Changing a driveshaft seal

If you notice a dreaded patch of oil on the driveway, dip your fingertip in, and if the oil smells bad then you can be 99% sure its a gearbox oil leak! More often than not, its a worn gearbox seal that leaks. This is a cheap and easy fix if that is the case, but to make sure, clean the gearbox area and then trace the leak back to make sure it’s not a leaking drain plug or something else. To change the driveshaft seal yourself this is process:
  • First get the car safely on axle stands and remove the wheel on the side thats leaking.
  • Drain the gearbox of oil. Do this into a clean container if you plan on reusing the oil.
  • Next you need to remove the lower arm ball joint from the hub. Remove the pinch bolt from under the hub securing the ball joint.
  • Lever the wishbone downward and remove the ball joint from the hub. This is easier said than done if it’s not been removed in a long time. You may end up getting so frustrated that you damage the ball joint itself. Before you get to this stage I recommend removing the whole wishbone. This is a last resort as it will add a bit of extra work. You need to remove the two bolts in the cabin, these are under the carpet at the front of the car. The final wishbone bolt is visible at the front of the subframe going front to rear.
  • If it’s the offside driveshaft, you need to remove the two hockey stick securing bolts halfway along the driveshaft before you can withdraw it.
  • With the ball joint removed the hub is free to swing outward. Be sure the container is under the seal and pull the driveshaft out of the differential.
  • Once the oil is drained, screw a couple of self tapper screws into the seal so you can remove it with a pair of pliers.
  • To put the new seal in, carefully place the seal in the housing and find an appropriate drift tool to tap the seal in square. Make sure you don’t push the seal in too far.
  • Replace the driveshaft into the differential, being careful not to damage the new seal.
  • Secure the wishbone ball joint in the hub.
  • Remove the airbox to reveal the gearbox
  • Refill the gearbox through the breather hole in the top of the ‘box.

 

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