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98 Camry 4cyl differential seal leaking again!

  #1  
Old 05-19-2011, 08:41 PM
DLW
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Default 98 Camry 4cyl differential seal leaking again!

Original owner, 237,000. I am attached to this car and it has served me well, but getting frustrated.

In the last year fixing leaks(some paid the shop, some did myself), timing belt again, several seals for oil leaks, recently repalced the cam plug and valve cover gasket. Now down to one last leak......its leaking from the differential seal again.

Last year, 15,000 miles ago it had this leak and I picked up a seal and took it to a small shop that does labor for cheap. I went into the garage and showed the tech where it was leaking from and he had me stay there and I watched everything he did. He took the axle out-driver side and took the old gasket out and placed the new one in. It looked easy to do up on the rack with a blow torch and a air ratchet-compressor to get the old bolts off(ball joint if I remember corectly) he had a little trouble prying the axle out but not much. It appeared that he put the new seal in and axle back without difficulty and it was working fine for at least 8 months-12,000 miles. My guess from the spots in my garage its been leaking for a few months again.

I was already ordering an 02 sensor online so I added another differential seal for $4. I cleaned the area yesterday and looked again today and its coming from the seal again, fresh tranny fluid.

Seems unusual to leak so soon! Bad seal, damaged upon instalation, other problem causing to wear prematurely? Any guesses?

Debating on whether to pay for labor again or do myself. Have torch, breaker bar etc. and jack stands and foolish determination ha! . I know the tech only had to take a few bolts out and then pry to get the axle out. Is it the ball joint bolts that have to come out?

Is this a DIY at home on jack stands with a little cussing job or better to pay $75-90 bucks for labor job?

I have replaced the struts/springs myself and wheel bearing-removed the knuclke etc. I did that stuff but it was a pain and frustrating but saved cash and it rides great now. Just trying to weigh a DIY job vs. a headache.

Any help appreciated. Thank You! Dave
 
  #2  
Old 05-19-2011, 09:53 PM
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that was tough!It would cost you a lot... I rather pay someone to do that job just make sure he can do fix it.
 
  #3  
Old 05-19-2011, 11:25 PM
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How much extra cash do you have. $75-90 is not bad for this job.

Best to get a manual of sorts, perhaps Haynes or check your library for manuals and copy it.

Which side of car, they are different?

You need to remove the knuckle as a unit that holds the wheel bearing with the pressed in hub. Plus tie rod end connection at knuckle.

The ball joint unbolts from the lower control arm.

If the mechanic did the job once, the bolts, etc should not be rusted on making the job easier. You should not need a torch.

The axle nut torque is about 120 ft-lbs requiring a large breaker bar.

One axle has a carrier bearing but not a cir-clip to hold it inside the diff. The other side has the cir-clip which can make prying the axle out trying but it can be done.

One issue is to make sure the new seal is installed correctly and not damaged during the installation of the axle into the diff.

If installing the axle with the cir-clip, the axle needs to be SLAMMED into the diff to get the clip to move through the diff gear. Sometimes in frustration the axle is pulled too far out of the diff to re-slam it and the result is the seal gets damaged by the cir-clip, etc.

Make sure the axle is started into the diff gear, then slam it home. If no success repeat the process until you succeed. Don't pull the axle out too far or you risk damaging it.

I apply a little grease to the seal lip first before installing the axle.

The diff has a separate fluid chamber, if leaking it will not be replenished by the main trans fluid chamber. You don't want to run the diff out of fluid!
 
  #4  
Old 05-20-2011, 04:28 PM
DLW
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Drivers side.

Which side has the cir-clip? Driver or passenger side.

I have access to a Haynes manual.

Its a 2-3 inch spot on the ground daily so not real bad, but I am sure I am loosing some fluid while driving too. Hopefully more than a few drops in the box left ha!. I will refill the box this weekend to be safe. Thanks for the info though. Previously when it leaked I did not realize its separate from the trans.

Previously when they put a new seal in I had added a good amount of Lucas oil stabalizer to the differential box prior as I had some around and it said you can use with differential boxes or for differential leaks, my guess was it may leak slower because its thicker not actually seal a leak. When they repalced the seal they just added a little bit of trans fluid to the box to top it off, but no drain and fill. Could the Lucas stuff bother the seal?
I know some things can deteriorate rubber.

My guess is the seal was slighty damaged upon reinstallation of the drive axle, just a guess. Stuff happens.

The fact that the bolts in that area were removed a year ago makes me believe I can do this right and go even slower than the shop being carefull with the new seal. Then again it was only $90 last time and the owner of the shop who did it said it was not as hard as he thought it would be. So, $90 or less would not be bad at all.

The part is on order, have some time to weigh it out.

Thanks for the help!
 
  #5  
Old 05-20-2011, 11:38 PM
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Drivers side has the clip.

Don't know if about Lucas products effect seals. Read the container for chemicals. Suppose it's OK as it is added to engines without issues.

If you have the shop do the job caution the mechanic about damaging the seal. It should not have leaked in this short of time.

The job should be OK given the mechanic removed all the items before. You will need a torque wrench for the large axle nut.

Plus a pry bar if the drives side joint. Place the bar in front of the inner joint body, there may be a slot for it engage the joint body. Use the trans as a fulcrum with a section of wood between the bar and trans to prevent trans housing damage. You want to pop the inner joint out of the diff by using a quick firm prying motion. You can not remove it by gradually applying force. Kind of like hitting the body with a brass hammer but this is not possible given the design. A quick pop to jerk it out.

If the axle is passengers side the carrier bearing needs to be removed, this requires removing a large clip, and a bolt under the bearing retainer.
 

Last edited by toyomoho; 05-20-2011 at 11:48 PM.
  #6  
Old 05-28-2011, 09:28 AM
DLW
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I tried to replace it myself but could not get the axle out. Did not spend much time, realized without a rack and correct tools it would be very difficult. Bolts came out easy enough, but did not have a slide hammer with the CV end on it. Was going to rent one or borrow one. The guys at the local megaparts store said no cv adapter for the slide hammer? Anyway, just on jackstands, needed more room-leverage.

I took it to a small local shop not in the best part of town, but who has been honest and cheap. For $90 (plus $22 for the seal from the Toyota dealer)they repalced the seal and did a drain and fill with new fluid. They showed me how the axle has a little play in it and that is what is causing the leak by banging or rubbing against the inner part of the seal. There are thin lines on the inner part of the seal and they were worn down in one area, suspected leak area.

It sounded legit, but I am not a mechanic. They said it will probably leak again, maybe yearly depending on if I keep doing 15,000-20,000 miles yearly. They recommended not messing with the differential as it is not cost effective vs. a periodic seal change. Does this sound correct?

Thanks for the help, replies! Dave
 
  #7  
Old 05-28-2011, 10:28 AM
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How much play, this would be sideways play, not in and out.

Leaking diff seals are rare regardless of miles on car. It is also possible the previous mechanic installed the seal at a slight angle resulting in wear.

The labor price with diff drain and refill was very good!

As the mechanic states the diff is not worth repairing. The trans needs to be pulled and taken apart, etc. A lot of work and expense compared to changing the seal.

Obviously keep an eye out for future leaks and if so start checking the fluid level in the diff until you can change the seal again.
 
  #8  
Old 05-29-2011, 11:11 AM
DLW
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Thanks.
I figured one of the possibilities was that the first one was not seated correctly. Hope thats the case and get alot of miles out of this one.

The axle does not go in and out. The play in the axle was more of an up down side to side. It seemed like it had some play in it to me when I was messing with it and the shop called me over to show it to me the same thing. Do not really have a baseline to compare it to so just see what happens.

The shop charged me $90 the first time a year ago and $90 the second time and added a drain and fill too. Maybe they were feeling sorry for me or just being good on their previous work etc. Either way, if it happens again down the road....$90 is a good price as long as they put it in correctly ha! So far so good.
Thanks again! Dave
 
  #9  
Old 05-29-2011, 11:39 AM
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Must be the bearing having the lateral play. Can't find any spec for this.

Just keep an eye out for leakage and hope for the best.
 
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