Rear oil seal leaking in the brakes - 2004 TJ

victortj

New Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2024
Messages
6
Location
Montréal
Hi guys,

I currently have a very annoying issue on my 2004 TJ.

It seems that I have some fluid leaking onto my brakes flashing the "park/hand brake" light on the dashboard and making a very annoying song. It does not seems to have my impact on the breaking or my jeep behaviour on the road but still, does seems very safe.
A mechanic friend of mine told me that it comes from my "Spi gasket" or "oil seal" (from google translate) on the rear right brake.
From my understanding, the liquid in the drive shaft end up reaching the end of the axle tree like it's suppose to do to reach the bearing but because the seal is leaking, the liquid gets into the break triggering the brake captor as something is not as intended and then it lights up on my dashboard.

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To illustrate, I found this picture and it seems to be my issue but i'm not sure of it.

I would like to know it my guess seems true and if yes, how much can it costs me ? And will I need to replace only the seal or the whole axle tree as some Canadian tire mechanic told me (1500CAD/1200USD from its estimation).

The repair seems to be quite hard so I would like to take any info from you before doing anything.

Thanks (and sorry if the terms used are not correct).
 
It depends whether you have a Dana 44 or Dana 35 axle because the procedure for changing seals is totally different between the two. Go here to figure that out:

https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/dana-35-or-44-identification.71047/post-1342400

For a Dana 44, you don't have to pull the differential cover off, but you do have to replace the bearing with the seal because the inner race and retainer are in the way for seal replacement (the seals are captive on the axle shafts). Typically, the inner race and retainer are carefully cut off and then replaced with the seal.

For a Dana 35, you have to pull the differential cover off to remove the axle shafts, and then you can replace the seals.

US$1200 for either is highway robbery. Parts are less than $100, and it's about a two hour job. Should be under $500.
 
The picture he posted is of a 35, but that might not be indicative of what he’s got.

OP, google pics of Dana 35 & Dana 44 differential covers to help you identify which one you have.

Dana 44 requires a cutoff wheel & a press, and possibly a slide hammer to get the inner race out. But as stated, you don’t have to open up the diff. You’ll have to replace the seal, bearing, and collar. You can have a machine shop press it on, although BSK Garage (YouTube) does it with a big steel pipe & a healthy dose of gravity.

Dana 35 requires opening up the diff to remove the clips that hold the axle shafts in, but this is extremely easy to do. Then a seal remover ($12) to get the seal out. But you’ll want to replace the bearing while you’re in there. That takes a slide hammer. And then $20 in gear oil…..which you were probably due to change anyway.

Wouldn’t be the worst idea to refresh those drum brakes if you haven’t ever touched them.

None of it is very hard, but the press makes doing the 44 harder for many folks.
 
I have a hot plate in my shop with a piece of 11ga stainless sitting on top. For the Dana 44, I use that to heat the inner race and retainer, and they slide right on - no press needed.
 
OP, google pics of Dana 35 & Dana 44 differential covers to help you identify which one you have.

OP - the link I posted saves you the time of a Google search.
 
Thanks guys

Well, by looking at your link, it seems like I have a dana 44. From what you told me, it's harder with the 44 and then I send it to mechanic today. Let's hope it doesn't cost me too much.
The mechanical guy told me that my brakes are "jammed" (or something related to my wheel) but I don't know what it means. Like my wheel moves (slightly but still noticeable) horizontally like in and out.
Let's see ...
 
Thanks guys

Well, by looking at your link, it seems like I have a dana 44. From what you told me, it's harder with the 44 and then I send it to mechanic today. Let's hope it doesn't cost me too much.
The mechanical guy told me that my brakes are "jammed" (or something related to my wheel) but I don't know what it means. Like my wheel moves (slightly but still noticeable) horizontally like in and out.
Let's see ...

I'm sure there's a spec on the endplay, but it's not supposed to be much. The retaining plate kinda keeps it all in place. My bearing was shot and gave me like 1/4" of endplay. When I replaced everything there was still some...less than 1/8" probably.

Hopefully you don't get taken advantage of by the shop. If you get a formal writeup of the work & estimate, share it here. We can critique it. NOBODY knows more about TJ's than the people here.
 
It seems that I have some fluid leaking onto my brakes flashing the "park/hand brake" light on the dashboard and making a very annoying song. It does not seems to have my impact on the breaking or my jeep behaviour on the road but still, does seems very safe.
A mechanic friend of mine told me that it comes from my "Spi gasket" or "oil seal" (from google translate) on the rear right brake.

Why was your brake light on?
Have you confirmed it's gear oil and not brake fluid?