How to Change the Rear Axle Seal in a 2001 Tracker

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The 2001 Chevy Tracker base model came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. Your Tracker has two axle seals, one at each axle, that prevent differential fluid from entering the drum brake system. You have to drain the differential and remove the common axle shaft to replace the faulty axle seal. Differential fluid greatly reduces the effectiveness of the brake lining material so inspect the brake shoes for contamination and replace as necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheel chocks
  • Lug wrench
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Socket set
  • Ratchet
  • Drain pan
  • Pliers
  • Rear bearing remover tool
  • New axle shaft seal
  • Small slide hammer
  • Seal installer kit
  • Hammer
  • 2 Quarts 80W-90 differential fluid
  • Differential cover gasket
  • Thread sealant
  • Torque wrench

Removal

  • Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake. Place wheel chocks in front of and behind the front wheels. Loosen, with the lug wrench, the lug nuts for the side to be serviced.

  • Lift the rear of the vehicle into the air with the floor jack and place the jack stands under the axle. Lower the floor jack until the vehicle rests securely on the jack stands. Remove the floor jack and shake the vehicle to ensure it is safe to work under.

  • Remove the lug nuts. Remove the wheel and tire and set them aside. Place the drain pan under the differential. Rotate the differential fill plug counterclockwise with the 3/8-inch-drive ratchet and remove it from the differential cover. Rotate the drain plug counterclockwise with the 3/8-inch-drive ratchet until loose. Remove the drain plug and allow the fluid to drain.

  • Remove the brake drum and inspect the brake shoes. If they are contaminated with differential fluid, replace them.

  • Remove the four nuts that hold the axle bearing retainer to the backing plate. Remove the bolt for the wheel speed sensor with the socket and ratchet. Put the wheel speed sensor aside.

  • Attach the bearing removal tool to two of the lug nut studs and secure with the lug nuts. Remove the axle shaft by sliding the hammer quickly against the stop; repeat the process until the axle shaft and bearing are loose and can be removed from the axle housing.

  • Attach the small slide hammer to the axle inner seal. Slide the hammer against the stop until the seal is removed from the axle. Inspect the oil seal protector for damage and replace as necessary.

Installation

  • Pick a seal install for the set that fits the internal and external diameter of the seal as close as possible. Set the seal into position on the axle housing and tap the seal installer with a hammer. Drive the seal into the axle until it sits flat with the axle housing. Remove the seal installer tool.

  • Place the axle shaft and bearing into position through the seal and into the axle housing. The axle bearing should be firmly seated in the rear axle housing. Install the axle shaft retainer nuts and tighten to 17 foot-pounds with the torque wrench. Install the wheel speed sensor and tighten the retaining bolt to 6.5 inch-pounds with the torque wrench.

  • Install the brake drum over the wheel studs, making sure it sits flush with the backing plate. Place the wheel and tire onto the vehicle and hand tighten the lug nuts. Apply a small amount of thread sealant to the drain and fill plugs. Install the differential drain plug and tighten to 18 foot-pounds with the torque wrench.

  • Fill the differential to the bottom of the fill hole with GL-5 grade 80W-90 differential fluid. Install the fill plug and tighten to 32 foot-pounds with the socket and ratchet. Lift the rear of the vehicle off the jack stands with the floor jack and remove the jack stands from under the vehicle. Lower the vehicle to the ground and remove the floor jack.

  • Tighten the lug nuts to 69 foot-pounds with the torque wrench.

  • Take the used differential fluid to a parts store or repair shop for proper disposal.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most repair facilities and some parts stores accept used fluids for recycling without charge.

References

  • Alldata: 2001 Chevy Tracker Axle Shaft Replacement; Left
  • Alldata: 2001 Chevy Tracker Rear Axle Seal Replacement
  • Alldata: 2001 Chevy Tracker; Specifications; Wheel Fastener
  • Alldata: 2001 Chevy Tracker Wheel Speed Sensor Replacement
  • Edmunds.com: 2001 Chevy Tracker
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