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Pinion seal

This is a discussion on Pinion seal within the Drivetrain forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; Do I need to remove the pinion and install a new crush sleeve to replace the seal, or can I ...

  1. #1
    Member jimmy77611's Avatar
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    Pinion seal

    Do I need to remove the pinion and install a new crush sleeve to replace the seal, or can I just take the yoke off and reinstall it without going into the rear end?

  2. #2
    nope,
    before you start be sure the seal is not leaking because the nut backed off a little causing slop in the pinion bearings.You would check for this by removing the drive shaft and trying to move the yoke up and down.Mark the drive shaft to yoke so it can be reinstalled in the same position it was in before you removed it.If the pinion has no play or slop carefully mark the nut and pinion together(be sure this is a permanent mark made with a metal scribe) so when you put it back together you can get the nut to the same tightness as before you removed it.Also mark the yoke to pinion so goes back on in the same position.
    Now hold the yoke with a large pipe wrench and use a 1 1/8 socket to remove the nut.Use a breaker bar or pipe to get enough force to remiove the nut.Once the nut is off carefully pull the yoke off,you may need to tap it off gently with a block of wood.
    Now remove the old seal being careful not to damage or scratch the housing.I take a blunt screw driver and tap the outside lip of the seal inward until i can get a good pocket to tap it out.DO NOT force a screw driver between the seal and housing to opo it out.If you do you will probably cause a mark in the housing that will cause a leak.
    With the seal removed carefull clean the housing and be sure no debris has fallen into the bearing area.Take the new seal and put a small amount of grease on the rubber sealing surface(this is to prelube the seal so it won't fail)also use a very small amount of silicone sealant around the outside metal surface of the seal where it contacts the housing.Now before we put the seal in lets make a tool to install the seal.Get a small peiece of wood about 1 inch thick 3-4 inches wide 6 inches long.Put the seal in the opening the way it came out and gently use the wood with a hammer to start the seal.Tap gently moving the wood every time until it seats all the way in.
    Clean the yoke off and inside the yoke you will see splines,you will want to put a small amount of silicone sealer all away aroung the splines about 1/2 inch from the outside edge.This will seal the splines so no oil leaks out past them when you reassemble.Take the yoke and push it gently onto the pinion until the threads show,now start the nut.DON"T BANG OR MUTILATE anything to get the yoke back in.
    Hold the yoke with the pipe wrench and tighten the nut up a little at a time until you start to get the nut tight and clse to the marks you made on the nut and pinion.When you get close the slop will disappear from the pinion when you grab it and try to move it up and and down.Also try turning the yoke a little back and forth,it should move easily and smoothly.Once the marks line up check the yoke,it should not have and play up and down and turn smoothly when you try rotating the yoke.Now hold the yoke and add a 1/16 inch turn extra to the nut,IT SHOULD TURN HARD!If it doesn't try going a little bit more until it gets HARD to turn.Don't go more than 1/4 inch turn on the pinion nut past your mark.Now try turning the yoke,is it smooth and turn easily? it should.I would also put a small amount of blue locktite thread locker on the pinion threads before installing the nut.I hope this info helps.Ask me for more help if you need it.

    edit,be sure to refill it with oil and put the drive shaft on in the same position it came off.Drive it slowly at 1st and check listen for any unusal noises,if its noisey STOP driving it and take it to a pro.
    Last edited by YoMommasTA; 02-22-2007 at 06:36 PM.

  3. #3
    The Bandit Wesman's Avatar
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    Your Mother's TA summed it up pretty good

    Just another tip though - having a seal puller can make it easier to get the seal out, instead of prying it with a screwdriver. I used a screwdriver with mine actually, and it was fine, but afterwards I invested in a seal puller kit for future jobs. Its basically a metal rod with two hooks on the end (shaped like a rappel hook) that allows you to pull the seal straight out with prying anything.

  4. #4
    be careful if you use a seal puller,the pinion shaft is in the way and i seen guys booger things up trying to force it in there.Also watch for the old seals spring doesn't pop off and stay in there AND i've had new seals loose the spring from WHACKING hard on the seal while trying to install it.Thats why i like the wooden tool deal,the springs don't get pushed off from the extreme blows a hammer can give.i also put some grease on the spring on the new seal to help hold it in place while i tap it in.i've seen a few times where the spring pops off and of course the new seal leaks without it attached to the seal.Seems some brands of pinion seals are much worse for this happening than others.Some have a good lip that traps the spring,others don't.
    Last edited by YoMommasTA; 02-23-2007 at 08:15 AM.

  5. #5
    The Bandit Wesman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoMommasTA View Post
    be careful if you use a seal puller,the pinion shaft is in the way and i seen guys booger things up trying to force it in there.Also watch for the old seals spring doesn't pop off and stay in there AND i've had new seals loose the spring from WHACKING hard on the seal while trying to install it.Thats why i like the wooden tool deal,the springs don't get pushed off from the extreme blows a hammer can give.
    I really don't see how it would booger anything up...

    You reach it in, hook both sides of the seal, and pull it straight out. Never head a seal break doing it this way, after all, it is the proper way of removing a seal.

    Tool is like so:


  6. #6
    i know what it looks like.i have one.its hard to use around the pinion,try it there sometime.its great where nothing is in the way,be careful those hooks don't scrap anything.they are sharp like any tool just gotta use caution pulling things out.i seen a few times rears leaking from damaged housing because someone ripped and teared trying to get a seal out.i just take my time and slowly work it out.funny how everyone today just rips and tears then when things go wrong they bitch.

  7. #7
    The Bandit Wesman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoMommasTA View Post
    i know what it looks like.i have one.its hard to use around the pinion,try it there sometime.its great where nothing is in the way,be careful those hooks don't scrap anything.they are sharp like any tool just gotta use caution pulling things out.i seen a few times rears leaking from damaged housing because someone ripped and teared trying to get a seal out.i just take my time and slowly work it out.funny how everyone today just rips and tears then when things go wrong they bitch.
    I hear what you're saying...I posted the pic for the thread starter, not for you. I already assumed you knew what it was of course.

    You're right, you have to take your time, but either way you can still damage something. Its more just a matter of what you think will work best, either method is acceptable to use to remove the seal.

  8. #8
    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    I use a seal puller similar to that-mine's a Craftsman though. Hook it under the seal and work it around to different places on the seal while prying the seal out a little at a time. I've used the Joe Momma method with alot of success over the years, including my own personal vehicles which ran for years more with no problems.

  9. #9
    really replacing a pinion seal is MUCH harder than it looks,dam i seen alot of things go wrong if you don't know the game.you have help that understands how fussy you gotta be to have a job that doesn't leak and doesn't ruin the bearings 5k miles later.i always drive 20-30 miles afterwards then put the car up and check the case temp in the bearing race areas.if its warm it gets pulled apart and checked.i personally had taken my car to a friends garage bussiness to change a pinion seal for me when i was too ill to do the work.i waited and didn't hover over the guy because he is certified,got the car back and drove about 30 miles in 60 degree weather.crawled under the car and in the pinion bearing race areas the case was smokin hot!i ended up turning the nut back 3/4 inch to get the preload to a acceptable setting.now had i drove it without changing it it would have lived a few thous miles then the bearing would have failed.by then the garage would claim the bearing must have been bad in the 1st place.there is a huge differeance between replacing parts and repairing things so they last a long time.
    Last edited by YoMommasTA; 02-22-2007 at 06:22 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Wesman View Post
    Your Mother's TA summed it up pretty good

    Just another tip though - having a seal puller can make it easier to get the seal out, instead of prying it with a screwdriver. I used a screwdriver with mine actually, and it was fine, but afterwards I invested in a seal puller kit for future jobs. Its basically a metal rod with two hooks on the end (shaped like a rappel hook) that allows you to pull the seal straight out with prying anything.
    ty

  11. #11
    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    I agree that it takes a finesse to do things like this-not everyone has that. I've went to work at places where the guys had no idea how to do this until i got there. Even after explaining it to them i wouldn't have trusted any of these guys to do it. Some people got it and some don't.

  12. #12
    Member jimmy77611's Avatar
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    It seems like just pulling the carrier and pinion, and installing a new crush sleeve to the right preload specs would be the safest and right way to do it.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy77611 View Post
    It seems like just pulling the carrier and pinion, and installing a new crush sleeve to the right preload specs would be the safest and right way to do it.
    well both ways are ok as long as you understand what needs to be in spec.I've changed many using both ways and havn't had any more trouble with one or the other.Pulling the carrier out gives the risk you will damage something or cause a leak at an axle seal OR like the pont dealer did to my TA under warranty PUT THE CARRIER SHIMS BACK IN THE WRONG SIDE! which caused the ring gear 0 lash between the ring gear WHICH THEY FKD me on and refused to fix that cost me 900 dollars to fix plus the 500 warranty wouldn't pay.The most important thing is to know what you have before you start taking it apart.If its leaking because the pinion bearing are damaged from sitting(pitting from rust)you better be changing those pinion bearing because replacing the seal is not going to stop the leak.

    example:99 ta,leaking pinion seal.Dealer puts 3 new seals in and it still leaks.Dealer says ok the 4th time we taking the carrier and pinion out and replacing the crush collar.Still leaks.Since its under gm warranty i take it to a different dealer.( of course none of these dealer will listen to reason) NUMB NUTS!Second dealer takes the rear apart and found the cause of the pinion seal leak,the pinion bearing had slight pitting from moisture damage from sitting.This is very common,it causes the pinion to runout( high-low pressure on the bearing races)BUT when the second dealer puts the carrier back in the butthead puts the shims in wrong and never checks the bklash.I pick up the car and the rear is screaming whinning etc.They refuse to take it bk apart KEY PONTIAC Bethlehem PA.I end up taking it to a 3rd garage to get the shims installed where they belong.


    Moral of this story is:if you care about your rear end,FIX IT YOURSELF.Because if you don't yer gonna get it up your rear end.

  14. #14
    Nitrous Tuner LS2Tuner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy77611 View Post
    It seems like just pulling the carrier and pinion, and installing a new crush sleeve to the right preload specs would be the safest and right way to do it.
    You never stated how many miles are on it......... That would be the deciding factor for me on how I was going to do the repair.
    Don't be afraid of the bottle!!! Be afraid of your tune!!!

  15. #15
    Member jimmy77611's Avatar
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    Nitrous Tuner LS2Tuner's Avatar
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    With that low of milage I would try the repair without a complete teardown to replace the crush sleeve. Put Locktite on your finger than wipe around outer edge on new seal prior to installing in thirdmember.
    You should be ok.
    Just make sure that there is a "drag" on the pinion when spun by hand afterwards.If there isn't I add a 1/8 turn more, until I get a "drag".
    And do put Locktite on nut prior to install also. It only takes a couple of drops NOT a squirt!!

  17. #17
    Gold Member BlwnCamaro's Avatar
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    A pinion seal should never be replaced without taking out the carrier and pinion and installing a new crush sleeve to 26 inch pounds of rolling resistance on the pinion. Once you release the tension and unload the used crush collar it will never hold the same again. It's amazing though i've seen dealers even do it the shortcut way and just pull the yoke and pop a new seal in! Trust and believe my friends you will surely comprimise the longevity of the rear end by not putting a new crush collar at the right specs when putting in a seal. I'm not saying it wont work to do it the fast way but the crush collar specs won't be right and will show in the long run.

  18. #18
    Senior Member 02z28ls1's Avatar
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    Completely disagree. Done it the fast way on several of my own vehicles and then driven them for decades afterwards. It's all in how you do it.
    Need to point out that Loctite is not a RTV gasket sealer. Use RTV around the outside of the seal to help guard against leaks.

  19. #19
    Nitrous Tuner LS2Tuner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02z28ls1 View Post
    Completely disagree. Done it the fast way on several of my own vehicles and then driven them for decades afterwards. It's all in how you do it.
    Need to point out that Loctite is not a RTV gasket sealer. Use RTV around the outside of the seal to help guard against leaks.
    The Locktite is NOT put on the outer crush case of the seal for sealing.
    If you talk with any experienced tranny builder you'll see that it is used in the field on any type of seal such ass tail shaft seals and inputs on pump housings.
    Any rtv would just get pushed put when pressed in place which there fore would be doing nothing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlwnCamaro View Post
    A pinion seal should never be replaced without taking out the carrier and pinion and installing a new crush sleeve to 26 inch pounds of rolling resistance on the pinion. Once you release the tension and unload the used crush collar it will never hold the same again. It's amazing though i've seen dealers even do it the shortcut way and just pull the yoke and pop a new seal in! Trust and believe my friends you will surely comprimise the longevity of the rear end by not putting a new crush collar at the right specs when putting in a seal. I'm not saying it wont work to do it the fast way but the crush collar specs won't be right and will show in the long run.


    I agree!!!! The dealer replaced my pinion seal twice the easy way, and did not replace the crush sleeve. 5k later at 29k (now out of warranty of course) the pinion bearings started making noise. So I had to take it all apart and replace the bearings. THANKS CHEVY DEALER !!!!!!!!!

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