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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I bought a 2007 FJ with 205,000 miles with an obvious rear axle seal leak x2. Got the price down to where I felt it was fair. So the project begins. Let me first say dont use your harbor freight press for this job. Its not up to the task. I destroyed my 12 ton press and never budged the old bearing.

I sourced two new Koyo wheel bearings from Ebay close to $100 each. Bought the tool to press off the bearing for $300. And went to the machine shop of a neighbor to use his 50 ton press. It took about 14 tons of force according to the press gauge to break the old bearing free. (Just sold the tool for $250)

What I determined from a closer inspection of the factory seal setup was something it took me 4 tries to fix on my 99 4Runner. The axle seal is almost designed to leak and I can explain why. The seal is recessed into the axle housing, and the the seal lip is recessed within the seal itself. Toyota designed the retainer with a bevel to "Ease" installation. IMO its not needed. The retainer will easily insert into the the seal if properly and generously greased up. So when you install the retainer with the bevel first, the seal is left with only 2mm of polished mating surface. After some miles and normal wear, the play in the bearing allows the seal to wander over by the bevel and allowing gear oil to get by the seal and migrate through the bearing. Once this happens the grease washes out the lithium bearing grease and permits steel on steel contact in the bearing which over time magnifies the play and excellerates the bearing failure. By simply changing the seal, you will effectively be left without any lubrication once the rest of the gear oil drains out from the bearing. There is the common misconception that the bearings are "sealed". They are considered sealed from dust with a metal cover. But it is not sealed from liquids. The only barrier from gear oil is the axle housing seal. Once that is breached, the oil will penetrate the bearing causing failure typically within 10,000 miles from my experience.

My solution is simple. Reverse the retainer so the bevel faces the wheel. The retainer is 20mm wide and the seal will sit 5mm in from the edge of the retainer giving you enough real estate to stay sealed for life. The reason I mention the retainer width is because you can re-use the old retainer. The old wear marks will be 5-7mm on the bevel side. The other side will have about 12mm of clear virgin seal surface for the new seal. In this picture you can see just how close the seals lip is to the bevel by the witness marks. The bevel measures 3mm and the seal is just 2mm outboard of that bevel.

 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
The proof is in the pudding. I use a black marker to show the location of the seal lip and then coated the retainer in grease. This is Lucas marine grease so its blue. Then carefully inserted the axle into the housing. Once you get the bolts to align, there is very little room for the retainer to be misaligned. once in place I spun the axle to leave a witness mark on the retainer.









You can see where the grease was cleared from the retainer. I took a measurement of the clear area and we have 5 mm from the edge of the retainer for the seal to ride upon. There is no way this seal will shift enough to leak again.





There is more than enough room in the housing so no worries about rubbing.



Its buttoned up and ready for new parking brakes.



==> Watch my video on the relationship between the retainer and oem axle seal for the 4runner. The same principle applies.

https://youtu.be/9tdGpmpNRFU

Bought some rebuilt powder-coated calipers from rockauto. No more rusty calipers. :cool:
 

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Great right up and pics on this issue. This one is for the archives. Changed bearings and seals on old toyota trucks and they were always a bear too.
 

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Rear Axle leak & bearing replacement

Great right up and thank you for taking the time to go in details about the seals and the retainer. Toyota should take note.
 

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Very interesting notes about the retainer orientation. Great write-up.
Stupid question, what the heck is generating the tone/pulses for the wheel speed sensor to pick up on?

Sorry to revive an old thread.
 

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I know this is an old thread but when I did my wheel bearings the machinist warned me pretty heavily not to reverse the retainer. He said it would be very easy to damage the axle seal. Mine never leaked but I replaced both seals and retainers anyways.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I know this is an old thread but when I did my wheel bearings the machinist warned me pretty heavily not to reverse the retainer. He said it would be very easy to damage the axle seal. Mine never leaked but I replaced both seals and retainers anyways.


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Watch my video, I clearly show the seal will not be damaged. In these trucks the bolts that secure the axle to the housing, put the retainer in perfect alignment with the seal. Lube the retainer and seal and slowly push the two together. The edge of the retainer is radiused so there are no sharp edges to damage the seal.

More importantly, this fix resolves the issues found on toyota trucks for the last 20 years. If you jump into the Toyota 4runner 3rd gen forum, you will see how successful this has been for those members. Even more so for those who the dealer gave up after 3 attempts to seal the axle and sold the owner a new axle housing for thousands of dollars. Thats more than a truck is worth.

Not all axles will leak. But this fix assures it wont leak again.

You can check your seals quickly by removing the abs sensor and shine a light into the cavity. Any sign of oil and you have a leak.

 
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