It can be done. Differential seal replace - w/o pulling axles

Joined
Oct 12, 2017
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15
Location
Westminser, CO
This is in relation to my previous post https://forum.ih8mud.com/threads/did-something-stupid.1066529/#post-11767030 where I had a front diff leak and was worried about water intrusion. Anyway, I eventually determined no water in the differential, but did confirm the leak was the differential to axle gasket was leaking. My question ended up being could I clean up and reseal with FIPG without pulling the axles.


Couldn’t find any confirmation of others who have even tried it, and only found a few other who asked the same question without confirmation if accomplished or not. So just wanted to post that I did indeed try and succeed in this.


I am a below average DIY mechanic at best, but am a much worse “forum-er” and “how -to”er so I neglected to take any pictures of the process, but I can tell you to the best of my ability what I did.


  1. Drained diff through plug for a day.
  2. I disconnected the drive shaft from the diff for some more freedom when i pulled the diff away.(mark and make note which direction yoke flange was attached)
  3. Took off all the nuts and lock washer from diff to axle connection. Kept them safely aside
  4. Pulled diff away from axle (you’ll get about a ½” gap), took chunks of gasket that were immediately able to just pull out. Let sit and drain little more another day (really took my time on this)
  5. Went in next day and worked my way around with a razor (carefully as to not scratch matting surfaces) for secondary large pieces then around again with plastic scrapper and poker quite aggressively for the remaining fragment on surface and stuck around studs. It was at this point that I realized disconnecting the brackets that connect the brake line to the axle would provide a little more ease of access on top.
  6. Finished off with series of fine steel wool with brake cleaner and lots of paper towels. Working way around, (passenger side has the most limited access, but feasible. Take passenger tire off). In order to get good contact with the wool against the surface I just positioned it in the spans between studs and pushed the diff back toward the axle to smoosh it between the two and rub back and forth between the studs. Don’t squish too hard or you can’t move it.
  7. I tried to only spray brake cleaner directly onto wool and paper towels, as it didn’t seem wise to get any into the diff, but I am sure inevitably some squeezed out into it, but I can’t imagine a little bit would do much harm.
  8. On that note above, it then occurred to me I was probably also getting quite a bit of steel wool shavings into the diff. My thought here was none of those shaving would be beyond the size of regular flakes and pieces you would expect to see on the magnetic plug from normal wear and tear. At any rate it was at that point I decided I would do a gear oil fill, cleanse, drain, refill when I was done.
  9. When all cleaned up I did see some of that excess brake cleaner dripping, so I let drain another day, wiping clean every couple hours.
  10. Next day I went for the seal. Bought 2 of the Toyota FIPG sealant on amazon. Screwed on a few nuts to set a good gap, maybe ¼”, and had a bungie pulling the diff away so it would not creep toward the axle during my process.
  11. First I went in with the nozzle (comes with the sealant) cut with a very small hole and applied a little bit around each stud (as best I could anyway.
  12. Then I increase the hole size on the nozzle to only slightly smaller than the gap between axle and diff. this way I could stick the nozzle in the gap, just a little and work my way around with a constant depth. I squeezed fairly hard when applying and working around as to get a thick enough stream as to make sure it made contact with both surfaces and have its tackiness and surface tension to keep it in place and not creep down or fall out. Between the gap size I left and this hard squeezing, I am glad I bought 2 tubes.
  13. At this point removed the bungie and hand tightened the nuts I had on ( had only every other nut on) just enough to compress the sealant maybe down to a little larger than a 1/8th gap. DO NOT tighten down all the way at this point.
  14. I let that sit 2 DAYS! To make sure the sealant cured. Then I tightened down. Much of the now stiff sealant squeezes out, so cut off the excess. This made me happy I didn’t try to apply the sealant to deep, because I am sure much of that probably squished down toward the diff as well. It made me question applying the recommended torque because of the give. Didn’t feel right when trying to use the torque wrench at the recommended setting, so instead just used my 3/8” socket wrench and tighten down adequately, ensuring the lock washer were compressed.
  15. Put everything else back together, ensuring the yoke was back on the right orientation.
  16. Refilled. Drove around for 10mins. Drained. Cleaned off magnetic plug (had a pretty gnarly amount of wool shavings). Refilled and called it good.

Been about 4 weeks now and no leaks, dry as a bone and axle looks nice and clean as a result of my perimeter cleaning as well. Some who are more versed in the intricacies of the solid axle may find it easier to pull the axles, but for one who was afraid of going that deep, I found it not too bad to go this route. Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or blatant criticisms of my stupidity. Thanks all, hope this helps someone!
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2013
Messages
210
Location
Burbank, CA (SOCAL)
I was reading this trying to figure out when you pull the pinion seal out. Lol. Good job but yeah i think most people just pull the axles. It's a good thing to learn to do as we end up rebuilding axles a lot if you wheel. Glad you got the leak.
 

2fpower

 
Joined
Sep 5, 2007
Messages
10,136
Location
lenexa, ks
Yeah, glad you got the leak fixed... FYI, I have used toyota FIPG and it blew out after a year. Found out on MUD to us the RIGHT STUFF from permatex. @BILT4ME got me straight on that.

Anyway, seems like a lot of time and detail work, when it does not take that long to pull axles. My son and I just had to redo our seal as the FIPG blew out. Took about 4 hours to do the job, pulling axles and all.

I hope your does not leak.... if not know what to use next time.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
568
Location
Magna, UT
Yeah, glad you got the leak fixed... FYI, I have used toyota FIPG and it blew out after a year. Found out on MUD to us the GOOD STUFF from permatex. @BILT4ME got me straight on that.

Anyway, seems like a lot of time and detail work, when it does not take that long to pull axles. My son and I just had to redo our seal as the FIPG blew out. Took about 4 hours to do the job, pulling axles and all.

I hope your does not leak.... if not know what to use next time.
I'm assuming you mean "The Right Stuff". And yes, it is pretty awesome.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
8,290
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
I'm assuming you mean "The Right Stuff". And yes, it is pretty awesome.
Yes, but make sure you only use the "BLACK", as it is the most oil-resistant. It is also the stuff in the Cheeze-Wiz can, not the squeeze tube. It dries in under 5 minutes and can be bolted on and operating immediately, even with oil in contact with the joint.

You do need to have the surfaces clean and dry, and free of oil residue (brakleen)
 
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