Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Removing an Input Shaft Seal

I have a bigger post in the works for the engine drop, transaxle input shaft seal replacement, etc.  For now, I have the engine lowered onto an ATV jack, and the transaxle in pieces on my garage floor.  I removed the old input shaft seal in a unique way.  Everywhere I looked, the advice was to get a seal removal tool, hammer it into the rubber seal and pry away.  I did something else, and that's what I cover in today's post.

Identify the Seal as the Problem
After separating the engine from the transaxle, and before moving the transaxle into a clean location, look at the inside of your bellhousing.  Does it have a bunch of oil residue lining it?  Maybe a small pool of oil?  Dip your finger in it and sniff it.  Does it smell like your engine oil?  Does it look like engine oil?  Lighter color?  Maybe slightly different smell too?  Yep, you have a leaking input shaft seal.  Now, remove the throw-out bearing like everyone says.  If you have the sleeve behind it, remove that too, exposing the input shaft seal.  Look at the seal.  Wiggle the input shaft a little bit.  Does the seal cling to the shaft or do gaps appear?  Is the seal smooth or does it have a pinch in it?  Mine had 2 small pinches along the outer edge and the shaft did not cling to the seal.

Removing an Input Shaft Seal
This is the point where everyone else says to remove the seal the brute-force way.  For some transaxles (those without a seal housing), it may be the right method.  I took a different tack.  Remove the bellhousing.  Its held on with 13mm bolts.  3 on each side inside the bellhousing and 2 on the bottom.  With a rubber mallet, lightly smack the bellhousing to free it from the transaxle body.  Mine had been silicone sealed but the seal didn't hold up much.  Place the bellhousing engine-side down on top of a shop towel.  Pointing up, you will see the seal housing.  Smack it with the rubber mallet and out pops the input shaft seal.  Easy peasey.  EDIT: Through further research, I believe the housing should not separate from the bell housing.  If you were able to get your seal out this way, by lightly tapping on the housing (like I did), you have a new problem: how to get the "housing" (some call it an oil-slinger) re-attached to the bell housing so that it doesn't re-free itself.  I'll post a picture of what my driveshaft looks like after less than 2 thousand miles like this.  I am assuming it wasn't like this when I got the transaxle from AA. End EDIT.

New Seal, Torn Seal
I have been unable to successfully get a seal back into the transaxle, to the point where I tore the only replacement I had.  All of the advice on the interweb seems to exclude transaxles with a seal housing, making their "slip it over the input shaft and drive it in by alternating sides" unusable.  I have tried setting the housing first, but that hasn't worked.  I got close, though, using a 13mm socket to press the seal.  I made the mistake of trying a larger socket and tore the seal.  I need to hit Discount Import Parts (DIP) for another one.  Once I get the seal onto the housing and into the transaxle, I'll close the loop on how I did it.

That's it for today.  I picked up a pilot bearing and a replacement mounting stud for transaxle re-install at the local FLAPS during lunch today.  They didn't have a suitable input shaft seal.  Off to DIP when the next opportunity presents itself.  Thanks for following along, and Hapy Birthday, C!

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