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Help with blown axle seal

6443 Views 54 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  VManganese
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.


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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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.

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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!

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Ok, I have educated myself by watching the recommended videos.

I was told not to move the differential after the pin is out: is this because the spider gears will fall out of place? Can I lower the side I'm not working on (I left its wheel on) to "lock" it, while I wrestle with the axle seal and bearing? When I pulled the diff cover the pin and locking bolt were perfectly positioned for removal - the left wheel is still on the ground - I was just going to leave the car that way until it came time for refilling the pumpkin. I didn't remove the locking bolt, pin, and c clips until I watched the videos, since I didn't want to screw anything up.

There was no gasket on my old diff cover, or rather I should say, it was glued on with some sort of silicone gasket compound. I bought a Felpro gasket - can I use it dry or do I need gasket compound as well? One of the videos said to torque to 30ft # if using a paper gasket.

What do you recommend for refilling the pumpkin? I don't race, or normally even drive much over 70mph. My trips are mostly interstate commutes between Pendleton and Portland OR, a round trip of around 500 miles, with city driving in Portland.

Thanks again, friend!

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Well, I had to get new axles (it was cheaper to have the $60 ones Fed-Exed from Rock Auto then to get ones locally in a week. I needed the rig by tomorrow. Everything is back together except putting the heat shield back in and filling with fluid. Really quite an easy job, especially when you know what to expect AND borrow the correct tools. Man was that bearing puller fun AND effective. Now I get to do a strut assembly and bearing on my 98 Subaru Forester. I am not paying anyone $900 to put in a pair of strut assemblies and one axle bearing! Never done this either, but I enjoy learning new things.

Thank you all for your input. I'm sure I would have made ghastly mistakes otherwise....

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Hi friends. I need two axles for my 95 Caprice Wagon and RockAuto is telling me no luck, out of stock.

Anyone have any leads?

Thanks so much

The Vster
Where did you get them?
Just checked out Moser, but they don't have axles for a wagon, which are almost 32" long. Bummer. They looked great.
OK, I'm a twit. I DID find axles at RockAuto. My eyes need to be checked. Emergency cancelled. At least for now. :LOL:
Ah, my dear friend Fred! Yes, I checked out Moser, but I have opted for the affordable Rockauto axles. I am f**ked right now in having lost most of my tools in a divorce. Why would I, a woman, want tools, eh? Anyway. I am reduced to using a mechanic and I have ordered the Dorman axles from Rockauto. It sucks being old, on Social Security, and without tools. But, the war wagon will survive! Thank you. So much.

Miss V
OK, OK. I was just being a whiny little baby. It's cold outside and I've gotten lazy and soft in my old age. I do have an excellent mechanic in Pendleton, OR, and I will ask him about the rear end. I wonder if the bearings I got at NAPA were just crap. The poor car sat for a year, I wonder if some rust formed on the bearing surface? Fred, I would like the specs on ordering from Moser. If this set of Dormans craps out on me too soon I will get the good ones and re-do the job myself. I actually have a flat concrete slab to work on now, a floor jack and jack stands, so, seriously, I l had no excuse.:(
Thanks so much! How much do they cost from Moser?
Looked for my thread about rear axles going out prematurely but evidently too much vodka to find it. Info: I did NOT clean metal bits out of the axle tubes. I did NOT put enough oil in the rear end. I think that both would have led to premature failure of the rear axle bearings.

New issue: I may have stripped the climate control knob. I can only dial up the "defrost" setting for the air flow. What experience do y'all have? I've got a 95 Caprice wagon and I'm married to it, as some of you either know, or have suspected. 😅

Thank you, I will try that!

I should mention that my rear axle bearings probably failed prematurely because I didn't clean the metal shavings out of the axle tubes and put enough oil in the rear end.
Hey, jayoldschool, way to go!

Fred - I haven't tried to remove my HVAC knob - a thin bladed putty knife under it? And what is A/C?

As soon as I know where I will be I'll buy one from you. I don't know where to have you send it right now.

Thanks so much!

Thanks! As soon as I figure out, again, how to send a PM I will have you send a new knob to my address in Pendleton, Oregon. Sorry to be so twitful. It's Friday night and I'm celebrating living another week.:LOL:
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Hi Fred

Will you send one knob to Virginia Blakelock, PO Box 1755, Pendleton, OR 97801.

Let me know the total and I will PayPal you $.

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