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'04 Camry 4-cyl front axle shaft seal

Old 06-28-2012, 04:22 PM
1SG is offline
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Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Default '04 Camry 4-cyl front axle shaft seal

New to forum & needing help. Being a reasonably competent DIY garage guy, I recently replaced both front drive shafts on my '04 XLE Camry with 120K miles to stop the clicking. Suddenly I have a river of tranny fluid coming from the RH (pass) side. I was very careful to lube the shafts when installing them, and I aligned the gears (teeth) before gently tapping the end of the shaft to install (seat) the CV joint into the tranny. It seems obvious that I dislodged (jacked up) the inner seal. Can anyone tell me what kind of job is involved in replacing this seal....assuming it is a simple seal. Or has something internally gone terribly wrong. PLEEZE HELP.
Old 06-29-2012, 10:14 AM
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Typically if the seal is nicked a drip will result not a river. Make sure the axle snub is fully installed into the diff housing and has not backed out.

Nicking a seal can result if the axle snub is installed at an angle first into the housing then straightened out just prior to engaging the diff gear.

Failing to fully install the shaft will result in a major leak.

Did you reinstall the snap ring and bolt holding the axle into the housing?

Doubt if you damaged something internally.

To change the seal the axle shaft needs to be removed. The seal needs to pried out with a large screw driver or pulled out with a seal removal tool and replaced by driving a new one in. Much like any other lip seal.

Be careful when removing the seal not to damage the bore it sits in.

Obviously be careful when installing the new seal not to nick the lip and ditto when installing the shaft.

To install the new seal find something round, solid and flat, the same diameter as the OD of the seal housing. This will allow you to drive the seal via this tool the seal into the housing while maintaining better seal/bore alignment. You don't want the seal to become angling in the hole during installation or it will bind up.

The alternative is to tap gently around the seal OD circumference with a flat faced hammer to force it into the bore. As stated before make sure the seal stays aligned with the hole or it will bind up and hitting harder will just damage it.

The seal will then need to be removed to start over again and of course could now be damaged.
Old 06-30-2012, 12:30 AM
1SG is offline
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Really appreciate the guidance. I like to learn from my mistakes, and what I've learned this time is that when you replace the axle shaft(s) - ALWAYS replace the output seal(s)...they're old & worn & exposed to years of heat and bad weather...and they're right there looking at you when you remove the shafts. While I was at it, I serviced the trans filter, where I also learned that Toyota dealer tranny oil (type T-IV) is a good bit cheaper that Advanced Auto Parts.
Again, thanx 1,000,000
Old 08-04-2012, 03:53 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 337

my 2 pennies will be:

1. you likely, like toyo said, did not have half shafts all the way in. It does not take a "gentle tap" to get them back all the way, takes hefty whack on the axle to force snap ring to compress and fully engage. That's under circumstance, that splines are perfectly aligned.
2. No, I just scratched the 2nfd penny. Those seals are not directional.
I had numerous half shafts replaced, some resulting in puddle leaks - never had to replace seal. Leaks were always caused by shaft not fully enaging into the differential.
Old 10-04-2012, 06:02 PM
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Default Outer Dust Seal

Replacing the Axles on a 02 LE V6. Left side axle did not come with the metal dust shield which was on the OEM axle. And also does not have the diameter where I can put the old metal seal housing. According to AutoZone it is the correct Axle. Another source I contacted also did not have the dust seal housing. Is it OK to install without? Seems like maybe a design change? Also, FWIW, the old metal housing was clean after 100K. Not like it is protecting from much dirt it would appear.
Old 07-28-2013, 10:58 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Elkhart Lake, WI
Posts: 16

the ole cardboard on the floor scare. i leave it under my camry all the time and still freak out from the water off the airconditioner. have one problem and you're scared for life
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