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TR4/4A TR4 Differential Removal and Seal Replacement


Luke Skywalker
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I've got wheels off and axles out on my TR4A. Does that mean I'll have trouble getting the flange nut loose? Do I have to make a bar tool to bolt to the flange? I'm going to replace the pinion seal and it seems like it may be too hard to leave the differential hanging there on the frame, but is that how it's done, or do most people remove the differential? Also, the manual says that if you're wanting to remove the diff, you drop the mufflers and pull the diff out the back, but it appears to me that the muffler pipes are going to be in the way no matter what I do. Am I wrong? Is there an easy trick here. thx


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
"Making the bar tool" is how I hold the flange, whether I'm removing it on the bench or on the car. It's easy and cheap. Buy the bar at Home Depot (or whatever is near by), and poke a couple of 3/8" holes in it. There is a good deal of torque/force involved with that nut, and I feel a lot safer countering it directly at the flange rather than trying to use the brakes (or whatever) that might tend to shift the car off the stands.
I'd pull the diff if there is something else you need to do to it; but leave it in the car just to change the seal.

Don't have a photo under the car; but here's a shot showing it installing a side nut for an IRS diff. Even though it was supported in the vise; I pulled on the end of the bar while tightening the nut. The pivot locks on my (cheap) vise aren't strong enough to hold against that much torque.


Luke Skywalker
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"I'd . . . . leave it in the car just to change the seal.

Do I just disconnect the driveshaft and let the diff axle tubes roll down along on the frame until the differential is pointing down so I can get to it at the correct angle?

You know, on this new purchase, I'm not wanting to be negative, here, but the diff is leaking so badly from the real gasket and cover, and the gear lube is so clean and new, I'm concerned it was just filled for show and sale. Makes me wonder how long it was dry over the years. To me, however, it also appears that the front pinion seal was leaking. The exhaust pipe, passenger side, looks like it's been baking grease since the Johnson Administration.

Geo Hahn

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Do I just disconnect the driveshaft and let the diff axle tubes roll down along on the frame until the differential is pointing down so I can get to it at the correct angle?...

Well, I have never tried it that way but on a TR4 it would not be that easy to rotate the diff for access - in any case, it's not a problem changing the pinion seal with everything else still in place, just the propshaft undone and pushed aside or up. I'm thinking the car in question is a solid axle 4A so I cannot say for sure what other ways would work.

I just used a combination of wheel chocks and hand brake to hold the works for removal and torqueing but then the car was on a lift - Randall's point about jack stands and forces being applied makes sense and a bolted bar is surer and safer and with the axle removed you have little choice in the matter.


Great Pumpkin - R.I.P
With the solid axle, the entire rear axle assembly is held in place by its attachment to the rear springs. It's not going anywhere unless you disconnect it. It's a little awkward doing the seal with the diff in its usual position, but certainly not worth the hassle to take it loose IMO unless there is some other reason.
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