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Old 06-11-2022, 04:32 PM #1
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Unhappy Recurring Axle Seal Leak

Hey guys,

I'm trying to get to the bottom of a recurring axle seal leak I've been having. I've done the job 3 times now, once with aftermarket parts, once with changing to OEM seals and moving and flipping the inboard retainer and the most recent time with new OEM seals, retainers and bearings. I have also changed out and extended the diff breather to no avail.

At this point, the leak is the worst its ever been, and I'm not really sure why. Do I just start looking towards finding replacement axles, presuming that mine are bent and causing the leak?

I've done a fair amount of research on here and think I've exhausted my options beyond replacement axles or housing.

If anyone has had a similar issue or has any insight, it would be greatly appreciated!

Here is a link to a couple photos from each side. While it's obviously tough to assess just from photos, I think everything looks pretty good!

4Runner - Google Photos

Last edited by Track34; 06-11-2022 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 06-11-2022, 04:53 PM #2
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If you are 100% positive you installed the seal properly without damaging it the next step would be to check the diff housing vent. If itís clogged it will cause pressure to build, and thatís probably the biggest culprit for causing axle seal leaks on 3rd Gens.
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Old 06-11-2022, 04:59 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huey.Raine View Post
If you are 100% positive you installed the seal properly without damaging it the next step would be to check the diff housing vent. If it’s clogged it will cause pressure to build, and that’s probably the biggest culprit for causing axle seal leaks on 3rd Gens.
I just recently replaced and extended the breather up to the filler neck
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Old 06-11-2022, 05:01 PM #4
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It's been a long time, but IIRC this was a fairly common problem on the 3rd gens. I doubt the axle is bent, I think it just has a bit of a groove worn into it.
And again, IIRC, there is some sort of aftermarket repair collar (for lack of the correct term) that can be put on to repair it.
I'm sure other will speak up.
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Old 06-11-2022, 05:03 PM #5
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typically there are 2 ways they leak. The breather gets clogged, which pushes oil out of the seal and wipes the bearing out and just continues to leak. Or the bearing goes bad and it leaks.

It appears you have fixed those root causes so I would double check the installation was done correct, I know there are some critical dimensions for the bearing/ abs ring dimensions (i dont remember what they actually are). Then make sure the bearing is still good and then look at the axle housing itself.

good luck!
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Old 06-11-2022, 06:14 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Track34 View Post
Hey guys,

I'm trying to get to the bottom of a recurring axle seal leak I've been having.
Are you Absolutely Certain that the lip of the seal is riding in the center of the mating surface? Timmy calls it the Grease Test:

Toyota Rear Axle Seal/Bearing Replacement (ABS Rearend) - YouTube


So long as nothing is being damaged during install, this is the most likely cause of the leaks IMHO.
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Old 06-11-2022, 06:26 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian. View Post
Are you Absolutely Certain that the lip of the seal is riding in the center of the mating surface? Timmy calls it the Grease Test:

Toyota Rear Axle Seal/Bearing Replacement (ABS Rearend) - YouTube


So long as nothing is being damaged during install, this is the most likely cause of the leaks IMHO.
Check out the photos I linked on my first post. I did the same test with a sharpie (I find its cleaner and easier) and they both appear to be riding just inside of center.
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Old 06-11-2022, 07:28 PM #8
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Any possibility of a bad wheel bearing ? As if they move enough your axle seals will leak as well.

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Old 06-11-2022, 09:43 PM #9
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Did you replace all 4 of the Ďtoneí rings? If you re used any of them I would start with replacing those, its possibly leaking from between the axle shaft/tone ring and not between the tone ring/seal. Timmy also recommends flipping the tone ring that makes the seal.
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Old 06-12-2022, 12:03 AM #10
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Could be leaking between retainer and axle shaft or axle seal and axle housing. I’ve had both and used gear oil rtv where the two meet during assembly
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Old 06-12-2022, 08:00 AM #11
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I noticed my recently replaced axle seal started leaking again. Pulled apart and rtv'd between housing and seal. Hope that does it...
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Old 06-12-2022, 12:07 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D'arce View Post
I noticed my recently replaced axle seal started leaking again. Pulled apart and rtv'd between housing and seal. Hope that does it...
Yeah, I also put FIPG (RTV) around the axle shaft before I pressed the inner retainer on. I used new retainers too. No problems since. The original owners had Toyota Service change that seal at least 3 times
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Old 06-12-2022, 01:13 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brillo_76 View Post
Any possibility of a bad wheel bearing ? As if they move enough your axle seals will leak as well.

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With the most recent attempt I used new OEM bearings on both sides.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T4topher View Post
Did you replace all 4 of the ‘tone’ rings? If you re used any of them I would start with replacing those, its possibly leaking from between the axle shaft/tone ring and not between the tone ring/seal. Timmy also recommends flipping the tone ring that makes the seal.
I replaced the most inner tone rings where the seal sits and they were also flipped.

From the replies on here, I think I'll go with getting some FIPG underneath the tone ring where the seal sits and between the seal and housing. I will report back with the results when done!
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Old 11-05-2022, 11:16 AM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Track34 View Post
With the most recent attempt I used new OEM bearings on both sides.



I replaced the most inner tone rings where the seal sits and they were also flipped.

From the replies on here, I think I'll go with getting some FIPG underneath the tone ring where the seal sits and between the seal and housing. I will report back with the results when done!

Any update I am having a similar problem
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Old 11-05-2022, 03:38 PM #15
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Quote:
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Any update I am having a similar problem
Like @Bad Luck mentioned there are two other possibilities. When I shot our Part 2 video, I let people know that they could reuse all 4 retainers by swapping their positions on the axle shaft. I since learned this wasn't the best advice. Even though the outside of the retainer surface can be pristine with no seal witness mark, the inside diameter of the retainer could have sustained damage upon removal. Slight grooving on the inner diameter can be present and allow a pathway of gear oil past the seal between the retainer and axle shaft. So, you really should use a new inner retainer. It's absolutely fine to reuse the outer retainers because they are just a place holder for the bearing. Some will also use some Red 1281 FIPG on the inside diameter of the retainer and on the axle shaft before pressing the inner retainer on. I think you could use grease like I show in the videos to make the pressing of the ABS tone ring and inner retainer easier. Once the retainer and ABS tone ring are in place and you've done a sharpie or grease test to confirm you have the retainer in an optimal position, I would clean up the axle shaft and inner retainer with some brake cleaner and then put a bead of the Red 1281 FIPG on the inner side of the retainer. That bead of FIPG should stop any gear oil from getting past that metal to metal connection of the retainer with the axle shaft.

The other way is oil could be getting past the seal and axle housing connection. That is another metal to metal connection. So, to remedy this, you smear some Red 1281 FIPG on the outside of the seal before driving it in place in the axle housing.

I cover these two possibilities in pinned comments (1st comment you see) in the videos below.





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Last edited by mtbtim; 11-05-2022 at 03:50 PM.
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