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I was adjusting my parking brake on my 2001 SR5 4WD to get it to pass inspection last weekend when I noticed some black "grease" on the rotor face between the rotor and wheel, as well as plenty within the parking brake when I adjusted the star nut. My suspicion is that this is a mixture of brake dust and gear oil from the diff, indicating that my axle seal is leaking. I have done some research and it appears that replacing the wheel bearings is a PITA, requiring splitting retainers and the ABS tone ring and a bunch of hastle with the parking brake assembly, as well as tools I don't really have. If I have caught it early, is it possible to just replace the axle seal and O-Ring by pulling the hub and axle out of the axle tube as one unit? or do I have to remove and replace the tone ring, retainer, and possibly the wheel bearing? if I have to go that far, I would likely have a shop do it, but I am trying to save for a wedding. At the end of the day I will pay what it takes to keep the thing running, as buying a new-ish vehicle isn't really an option, and i feel like it has lots of life left even at 250k.
I really appreciate any feedback or advice anybody could offer, as there aren't many resources for the toyota rear axles with disk brakes, which seem to be quite different from the systems used for the vehicles with drum brakes.
 

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You can remove the axles and feel for play in the bearings. It was obvious in mine, you could see the housing jiggling a bit around the shaft. You're only out some time and a few dollars for a seal. You will also have to remove the E-brake and brake lines. I'd definitely try that first.

Are you feeling any shaking in the seat at higher speeds? I could look over at the passenger seat and above 65 or 70 mph it was shaking like crazy.

I posted a thread awhile back on changing the rear bearings. Let me know about any specific questions. You are in the ball park for cost if you're comparing wedding vs Toyota rear bearings. I was quoted $2,000 or higher for both sides. That's why I got creative and figured it out.
 

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You can remove the axles and feel for play in the bearings. It was obvious in mine, you could see the housing jiggling a bit around the shaft. You're only out some time and a few dollars for a seal. You will also have to remove the E-brake and brake lines. I'd definitely try that first.
So other than the brake lines and E-Brake cable I don't have to dis-assemble the parking brake assembly, nor remove the tone ring and retainer?

Are you feeling any shaking in the seat at higher speeds? I could look over at the passenger seat and above 65 or 70 mph it was shaking like crazy.
Yes, but I believe it is due to a bent wheel. I just got a rotation and the shake got worse and moved to the steering wheel. I had a tire De-Bead on the highway and it causes a fair amount of shake at 72MPH especially when the wheel is up front. at other speeds it is minor. Don't really have a way to isolate other than putting it up in the air and feeling the spring with it in drive as was recommended in another thread

I posted a thread awhile back on changing the rear bearings. Let me know about any specific questions.
I will take you up on that offer. there aren't too many resources out there for Sequoias. The most detailed I have found thus far is this: rear wheel bearings?

You are in the ball park for cost if you're comparing wedding vs Toyota rear bearings. I was quoted $2,000 or higher for both sides. That's why I got creative and figured it out.
Thank you for that. I needed a good laugh today with all the stressful stuff going on these days.
 

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The tone ring and retainers are pressed onto the axle shaft. There are some pictures in the thread I am linking below that show them. I am not sure if you would need to completely disassemble the brakes. Thinking back, you can probably just hang the caliper out of the way rather than removing the brake line totally. I'm pretty sure you have to totally disassemble the parking brake, though, and remove the disc itself.

The tire de-beading sounds scary. My sequoia has a full size spare tire with a normal alloy wheel. In your position I'd swap that one into the normal rotation and put the bent one underneath as the spare.

I definitely referenced the thread that you linked. Honestly, I didn't do much of the testing described there. The decision had already been made - I was replacing all four bearings, so I was really just looking for advice on execution. The Timmy the toolman video mentioned there is a great breakdown of the process. That's on a 4runner, but it is generally the same. The bearing design is different, though, so you can ignore the part towards the end about indexing the retaining ring to sit in the axle seal. On these trucks the different bearing design allows you to just press everything until it is seated and then reassemble.

My thread is here: Rear Bearings - In Progress

It does not have a lot of detail but you can see some pictures. It took me awhile to grasp the concept of these axles/bearings. My only reference is old US domestic trucks, which use a much different setup. It really took me taking everything apart before it clicked. I'm not a pro mechanic, just a guy at home with some tools, a budget, and a can-do attitude.
 

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The tire de-beading sounds scary. My sequoia has a full size spare tire with a normal alloy wheel. In your position I'd swap that one into the normal rotation and put the bent one underneath as the spare.
It was. Luckily it was a rear tire, so it was just VERY bumpy for a few seconds until I stopped. had it been a front, I may have been less lucky. I was stupidly running on a VERY old spare tire (probably 10+ years, may be original, 16 years at the time), for much longer than I should have after puncturing the sidewall. If I can identify which wheel it is (probably look for the one with the most balancing weights) I will get the tires swapped around. I've been on the look-out for a set of wheels from a local junk yard, but toyotas are hard to come by, especially the sequoia.
I won't be driving it much for the next few weeks due to working from home, so I'll order the O-ring and seal and give it a go. depending on how long the steering rack bushings take it might happen sooner rather than later. I'll clean out the breather next time I drive it, just in case that buys me some extra time.
 

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I see Sequoia and similar wheels for sale on Craigslist or FB marketplace regularly. Almost any 6 lug Toyota wheel will fit but probably would want to stick with 17 inch options. Occasionally you see them with good tires sold as factory take offs.

Steering rack bushings are easy. I think I remember one bolt being a PITA but I got it done in an evening after work before it got dark, if that says anything. I felt a real difference in steering quality after replacement.
 

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For me, it'll be the 16 inch options. If I can find 4 that I like I'd go for that, but probably just going to look for one of the same wheels.
I'm not expecting too much hastle. I figured I just put it up on stands, remove the skid plate and unbolt the rack. remove the bushings with a mixture of punches, flat blade screwdrivers and pliers, and put the new ones in. shouldn't need any fancy tools or to totally remove the rack.
 
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