Time to get your fingers sticky with a bit of RTV sealant. I used some blue RTV that was left over from some other project. Apply a film (enough to fill the grooves) over the black sleeve.
I was able to push the seal into the end of the axle tube with just my hand. No reason to beat it into position.
The installation is now complete except for two things:
#1. Let the RTV cure. The tube I used states full cure is reached in 24 hours. You don't want the seal to spin in the end of the tube when you drive away.
Note: If you are using Warn hubs (as am I), you can drive (in less than the cure time) as along as you have the hubs unlocked and you don't use 4WD. Since your axle shafts will not be turning, the RTV will have time to properly set up.
#2. Apply a liberal amount of grease on the black inner sealing surface. This will help the axle shaft slide into position when you reassemble everything. A very fine coating of grease (applied via a rag) on the axle shaft will prevent the ever typical rust that forms on unprotected shafts.
Once the axle shaft is installed, use the grease gun and apply grease to the fitting until resistance is met or you see a small amount seep past the edge of the seal.
That is it....all done with the installation! Time to put this side back together.
Screw the 3 bolts back into back side of the knuckle and into the unit bearing (or hub). You may want to use some anti-seize on the knuckle surface where the unit bearing mates up, especially if you had problems getting them separated. If you did, spend a couple of minutes with a wire brush and clean off the rust as best you can before the anti-seize goes on.
The unit bearing bolts are torqued to 75 foot pounds. Slide the rotor over the wheel studs.
Next install the brake caliper over the rotor. The brake caliper bolts are torqued to just 11 foot pounds (yes, that is not very much). If you have problems installing your caliper, check out this write-up for assistance. It covers the complete removal and installation of the front brakes on your TJ.
Now....repeat the same process at the other end of the front axle. This one should go even faster now that you are a one seal veteran!
This is a pretty straight forward installation but can seem a little over whelming as quite a bit of hardware comes out of the front axle. Don't worry, lots of folks do it and you can too!
Good trails and remember to TreadLIGHTLY!
4x4 Off-Road Homestead Firearms RC Models