1996 Suburban Rear axel oil seal replacement

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by barryT, May 19, 2009.

  1. barryT

    barryT Member

    I have gear lube leaking onto my brakes from the end of my axel. I've read in most places that they say to replace the rear axel bearings. I believe the bearings are fine and I just need to replace the bad seal. Do I HAVE to replace the axel bearings if I put the axels out?


    1996 Suburban K1500
  2. MrShorty

    MrShorty Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    You don't always have to replace the bearings. It depends on you, and what you find in there. The bulk of the labor of replacing bearings is getting the axleshaft out. Bearings aren't real expensive, so, there is some logic to replacing the bearings while you have it apart. But, if you get it apart and feel that the axleshaft and bearings are still in good shape, you can re-use them.
  3. barryT

    barryT Member

    I have the service book and the axels don't seem to hard to get out. I am in the airforce and on base I have a full shop with any tool I would need along with frame and drive on lifts. I should be able to do it my self with my friends help. How hard is it to pull out the axels. The book makes it seem pretty easy. Do you have to pull the bearings to replace the seals?

    Last edited: May 19, 2009
  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    There's a couple reasons that most recommend replacing the bearings with the seals:
    Usually by time a seal goes the bearings are starting to rumble and need replacing anyways.
    If the bearings are pressed on you wont usually be able to salvage them when their removed to put the new seal on.

    So the recommendation is if the bearings are pressed on yes you should replace them, if they arent pressed on you might get away with reusing them again. But at the price of a set of bearings the best bet would be to replace them while you have them out.

    If I remember your bearings are pressed on the axle shaft.
  5. retired

    retired Rockstar 100 Posts

    You may have to buy a set of axle savers if there are groves in the axles. They move the seal into a different spot away from the grove.
  6. barryT

    barryT Member

    What I am asking is the seal before or after the bearing. My shop on base might have the tools to remove and reinstall the bearing onto the axel shaft. What tools are required? How much do the bearings usually run?

    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  7. MrShorty

    MrShorty Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Autozone.com lists the bearing for ~$25.

    The seal is outside the bearing. On your semi-floating axle, the differential lube lubricates the bearing, so the seal has to be outside the bearing. As long as the bearings and shaft look good, it isn't hard to replace just the seal.

    The puller you need for the bearing looks like this: http://shoptoolsshoptools.com/shopexd.asp?id=2776 with a slide hammer. When I had to replace my bearings (Ford 8.8), the hardest part of the job was finding someone to sell me this tool.

    I don't know if your manual makes the distinction, but, as I recall, there's a different procedure for getting at the C-clips inside the diff depending on whether you have an open diff or a G80 (and probably other procedures if, by chance, you have an aftermarket diff). Check for the G80 RPO code so you'll know which procedure to follow once you get the diff cover off.
  8. barryT

    barryT Member

    Its a stock diff. 10 Bolt I believe.

  9. barryT

    barryT Member

    How long should this job take? I have a car lift and all the proper tools. I will most likely be doing it alone.

  10. MrShorty

    MrShorty Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    When I did my for 8.8 (first time doing something this involved in a differential), it probably took 3-4 hours total labor, spread out over a few days (looking for the bearing puller). Since this sounds like your first time through, I'd plan at least half a day, maybe a full day in case you have any issues that crop up.

    Did you ever figure out if you have a G80 or not? You said you have a stock 10 bolt, but the 10 bolt came with conventional (open) carriers and G80 carriers.

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