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After a rear wheels bearing/gasket replacement, my 2004 Tundra LTD with 120k miles now is showing a
oil leaking on the internal sides of both rear wheels/tires.
Mechanic now wants to replace both rear axles. Does it make sense?
 

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After a rear wheels bearing/gasket replacement, my 2004 Tundra LTD with 120k miles now is showing a
oil leaking on the internal sides of both rear wheels/tires.
Mechanic now wants to replace both rear axles. Does it make sense?
No, they are trying to gouge you for more money. Whoever replaced the inner seals did it incorrectly. The seal needs to be within a certain parameter in order to seat on the axle shaft collar. This is what creates the seal. There's a couple of possibilities of what happened, either the seal was pressed in too far or not far enough, the collar isn't pressed onto the axle shaft properly or the diff breather is clogged and the pressure from the heat internal is causing the gear oil to get pass the oil seal.

You can easily check the diff breather by removing it and blow through it. If air is able to travel through, that rules that out. Do you have ABS?
 

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They probably pressed the races on too far. I made that mistake and had to fix it. They also could have damaged the seal pressing it in. But it’s most likely the races, they just press them on until they stop and then they slap it all together. They should’ve measured before removing them. You can tell by removing the speed sensors and looking in. The race should be more “in” the axle. Basically, you should be able to see the “outer” edge of the race when you look down in the speed sensor hole. By the way, when you out it back together, put a tiny amount of grease of the sensor O-rings. They slide right in without ripping.


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They probably pressed the races on too far. I made that mistake and had to fix it. They also could have damaged the seal pressing it in. But it’s most likely the races, they just press them on until they stop and then they slap it all together. They should’ve measured before removing them. You can tell by removing the speed sensors and looking in. The race should be more “in” the axle. Basically, you should be able to see the “outer” edge of the race when you look down in the speed sensor hole. By the way, when you out it back together, put a tiny amount of grease of the sensor O-rings. They slide right in without ripping.


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Depends if they has ABS or not. For those that don't have ABS, the collar (race) is pressed all the way until the bearing is seated and this is where the seal makes contact. One can't press the first collar in too far.

The second collar (specific to only ABS axles) is pressed on after the snap ring and this one can be pressed on to where the seal doesn't make contact. This in conjunction with not pressing the seal correctly will definitely end up with gear oil leaking.
 

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Okay so, what I said stands for ABS only rear axles. I have ABS, so that’s how mine is. Whatever the issue is, if you find out they did something wrong (which they did, assuming your diff breather is working. I ditched that thing and ran my own breather up to the engine bay, my breather now actually works as a breather, not a one way valve) they owe you a set of brakes on top of fixing what they screwed up. Your brake shoes are ruined as soon as that oil gets on them. If you’re not experiencing problems with them yet, you will if it goes on long enough.


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they owe you a set of brakes on top of fixing what they screwed up. Your brake shoes are ruined as soon as that oil gets on them. If you’re not experiencing problems with them yet, you will if it goes on long enough.
Great point and I agree, they owe you new brake shoes if the result is a bad install.
 

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+1 on what's been said so far.

To get a better understanding of what they're talking about, watch this video (it's very thorough and shows how to do it properly) It's long, but if you're not looking to do the work yourself, you can zip through much of it and still get a feel for what's going on.


They're working on a 3rd Gen 4Runner, but the axles are the same for all Tacoma, 4Runner, Turndra, and Sequoia vehicles. Pay special attention to the beginning where he uses a caliper to measure the position of the inner race on the axle. Then again toward the end, while pressing the race back on, he uses "the grease test" as an indicator of where the seal is riding on the race.

Also note that on reassembly, he intentionally installs the inner race "backwards" so the bevel is on the outboard side. This is a popular mod by folks on the T4R forum. The rationale is to give the seal more area to ride on down the road when the bearing begins to wear.

If your mechanic isn't well versed in Toyota bearing & seal replacement, he may not be doing these extra steps. This is a different process than on a Chevy or Ford axle. The extra steps seem like small things, but they make all the difference between an axle that is sealed, and one that isn't.
 
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