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My rear axle seal on the 2000 Tundra has blown and flooded my drums. Again. This will be the fourth set of seals in 2 years.

The seal started out weeping a tiny bit, and I let the dealershiptalk me into replacing it. I suspect one of their 18 yr. old, $110/hr. techs didn't put it back toether with the manic level of attention to detail that this job deserves, and its never been the same since.

On a seemingly (to me) unrelated note, my truck has been reluctant to shift into 4Low ever since I bought it. (I always come to a complete stop and shift to neutral before pressing the button) Lately it hasn't worked at all. Last time I tried it the light blinked repeatedly, then a horrible grinding noise occured that sounded roughly like the mechanical equivalent of someone hitting a baby with a cat. I suspect the rod problem that has stealthily plagued the 2000 Tundras while flying under the radar of most dealership techs.

My question is this:

Is it possible that my faulty transfer case is causing my axle seals to blow? Thinking back on the problem, I have heard the grinding noise before, and I THINK (but am not 100% sure) that it has occured each time before I discovered my my blown axle seal.

I hate to mistake a coincidence for a cause & effect relationship (I'm fairly sure thats how religions get started) but I can't help but wonder. Anybody?

Also, if I elect not to fix the rear brakes and axle seal right away while I try to diagnose the cause of the problem (4 times already suggests a 5th will be not far away), do I run the risk of causing further damage? I'm not too concerned about the loss of rear braking ability (it's a Tundra remember?)

Thanks
 

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Hi,
"The mechanical equivalent of hitting a baby with a cat" kinda a "Meow-waaaaa!" I guess ? I don't think that could be related to the axle seal issue, more likely damaged axle shaft surfaces chewing the seals or damage below the pressed on retaining collars alowing oil to sneak through that way (good pics on this board somewhere showing over zealous grinding damage). My guess would be the actuator motor may be seizing up or stripping out it's gears and not allowing a complete range change. Hope this helps some , oh and thanks for the good laugh the cat/baby analogy was hilarious!
Scott
 

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Does the Tundra rear axle have the breather valve in it? If it does...double check to make sure it's not all clogged up. You might have to remove it to check it...might need a 14mm wrench/socket to remove it. ;)

Is yer repair under warranty from the stealership? What did the say the other times you took it in and that they had fixed it before? :(
 

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Oh, one more thing, I don't think neglecting the seals will cause any further damage as long as you don't run the gears and bearings dry, grease on the shoes usually makes them grab more tightly than dry shoes, although I did know a girl once who ran her RWD Celica so long that the the brakes actually caught fire from the gear oil one day (true story I swear!) although even that was put out and didn't cause a whole lot more repair work than had already been needed (shoes, bearings, seals, hardware and I think that tire but it was a long time ago.) Scott
 

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i would check to see if you axle is bent. if it's bent or not true where they machine the axle, it wont matter how many times you replace them, they will eventually continue to leak.
 

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Also don't cast aside the notion the mechanic was an idiot. My 06 took four attempts to repair a bearing grind which was present from delivery. One of the repair iterations occurred because he did the repair on the wrong side. Sometimes all it takes is the right person for the job.

Wheel balancing is a classic example. Get an inexperienced tire balancer working on your rim and you will spend all summer going back and forth to the shop with a persistent shake from the wheel.
 

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I just replaced the rear seals in my '00 myself. Several issues and possible problems, but I doubt that the transfer case is the problem. I had a faulty transfer case that had to be rebuilt at about 20k miles. It had no effect on the rest of the driveline. The rear seals are apt to go out at about 120k miles, due to the original design of the seals. They have a TSB on this, and they have a new seal design. When I replaced my original seals, I noticed that the axles were worn down around the seal area. So the wear on the axle is apt to add to the leaks if the seals are replaced and set in the same place. I tapped my new seals in a tad tighter to get the seals to seat farther into the axle shaft away from the original seal wear area in hopes of avoiding this from happening on my truck. Also the breather cap on the diff can clog up, and the air pressure in there can build up enough to cause them to leak. Pull off the breather cap and check it and blow it out with an air compressor every 6 months or so to avoid this, and make sure that there is no mud or grime caked around the breather cap to clog it up.

My guess would be that the seals were not installed right, or that they were installed right but set in the exact same place as the originals where the old seal wear groove is on the axles. Also if they replaced the bearings and/or outer seals, they had to grind off the original parts from where they were pressed onto the axle, and often times they slip and grind some of the axle where the seal sits. In that case the axle has to be replaced. It can also be a clogged diff breather cap, so take it off and make sure that it works or you will just blow more seals, no matter how many times you replace them.
 

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After 125k I had both axle seals replaces in my 2002. My mechanic said it is common on Tundras, Tacomas, 4-Runners, etc. But a continual leak deserves a little more attention. Obviously there is another problem.
 
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