D35C Axle Seal Removal and Replacement (WJ)


Changing axle seals on a D35C rear end (bearings, collars, e-brake shoes, and rear pads also!)

I let this go WAY too long, so as a result I had some additional work to do (namely my e-brake shoes and rear pads were SOAKED in diff oil/grease and had to be replaced)

Before you tear into the project, you'll need the following:
  • D35C Axle Seals
  • D35C Bearings
  • D35C collars
  • E-Brake Shoe Set
  • Rear Pads
  • Differential Oil
  • Bearing grease
Most of the tools you need are standard stuff, except for the slide hammer (rent from Autoparts store) and the press work needed at an Automotive Machineshop.  I had access to a press, but didn't have the proper press plates, (nor was the press tall enough for the axles)

I am fortunate enough to have a shop area to work in (I'm also swapping a Lexus V8 into my 4Runner in this space).  Getting started:

Getting Started

Jack up the vehicle and properly support with jackstands.  Pull off the rear wheels.

Jacked Up on Stands with the Tire Removed

These need a bit of a cleanup...that's not brake dust, it's gear oil...

Grimey Wheel

To make life easier on yourself, unbolt the rear swaybar - there are two bolts on each side of the axle.

Unbolt the Swaybar

Remove the diff cover bolts and pry off the cover to drain the fluid:

Pull the diff cover and drain the fluid

Remove the two bolts holding the caliper on and suspend the caliper from the coil spring (I used a wiretie, but a piece of coat hanger or other wire would work also.  The main thing is to keep pressure off the brake hoose (don't hang by the hose):

Remove the 2 caliper mounting bolts

Pop the rotor off of the axle (a light rap with a dead blow mallet will do the trick)

Light tap with a dead blow frees the disc

Yep, pretty greasy under there...no wonder my e-brake wasn't working.

Oil-coated e-brake

Not an issue with solid rotors, but the holes in the Stillens were caked with grease, so a little parts cleaning was in order.

Parts washer is handy for cleaning up the oil soaked parts

Unbolt the axle flange from the rear of the caliper mount (4 nuts):

ABS Sensor

Someone mentioned that the Haynes manual says to remove the ABS sensor at this point - I did not do this, but was just careful around it.  Bolt up the slide hammer and have at it.  The WJ doesn't use a C-Clip axle, so there is nothing to do in the diff except drain the fluid.

Slide Hammer Attached

Out it comes...

Axle Pulled

OK - you'll notice the e-brake is off already.  I staged the last two pics for the sake of the writeup.

Here's a good pic of the reassembled e-brake setup for reference.  The spring clips and retainer pins must be removed to pull this assembly.  It was pretty easy with the axle removed - gave much more room to work on it.

E-brake Setup

Take your axle over to your drillpress if you have one (hand drill would probably work too).  Use a 3/8" bit to drill into the collar.  IMPORTANT: be sure not to drill into the axle - you just want to weaken the collar by removing some materal.

Drilling Collar

Take a cold chisel and place a corner of it in the hole you drilled and give it a whack.

Cold Chisel to the Drilled Collar

This will crack the collar and make it slip right off.

Collar Split

Collar can be removed

Repeat this process for the other side and take the axles with the seals, bearings, collars and grease to your favorite automotive machine shop.

Now's a good time to clean up your rear brake sheilds and other stuff that was coated in oil.  What a filthy job this was.

Cleaned up brake shield

One thing - make sure you pull the old bearing race out of the axle tube.  These are designed to seat in the axle tube when you seat the axle assembly.

Remove Bearing Race

Now that you have your axles back from the machine shop, you are ready to reassemble.  I reassembled the e-brake prior to reinserting the axles since I liked the extra room to work with.  Here's the axle ready to go back in:

Assembled Axle

Insert the axles back into the tubes and carefully get the splines engaged into the diff.  Make sure you keep the axles on the correct sides - they are not the same length.  Once you feel the axle seat, give it a couple of tapes with a deadblow mallet.  Reinstall the nuts on the axle flange studs.

Time to adjust the e-brake shows.  Slip the rotor back on the axle and rotate it listening for the shoes dragging.  The piece next to the spring with the wheel on it is rotated to extend/retract the e-brake the shoe position.  They make a special tool for this, but I just used a screwdriver and the heel of my hand to bump it.  I have enough special tools.

Reassemble E-brake

I had popped the existing rear pads earlier, there is a wire that holds the outer pad in place and the inside pad has a clip that fits into the hole on the shown in the center of the caliper shown below.  I used a "C" clamp to spread the caliper a bit to make getting the caliper back over the rotor easier.

Pull old pads from caliper

Install new pads

That clip is a b###h...

The pad clips were tough to get back on

Bolt the calipers back onto the axles.

Clean up the diff cover surfaces, reapply the Mopar diff sealant and bolt the cover back on.  FIll 'er up and rebolt the swaybar to the axle.

Put your wheels back on and get it back on 4 wheels.  Thought I'd get my spare into the rotation...

All back together

There you have it.  Mine got a test of a 1300 mile vacation trip the day after I completed this.  No leaks!!

Gallery: D35C Axle Seal R&R (WJ)

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