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What tool to get retainer off axle stub shaft?


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25 replies to this topic

#1 porcupine73

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 07:14 AM

Hi. I'm assuming you would use one of those 1/2 or 3/4 ton 4WD sockets with those four prongs to get this retainer off the stub shaft? Anyone have any suggested tools?

When I replaced the axle, I had that black seal that is over the stub shaft, but I didn't have a tool to get the retainer off.

Is there an o-ring or something else behind that retainer?

Are there any precautions to take before removing that retainer? Like will some gears fall out or anything if you remove it?

Posted Image

#2 johnceggleston

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 09:05 AM

Hi. I'm assuming you would use one of those 1/2 or 3/4 ton 4WD sockets with those four prongs to get this retainer off the stub shaft? Anyone have any suggested tools?

When I replaced the axle, I had that black seal that is over the stub shaft, but I didn't have a tool to get the retainer off.

Is there an o-ring or something else behind that retainer?

Are there any precautions to take before removing that retainer? Like will some gears fall out or anything if you remove it?

Posted Image


this retainer holds the tapered bearing the supports the differential gears. do not remove it unless you know what you are doing. if you do remove it, mark it's location before you start, count the number of rotations it takes to remove the retainer and reinstall it the EXACT same way. failure to do so will destroy your differential.

why do you want to remove it ? it doesn't look to be leaking very much.

some one used a very large socket and cut slots in the edge to match the ribs in the retainer .

#3 porcupine73

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 12:33 PM

It only looks clean because I cleaned it before doing the axle. It was pretty caked up with what I assume was gear oil coming out and then getting dusty/dirty making a muck.

I bought that black seal but I don't think that's where it's leaking. The nearest I could tell in a diagram was maybe there is an o-ring behind that retainer but I'm not sure.

I was thinking a socket like this but I'm not sure what size.
Posted ImagePosted Image

#4 avk

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 01:07 PM

It's probably better to replace the shaft seal and the O-ring as a set, once the retainer is out. I bought both when
I had to replace an inner axle boot, to replace at the same time, but then decided to leave good enough alone.
To turn the retainer, maybe you can find a suitable spanner wrench.

#5 zstalker

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 02:40 PM

there's a factory tool for it, but I bet a spanner wranch could be employed for the job. Trick for it: to make sure you have the correct preload on the differential bearings, mark one of the teeth on the retainer (or knick one of them with a tool of some sort, since most paint or marker comes off really easily when working with gear lube) to know which part was in the lock (I find that's an easy tooth position to keep track of), then count how many whole turns it takes to remove the retainer, bringing the marked tooth back to the start position each turn. You'll only need a tool for the first turn or so, then it'll be loose enough to turn by hand. I've usually gotten bnetween 5 and 7 whole turns, depending. Replace the seal and O-ring, then, start with the marked tooth in the start position, turn it in the same number of turns, line it up with the start position, lock it, and you're all done. oh, also only do one side at a time, or you'll have to re-set up the differential bearing preload and gear lash from the beginning.
I would definately replace the seal and the O-ring at the same time, since you're in there. be very careful when installing that seal, very gently tap the outside rim of the seal, working around the circumfrence till it's seated in the retainer...or use a seal installer (usually a socket exactly the size of the outer rim of the seal...NOT down inside the lip of the seal)
~Erik~


(a quick drawing of the factory tool)
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#6 porcupine73

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 02:44 PM

OK great thanks guys. I didn't take retainer off when I did the axle because I wasn't sure what I would be getting into. And I didn't realize at first there was an o-ring in there and if there was I wasn't sure I had one that would fit.

I don't like driving seals. It seems like it would be so easy but they always seem to get a little cockeyed on me no matter how careful I am.

#7 Kilroy

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 02:25 PM

I'm replacing that same seal today, as well. I have everything apart and am stopped at that retainer. I tried to tap it with a long screwdriver to start it turning (after marking it to get it back to correct position). A couple of firm taps and the 'tooth' broke off, as I feared. The seal came with an o-ring as well, it will fit behing the retainer. Now I'm calling around looking for a place that has a tool lend program (PartSource, Canadian Tire, etc.) in the hopes I can find something to get the retainer off. If all else fails, I'll grab a 3.5" socket from work tomorrow and put some cross cuts in it until it fits properly.

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#8 porcupine73

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 03:52 PM

The factory tool appears to be 499787000 http://subaru.spx.co...artid=499787000
Posted Image

It seems like those 1/2 or 3/4 ton pickup sockets would work if the size was right so that teeth matched up with the retainer. I know I've seen these at autozone, pepboys, etc.
Posted ImagePosted Image

#9 Kilroy

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 07:53 PM

Here's a site that suggests using a piece of PVC to make the tool:

http://www.ford-truc...placement_.html


I'm concerned that PVC will break too easily.

#10 Hocrest

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 11:41 AM

I've removed a couple and have always been able to use a screwdriver as a lever to get it started. If it's tough, use two, one at either end.

#11 uniberp

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:31 PM

It only looks clean because I cleaned it before doing the axle. It was pretty caked up with what I assume was gear oil coming out and then getting dusty/dirty making a muck.

I bought that black seal but I don't think that's where it's leaking. The nearest I could tell in a diagram was maybe there is an o-ring behind that retainer but I'm not sure.

I was thinking a socket like this but I'm not sure what size.
Posted ImagePosted Image


If it was 'caked' I question whether that is big enough leak to warrant the risk of replacement. That means only enough oil leaks out to be absorbed by dust that is picked up, which would not be much. If it were 'wet' or 'dripping' that might be another story.

#12 porcupine73

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 12:41 PM

Good point; I never see any drips on the garage floor, and I don't notice the diff dipstick level going down. I just figured since I was there if it wasn't hard to do I'd replace it; I'm kind of glad I just left it alone now. It's just it sort of looked like a frosted cake before I cleaned it off.

#13 Kilroy

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 01:49 AM

I've removed a couple and have always been able to use a screwdriver as a lever to get it started. If it's tough, use two, one at either end.


I can't see using a screwdriver, let alone two of them, to remove the retainer unless the diff is outside of the car. There is very little room to work and no room to work with any leverage flat against the retainer. Someone mentioned that the axle stub just pops out, I put a long screwdriver through the spring pin hole on the axle stub and pulled as hard as I could, no way was that stub coming out.

I created a tool to spin the retainer while at work today. I took a 3" piece of 3.5" diameter (the same diameter as the teeth on the retainer) stainless pipe and welded 3/16" stainless rod on the outside of it at 0, 90,180 and 270 degrees. I left the rod sticking out about 1/4" and then hammered them over the edge of the pipe at 90 degrees. I then tacked a 3/4" size nut onto the center of a 3.5" square piece of stainless and tacked the square piece onto the opposite end of the pipe so I had something to attach a tool to.

The tool fit nicely over the teeth with all 4 of the teeth on the tool engaging the retainer. First I tried to use a small crescent wrench to turn the nut, then a large wrench and finally a 1/2" ratchet with a 3/4" socket on it. No way that thing wants to turn, I was pulling as hard as I could on the ratchet! I've just soaked it with PB Blaster and in a couple of hours I'll soak it again before I go to bed. If it still won't turn in the morning I may try to put the ratchet handle vertical and attach a snipe to it, but this much torque may be enough to shear the teeth on the retainer. What a pain this leak is turning out to be, if the damned thing would come off I could finish this and have it back together in 1/2 hour!

:mad:

#14 porcupine73

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 06:02 AM

Hm...that sounds like a cool tool you've built.

No way that thing wants to turn, I was pulling as hard as I could on the ratchet!

Maybe a dum question, but did you loosen/remove that lock clip thing with the bolt on it at the edge of the retainer?

#15 Hocrest

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 08:38 AM

Yeah, the one's I've worked on have been out of the car. So that did make it easier to access. But I've never seen then that tight :confused:

#16 uniberp

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 10:51 AM

I can't see using a screwdriver, let alone two of them, to remove the retainer unless the diff is outside of the car. There is very little room to work and no room to work with any leverage flat against the retainer. Someone mentioned that the axle stub just pops out, I put a long screwdriver through the spring pin hole on the axle stub and pulled as hard as I could, no way was that stub coming out.

I created a tool to spin the retainer while at work today. I took a 3" piece of 3.5" diameter (the same diameter as the teeth on the retainer) stainless pipe and welded 3/16" stainless rod on the outside of it at 0, 90,180 and 270 degrees. I left the rod sticking out about 1/4" and then hammered them over the edge of the pipe at 90 degrees. I then tacked a 3/4" size nut onto the center of a 3.5" square piece of stainless and tacked the square piece onto the opposite end of the pipe so I had something to attach a tool to.

The tool fit nicely over the teeth with all 4 of the teeth on the tool engaging the retainer. First I tried to use a small crescent wrench to turn the nut, then a large wrench and finally a 1/2" ratchet with a 3/4" socket on it. No way that thing wants to turn, I was pulling as hard as I could on the ratchet! I've just soaked it with PB Blaster and in a couple of hours I'll soak it again before I go to bed. If it still won't turn in the morning I may try to put the ratchet handle vertical and attach a snipe to it, but this much torque may be enough to shear the teeth on the retainer. What a pain this leak is turning out to be, if the damned thing would come off I could finish this and have it back together in 1/2 hour!

:mad:


Is it a left hand thread? :rolleyes:

And coarse alloy threads into ally housings leave a lot of room for corrosion to build up. Try taking apart a lower unit of an outdrive. I think you may have to tip the unit an put a soaked rag on top for it to absorb enough to overcome the corrosion.

#17 Kilroy

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 01:03 PM

Is it a left hand thread? :rolleyes:

And coarse alloy threads into ally housings leave a lot of room for corrosion to build up. Try taking apart a lower unit of an outdrive. I think you may have to tip the unit an put a soaked rag on top for it to absorb enough to overcome the corrosion.


I've remove the locking clip, with the amount of force I've put on the retainer I think I would have bent the hell out of that clip even if it were in place.

I tried turning clockwise as hard as I could once, just in case it was a left hand thread. It didn't budge.

That was also my concern with the PB Blaster, that being vertical it wouldn't soak into the threads. The only way I can overcome that is to put my car on it's side, not really an option. :lol:

#18 uniberp

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 04:46 PM

I've remove the locking clip, with the amount of force I've put on the retainer I think I would have bent the hell out of that clip even if it were in place.

I tried turning clockwise as hard as I could once, just in case it was a left hand thread. It didn't budge.

That was also my concern with the PB Blaster, that being vertical it wouldn't soak into the threads. The only way I can overcome that is to put my car on it's side, not really an option. :lol:


Heat the case? Or chisel/crack the cover and remove the pieces?

I don't like any of this. If the seal is damaged, the bearing is probably too. That bearing has to be preloaded precisely. Unless it's a totally trashed unit, I wouldn't do it.

#19 Kilroy

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 01:36 AM

I can see the seal and it looks perfectly fine, but it does slowly leak enough to be a pain and it's quite smelly every time I stop due to it burning on the exhaust.

Breaking the retainer isn't an option (I don't have another to replace it), I would rather just live with it the way it is. I'm thinking that the retainer is corroded enough that it has become one with the casing. I'll be calling Subaru in the morning to verify that it's a righty-tighty thread. :D

#20 zstalker

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 04:56 PM

both sides have normal, right-hand threads. They're very tight because they're holding the bearing preload inside the differential, so if you can't get them loose through normal means, you'll need a tool.
~Erik~

#21 uniberp

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:53 PM

I can see the seal and it looks perfectly fine, but it does slowly leak enough to be a pain and it's quite smelly every time I stop due to it burning on the exhaust.

Breaking the retainer isn't an option (I don't have another to replace it), I would rather just live with it the way it is. I'm thinking that the retainer is corroded enough that it has become one with the casing. I'll be calling Subaru in the morning to verify that it's a righty-tighty thread. :D


Are you sure it's not blowback from the common separator-cover leak?

That's what I see on many cars.

#22 Kilroy

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 03:51 AM

Are you sure it's not blowback from the common separator-cover leak?

That's what I see on many cars.



Separator-cover leak? More info please.

#23 porcupine73

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 07:09 AM

The oil separator sometimes called rear main seal retainer. From the factory this part was often plastic and prone to leaks. The upgrade is a metal one available from Subaru dealers.

#24 uniberp

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 09:47 AM

Separator-cover leak? More info please.


There's a long illustrated thread at http://forums.nasioc...ad.php?t=965763

#25 Kilroy

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 12:43 PM

The oil that I have leaking is definitely differential oil, not engine oil. The oil is a golden colour and quite thick.




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