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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I just noticed that my drivers side real axle seal is leaking. The leak isn't that bad yet but it is leaking, the inside of the shield behind the rotor is coated with gear oil. (Pictures to follow) I just stopped at a local mechanic that works primarily Japanese cars to see what he thought about fixing it and about how much he thought it would cost to fix. He took a quick look and said it should cost about $250 and the only part it would need is a new seal. With the research that I have done on this forum it looks like when the seal goes not only is it replaced but the bearing is also replaced. My question is, does the bearing always need to be replaced when this happens or does it depend on the severity of the leak? I have an appointment to have the dealership take a look at it tomorrow to see what they say will need to be replaced and how much it will cost. If anyone has any experience with this issue on what needs to be replaced and how much it should cost your input would be valued greatly!

Thanks!
 

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Mine had been leaking for almost 2 years due to a plugged diff breather. Not sure about the bearing but I know the dealer wouldn't do the work without doing the brake pads because they were contaminated which snowballed into rotors and pads on both sides and at labour rates up north it would have been 600$ or so. That included warranty on the seal.

If you need it fixed for your sanity be prepared for the brakes. I have left mine leaking and it hasn't affected anything. My diff oil level never drops and my brakes work fine but I don't daily drive my FJ.


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Yeah you'll need new pads for sure. My service history shows this had happened to my FJ at about 25K miles... Was fixed under warranty. Have any warranty left? I think it's 60K?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No I don't have any warranty left I have 60450 on the odo:( Did they replace the wheel bearings when it happened to yours?
 

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I wasnt the owner yet so I am not sure. I would take it in and see if you get lucky on a good-faith warranty repair? Call and make an appointment a few days out... maybe you only have 59922 miles right now ;)
 

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Usually the rear axle seal can be replace without the bearing being bad. If the bearing was bad you would most likely hear it when you drive the vehicle.
 

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Rear axle bearing is a sealed bearing. 1. Make sure your diff oil level is correct. 2. Like said previously that the breather is open/vented. Then take it to a car wash with a can of spray brake cleaner and spray with a large amount. Then wash it with the high pressure and see how long and what seam the oil appears in first. The oil seal is pressed into the axle housing. but you also have your brake drum oil deflector and deflector gasket. A little oil weepage isnt worth worrying about, in fact it is quite normal if operated on an incline or angle frequently. Just keep an eye for visible drops.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pop,
Thanks for the info! So are you saying it is sealed so it shouldn't need replaced because of the leak? Also could this leak be a result of adding too much gear oil when I did the 60k service myself? And if I read your post correctly this might not be the axle seal that is leaking but it could be leaking from somewhere else? I am going to do what you said and check the level, I will also check to see that the breather is clear...how do I do that? I know where it is but I don't know how to check that it is clear. Any help would be great, I am a newer owner and this forum has been a great resource for info on everything FJ!
If the level is too high or the valve is clogged will I need to change the seal or can I just correct the level or clear the clog to fix the problem?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The diff oil level is perfect, right where it should be and I believe that the breather is clear. I am going to clean it up tomorrow and see where and how quickly it is leaking.
 

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Just replaced seal only on mine yesterday. The local dealership said 600 or more to fix. I bought 2 seals for $22 and got dirty.
 

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Mine driver side rear seal was leaking pretty badly a few weeks ago. Brought it to the dealer. They found a small leak on the passenger side and replaced both seals, drum brake pads on both sides under warranty. I asked about the bearing, and they told me that it was fine (not contaminated). I put about 500 miles on her since and haven't noticed any bearing noise yet.

From what I've read here, the seal replacement job is more than doable on your own if you have the courage to get dirty.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I cleaned up the area with brake cleaner at the car wash and rinsed everything off early this morning and then took it to my dealership at 1pm to have them take a look. The leak must be very minimal because when the put it on the lift they didn't see anything. I might just wait a little bit before and I do anything and see if it gets any worse. I'm hoping that it magically stops:head: Is there a write up on how to change the seals on the forum somewhere? If it does get worse I might just tackle this myself. It seems like it must not be too difficult of a job.

Thanks!
 

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Sounds good. From your pictures you dont have an issue. Just keep an eye on for awhile. Remember that the rear end gear lube does not lubricate the 2 outer axle bearings.
 

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Mine had been leaking for almost 2 years due to a plugged diff breather. Not sure about the bearing but I know the dealer wouldn't do the work without doing the brake pads because they were contaminated which snowballed into rotors and pads on both sides and at labour rates up north it would have been 600$ or so. That included warranty on the seal.

If you need it fixed for your sanity be prepared for the brakes. I have left mine leaking and it hasn't affected anything. My diff oil level never drops and my brakes work fine but I don't daily drive my FJ.


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1. I 2nd a motion to 1st check to determine if the vent is plugged.
2. The backing plate has a relief for the oil to leak out, so the pads do not become contaminated easily. if the leak has just started it is very doubtful the pads are soaked with oil.
3. Most rear axle assemblies with full or semi floating axles use roller bearings, so the seal will be to the outboard side of the bearing, no need to replace the bearing if it is not damaged or has signs of wear (dark, pitted spalling, etc.), which you can easily see with the seal out.
4. If the design uses a double ball, like the front, then yes the bearing assembly must be replaced, since the seals are not designed for easy replacement, because you would not be able to remove the inboard seal!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Can someone please tell me how to check to make sure my vent is not clogged? And if the vent is clogged and that is what caused the leak does that mean the seal is no good now or if I clear the clog will the leak stop?

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Found the same problem with 08 fj and the dealer gave me the estimate that its going to run me to replace ($495) and perform Rear Diff service ($149) for a total of $645 D: I would do it myself if I knew how. IDEK how to check that breather you guys are talking about. But I'm a quick learner if anyone can show me
 

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Found the same problem with 08 fj and the dealer gave me the estimate that its going to run me to replace ($495) and perform Rear Diff service ($149) for a total of $645 D: I would do it myself if I knew how. IDEK how to check that breather you guys are talking about. But I'm a quick learner if anyone can show me
breather on the rear diff is on the top driver side of the center housing. Its like a little button head you screw out. If you hear a release of pressure when you do this the thing is clogged and bad. Search "scuba mod" for good pics and info. We relocate the breather from the diff up higher using a hose to the jack compartment or gas fill area just in case you end up stopped in deepish water. Keeps water out and keeps it from clogging again....
 

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Yea, just do the dif breather mod and kill two birds with one stone.

I had a local shop replace a seal on my rear driver a couple years back, no bearing replacement and no problems since. My truck is a daily driver and is on heavy 35" mud tires.

The seal replacement cost me near $400, but I had oil everywhere, they removed the caliper, rotors, everything, and cleaned it.

I had read too that you must replace bearing with seal, all the shops that quoted me said so too, had I known you could just do the seal, I would have done it myself, live and learn. $22 seal cost me $400
 

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Agreed, Check the vent first, but the bearing is an assembly which can be removed to expose the axle seal and you only need pads if they are soaked (the backing plates are designed to channel the fluid away form the pads in case of a leak!), so the worst is labor to replace one seal and a set of pads. That's like $50 in parts and maybe $100-150 in labor, if you can't do the work yourself? GL
 
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