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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I bought my '98 Trooper with ~126k miles on it a few months ago. Looking through the maintenance receipts I got with it, I found that the right rear axle seal was replaced at around 122k miles, and now it's got ~128k miles on it. I just took it in for an alignment, which tightened up handling noticably, and the mechanic noted that the right rear tire had fresh fluid on it, and he suggested that the axle seal had gone bad. He also commented that it can be a particularly difficult job on some vehicles, and when I told him that it had been worked on recently, he said that it was possible that they just didn't get it right because it would be sort of unlikely that the seal would fail again so quickly. Anyway, I have scheduled some time for him to take a closer look and if he can fix it, do a rear brake job because the right rear pads got soaked in fluid.

So, my question is this -- does anyone know if replacing the rear axle seal is a particularly difficult job on a '98 Trooper? I'm fairly confident in the skills and honesty of my mechanic (I've known him for probably 15 years), but I don't have any history with the outfit that replaced the axle seal last time, so I'm thinking maybe they either "forgot" to do the job or did a poor job.

Also, any gotchas to look out for in this? Any recommendations for differential fluid? I've got the G80 code on my firewall, and the differential does have a sticker on the cover that says LSD, so I know I've gotta put some good LSD-safe fluid in, so I was thinking of using Redline synthetic 75W-90 or 80W-90. My ambient temp range is typically ~35 degrees to ~95 degrees, but typically ~50-~80.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or information.
 

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The seal itself isn't particularly hard, but pressing the bearing onto the axle shaft is. 2nd gen Troopers apparently need a 20 ton press to get the new bearing onto the shaft. Somewhere around 13-15 tons the bearing will snap into place.

On some of those axles (and I'm honestly not sure on the 98+ modified 12-bolt) there is a second seal that is MUCH easier to replace. This seal fits into the end of the axle tube and can be replaced with a light touch and a small hammer once the axle shaft on that side is removed.

I'm having a hard time thinking of how to describe it, but the axle shaft has a bearing and retainer plate. The bearing is pressed onto the axle shaft and the plate bolts to the axle housing in the truck. You can't just replace the seal that is on the axle shaft itself without pulling the bearing off, which may destroy the bearing. Again my uncertainty about the 98+ modified axle comes into play.

The other seal is the seal that the retainer plate and bearing contact on the axle housing. Have him check that one first.

-Tad
 

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80W90 is a good choice. There is a TSB about noisy LSD diffs that calls for 2 tubes of LSD additive instead of 1, so if you don't want to lay down twice you can add both tubes when you fill it. Otherwise add 1 tube and see if it makes noise in slow speed corners.

-Tad
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm all about digging up my old posts and bumping them to the top.

Okay, really, I just wanted to follow up on this in case someone searched and found it. My second axle seal started leaking in just two weeks. Now, I do a lot of highway driving, and over a somewhat curvy "mountain" pass, so it can be tough on axles, but two weeks is a little short in my book. Taking advice passed on to someone else on the forum, I checked the differential breather out. When I pulled the hose off the axle, I got a "pfffft!" of air out of the diff. I used an air compressor and ran some air into the hose, and my compressor quickly ran up to about 60PSI. That can't be good, I thought to myself, so I took a 14mm wrench and removed the breather from it's mount. Some carb cleaner, some orange cleaner / degreaser, and a good washing later, it flows air nicely, and plugging a compressor into the breather hose results in a pleasant hiss of air out the breather, rather than the compressor working harder.

I unfortunately do still have a leaking axle seal (again). Would it be normal to ask the mechanic to replace the seal on his dime since he didn't check the breather?
 

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Personally I would drive it back to the old mechanic. I would pull out the old paperwork and ask if they remember this vehicle. I would then politely point out the leak and ASK them what they plan to do about it. I would be happy if they picked up even half the tab.

What you got going for you is a proper repair should have lasted many, many, more years.

On the downside, and this is a big problem, the mechanic did the work for the prior owner. Thus, it is very likely that they technically owe you nothing.

You mentioning the breather work will only tend to muddy the water. The key is that they didn't do the repair right or the problem wouldn't have reappeared.
 
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