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Front axle transmission seals


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24 replies to this topic

#1 Fairtax4me

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 11:36 PM

Monthly under-car inspection today, just to check things over. I have one front axle seal leaking pretty good, and the other is wet. Not grease, not motor oil, it's definitely gear oil. I have noticed over the past 3 months or so the level getting progressively lower on the trans dipstick. I've cleaned this area twice and it keeps coming back.

Looked in the FSM and couldn't find anything about replacing these seals, but a search here revealed a few threads with not much more info than "You don't want to attempt changing those because if you put the bearing retainer cups back wrong you'll destroy the front diff".

So that means I want to change them. :grin:
But I have some questions for anyone who has done these before.
It seems that the bearing retainer cups screw in/out through the use of some special wrench. Is it necessary or can I manage it with a punch or something of that nature?

Second does the bearing race sit inside the retainer or will it stay (somewhat) in place in the transmission case?

#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 12:16 AM

So that means I want to change them. :grin:


You just have to make SURE you set them back exactly where they were before or you will change the ring and pinion clearances. Which will damage the R&P over time - short term or long depends on how much of a change was made

But I have some questions for anyone who has done these before.
It seems that the bearing retainer cups screw in/out through the use of some special wrench. Is it necessary or can I manage it with a punch or something of that nature?


Once you remove the locking fork, a tap with a punch will get them moving then they should thread out easily. I've never seen one that was too hard to remove - the gear oil keeps them pretty clean and free of corrosion.

Second does the bearing race sit inside the retainer or will it stay (somewhat) in place in the transmission case?


The "cup" (with timken bearings you have a cup and a cone - the cone being the part with the rollers) is a sliding fit in the transmission case and the seal cap adjusts it's clearance with the cone which is pressed onto the front diff carrier. They will stay in place if you do one at a time and don't disturb the diff.

Just make sure you mark the seal cap and the case and carefully count the number of turns, etc. I would mark the threads before removing it with nail polish as well and let it dry before you start. Nail polish is thick enough that it won't flow into the threads and will make a clear deliniation where the thread enter the case.

GD

#3 EVOthis

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:53 AM

Also, These seals are directional so there is a left and right, make sure you get the right one, it will have little arrows on it for the direction of rotation ;) and usually I also replace the large o-ring as well...

#4 grossgary

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 10:34 AM

what they said - it's really easy to do - but if you do it wrong you got a good chance of hosing your front diff. if there's noise after the fact you can try to adjust accordingly, but you'll do it right so no worries.

i've had one that the notches were just chipping off as i wailed them with a hammer, it wouldn't budge, but that's an anomaly and not the norm. luckily that was a trans i was throwing away anyway.

#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 02:16 PM

I did plan on replacing both of them since they're both leaking.

I may adjust the backlash a bit while I'm at this to try and take some of the play out of the diff. What setup do I need to check the backlash? FSM says use a dial guage. We may have something at work that I can use, but what kind do I need?

I'd also like to make sure preload on the bearings is correct. If I understand the FSM correctly, after setting backlash with the drivers side retainer, I adjust the passenger side the same amount as drivers side plus one full notch to set preload.

#6 hackasubaru

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:08 PM

Did you ever figure out how to adjust backlash? I removed the right side of my EA82 tranny with out knowing it had to be put back on the same amount of turns... :( i'm afraid im going to hose the front diff... do you know if the older models are the same way?

Edited by hackasubaru, 29 July 2010 - 03:14 PM.


#7 Fairtax4me

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 04:57 PM

Did you ever figure out how to adjust backlash? I removed the right side of my EA82 tranny with out knowing it had to be put back on the same amount of turns... :( i'm afraid im going to hose the front diff... do you know if the older models are the same way?


I'm not sure but I would imagine they're pretty similar. Might ask the old gen forum guys if they know anything about it. I think the backlash adjustment is gonna be sort of a pita with the trans in the car. I'm not sure if it's something I really want to "play" with on my mostly good transmission.

I would think that you should be able to see some marks in the retainer bore on the transmission that might indicate where it was before it was removed. The problem is, even being just 3 or 4 teeth off on the position is more than enough to grenade the front diff.
If you can see marks where the lock plate was located on the ring, and find some markings that would show you the depth that the retainer was installed in the transmission, then I'd say you should have a pretty good chance of getting it back to the right place.

#8 hackasubaru

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 09:45 AM

Cool thanks, I'll take a look when I get home. I got the tranny out right now. I'll have to clean it some but I'll check for marks :D

#9 samneric

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 09:33 AM

Also, These seals are directional so there is a left and right, make sure you get the right one, it will have little arrows on it for the direction of rotation ;) and usually I also replace the large o-ring as well...


OK, I did my reseal job without knowing this and now the new ones leak....

Question is - what is the direction of rotation? I can only assume they mean the car in forward gear and not reverse!!!

Steve

#10 Fairtax4me

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 11:39 AM

Directional seals usually have an arrow somewhere that points in the primary direction of rotation. So yes, they should be placed for forward rotation of the axles.

Are you going to change them with the trans in the car? Let me know if you have any difficulty getting the backlash and preload set. I still haven't made it around to doing this on mine. I'm finally getting to the timing belt and reseal that I talked about doing a year ago. So it might be another year before I tackle this. :lol:

#11 hackasubaru

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:34 PM

I ended up getting this figured out. I had the tranny out because i was doing head gaskets, water pump, belts etc. I marked the side i didn't take off yet. Took it off, replaced seal, put it back on same amount of turns i counted. For the side i took off with out counting i tightened it down til it was good and snug and then backed it off a little. Not the best method i'm sure but wasn't sure what else to do. So far it seems fine, took a 300 mile road trip to the beach and didn't have any problems. I think it could be done in the car, at least on my 87 gl wagon. Next time this happens i know to count them.. lol :banana:

#12 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:16 AM

If you had the transmission out it would have been a simple process to just set the backlash correctly with a dial indicator through the drain plug hole. You remove both the o-rings on the adjuster cups and then set the gear tooth backlash to .007" - .015" IIRC. Mark those locations and then install your o-rings and seals.

*edited* - I had the backlash numbers wrong.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 05 April 2011 - 07:06 PM.


#13 1-3-2-4

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 02:28 PM

wow maybe i'm reading wrong but the whole transmission has to be opened for the axle seals?

I just ask because these seals is what did my trans in, in my 03 FXS.

#14 hackasubaru

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:18 PM

GeneralDisorder, man wish i had known that.. I had a thread here and few posts else where and never got an answer.. So far so good but perhaps i'll need to set backlash correctly..

I don't believe the whole tranmission needs to be opened for axle seals if you count the turns and mark it correctly. I however didn't do that.. :banghead:

#15 1-3-2-4

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:19 PM

wow i did not think it was that involved..

#16 Fairtax4me

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 05:06 PM

No the seals are pressed into the inside of the bearing retainer rings. The rings screw into the side of the case. The rings apparently have to be removed to get the seals out.

Funny what changes in a matter of just a few months. For the past two months or so I've been getting a growling/whining sound from the front differential. I believe it is the carrier bearings going bad. The trans is also giving me other trouble, it's hard to get into 2nd gear when cold, it grabs/clunks into 3rd when hot. The clutch I put in last year is just a cheap POS that kicks and bucks the car all over the place when it gets hot. I'm almost convinced it has caused or at the least made worse the bearing issue. Live and learn right?
Anyway, because of that I decided it just isn't worth the time to replace the axle seals, as they only leak about 2 ounces of fluid between engine oil changes.

#17 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:09 PM

It's really not that hard to split the EJ 5MT's and rebuild one.... but setting the front R&P clearance and blacklash is the most involved part and it can be frustrating. I probably spent an hour or more just tweaking the R&P on the '96 STi 5 speed I just build - in addition to the guts going into a non-turbo 5MT case we also were installing an OBX Helical front diff..... so the R&P had to be reset basically from scratch. In the end it's a *feel* kind of thing with a little voodoo thrown in trying to "read" the pattern in the prussian blue dye on the teeth. Fun, fun. :rolleyes:

GD

#18 1-3-2-4

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:13 PM

my 95 legacy when I had it needed adjustment.. it was like that when I picked it up.. I got curious why it would always clunk off med to hard throttle so I lifted the front and put it in gear and turned a wheel and i got my sound.

Setting it does not bother me since I would of had a spare if I kept the car but the sound was driving me nuts..

#19 Fairtax4me

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:27 PM

In the end it's a *feel* kind of thing with a little voodoo thrown in trying to "read" the pattern in the prussian blue dye on the teeth. Fun, fun. :rolleyes:

GD


Through the drain plug hole no less. :banana:


I wouldn't mind rebuilding mine for fun sometime, but the parts would cost more than the car is worth... through Subaru anyway.

#20 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 11:35 PM

If you are just buying the bearings and sycro's the parts aren't that bad. The rear input shaft bearing and the rear driven shaft bearing are the big ones that fail..... Syncro baulk rings are like $15 to $20 unless you have a turbo tranny that has a double syncro on 2nd - those are like three times as much.

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#21 allwheeldad

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:09 PM

The grinding/whining sound that FairTax4Me describes sounds just like what is happening in my 99 forester. Would the culprits be any different between the 5sp and 4eat transmissions? Mine is auto, and I know the problem is in the trans (throw it in neutral and rev it while driving and there is no noise).

#22 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:35 PM

The grinding/whining sound that FairTax4Me describes sounds just like what is happening in my 99 forester. Would the culprits be any different between the 5sp and 4eat transmissions? Mine is auto, and I know the problem is in the trans (throw it in neutral and rev it while driving and there is no noise).


If engine load affects your sound, yours is something different from what I have. My noise has no correlation to engine speed or load. Wheel speed is the only factor. Load on the diff due to acceleration/deceleration change the pitch very slightly, but the noise is constant whether in gear or not, at any speed over ~ 20 mph.
I'm going to stick a chassis ear on the side of the trans and see if it picks up the noise. I can try to record it and let you listen to see if it's the same kind of noise you have.

#23 allwheeldad

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 06:27 AM

Yeah, mine is only heard under load. When I am at speed and sitting anywhere over 2500 rpm the sound is a whine, but one I apply the brakes and drop the engine down below 2500 it sounds like the trans is trying to eat itself. Lots of grinding, chewing, and rattling going on. I have been looking around for a used trans just in case, and it seems I can get one for around $300.00 CDN in Toronto. It's from a jdm importer which is fine for now, but in a few months I wouldn't touch any parts without seeing a video of the car they were taken out of. I have a feeling there are going to be some dirtbags that will try to make money off of Japans' woes right now.

#24 1-3-2-4

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 04:03 PM

It's really not that hard to split the EJ 5MT's and rebuild one.... but setting the front R&P clearance and blacklash is the most involved part and it can be frustrating. I probably spent an hour or more just tweaking the R&P on the '96 STi 5 speed I just build - in addition to the guts going into a non-turbo 5MT case we also were installing an OBX Helical front diff..... so the R&P had to be reset basically from scratch. In the end it's a *feel* kind of thing with a little voodoo thrown in trying to "read" the pattern in the prussian blue dye on the teeth. Fun, fun. :rolleyes:

GD



Old thread but when I get my transmission I was going to throw in the OBX front diff as well.. since it's my first time I'm in no rush.. I mean I've put almost 20K on a transmission with a iffy bearing out the output shaft and no 5th.. So it's doubtful it's going to just blow right up..

Anyways your post on the other page was the first i've seen of numbers of setting the backlash. having said that so the R&P does need to be reset then.. hmm I don't have that plate thing

#25 JavaTee

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:24 AM

I just changed out the seals, counted the turns - after painting and center punch marking the case & seal cup (<--just in case the paint wore off -in both places from where the seal cup began to where it 'released' from the transaxle case). I did the mandatory test drive, first a couple of blocks, then a few miles. I don't have any noise, or vibration. Everything seems okay. Is there a way to offically 'check' to make sure everything is fine?

Note: I've tried to read all post/threads here, and all other Subie forums to research this repair, just doing a final question for anything I might have missed.

('97 Outback wagon - 2.5L 5mt <--240K)

Thanks,
T.J.

Edited by JavaTee, 19 February 2012 - 01:01 PM.





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