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Old 05-21-2021, 05:04 PM #1
ChromeT4R ChromeT4R is offline
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Rear Axle Seal and Bearing Replacement?

I recently went with larger wheels and tires and I want to regear the rearend. My mechanic said that since my T4R has 210K miles, he suggests replacing the rear axle's seals and bearings while he's already working on the rearend. Is replacing the seals and bearings too early for the miles it has? It's not leaking. How many miles does the rear axle go through before it starts to leak? All my driving has been on streets. No offroading.
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:16 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeT4R View Post
I recently went with larger wheels and tires and I want to regear the rearend. My mechanic said that since my T4R has 210K miles, he suggests replacing the rear axle's seals and bearings while he's already working on the rearend. Is replacing the seals and bearings too early for the miles it has? It's not leaking. How many miles does the rear axle go through before it starts to leak? All my driving has been on streets. No offroading.
Mine went at 220K with a history of on-road driving. You're in the danger zone of them going soon so I'd probably have him do it while he's in there if you trust his work, especially sine he'll be moving the axles around and disturbing the seals.
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:21 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeT4R View Post
I recently went with larger wheels and tires and I want to regear the rearend. My mechanic said that since my T4R has 210K miles, he suggests replacing the rear axle's seals and bearings while he's already working on the rearend. Is replacing the seals and bearings too early for the miles it has? It's not leaking. How many miles does the rear axle go through before it starts to leak? All my driving has been on streets. No offroading.
Mine were leaking at 220k miles. There's a lot of people that have the rear axle seals leak around the 200k mile mark. He's probably recommending it because he already has to remove the rear axle shafts to replace the rear differential. Just make sure that the inner retainer gets flipped and grease/sharpie test that the rear axle seal is riding in the middle of the inner retainer. There's a couple writeups and a youtube video from mtbtim on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVhSDnw2ugo
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Old 05-21-2021, 05:24 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeT4R View Post
How many miles does the rear axle go through before it starts to leak?
Mine leaked just before 200k miles, and like @texadelphia , with a history of on-road driving.
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:45 PM #5
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Had one side just start leaking on mine 2 weeks ago after a trip to Moab. I have 211k miles. Will be replacing everything next week.
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Old 05-21-2021, 09:31 PM #6
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I would say if your doing the work yourself, I would wait till they started leaking. No sense changing out a good and working part. And allow you to save up for bearings, bearing tool, seals and a hydraulic press.
Your mechanic is doing the work. If he recommends it, I would let him change it out, hes already in that area and can save you a whole lotta labor charges down the road if he were to go back in.
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Old 05-22-2021, 12:37 AM #7
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Getting the seals is the tricky part. MUST watch Timmy's rear axle seal video, more specifically how he does the "Sharpie Test" to ascertain the seal is riding right in the middle of the retainer ring.

Use OEM oil seal. If you use the puller tool, you don't have to purchase the ABS ring gear. If your axles got aftermarket retainers (Bearing and ABS), cut them with a cutting tool before pulling it off the axle. OEM retainer has nothing embossed on the ring.
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Old 05-22-2021, 11:10 AM #8
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I'd definitely recommend it. Leaking axle seals cause a mess, and you are in the mileage range that it could go out. Even if they might last a while longer, they are older so just the act of pulling out the axles might cause them to go bad sooner.
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Old 05-22-2021, 04:40 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad Luck View Post
Mine were leaking at 220k miles. There's a lot of people that have the rear axle seals leak around the 200k mile mark. He's probably recommending it because he already has to remove the rear axle shafts to replace the rear differential. Just make sure that the inner retainer gets flipped and grease/sharpie test that the rear axle seal is riding in the middle of the inner retainer. There's a couple writeups and a youtube video from mtbtim on youtube. Toyota Rear Axle Seal/Bearing Replacement (ABS Rearend) - YouTube
I saw the video a week ago and I do remember seeing the retainer get flipped. Mine is a 2000 nonABS. Those who had their mechanic do the job, did you directly tell them to flip the retainer? I guess I'm not sure how to approach my mechanic without telling him how to do his job. Do I say, here watch the video so you do it correctly...
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Old 05-22-2021, 05:38 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChromeT4R View Post
I saw the video a week ago and I do remember seeing the retainer get flipped. Mine is a 2000 nonABS. Those who had their mechanic do the job, did you directly tell them to flip the retainer? I guess I'm not sure how to approach my mechanic without telling him how to do his job. Do I say, here watch the video so you do it correctly...
I've been wondering about this too - I want to get my rear axel seals and bearings replaced, but I don't have a press. I am considering paying a shop to do it, or removing the axles and taking them somewhere to get the new stuff pressed on, but I want to be sure they're done correctly, of course. It's kind of a tricky situation haha.
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:17 PM #11
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I didnít have the press or puller either so picked up a 20 ton press at Harbor Freight and ordered the puller from the eBay seller Timmy made reference to in his video.
All in a few hundred bucks in tools but after watching Timmyís video and reading a bunch of threads I felt comfortable doing it myself.
Glad I did as I have trust issues when it comes to a job like this being done correctly by a shop.
10K miles and all still good......knock on wood!
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Old 05-22-2021, 07:39 PM #12
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I would honestly change them if the rear end is getting serviced. Imagine you throw in new shoes on both sides and the real axle seal chooses to shit the bed....

After the seals, I would inspect the breather valve to see if it's loose like it should.
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Old 05-22-2021, 09:23 PM #13
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Definitely change them while your in there especially if your doing a new 3rd.. your already 90% of the way there for changing them. Just did an ECGS 3rd and had to do my bearings/seals at 184k (one side had already been done by PO as it had an aftermarket bearing). Make sure you replace all 4 tone rings.
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Old 05-23-2021, 12:03 AM #14
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Well I will get the seals and bearings changed for sure after all the feedback. Now it's doing the homework and getting the courage to do it myself or having my mechanic do it. In the video it seems simple enough with the correct tools. I haven't seen videos on changing the gear ratio. I guess once I see a video on that I will decide whether to do it myself or not.
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Old 05-23-2021, 12:11 AM #15
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Quote:
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Well I will get the seals and bearings changed for sure after all the feedback. Now it's doing the homework and getting the courage to do it myself or having my mechanic do it. In the video it seems simple enough with the correct tools. I haven't seen videos on changing the gear ratio. I guess once I see a video on that I will decide whether to do it myself or not.
Do your research before jumping into this one - or letting your mechanic touch it.

This one is a hotly contested job and it is often done wrong by owners, mechanics and dealerships. There are enough threads here detailing why this is not straightforward so I will not rehash old news. Just be aware that this job can go south on a person.

Personally, I followed the DR Coffee and Timmy method and have been dry for 42,000km and counting.
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