106.html they sell them in Parts stores
    Both my kids are away at college. I pay the tuition and they pay for Books , food and everything else. Like you, they squeak until they get home and start working again.
     
  18. ericautopart

    ericautopart Active Member

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    20 a piece? I sell them for 10.99 a side for a bearing and a seal each. Watch that brake clean..you'll clean all the oil off the bearing and saw the axle in half.
     
  19. shaggymane

    shaggymane Active Member

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    when my brake cyl went out, I thought the shoes would be what was in stock. They weren't. Had to wait a day. So I'd recommend buying parts, checking stock, before you wanna start.

    For refilling the diff, there are plastic hand pumps available. They look like what's on a hand soap dispenser. I got two from a guy who was an Owner Operator. They came on top of the gal container he bought. I guess from a Navastar dealer or something. Maybe a Framers Co-op.
    Like the one to the far right
     
  20. mmbretts

    mmbretts Member

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    Tony: yea, in september, i replaced everything on the axle brake wise. even the cylinders. thats a real kick to the teeth since everything is still relatively new. and good call on the fill plug and hose. wouldnt have thought about the plug.

    Eric: I'll be sure to order the bearings from you when i replace them! and ill be cleaning the gook off before i take the shaft out... so cleaner on the bearings shouldnt be a problem.

    Shaggy: they have the right ones in stock. i called to price everything out and i made sure they have the same ones i put on in the fall.

    Oh! i just thought of another question! should i put some grease on the bearing? would that be unnecessary or a bad idea?
     
  21. ahodges

    ahodges Elite Explorer

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    Grease on the bearings = bad idea. grease and oil really don't mix great and the bearings are designed to be bathed in oil.
     
    Last edited: April 27, 2010

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