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Old 05-16-2020, 06:13 PM #1
FTW1996 FTW1996 is offline
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Rear Diff/Axle Mystery Part

I'm hoping some of you more experienced mechanics might be able to tell me about a small part that I found laying inside my rear axle housing on the left (driver) side.

A picture of the part is attached. It's about 5 centimeters in diameter. At first glance it looks like it's a rubber o-ring, but it's actually a metal spring.

I was in the middle of replacing the left rear axle seal and bearing (big thanks to Timmy the Tool Man for the helpful video). In order to make sure I have the inner retainer correctly placed I started to do a "grease test" (as Timmy the Tool man calls it). After replacing the bearing and seal I put a light coating of grease on the inner retainer, and temporarily reinserted the axle into the housing. I had trouble getting the axle to go all the way back in (couldn't get the teeth on the end of the axle to sync up with the teeth in the differential), so I pulled the axle back out and shined a flash light into the axle housing to see if I could tell what was causing the problem. That's when I saw this "spring" laying loose on the bottom of the inside of the housing about 6 or 8 inches in from the end of the housing.

I removed the spring from the housing and attempted to reinsert the axle into the housing. This time I was able to seat it all the way in and finish the grease test.

I checked the factory service manual and also looked at the diagrams and parts lists on the Toyota parts site online. I couldn't find anything that looked like it might be this part.

Does anybody have an idea what it is and where is goes?
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:17 PM #2
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looks like it could be the spring that sits in the back of the oil seal you did your grease test on. Take a picture with a penny or something to show size
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:20 PM #3
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Yep, oil seal spring. Need to replace that seal.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:20 PM #4
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Looks like you weren't careful when reinstalling the axles (they must go in straight!) and you popped the oil seal spring.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:12 PM #5
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Thanks guys, I really appreciate your responses. And what a relief. I was worried that I had inadvertently pulled it out of the differential. I had visions of having to pull the differential and fix it.

The really good news is that I don't think it's from the new seal I installed. I think it's from the old one I removed. The first tool I used to try to pull the seal out was a Lisle seal puller, the kind that looks a little bit like a claw hammer, with metal hooks on both sides. It didn't work, and in the process I bent the metal part of the seal. I think the hook on the seal puller must be what put the crimp in that spring. I ended up borrowing a slide hammer type seal puller from O'Reilly's and it worked great (just like the one Timmy the Tool Man used in his video).

Anyway, I checked the old seal and there is no spring on it, so that must be where the spring came from.
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:55 AM #6
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Excellent, glad you figured it out. That is a relief!
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