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Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

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Old 08-25-2009, 09:40 PM   #1
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Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

OK so I know this info has to be in this forum somewhere but I can not find it. Having to wait 30 sec to try a new search is not helping.

Anyway I have a 01 GMC Sonoma 4cyl 2wd truck. I failed inspecton for a left axle seal and I think i am good to go on how to fix that. I am going to replace both leaft and right seals because I will have the pumpkin open so might as well.

However when I got under the truck for a little pre inspection I noticed oil leaking at the front of the diff where the driveshaft enters the diff. So I am thinking I better go ahead and fix that while I have the truck up and the diff open. My main question is how hard is it to replace this seal and how do I go about doing it. Does anyone know of any DIY posts with some pics to guide me for either issue? Any links to where I can find an exploded view of the diff. Any help is much apreciated.
Old 08-26-2009, 07:28 AM   #2
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

Ok I found out about the pinion seal and the egg yoke thingy but a more specific questions would be do you have to remove all the gears in the pumpkin to access the other side of the yoke to knock it out after you have removed the bolt holding it in.
Old 08-26-2009, 07:55 AM   #3
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

You need to check the bearings first. Many times when a seal starts leaking it is because a bearing has gone bad. I'll get you some more information on changing the seals later.
Old 08-26-2009, 08:04 AM   #4
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

mines doing the exact same thing... leaking out the pinion and left axle seal.


I just changed the fluid and added a ounce or 2 of brake fluid to the mix to swell the seals up for the time being. I know its not the correct thing to do, but its my daily and i need to be able to drive it until the rearend gets rebuilt. Replacing seals is easy, but replacing pinion bearings and carrier.. is a pain in the ass.
Old 08-26-2009, 08:53 AM   #5
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

http://www.thirdgen.org/techboard/tr...ing-axles.html
Here is information on the axle bearings and seals. Be sure that you inspect your axles when you pull them out and replace them if they are worn.

http://www.chevelles.com/forums/show...n+seal+replace
Here is some information on the pinion seal. Check the pinion before you remove anyting. If you can move the pinion in any direction other than rotation then you have a bearing problem.

Last edited by big gear head; 08-26-2009 at 08:59 AM.
Old 08-26-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

Is the pinion seal really that easy? I have been scared to do it myself, it leaks like a drop a day. I heard that if the nut isnt in exactly the same place youll get vibrations.
Old 08-26-2009, 06:36 PM   #7
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

All you need to worry about is getting the nut tight enough to hold everything in place but not tight enough that it changes the bearing preload. I have found that 150 foot pounds is about right. I usually use a new nut, but I always use red Locktite on the threads.

Be sure that you chech the pinioon bearings. It might be as simple as a loose pinion nut, but it could be a bad bearing. If it is a bad bearing then you have more work ahead of you.
Old 09-03-2009, 08:52 PM   #8
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

ok so heres an update. I started on the axle seals and I have them both out and replaced. I stopped there because I need to replace my Drum Brakes (shoes) and I looked at them and it was not something I thouht I could figure out without further research. The only thing that went wrong was I scored/scratched the inside of my Axles Tube trying to get those pesky seals out. Does anyone know if this will create a leak???!!! That would suck. : (

Anyway hope to have the axles back in and new brakes on by tomorrow. And then tackle the Pinion Seal. Any links to drum brake tutorials is much apreciated.

As for the bearings they seemed fine to me and the axle did not appear to be scored or indented from the bearings. Everything was smooth.
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Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA-dsc01819.jpg   Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA-dsc01820.jpg   Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA-dsc01823.jpg  

Last edited by emfman22; 09-03-2009 at 08:55 PM.
Old 09-03-2009, 09:22 PM   #9
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Re: Leaking Rear Differential and Axle seal 01 GMC SONOMA

I always clean the axle tube well and smear a thin coat of RTV sealant around the inside of the tube before driving the seal in. I do it just because of the scratches in the tube where the seal goes. If you don't do this then you might have a leak. Just don't use too much RTV because if you do then the seal will push it into the bearing.
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