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Leaky axle seals - big pain to fix?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by mtrdrms, May 11, 2005.

  1. mtrdrms

    mtrdrms 1/2 ton status

    Mar 14, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Torrington, CT
    I just noticed a few drops of oil under my drivers side front knuckle. It is definatly coming from inside the axle. Are these seals tough to replace on a D44. How do I do it? It is leaking more than I like so I have to do it but is it something I can do on my own? I have never taken apart an axle before. Thanks for the input.
  2. Dave1

    Dave1 Registered Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Winter Springs, (Central) Florida

    If your axle is like the ones on my 1985 and 1986 GM 3/4 ton 4WD pick ups, the front axle seals are inside the outter edges of the differential housing and yes they are a major pain to change.

    The entire front axle assembly has to be dismantled and the differential removed to make removal and installation of the seals possible. The seals have to be removed by forcing to the inside of the differential housing from the outter ends of the each axle housing. The GM mechanics have a special tool to do this with but I made a "home made" special tool to perform the removal and installation of the new seals with. It worked good but think I ruined one new seal trying to make the installation but finally got the job done. Because of the time required and frustrating trouble involved, I would have to think twice before doing that job myself again.

    While having it all disassembled you will want to rebuild or replace all of your wheel bearings, outter drive axle u-joints, etc. Be sure to check the short drive axle for wear on the bearing surface and check the small roller bearing located in the back of the hub plate. If your truck has many miles on it, chances are it is shot and may have ruined the bearing surface on the short drive axle. If you notice some racket when going over a rough bump in the road, it may be the short drive axle bouncing up and down in the wore out roller bearing. Better fix it all while you have it torn down or you will be back into it again later.

    This is one of those things that you might want to pay a good experienced and equipped 4WD truck mechanic to do for you. I have been here and done this and it ain't no fun.

    Good luck.


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