HOW TO - Changing Front Axle Seals - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon

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Old 03-02-2010, 12:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default HOW TO - Changing Front Axle Seals

I've been on here the past few days looking for a how-to on changing the front axle seals on the colorado/canyon. I didn't find anything real informative so I thought I would make one real quick for anyone wanting to do this job themselves.

I just did this job today out in the cold with hand tools and it took me around 2.5 hours to complete. So lets begin....

1) Break your lug nuts loose while the truck is on the ground and then jack both sides of the front up and set it securely on jack stands.

2) Remove the wheel and unhook your ABS sensor for that side, roll the wire up and use garbage bag ties or equivelant to keep it rolled up. Guard this with your life as I almost ruined mine by getting it caught in my floor jack. It is a VERY expensive part!

3) Remove your shock absorber and set aside. The nut on the top is a 15mm and the bottom nut and bolt is an 18mm. The top nut may be stubborn and require a wrench and a hex key to keep the whole thing from spinning. Then pull it out and lay it aside. Don't loose the rubber or metal spacer that goes on the top!!

4) Loosen the sway-bar link on the lower control arm. You'll need a 15mm wrench and a 1/4" socket to hold the outside to keep it from spinning. I have a Kobalt "thru" socket set that made this a bit easier for me. Pull it out of the lower control arm and let it hang from the sway-bar. It may require a jack under the control arm to free it up enough to get it out.

5) Place a jack under the lower control arm and jack the suspension up. Be careful not to raise the truck off of the jack stands.

6) Use a 21mm Socket to remove the tie-rod end nut and hit the steering knuckle with a pretty hefty hammer to loosen the tie-rod end from the spindle.

7) Remove the two 13mm bolts holding the brake caliper to its bracket, remove the caliper and hang it safely with a coat hanger so the line is not damaged.

8 ) Use a 15mm Socket to loosen the 3 upper balljoint nuts where it attaches to the control arm. Pry the upper control arm downard until the balljoint studs come loose from the control arm. At this point I spun the joint around to get the studs out of the way. Lower the jack under the control arm.

9) Use a medium sized pry bar in between the differential bracket and the base of the axle to loosen it from the differential. Mine didn't have any problem.

10) Alright, this is where you may need some help. Pull the jack out from under the control arm if you haven't already and pull the spindle forward to bring the axle out a little more. Be VERY careful not to pull your axle apart. Use a prybar to help assist it out. Now the fun part. either gat a big prybar and pry the lower control arm/spindle assembly down as far as it can go or get a friend to help push it down with a hand or foot and work the axle the rest of the way out so the seal can be changed. It will be very tight getting it out but trust me, with enough coaxing and cursing it WILL come out.

11) At this point the worst is over(atleast until it's time to put it together again lol). Pry the old seal out with a seal puller or a prybar but be very careful with the prybar as you can cause damage to the case. Install the new seal with a large socket and hammer and then reverse the procedure to get everything back together again.

This is pretty much it. Be careful on the assembly that you don't damage your new seal getting the axle back in. It goes in easier than it comes out. Make sure your axle is all the way in also. Top up your gear oil or in my case change it because of the water in it. It calls for synthetic 75w-90. Good luck and happy wrenching. If anyone needs torque specs let me know. Hope this is helpful to anyone doing this job.

-Brian
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOW TO - Changing Front Axle Seals

Great instructions, I don't plan on tackling this project but my local garage quoted me $175 each to do the job. They charge $60 per hour. Do you think this is a fair price. Also if I put this repair off for a few months, can I cause more damage.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOW TO - Changing Front Axle Seals

It depends on how bad the leak is. Mine was just a drip every few days so I just kept my diff. full until i got around to changing it. One thing I did find in mine that may be some concern in yours is water had somehow gotten in and mixed with the oil which can cause some damage if left like that and it made for a heck of a clean up job too. $175 seems a bit steep to me considering with air tools this job can be easily done in a hour and a seal and new oil is rather cheap too. I'm a D.I.Y. guy, I like doing stuff myself, so i'm not up to date on shop prices. lol :)

P.S. Whenever you do get it done. Make sure you get the right seal. I had to get mine from GM because the 5 local parts stores here either didn't carry it or wanted 40 bucks for it. I got mine from my local GM dealership for around 14 bucks.

Feel free to ask any more questions.

-Brian
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOW TO - Changing Front Axle Seals

www.oehq.com
for parts

and here is a very detailed how-to
http://www.355nation.net/forum/how-perf ... -seal.html
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOW TO - Changing Front Axle Seals

That is a very detailed how-to. I wish I could have found that when I did mine. The only thing I did differently was I didn't take the lower ball joint loose. I left the spindle attached and the balljoint flexed enough to let it all come apart. However mine was on the passenger side. If the drivers side CV Joint is longer(which im not sure of) then you'd have to take the whole assembly apart to change it. I'll find out when my drivers side starts to leak. :)
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: HOW TO - Changing Front Axle Seals

Yeah my front Driver's side is seeping. Not enough to make it to the ground. I was quoted by two different shops $275.00 plus tax & Environmental fees. Maybe I will try it on my own.
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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OP why did you remove the shock and stab link for this?
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 04I5Colorado View Post
I've been on here the past few days looking for a how-to on changing the front axle seals on the colorado/canyon. I didn't find anything real informative so I thought I would make one real quick for anyone wanting to do this job themselves.

I just did this job today out in the cold with hand tools and it took me around 2.5 hours to complete. So lets begin....

1) Break your lug nuts loose while the truck is on the ground and then jack both sides of the front up and set it securely on jack stands.

2) Remove the wheel and unhook your ABS sensor for that side, roll the wire up and use garbage bag ties or equivelant to keep it rolled up. Guard this with your life as I almost ruined mine by getting it caught in my floor jack. It is a VERY expensive part!

3) Remove your shock absorber and set aside. The nut on the top is a 15mm and the bottom nut and bolt is an 18mm. The top nut may be stubborn and require a wrench and a hex key to keep the whole thing from spinning. Then pull it out and lay it aside. Don't loose the rubber or metal spacer that goes on the top!!

4) Loosen the sway-bar link on the lower control arm. You'll need a 15mm wrench and a 1/4" socket to hold the outside to keep it from spinning. I have a Kobalt "thru" socket set that made this a bit easier for me. Pull it out of the lower control arm and let it hang from the sway-bar. It may require a jack under the control arm to free it up enough to get it out.

5) Place a jack under the lower control arm and jack the suspension up. Be careful not to raise the truck off of the jack stands.

6) Use a 21mm Socket to remove the tie-rod end nut and hit the steering knuckle with a pretty hefty hammer to loosen the tie-rod end from the spindle.

7) Remove the two 13mm bolts holding the brake caliper to its bracket, remove the caliper and hang it safely with a coat hanger so the line is not damaged.

8 ) Use a 15mm Socket to loosen the 3 upper balljoint nuts where it attaches to the control arm. Pry the upper control arm downard until the balljoint studs come loose from the control arm. At this point I spun the joint around to get the studs out of the way. Lower the jack under the control arm.

9) Use a medium sized pry bar in between the differential bracket and the base of the axle to loosen it from the differential. Mine didn't have any problem.

10) Alright, this is where you may need some help. Pull the jack out from under the control arm if you haven't already and pull the spindle forward to bring the axle out a little more. Be VERY careful not to pull your axle apart. Use a prybar to help assist it out. Now the fun part. either gat a big prybar and pry the lower control arm/spindle assembly down as far as it can go or get a friend to help push it down with a hand or foot and work the axle the rest of the way out so the seal can be changed. It will be very tight getting it out but trust me, with enough coaxing and cursing it WILL come out.

11) At this point the worst is over(atleast until it's time to put it together again lol). Pry the old seal out with a seal puller or a prybar but be very careful with the prybar as you can cause damage to the case. Install the new seal with a large socket and hammer and then reverse the procedure to get everything back together again.

This is pretty much it. Be careful on the assembly that you don't damage your new seal getting the axle back in. It goes in easier than it comes out. Make sure your axle is all the way in also. Top up your gear oil or in my case change it because of the water in it. It calls for synthetic 75w-90. Good luck and happy wrenching. If anyone needs torque specs let me know. Hope this is helpful to anyone doing this job.

-Brian

Thanks, I had a couple of questions and your post was clear, percise and relavant. Thanks again for the time you took to post it
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