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Hi friends!


Inspecting tires for an upcoming trip, noticed mucho "oil" had sprayed onto the inner side of one of the rear tires - figured it was a blown brake cylinder, since I had to slam on the brakes for a pickup and horsetrailer that pulled right in front of the 95 Caprice wagon. But upon investigation, and sniffing, realized it was 90weight or whatever the pumpkin oil is, all over everything and the axle seal leaking like crazy.


Never done this job before (have done the distributor remove, clean, replace, heater core flush, spark plugs, water pump, etc.) so would appreciate inside info to help me with this job. What a mess! Brake shoes, drum, everything coated in 90wt. Luckily I have new brake shoes already. Got the new seals, and figure once I do one side, I might as well do the other, before I forget how to do it.


Help!


Veronica (and of course this happens as winter approaches in Eastern Oregon, and me without even a concrete slab to work on)
 

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You can do this - they're not too bad, but it's a bit of a messy job.

It's probably good to get a set of axle bearings and maybe speedy sleeves on hand as well since you're one step from having them out when you replace the seals.

Remove Wheels & Brake Drums
Lots of brake clean/power washer to clean everything
Remove differential cover
Rotate differential until you find the 5/16" (8mm) hex head bolt going left/right through the end of the center pin - Remove this bolt
Rotate differential until the pin will slide out - slide the pin out
Do not rotate differential with the pin or axles removed
Go out to the end of one axle and push it toward the center of the car - it will slide in about 1/2 inch
Go to the differential - axle will have moved in to where the pin was and "C" clip should be visible
Use magnet to grab c-clip and remove
Go out to the end of the axle and pull out - you should be able to slide it out easily
Remove seal & bearing - Bearing typically requires a slide hammer puller, can be rented at most parts stores if you don't have one
Inspect axle shaft for damage/grooves at both bearing and seal locations - any grooves that catch a fingernail need to be addressed
Install bearing - tap in (gently) with a large socket and hammer, can put in freezer to shrink
Install seal - similar to bearing - gently
Install axle all the way in
Install c-clip, rotate so open side is down
Pull axle out to retain c-clip
Repeat above on other side
Replace big center pin
Replace 5/16" (8mm) cross bolt in pin
Clean and re-assemble differential cover
Re-fill with fluid (don't forget to add additive if you have a Posi trac)
Re-assemble brakes & wheels
 

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....and me without even a concrete slab to work on)

It's overrated. Plywood is warmer.


Pretty good write-up there, and make sure your new gasket has the little rectangular holes at 3 and 9. And of course YouTube is your friend.
 

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Your axle is probably worn out. I had to replace both axles on my 91OCC a few years ago for the same symptom. I suspect it is the right side of the car, because that is always the first one to wear out. Be prepared to buy another axle, as well as the other components mentioned. You may not get the studs with a new axle. You can use your old ones over. Tap them out gently with a nut on the end, and you can tap them into the new axle. Rock Auto has the axle (both are the same), and there is a 5% discount code on the forum in the vendor's section.

The job is not as hard as it may appear. It is just messy, and smelly because of the axle oil. It is also a PITA because you must lay under the car if you do not have a lift. You should check the other side in case it is starting to leak.

A piece of cardboard works for under the car. It is nice, because you can slide on it easily, and you do not get splinters.
 

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Cardboard sucks because you feel every rock and lump that is under it. Start with a good grade of plywood and lay the correct side down. You won't get any splinters. A good thickness allows one to drive the car on it and makes an excellent "driveway" for repairs. I use my ramps, jacks, stands, etc without issue.



If splinters are still a fear, lay a tarp down as well.

As for the seal problem, change the bearings as well. It is not a hard job at all, just messy and a little time consuming. The tool to pull the bearings can be "borrowed" from most any parts store but if you have a harbor freight near by.

Be prepared to find a bad axle shaft. If you do, do not waste your time with repair bearings or any other sort of band aid.
 

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Small things to add
What ever side you are currently working on, jack that side of the axle up a couple inches.
It will heĺp with the mess because the oil in the axle tube will wander back to the center and not be waiting to pour out as you pull the seal and bearing.
Take a real good look down the tubes.
Often there is some horrible crap in there that should be wiped out
Pack grease around the garter spring on the seal.
This will stop the spring from popping off when you hammer in the seal

When topping up the fluid, jack one side up,wait a couple minutes , lower.
Do the same to the other side.
Then recheck the level

Also, if you have a limited slip and are adding friction modifier, squirt it in the vent, rather than try and get it in the fill hole, way easier.
 

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What are everyone's thoughts about this solution - should the axle be damaged?

Repair bearing?

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1838222&cc=1037483&jsn=1008
No good thoughts.

They put the axle load out into the seal area of the tube, they are more prone the leaking in my experience
Most kits warn you not to use them if the axle has a step worn in it.
Who else would be using them????????

Think that is their "out" for when the shaft snaps at the worn step.

Right from timkens instructions
" Warning: Do not reuse any axles that are distorted or bent, discolored, have surface cracks or have noticeable wear at the original bearing path"
 

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No good thoughts.

They put the axle load out into the seal area of the tube, they are more prone the leaking in my experience
Most kits warn you not to use them if the axle has a step worn in it.
Who else would be using them????????

Think that is their "out" for when the shaft snaps at the worn step.

Right from timkens instructions
" Warning: Do not reuse any axles that are distorted or bent, discolored, have surface cracks or have noticeable wear at the original bearing path"
Simple. Just say NO to repair bearings, sleeves and any other generic band aid.

They just lead to bigger and more expensive repairs

Nice when I'm on the clock at work, not so much when I'm footing the bill in my driveway.
Got it - Never seen them before so glad I asked!
 

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....Start with a good grade of plywood and lay the correct side down. .....

Yes, C/D-X means you lay on the C side. lol But 5 Sheets!?!?! Man are you ever rich! I think OP gettin' tha picture. Getter just dam dun.


I actually picked up a thinger 2 for my next dive into a rearend.
 

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Small things to add
What ever side you are currently working on, jack that side of the axle up a couple inches.
It will heĺp with the mess because the oil in the axle tube will wander back to the center and not be waiting to pour out as you pull the seal and bearing.
Take a real good look down the tubes.
Often there is some horrible crap in there that should be wiped out
Pack grease around the garter spring on the seal.
This will stop the spring from popping off when you hammer in the seal

When topping up the fluid, jack one side up,wait a couple minutes , lower.
Do the same to the other side.
Then recheck the level

Also, if you have a limited slip and are adding friction modifier, squirt it in the vent, rather than try and get it in the fill hole, way easier.
He will be draining the fluid to get to the C clips, so he does not have to worry about much fluid draining out of the tubes.

When refilling the rear, if you have an LSD, put the correct amount of additive in, then fill the rear with lube. It will be easier if you have a small length of tubing to allow the bottle to upend, and empty completely, because the fill hole is on the side of the housing.
 

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Well fred, the axle bearing is smaller than the axle tube id and the diff side shim inner hole is small than the axle tube id as well.

There is good bit of oil "parked " in the tube, even after pulling the cover.

Once the bearing gets pulled, you are invarably greeted with diff oil drooling out.

Raising the end you are working on makes it a lot easier to clean up the seal area in the tube.

Your recommendation to find a little curved tube to squeeze in the additive, reinforces my recommendation.
Pop the plastic breather out, up end the little bottle, done..
 

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Wow, thanks! Never even thought about the need to replace the axle. This car as 340,000 miles on it. Probably time.


Rotate the differential to get the hex bolt out: can I do this with one wheel on the ground? I figured I needed both off the ground.


Where's the best place to support things - can I put stands under the axle housing/tube whatever it's called?



I actually don't have a problem squirming around on the ground: I keep large pieces of cardboard, and I have a yoga mat. Sometimes I nap under the car, in the summer, when my husband thinks I'm working. Usually the only way I can take a break...LOL The biggest problem is that I don't have a good level place to put jacks and jackstands, so I have to be uber careful not to endanger myself or the car by unsafe supports.


Yes I don't like the smell of 90wt and now the inside of the wagon reeks of it because I threw the brake drum in there before cleaning it.



I have new brake shoes so was going to replace them, since the old ones, though they have a lot of lining left, are soaked, totally soaked, with oil.. Yuck! Once I get everything cleaned I will feel a lot better about the job.


Gonna keep reading now. Y'all are a girl's best friend! Too bad we can't get together for a beer afterwards.


V
 

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Wow, thanks! Never even thought about the need to replace the axle. This car as 340,000 miles on it. Probably time.


Rotate the differential to get the hex bolt out: can I do this with one wheel on the ground? I figured I needed both off the ground.


Where's the best place to support things - can I put stands under the axle housing/tube whatever it's called?



I actually don't have a problem squirming around on the ground: I keep large pieces of cardboard, and I have a yoga mat. Sometimes I nap under the car, in the summer, when my husband thinks I'm working. Usually the only way I can take a break...LOL The biggest problem is that I don't have a good level place to put jacks and jackstands, so I have to be uber careful not to endanger myself or the car by unsafe supports.


Yes I don't like the smell of 90wt and now the inside of the wagon reeks of it because I threw the brake drum in there before cleaning it.



I have new brake shoes so was going to replace them, since the old ones, though they have a lot of lining left, are soaked, totally soaked, with oil.. Yuck! Once I get everything cleaned I will feel a lot better about the job.


Gonna keep reading now. Y'all are a girl's best friend! Too bad we can't get together for a beer afterwards.


V
It's possible that the axle is just fine and the seal has failed - 340k miles does not mean that it's good or bad. It's a time vs money thing - if you don't have much time, you better have a couple new axles there just in case they're bad, but it will cost you more money if you end up not needing them (return shipping, etc). If you have the time, pull everything apart, inspect, replace what's needed, but will cost you more time to go get more parts if you need them.

You'll need/want both wheels off the ground. Support the car by the frame is easiest that way the whole rear end hangs down and you're not working up in the hole by the gas tank. You can spin the differential by just grabbing the big ring gear assembly that you'll see when you pull the differential cover off.

The 90w smell lingers a long time - so does the posi additive. I spilled a teaspoon of the additive on my t-shirt once and every time I washed it and pulled it out of the dryer, the whole dryer smelled like 90w. This stayed that way for over 5 years!

Roll up your sleeves and dig in - you'll be dirty, oily, smelly - not much way around it other than to embrace it :).

This video is pretty good - walks through a lot of the basic steps (that we didn't cover above :)). He does it on jackstands too. Nevermind the Amsoil sales pitch, but the rest of it is good.

 

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This video from 2:45 to 3:45 shows exactly what to do for removing the bolt/pin/c-clips/axles - the small bolt is NOT left hand thread (sorry for the confusion above - edited for clarity).

10:25-11:05 shows axle bearing removal and tool

 

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Wow, thanks! Never even thought about the need to replace the axle. This car as 340,000 miles on it. Probably time.

Rotate the differential to get the hex bolt out: can I do this with one wheel on the ground? I figured I needed both off the ground.

Where's the best place to support things - can I put stands under the axle housing/tube whatever it's called?

I actually don't have a problem squirming around on the ground: I keep large pieces of cardboard, and I have a yoga mat. Sometimes I nap under the car, in the summer, when my husband thinks I'm working. Usually the only way I can take a break...LOL The biggest problem is that I don't have a good level place to put jacks and jackstands, so I have to be uber careful not to endanger myself or the car by unsafe supports.

Yes I don't like the smell of 90wt and now the inside of the wagon reeks of it because I threw the brake drum in there before cleaning it.

I have new brake shoes so was going to replace them, since the old ones, though they have a lot of lining left, are soaked, totally soaked, with oil.. Yuck! Once I get everything cleaned I will feel a lot better about the job.

Gonna keep reading now. Y'all are a girl's best friend! Too bad we can't get together for a beer afterwards.

V
The seal itself is probably not all that bad...maybe worn on the top from the axle being off center in the bearing. At 340K the axle is probably only 90% of its original diameter at the bearing. The right axle is usually worse than the left.

You should put one jackstand on each side under the frame to give you enough room to work. You can put a piece or two of plywood under each jackstand to stabilize them. Lifting the car by the frame will allow the rear to drop, giving you more room to get at the parts, and refill it. If you put fluid in through the vent, you can not measure the level unless you take the side plug out also. Although it may be easier to put fluid in through the vent, if you do not have to remove the vent you will not have to try to install it blind. To properly fill the rear, you fill it until the fluid is even with the fill/check plug on the side.

If you feel really adventurous, you can replace the pinion seal while you have it apart. The FSM has instructions, and it is not all that difficult. When reinstalling the pinion nut, tighten it to the mark you put on it, then an eighth of a turn.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
THANK YOU!!!! Y'all are the best. You know, I'm a woman and I'm used to doing all the dirty work (if not deeds). We live in a farmhouse that my husband's mother was born in, over here in Eastern Oregon, and we kind of figured we had a septic tank. Well, we have a cesspool, and one day the ancient concrete lid broke in half and caved into the pit. Guess who climbed in, broke up the concrete, got it out, and then shoveled out the excess poop while I was in there. It was summer, and we had a teenage Czech kid living with us (my bead business took us over there for many years) and he just kept watching me work, saying, "Oh, I don't know how you can do that! It just smells so bad!". Did I mention it was summer? So, yeah, I don't like the smell of 90wt but I'm looking forward to learning new things and doing a job I've never done before. And with all of your advice I probably won't make any bad mistakes...Will keep in touch as the job goes along. I need this rig by next Thursday, and with fall weather being what it is, there's no time to be lost!


V.
 
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