2018 2500 / front axle seal leak

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nlambert182

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I was replacing the diff fluid in the rear of my 2018 Ram 2500 on Wednesday and happened to glance up and notice oil sling on the inside passenger front tire. Upon inspection I see a decent amount of oil buildup on the u-joint and it appears to be coming from the axle tube. It looks like I have an axle seal leaking. I'm going to check the front diff fluid level today and top it off if needed but I need to get this fixed.

How difficult is this for someone to replace in their driveway? I am mechanically inclined but I am going to assume that I would need a special tool to knock out the old seal and a tool to reseat a new one. I did see on YT that there are "inspection plates" on some over on the passenger side so assuming that the fix would be to go in through that access panel once the shaft is out.

I'm also curious if someone has had one replaced at a shop what the ballpark figure would be. Understand that prices are different everywhere but it would give me an indication if I want to tackle this or just send it to my local shop to have it replaced.
 
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nlambert182

nlambert182

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Has anyone tried the Blue Devil stop leak? Supposedly reconditions the seal and makes it expand enough to sometimes seal off the leak. I picked up some today to try first, but with the nasty weather I wasn't able to put it in.
 

Jeepwalker

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Sure a guy who's determined to replace it can certainly do it in the driveway. It'll be a lot of work and a good bit of frustration, but if you're determined and persistent it can be done. See video link below.

But first, I would advise you to inspect the vent and tube for the front diff first. There's a good chance it might be plugged. Sometimes bugs build a mud-nest in the end. Or it could be just 'gunk' plugging the vent system. Remove the vent end and make sure you can blow through it & the hose freely. If not track back to anywhere where 'plugs' might be and clear it. If it *were* plugged, the air inside the pumpkin heats up as you drive which builds up air pressure. Increased pumpkin air pressure (if a plugged vent) would force some lube out of one of the seals. It's not totally uncommon. If that is your problem, it's an easy 'fix'.

Definitely worth a look. Also make sure it wasn't over-filled for some unknown reason.
 
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Jeepwalker

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Removal:

A guy should be able to 'fab' up a driver (to get out) and a puller. So if you want to do it, your ought to be able to do it. But getting the hub/bearing off can be a lot of work sometimes.

You might call a dealer or better yet, if you have a driveline shop down in your area (call around) ...they'd probably be the better source to do the job. At least get a price, it might worth it to you. Might be the better money spent. They can probably do it in a couple hours, where it could take you a looong afternoon and impressing your neighbors with your large new-found vocabulary of 4 letter words! :emotions34:

Cheers!

 
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Jeepwalker

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I wouldn't put any blue-devil stuff in the lube. That's not the way to go. But what you could do ....is try an old-school mechanic's trick ...that will probably work: Remove that housing and very carefully apply a few drops of brake fluid on the TOP of the axle and try to work it into that seal by turning the wheel. Jack the front diff so the pass side is lower so it works into the seal. The brake fluid will swell the seal a little. It might take a day or two ...but it should work and won't cost you a dime.

This is not advice...just something I heard other people have done.
 
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nlambert182

nlambert182

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Yea I want to resolve it whether that be with the shop (our local dealer is horrible) I normally use or take care of it myself if necessary. To be honest, I haven't had the time to even check the fluid level yet with work and the holidays. I'm going to try to check the diff level this evening. I suppose it's possible that it's extremely low or even empty. The wife is out of town with work this week and I'm driving her Armada to limit driving this one until I can at least refill the diff (assuming it needs it).

I rebuilt the entire front end on my 2012, so I'm confident that with the proper tools I could do it, but time is money and something that I don't have a lot of anymore unfortunately.

Thanks for the advice! I'll try getting ahold of the shop again today to get an estimate.
 

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Sounds good. And don't forget to first check the vent tube for blockage before any work is performed. That shouldn't take long to do, and you could do that yourself. It might not be, but you never know, it happens. There are videos how to do it.

You'd sure hate to pay to have the seal replaced, then later discover there's still a leak somewhere b/c the root problem was a plugged vent tube. I had a buddy who years ago had that exact issue with a brand new Ford tk. They didn't check the vent tube until after replacing 2 pinion seals (It should be the FIRST thing they checked).
 
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nlambert182

nlambert182

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I'll definitely check that momentarily. It would be great if the problem is a blocked vent tube causing too much pressure.

Luckily the diff was only about 1/2 quart low so I topped it off but it looks like it's dripping off the ujoint while it's sitting. Someone's been in there for sure. The diff fill plug was barely hand tight. I did call my shop but they can't even look at it until the 21st.
 
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