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Thread: Change Transaxle Output Shaft Lip Seals

  1. #1
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    Change Transaxle Output Shaft Lip Seals

    OK guys, as I just recently tackled this job on the driver's side of my 5-speed manual car, I thought I'd put up a step-by-step how to for the forum

    As many of you know, the stock/OEM lip seals had a single lip and were comprised of an outer layer of felt over a rubber/plastic composite with a spring (for shape retention) held together by an aluminum cap. The felt would pick-up and retain outside moisture which would lead to rusting/pitting of the housing and flange, eventually producing final drive oil leaks such as this:

    P1010003.jpgP1010001.jpgP1010002.jpg

    So, let's get on to it with our parts list:

    The new preferred seals for this application have a double lip and are composed of solid nitrile (buna-n) rubber with a spring (for shape retention). Your DMC vendor of choice should offer this new style double lipped seal. I purchased mine from DMCMW at a cost of $29.95/ea (less my BRP discount). And I actually ended up wrecking one while trying to install it. Not wanting to shell out another $30 plus shipping, I was able to source an alternative product from Ultimate Industrial Solutions (UIS). Here are the links for the UIS seals which will work for this application:



    Double Lip w/ Stainless Spring $6.82/ea

    http://www.ultimateindustrial.com/do...inless-spring/

    Double Lip w/ Regular Spring $4.82/ea

    http://www.ultimateindustrial.com/me...mm-double-lip/

    Single Lip w/ Regular Spring $4.16/ea

    http://www.ultimateindustrial.com/me...mm-single-lip/

    Shipping on a single item is only $2.50. I personally bought two of the double lips with the stainless springs and my total on the order, including shipping, was only $16.68. AWESOME!

    Anyway, if you're going through the trouble of doing this job, then you may as well do it right, which means also ordering some stainless steel flange sleeves and the o-rings that ride the output shafts, PN 103120. DMCMW charges $41/ea for the sleeves and $3.23/ea for the o-rings.

    The only other things you'll need to complete this job is replacement gearbox/transaxle oil and some anti-seize. While there's a lot of debate over what oil is best, I ended up going with basic Lucas 80W90. Unless you want to deal with potential future leaks, then I highly recommend staying away from the synthetics, as in addition to costing more, they really don't provide any additional benefits. Whatever oil you decide to buy, make sure it's GL-5 compliant and that you buy enough to completely refill the gearbox/transaxle - system capacity is .97 US Gal / 3.7 Litres.





    While the following items aren't necessary, they are highly recommended: automotive grease of some sort and anaerobic sealant/gasket maker.





    Here's a summation of the parts/supplies needed:

    - New Seal(s) (double lip is strongly recommended) (x2 if you're going to do both sides) $6.82/ea + s/h

    - New O-Ring(s), PN 103120 (x2 if you're going to do both sides) $3.23/ea + s/h

    - Stainless Steel Flange Sleeves (x2 if you're going to do both sides) $41.00/ea + s/h

    - Anti-Seize Lubricant $3.79 + tax (at your local auto part retailer)

    - Automotive Grease (any kind will do) $2.99 + tax (at your local auto parts retailer)

    - Anaerobic Sealant/Gasket Maker $5.99 + tax (at your local auto parts retailer)
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  2. #2
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    Tools needed to perform this job:

    - 10mm or 3/8" square female drain plug socket OR a good vice grip



    - catch bucket for old oil (minimum 1 gallon capacity)

    - 17mm open ended wrench

    - 3/16" - 5/16" long pin punch

    - flat head screw drivers / small hooks / seal puller

    - hammer / mallet

    - something to drive in the new seal with (2" socket / piece of short 2" pvc / etc)
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  3. #3
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    Step 1: Jack the car completely in the air and support it using 4 stands at a minimum. If you have a lift, well you're just awesome then, aren't you?

    Step 2: Remove the rear wheel on the side that you'll be performing this job on.

    Step 3: Remove the split pin form the parking brake adjustment screw and turn the screw clockwise until snug, but NOT tight.

    P1010011.jpg

    Step 4: Locate the transaxle fill plug on the passenger side of the housing and remove it, using either the 10mm or 3/8" female square drain plug socket OR your trusty vice grips.

    P1010004.jpgP1010005.jpgP1010006.jpgP1010007.jpg

    Step 5: Locate the transaxle drain plug on the bottom of the housing. Position some old newspaper and a minimum 1 gallon capacity dirty oil catch container under it. Then proceed to remove the drain plug, using the same tool that you used in step 4, and drain the oil from the transaxle.

    P1010008.jpgP1010009.jpgP1010010.jpg

    Step 6: Using a 17mm open ended wrench, proceed to remove the axle bolts from the flange. After removing the accessible 2 or 3 bolts, loosen the parking brake and rotate the axle by hand until the next set of bolts become accessible and then re-tighten the parking brake. Repeat until all the bolt are removed and the axle separates from the flange. DO NOT let the axle drop violently from the flange, but instead gently lower the axle away from the flange until it rests on it's own. Technically, you're supposed to support the axle as opposed to allow it to hang, but so long as your mindful of it during the rest of the job and don't hit / bump into it at all, it should be fine hanging until you re-bolt it to the flange at the completion of the job.

    P1010012.jpgP1010013.jpgP1010014.jpg
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  4. #4
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    Step 7: Using a pin punch and hammer, remove the pin holding the flange onto the shaft. Be careful that you DO NOT drive the pin and lodge it against the transaxle housing, as it will then be very difficult to remove. Drive the pin out into open air space. If your pin punch isn't long enough to completely drive the pin out, you can use an appropriately sized philips or other type of screwdriver to complete the task.

    P1010015.jpgP1010016.jpg

    Step 8: Remove the flange by pulling it straight out towards the wheel and set it aside.

    P1010017.jpg

    Step 9: Remove the old seal. Be careful NOT to score/scratch the housing wall with your removal device. If you're doing this on the driver's side as I am, be careful NOT to hook your removal tool on or damage the bearing shield right behind the seal. A popular method used in the Lotus Esprit community is to gently tap an appropriately sized flat blade screw driver into the seal (and NOT between the seal and housing) until the seal bends and becomes easily removable.

    P1010018.jpgP1010019.jpg

    Step 10: Remove the old o-ring that rides on the shaft. Using a small hook tool works great. Immediately replace the old o-ring with your new replacement o-ring.

    P1010021.jpgP1010020.jpg

    Step 11 (Optional): Grease up the outer wall of your new replacement seal with automotive grease.

    P1010023.jpg

    Step 12 (Optional): Smear a small layer of anaerobic sealer / gasket maker on the housing wall.

    P1010022.jpg

    Step 13: Install the new seal (spring side of the seal goes inwards towards the bearing / bearing shield) being careful to drive the new seal in straight and even. DO NOT use so much force that you damage the new seal (as I did on one) and ruin it. DO NOT drive the new seal in too far or even flush with the housing - a micron or two of the outer wall of the new seal should be left hanging outside the housing.

    P1010024.jpgP1010025.jpgP1010026.jpg
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  5. #5
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    Step 14: Clean up the flange, paying particular attention to the area where the seal rides - try to remove as much corrosion as you can using some fine grit sand or emery paper.

    P1010028.jpg

    Step 15 (Optional): Apply a thin layer of anaerobic sealer / gasket maker on the flange surface upon which the seal rides.

    Step 16: Install the stainless steel sleeve on the flange using the supplied installation tool and hammer/mallet.

    P1010029.jpgP1010027.jpg

    Step 17: Re-install the flange on the output shaft, making sure to line up the pin holes.

    P1010030.jpg

    Step 18: Re-install the pin using the butt end of your pin puch. Be sure that you position the pin so that the split is facing outwards towards the wheel, as opposed to inwards towards the transaxle.

    P1010031.jpgP1010032.jpg

    Step 19: Re-install the axle to the flange, using the parking brake to hold the axle in place as you tighten down the bolts. Install all the bolts loosely at first, performing the final tightening in a cross staggered pattern as you would the lug nuts on a wheel.

    P1010033.jpgP1010034.jpg

    Step 20: Repeat the entire procedure if you're also replacing the seal on the opposing side.

    Step 21: Cover the threads of the drain plug in anti-seize lubricant. Re-install the drain plug.

    P1010035.jpgP1010036.jpg

    Step 22: Fill the transaxle with your preferred gear oil. I used Lucas 80W90. Be sure to completely fill it - .97 US gallons, or roughly where fluid starts coming out of the fill port.

    P1010037.jpgP1010038.jpg

    Step 23: Cover the threads of the fill plug with anti-seize lubricant. Re-install the fill plug.

    P1010039.jpgP1010040.jpg

    Step 24: Reset your parking brake and reinstall the removed wheel.

    Step 25: Check for any leaks after the job and after driving it.

    Job done!

    I hope that this helps owners in the future

    Feel free to amend, offer suggestions/advice, etc as your personal experience doing this job warrants.

    Best of luck in performing this job successfully
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  6. #6
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    Wow, here's a coincidence....I just placed an order this past week for the parts I need to do this same job on my car.

    Outstanding pics & step-by-step.

  7. #7
    Devout Follower Of He Who Walks Behind The Rows NightFlyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich_NYS View Post
    Wow, here's a coincidence....I just placed an order this past week for the parts I need to do this same job on my car.

    Outstanding pics & step-by-step.
    Now that is a coincidence! I don't think that cold weather that we had was very kind to the stock/OEM seals.

    BTW - I slightly amended steps 21 and 23 to include covering the threads of the plugs with anti-seize lubricant before re-installation.

    Good luck and have fun - it's not as easy as it looks, but it's not too difficult either. Hardest part is getting the new seal in without ruining it. I first tried using a 1.5" PVC pipe and ended up killing my new seal with it. I then changed my strategy and tried a socket extension as a tap, which worked better, but still wasn't ideal/perfect. If I had to do it over again, here's what I'd do differently - I'd make a tool out of a 6" long piece of 2" diameter PVC, gluing flat caps to each end. Then drill a hole in one end big enough to fit over the drive shaft. That would be more ideal than either of the methods that I used and definitely worth the extra expense/effort IMHO.

    Best of luck on tackling the job!
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  8. #8
    What a great write up. Thanks.

    So is the SS sleeve just a thin tube that makes where the seal rides just a little larger and corrosion resistant?

    My drivers side is also the one that leaks. When my car was on a lift, we found that side had more slop in the bearing than the passenger side. So should I remove that ring clamp and tighten the bearing a little until it matches the passenger side? I was thinking of trying that before I change the seal in hopes that fixes the leak.
    Dave M vin 03572
    http://dm-eng.weebly.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitsyncmaster View Post
    What a great write up. Thanks.

    So is the SS sleeve just a thin tube that makes where the seal rides just a little larger and corrosion resistant?

    My drivers side is also the one that leaks. When my car was on a lift, we found that side had more slop in the bearing than the passenger side. So should I remove that ring clamp and tighten the bearing a little until it matches the passenger side? I was thinking of trying that before I change the seal in hopes that fixes the leak.
    Great questions Dave!

    As to the function of the sleeve - that's exactly correct. Luke S. reported that merely installing the sleeve on a corroded/pitted surface without any kind of prep caused a continuation of the leak that he was experiencing, which is why he strongly recommends prepping the flange surface that the sleeve rides on prior to installation of the sleeve. I took it one step further and in addition to prepping the flange surface, I smeared a thin layer of anaerobic sealant/gasket maker over the ride area, such that the anaerobic acts as a filler and an adhesive between the flange and sleeve, even though the sleeve is a press fit on the flange.

    As for tightening the adjustment nut, I did not. However, Luke, after dealing with a persistent leak despite replacing his seal multiple times, did eventually up the tension/tightness a few teeth. After doing so, he reported that his leaks completely stopped and that he experienced no ill effects, even though he was Teitelbaumed (received a lecture from David on why what he did was apparently wrong) for doing so. Even though I didn't mess with the adjustment nut, I don't see anything wrong with doing so a few teeth. If my leak persists after getting the car on the ground and driving it, then I'll probably end up doing that myself.

    It would be great if we could get Luke S. to comment on this thread with more info on how he eventually remedied his leak
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  10. #10
    KJET_SUX FABombjoy's Avatar
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    Oh man... the nightmares. I've put in something like maybe 7 or 8 lip seals since I bought the car.

    A few notes & differences to Josh's excellent write-up:

    Anerobic sealer on seals - tried this but it really seemed to add drag to the seals, so much so I couldn't seat them correctly, even after freezing the seal to shrink it. Technically you're supposed to use gear oil, but I switched to RTV and was able to insert the seals by hand with no seal driver required. In fact the RTV made it so easy that I lined it up, tapped it once, and sent it straight into the transmission case (drivers side), which required removal of the adjustment nut, leading to:

    Adjustment nut - you aren't supposed to touch these but if the output stub walks around enough to leak then what are you supposed to do? I marked the nut (in 3 dimensions) and also counted turns to ensure I'd get it back to stock, but I still had to cinch things up to take the slop out of the differential. I put it to stock, spun the diff and banged around both output stubs a little with a deadblow (to make sure everything was centered and nothing was unevenly preloaded), tightened it a little, and just kept doing this until the left side wasn't so sloppy. Not exactly a page from the manual, but, well... you know. No screaming diff bearings and so far so good.

    Sleeves - been through two sets of those. Visibly the first sleeves appeared distorted in the areas of worst pitting, so the second time around, I used sandpaper and a Dremel w/ wire brush to really ensure there were no ridges on the surfaces. The sleeves are a very tight fit so you do have a little room to safely smooth the flanges. They need to go on 100% straight so take your time and use "gentle force". If the sleeve gets off-kilter during seating do not trust it. It may be a wobbly start, but if you get it down 5-10mm and it twists then it will never be straight again.

    Gear oil - tried Stock, Mobil 1, Valvoline non-synth, and now I have Redline MT-90. Of the 4 the Redline is the best shifting (for my driving). My beef with synthetic and transmissions is synchronizer performance and the Redline does not seem to have issues there. M1 is good for just differentials but apparently not for transaxles.

    The lip seals - inspect them as you install them. If your insertion method distorts the surface, do not trust the seal. A little ripple on the surface metal may mean that the sealing lips are now oval shaped. Expect leaks. If you need a seal driver, take a stack of the seals that you've already messed up, install them backwards on your axle flange, and use that to drive the good one into place There is a special tool if you're in to that sort of thing. But again, using RTV negated my need for seal drivers, and freezing them as well should help (if they won't go in by hand).

    I also roll a bead of RTV in the neighborhood of the roll pin on the diff stub axle. Oil could migrate between the splines and leak out of the roll pin hole. Install the pin with the split facing away from the transmission.

    I did all this I think 2 years ago and have been drip free since. The Esprit guys have the same troubles as we do so at least we're in good company. Google variants of "un1 transmission seal" and "esprit transmission leak" for solidarity.
    Last edited by FABombjoy; 05-04-2014 at 08:28 PM.
    -Luke / 10270 / Superman 3 Turbo Kit

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