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Rear Axle Seals - This Time on the Tacoma

September 6, 2019.

When it rains, it pours!

It was only a few weeks ago that I replaced the rear axle seals on the 3rd gen 4Runner. No good deed goes unpunished however, and it was only a couple days after doing the job that the same failure happened on the Tacoma - only this time, I was in Canada.

Luckily for me, I already had a well thought-through step-by-step list of exactly what to do, and the muscle memory of doing it once twice already.

Step-by-Step: Replacing Rear Axle Seal & Bearing on a 1st gen Tacoma w/ABS (or 3rd gen 4Runner)

And of course, I already had the tools. The most important tool - the Rear Wheel Axle Bearing Puller & Tone Ring Tool/Installer - would once again be worth its weight in gold, helping to remove and install all of the bearings, retainers, and ABS tone rings. Note, this tool works on all types of Toyotas - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen 4Runners ('84-02), 1st gen Tacomas ('96-04), older Hilux, T100 ('92-97), and 1st gen Tundras ('00-06). It's also available with a late model adapter, adding 2nd & 3rd gen Tacomas ('05-present), 4th & 5th gen 4Runners ('03-present), 2nd gen Tundras ('07-present), all FJ Cruisers, and all Sequoias.

Also this time, I had an OTC Slide Hammer Puller Set - a tool that I'd foregone when doing the job on the 4Runner, but really wished I'd had when I had to make my own lame stand-in. A little prodding from Jason @jubei was enough to push me over the edge to get my own.

So, as I was on my way home from Canada, I found some free WiFi and ordered all of the parts. On a Friday afternoon at 4:45pm Pacific Time, just before the Labor Day weekend.

That meant that nothing was going out until Tuesday, but I hoped that shipping would be quick and everything would arrive by Friday so I could do the work on the weekend. So, imagine my surprise when a box with parts showed up on Thursday afternoon!

Friday morning, I set to work. It all went pretty much the same way it had on the 4Runner, except several times faster. (So, if you want to see photos of the entire process, check them out here.) The first step - as always - getting the truck up on jack stands.

The hardest part of this job it turned out was removing the brake drums - both sides requiring some M8-1.25 x 70mm bolts to pry the drums away from the shoes. And, inside the driver side was disgusting.

From there, it was really a simple matter of following the step-by-step guide, using the Rear Wheel Axle Bearing Puller & Tone Ring Tool to pull everything off and press the new bits back on. Man, this is a great tool!

With the axles rebuilt, it was time to pull out the old axle seals. This is where the OTC slide hammer really excelled. The three jaw attachment fits right into the seal, and the perfectly directional hammering pulls it right out. Easy peasy.

All-in-all, doing both sides of the Tacoma - even though only one side was leaking - took me about 5 hours from pulling the truck out of the garage to getting all my tools cleaned up and put away.

Quite reasonable if you ask me. Maybe I should start offering my services to others. (Kidding, though I'm happy to if folks are interested in helping or just watching.)

And of course, fingers crossed that these seals last for a couple hundred thousand more miles. As straight forward as the job is, I'd still rather not do it. LOL.

One Comment

  1. Rich V
    Rich V October 8, 2019

    Too bad you are not closer to Boise!

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