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HOW TO: Front left differential seal replacement?

johng_22

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I'm pretty good about scouring forums before posting a question that may have been asked several times before....SO, if I missed an article that exists please point me in that direction.....

I began replacing front ball joints today and notice that front drivers side differential seal is leaking pretty badly. Can anyone tell me or even better point me to an article with illustrations on how I remove left drive shaft from front differential to replace leaking seal? Drivers side looks good so only need to pull one side. I assume that I must remove differential cover and pull a snap pin or something. Never done that before so looking for some pointers. Thank you in advance!
 


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johng_22

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Bump...anyone?
 




Minivek

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You mention you'd like to change the left side drive shaft, but the driver's side looks good. Do you mean to pull the left or right front axle shaft? Otherwise, it should be pretty straightforward, I did the passenger side seal a couple of months ago.

Basically you need to lift the frame to get the wheel off the ground, jack stand it so it won't fall on you. Then, I jammed a stick between the brake and the seat to hold the hub still while I undid the axle nut, I used a good impact wrench, got the nut off in one trigger pull. Then take brakes and caliper off the knuckle, hang the caliper off the spring, undo the top ball joint nut, undo the tie rod end nut and the stabilizer bar link on that side, at this point the knuckle is only held on by the bottom ball joint. I attached a hub puller, push the axle in till the axle splines were loose inside the hub. Then comes the part I didn't like, you sorta have to angle the knuckle where it'll be easiest to wrangle the axle outta the hub, once that's done, I took a large screw driver and ballpeen hammer to seperate the axle from the diff. The axle is only held inside the diff by a circlip that gets compressed and allows the axle to slide out of the diff, so basically its just carefully seperating the two of them without marring the aluminum or craking the the diff.

I used the same large screwdriver to get under the seal lip and pull it out, a seal puller would be ideal.

Clean up the seating surface for the seal, get the grit out. I used a piece of pipe with a big enough diameter so as it only sat on the metal external lip of the seal to drive the seal in carefully.

Make sure the open end of the circlip is facing up, then carefully align the axle splines and slide the axle through the seal, once splines are aligned inside, knock the axle shaft (not by banging on the threaded end, but rather holding onto the thick part next to the diff and sorta knocking it insde) so as to recompress the circlip and lock the axle in the differential. It shouldn't want to pull out afterwards, plus you'll see that you've got about 1/4" between the seal and the big part of the shaft. Put the threaded end back inside the hub without bending the cv joint outta shape and reattach all the other parts.

Torque your nuts, get a new axle nut.

You'll see that the top ball joint will turn when torquing it so I put another jack under the control arm to put some pressure on the ball joint to stop it from turning.

thats it

Its not hard to do, its just anoying to get the axle out of the hub.

Next time I'm taking the whole knuckle off the shaft, that way I won't be bending the cv joint around as much. Plus at this point all that what left to do was to take the lower ball joint nut off.


Hope that helps.
 




johng_22

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Thank you very much for the info! All it takes is a little fundamental guidance for me to get the courage to try something I haven't gotten into. All in all pretty straight forward and easy job. I already had the streering knuckle pulled off the truck, so as you had mentioned I think it made the job alot easier than trying to wrangle the drive shaft around in place.

thanks again!
 




Minivek

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glad it helped:thumbsup:
 




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