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With the carrier now out and your housing looking cleaner than it was, you can finally turn your attention to the original task, that being replacement of the leaking oil seal(s).
Of course, DC makes a neat little tool for pushing the new seals into position, but I didn't have one and I didn't know anyone that did, so it was time to improvise. Hey, you are a Jeep owner...you are suppose to improvise every now and then.
But before we push the new seals into position, we need to remove the old ones.
I found a piece of tubing to use as a super long drift punch. In the
above photo, you see it positioned in the passenger end of the axle.
You can see my rather rusty drift punch sitting directly behind the seal. A few hits with a hammer on the end of the tubing was all it took.
The axle shaft seal popped out of the tube without much resistance at all. Easy to do....I wasn't kidding when I said the job was easy, its just getting to the seal that is the kicker. The other side was removed in the same fashion. I used a few squirts of brake cleaner after the seals were removed, just to clean off the sealing surface.
Since the driver's side was a bit chewed up, I took a few minutes to clean up the area. I used some 220 sandpaper to remove the sharp burrs from the metal and then some finer paper to finish it up. Since I really didn't want to go through all of this work and then see a leak at the hack up seal area, I put some RTV on my finger and ran a thin film around the inside of the tube. I've used this method to seal stubborn D44 rear axles. It works very well and I wasn't going to take a chance when something this simple would greatly improve my chances of success.
To install the new seal, you need something to press it into position. A piece of 1.75" OD (outside diameter) tubing was just perfect. It engages the metal shoulder of the seal without touching the rubber sealing area.
The problem with the 1.75" OD tubing is that it won't fit through the axle tube. So I cut off a piece about 3" long and then used the smaller tubing to push against it. A piece of scrap aluminum (it was within reaching distance) was used to prevent the smaller tube from slipping into the larger tube. It worked great. I got a friend to strike the end of the small tube (over at the passenger end of the axle) with a hammer while I guided the axle shaft seal into position. It takes a little bit of force to seat it all the way. Be sure to take your time and keep it going in straight.
That took care of the driver's seal. The passenger side seal, which is installed through the driver's side end of the axle, presented just one last problem. The smaller tubing I was using would not fit through newly installed seal. I located a 2 foot long piece of 1/2" diameter rod and used it against the aluminum plate to seat the remaining seal. Again, I guided the seal into position while my buddy provided the driving force with the hammer.
Before you go any further, grab a finger full of grease and coat the inner surface of the newly installed seals.
More Oil Seal Replacement