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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I dropped off my 2000 4X4 SR5 TRD Tundra today at a local shop to have the OEM axle seals replaced. I noticed that the left rear was leaking onto the wheel and brake drum, and upon further inspection today by the shop there was gear oil getting inside the drum. That would explain why the brakes have been feeling squirrelly when coming to a full stop the last few days.

Since my truck will be 11 years old on 9/4 and has 172K miles, I was tempted to just pull the trigger on a new Tacoma. But I decided to just fix it. I still love it and don't really want to jump into the car payment game again right now.

So the shop will pull the axles and send them to a NAPA store 40 miles away to install the Toyota seals. This is where the Toyota dealer sends their work for the axles. Looks like I'll save about $170 by letting my local shop handle the job (both seals). I told the mech to check the differential housing breather for clogging too. Some of the previous posts with reoccurring seal leaks worry me though. I won't put up with that nonsense for very long!
 

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So it looks like they are changing the outer seals. Make sure they change out the inner seal and the o-ring on the axle housing as well. While they are at it, might as well change the outer bearings. It would be more cost affective to change them now. Rather than later because, they'll have to go through the same process.
 

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I have had nothing but problems with those seals and mine is a 2006. I have lost track but I believe it is the fourth time the dealer has tried to replace the seals, and each time a few months later the brakes are covered in oil again.
 

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I had to replace the pass side seal 3 or 4 times within a couple months. The last time I replaced it was 6 months ago, and it isn't leaking... yet. I can do them in under 45 min now, thanks to all the practice.
 

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I have gotten pretty good at replacing my seals too - not that I like being good at it but that is the way it goes sometimes. I cannot recommend highly enough checking your differential breather cap and doing the differential breather modification. I have not had any problems since doing the modification.

Mr. Creosote - I would recommend checking your differential breather as well. I have read that if the axles are installed carelessly and allowed to rub across the seals that can cause problems as well. For me, it was a matter of letting the differential breathe without blowing out the seals.
 

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I have had nothing but problems with those seals and mine is a 2006. I have lost track but I believe it is the fourth time the dealer has tried to replace the seals, and each time a few months later the brakes are covered in oil again.
Same thing on my T100, I dont know why but they all leak over and over and over. I had the sale on the axle housing replaced 4x (2x by me, toyota and a friends shop), and I sent the shaft out 2x to be press fit by 2 different shops.

Anyone got a fix for this?
 

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Same thing on my T100, I dont know why but they all leak over and over and over. I had the sale on the axle housing replaced 4x (2x by me, toyota and a friends shop), and I sent the shaft out 2x to be press fit by 2 different shops.

Anyone got a fix for this?
Use correct seals - Toyota redid them to correct a problem with the originals. Install with extreme care - I put a little coat of gear oil on mine before installing the axle and do everything in your power to prevent the axle from rubbing across the seal as you reinstall it.

Do the breather modification. One of the reasons the seals "fail" is that in motion the gear oil heats up and causes the air to heat and expand. The expanding air pushes against the seals and over time causes them to give way allowing oil to seep past them and into the bearings and brakes. The differential modification took care of this for me.
 

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I have had nothing but problems with those seals and mine is a 2006. I have lost track but I believe it is the fourth time the dealer has tried to replace the seals, and each time a few months later the brakes are covered in oil again.
There's your problem!

There are often many great techs at dealerships. However, there are also the ones that just do the jobs as quickly as they can because they are getting paid by the job.

Find a nice, honest, small shop that has a good reputation around town. They will treat you right, and their labor rate will probably be cheaper too. At least that's how it is around here. My truck will never see a dealer unless I personally know the tech working on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow! I knew there were some reoccurring problems after the fix, but this is depressing! I guess my question should be "did anyone have a seal replaced and it didn't leak again?". Like I said, I won't put up with this nonsense very long. If I can't depend on this truck for long distance hunting trips, I'll sell it and buy a new one.

One more question for those who have had axle seals leak:
What brand, viscosity and type of gear oil have you been using in your rear diff? Up until 144K I gad been using various types of conventional 80W-90 and SAE 90 GL5 gear oils. Then I switched to a semi-synthetic SAE 110 GL5 gear oil made by Lubrication Engineers (LE 1605). I have seen the TSB for not using synthetic gear oil (Toyota) in the rear diff because of the incompatibility with the seals. Just wondering who has been using what.
 

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Funny thing is I have done the breather mod and I checked it is venting. I installed the seals and axle with extreme care and still. I just gave up tbh..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK, I just got back from the shop and looked at the seals and axles. It appears as if the outer bearings are starting to wear out (wobble) and that is probably what is causing the seals to start leaking. Everything that can be replaced on the axles and seals will be replaced, and hopefully that will take care of things for awhile.
 

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OK, I just got back from the shop and looked at the seals and axles. It appears as if the outer bearings are starting to wear out (wobble) and that is probably what is causing the seals to start leaking. Everything that can be replaced on the axles and seals will be replaced, and hopefully that will take care of things for awhile.
Bad bearings will definitely cause premature failure of the seals. Just be sure inner and outer seals are replaced, o-rings and as others stated either replace the diff breather or modify your existing one. Remove the breather, remove the cap and toss it, then clean it. You can check to see if it's working by blowing through it. Air should only move one way. Reinstall the breather and attach a hose over the breather and tighten with a hose clamp, extend the hose to somewhere above the frame and where it doesn't get a whole lot of water. Mines up near the bed rail.

Here's how mine is. It's the clear hose in the shape of a "d" in the middle of the pic. I added some slack to the hose to act as a "trap" in case water manages to get into the hose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK, the axles are installed and I told the mechanic to replace the brake shoes and drums (they were down to minimum already). As I walked around the front of the truck (underneath), I pointed out that my upper and lower ball joints were getting wet from the rubber dry rotting and splitting. So were the tie rod ends. So I decided to replace everything up front too. Ouch! Pulling the trigger on a new Tacoma might of been the wiser decision on Monday, but I'm committed to keeping this truck now. I'll worry about the diff breather later. It's clean as a whistle now though, he showed it to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Everything that I had work done on last May has doing great. I check pretty regularly for any leaking too.

Do you plan to do the work yourself?
 

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I guess I got the good truck, I did wheel bearings at 200,000 miles ( general service ) and never had a seal leak prior to that. And since the replacement over 50,000 miles ago I haven't had any issues.

Common things that will cause seal leakage are:

-Trapped pressure in the diff housing caused by a plugged vent
-Worn wheel bearings
-Damaged bearing retainer collars that the seals use to seal against - i.e. surface flaws or burred edges that tear the seal upon axle installation
-Damage to a seal when re-installing axles from either not pre-lubing or from dragging the axle along it while installing
-Seals not properly installed - ie tapping in with a hammer around the edges and bending the outer collar, or forcing a seal in off center causing it to warp.
-Contamination on the seal lip during axle installation ( dirt and rust bits ) that gets driven into the sealing surface causing a leak. Very important to be clean in this area.
 

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NO, Indymac, I don;t have the proper tool or the press to do it.
You have also indicated that you have seem a TSB on using synthetic axle oil???
Could you please point out this TSB # ?? I have read all TSB for 2000 model and find nothing about the synthetic axle oil issue.
But I did notice a TSB on new inner seal modification, sounds there is a design defect.
 
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