Front Differential leaking fluid, suspect the seal.

littleblazer

Gold Supporter
#1
Hey guys, so yesterday I noticed my truck started making drip marks in the street, like bad and everyday. First I thought it was motor oil, but then I thought maybe power steering line or something else. Long story short I pulled the drivers side tire to find this:
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Fill level more then an inch below the fill plug
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After I came back from a drive, been sitting there for about an hour. (Yes it was a clean spot.)
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So I am going to hose it with parts cleaner, dry it and look to see where it is coming from. It is sprayed all over everything but appears to be the axle seal, which would explain why its all over everything. It appears to originate from that block thing with the sticker, I guess its part of the cv or axle or something.
 
#2
That "block thing" is the inner part of the CV axle. That axle seal is not too bad of a job to do. Used to be a dealer only item but SKF makes a replacement one now you can get from Rock Auto for 12-ish bucks IIRC.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#3
Something like this?
 

Tiggerr

Well-Known Member
#4
+1 Looks like seal time to me too. Shouldn't be too much of a bitch to do from the looks of it. Just have to pull the axle
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#5
I assume the axle will just pop off with some force or is there a clip of some sort that needs to be released? I remember reading somewhere that it is internal and just takes some wiggling to get off? Correct me if I'm wrong. And does that seal appear to be correct? It's listed as the front left axle seal on rock auto.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#7
I can't even fathom how this seal comes out. It was defiently the culprit though.
 
#8
From the review of that part at Advance that is for an older Blazer, not a Trailblazer.

You can't get the SKF seal from any local store that I've found (so far). SKF 15618

The seal is just pushed into there like any axle seal. Requires a slide hammer or a large screwdriver to remove it (and be careful not to gouge the housing when you remove it). Then you pound the new seal in with a hammer and large socket.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#9
Sparky said:
From the review of that part at Advance that is for an older Blazer, not a Trailblazer.

You can't get the SKF seal from any local store that I've found (so far). SKF 15618

The seal is just pushed into there like any axle seal. Requires a slide hammer or a large screwdriver to remove it (and be careful not to gouge the housing when you remove it). Then you pound the new seal in with a hammer and large socket.
That P/N doesn't cross to tb. It only comes up under the olds mobile, buick and saab...
 
#10
Rock Auto's cross reference is incomplete. The front diff is no different on the Saab, Olds, Buick, GMC, Chevy. All the same thing. Found some old posts on Trailvoy confirming it is the same seal as the OEM ACDelco seal.

If you want to be extra safe get the GM part from a dealer, GM Part # 19257296
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#11
I trust you. So I looked up a rainer, and that P/N at advance also crosses to the skf P/N... I almost want to buy it and see if it's right, that would save a lot of headache. :undecided:
 
#12
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#13
I'm gonna go rent the slide hammer and get it out first. When I return that I'll bring the seal and see if it matches. If not I'll hit up the dealer on my way to work tomorrow or order it from rock auto depending what vehicles I have access to.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#17
So, I have it out. I'm guessing that little ring in the middle, a race I suppose, is supposed to fit snugly and not have tons of play? Also, on the back there is a metal clip with points that looks like it mates with a similar looking clip in the actual diff. Correct me if I'm wrong.
 
#18
New seal will have all the tabs sticking out, when you put it in place several will flatten and others will lock into the diff which locks the preload. Don't turn that thing in there.

The CV wont' be overly snug going into the seal but it shouldn't be floppy.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#19
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To that little piece isn't supposed to have any movement either right? The knurled inner race thing. [emoji13] Mine moved around in every direction.
 
#20
Uhhhh no lol. It is supposed to stay in place, that's how it seals. No wonder yours is leaking! I'll bet it isn't leaking between the axle and the seal, but rather straight through the seal lol.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#21
Kinda what I suspected. The whole outside of that seal was covered in gear lube, so I imagine it was the source.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#22
Advanced part is not correct even though it crosses. Ordered from amazon. [emoji2]
 
#23
Hi, Guys I have a similar problem on a 03 Envoy , but my driver side axle shaft seal is leaking , but I have some play it seems like inside on axle shaft end I think I have a needle brg,that needs replace etc, any ideas ?? an also where can I get a exploded view of the front differential, I had found one on here I thought but I don't know what I did with it ,unless Roadie had it on here,,this , site has been very help full to me last spring I had to replace my transfer case my clutch pak came apart inside the housing then wore a hole in housing which I then just got a used transfer case an all from a salvage yard an it is running fine now but I think I need to replace all bearings in front differential I think ??? Thanks for your answers
 
#24
How much movement are you talking about here? Any way you could upload a video of it? What was the maintenance of the differential like? Oil level good? If it was leaking and ran low, the bearing could have been damaged.

In the meanwhile, you can remove the axle and plug the hole in the differential with a Gatorade bottle top until you figure things out and prevent further damage.

For an exploded view, any of the online parts sellers like GMPartsDirect should have that.
 

Matt

Silver Supporter
#25
Mooseman said:
In the meanwhile, you can remove the axle and plug the hole in the differential with a Gatorade bottle top until you figure things out and prevent further damage.
Make sure that you use the middle size Gatorade lid. The fat bottle is too big, it's the skinny taller bottle you need.

Also, you really need a slide hammer to get it out, just made sure that if you rent one, the "jaws/claws" haven't been farked up by someone. Sparky and I had that problem when we did mine and I ended up having to take it to a shop to get done.
 

BrianF

Well-Known Member
#26
When the seal went on my 06 in 2013 I ended up getting the GM seal. It was 23$ and change, but it was the easiest to find and buy. I tried using a slide hammer to remove the old seal but ended up using a set of channel lock pliers. They actually worked great. New seal went in smoothly. No leaks yet..... I was down a touch on gear oil but drained what was left all out as to flush any possible contaminants out. Hell the thing takes less than a liter anyway.
 

kkeo211

Well-Known Member
#27
I replaced my front diff seal a little over a year ago. The most difficult part of the job was to take the old seal out and push the new one in. I used a seal puller and seal kit from HF. Basically destroyed the seal replacement kit, but it was like 20 bucks so not a big deal.

I did however started noticing I had a little bit of gear oil leaking from the front area where the diff seal is located the other week, but this only happens after a long drive (over an hour). A short drive around town doesn't produce any leaks or nothing that I can see. I checked the fluid level in the front diff and still have plenty, so if it is leaking out the front diff seal, it's a very small leak. Anyone else notice small leaks after a long drive? Maybe it's time to replace the front diff seal again.
 

Dillyo82

Well-Known Member
#28
I replaced my front diff seal a little over a year ago. The most difficult part of the job was to take the old seal out and push the new one in. I used a seal puller and seal kit from HF. Basically destroyed the seal replacement kit, but it was like 20 bucks so not a big deal.

I did however started noticing I had a little bit of gear oil leaking from the front area where the diff seal is located the other week, but this only happens after a long drive (over an hour). A short drive around town doesn't produce any leaks or nothing that I can see. I checked the fluid level in the front diff and still have plenty, so if it is leaking out the front diff seal, it's a very small leak. Anyone else notice small leaks after a long drive? Maybe it's time to replace the front diff seal again.
When you put the new seal in, did it go in flush with the diff housing? Tried hammering using a hammer and wood block, but stopped at 1/16" sticking out. It's in straight too.
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

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#29
When you put the new seal in, did it go in flush with the diff housing? Tried hammering using a hammer and wood block, but stopped at 1/16" sticking out. It's in straight too.
Mine seated all the way but I made sure the locking tabs on the back were aligned when it went in. If it was like that I'd say it's fine unless the cv doesn't seal all the way. Some one more knowledgeable will chime in hopefully
 

webdawg

Well-Known Member
#30
I think your tabs are not aligned or the big circular nut under it got turned out.

Here are the instructions I found somewhere for the wheel bearing adjuster (big circular nut) just in case: 55 ft lbs for new bearings, or 45 ft lbs for used bearings. If you don't have a torque wrench, turn bearing adjuster finger tight, then 1/4 turn.

I did the 1/4th turn with a screw driver. I do not even think I could do the 1/4th turn all the way, it just stopped.

Trying to figure out if this torque is right I am getting things like: Using the J 45224, turn the differential adjuster nut clockwise until the differential adjuster nut contacts the differential side bearing and can no longer be turned.

I cannot find out if that info is accurate. Here is a post on some of it: http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=73705

I do not think it is much as if you have a torque wrench but instead if you have the tool to turn it into a "nut" It looks like it needs a KENT-MOORE J-45224 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kent-Moore-Axle-Bearing-Adjuster-J-45224-GMT360-/371023569892)

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I am finding this in the service manual too:

The seals used in the differential carrier assembly have built in tabs that are used to retain the position of the differential side bearing adjusters. When removing the seal, do not twist or rotate the seal or the preload on the differential case side bearings may be affected.

AND then there is this:

The seals used in the differential carrier assembly have built in tabs that are used to retain the position of the differential side bearing adjusters. When installing the seal, it is not necessary to align the tabs to the slots on the differential side bearing adjuster. Two of the tabs on the seal will automatically align themselves with the slots on the differential side bearing adjuster when the seal is installed.

So anyways it has to go all the way in:


 
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Dillyo82

Well-Known Member
#31
Thanks guys!
This is the reason I tackle jobs like this. I have knowledgable likeminded owners that have been in my shoes and have quick, detailed advice!

I remember that the original seal was closer/farther in to the adjuster&bearing. I had to pull the old bearing out from the middle ring because I didn't want to damage the bearing or adjuster.

I'll try banging it in more, just didn't want to break the aluminum housing/case.
I'm pretty confident the adjuster is in the original position and did not move. When wiping it clean, it doesn't budge and there is about 1/8" between the seal and adjuster.

I'll eat some breakfast and start waking up the neighbors!
 

Dillyo82

Well-Known Member
#32
image.jpeg image.jpeg


Alright.
I think I have a hair more to go on the 7 O'clock position and I'm good right? How do I put pics on here? I have to put them on a 3rd party's site? I can't just insert? I also did a FB LINK of the same below.

 

webdawg

Well-Known Member
#33
Just link them if you do not know how. I cannot see the 2nd two pics.

The autoparts stores have seal installers that you can rent.
 
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Dillyo82

Well-Known Member
#34
image.jpg
The autoparts stores have seal installers that you can rent.
When I got the loan a tools they didn't have a seal installer. I was thinking a cup from a ball joint set would work, but I was able to get it 7/8ths in with a flat hardwood block and then finished it with the slide hammer rod and a box end axle adapter with the old seal zip tied in between
 
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littleblazer

littleblazer

Gold Supporter
#36
If I recall correctly I used a 1/2 inch socket with a large washer welded on the end of it and had it clipped into the axle nut socket. That allowed me to hammer equally across two points on the rim then switch sides and so on.
 

kkeo211

Well-Known Member
#40
Replaced the seal this weekend. So far so good. After having experienced this the first time, it was a little bit easier to do it a second time. I definitely recommend the seal puller and a proper seal/bearing install kit. While you can pull the seal with something else, and install it with a wooden board or socket, but having the right tools just made it a little easier.

I ordered the ACDelco seal and tools from amazon for about $55 bucks. So this wasn't a supper expensive job.
 
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