Pinion seal leaking

Old July 8th, 2018, 07:44 AM
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Pinion seal leaking

Well... I finished my brakes and they are 100% - I replaced the front inner/outer bearings and seal - the passenger outer bearing was in very very bad shape - which made me a little scared for the rest of the bearings in the car - 72 convertible - the rear pinion seal is leaking - Iíve read a lot of the posts in this section - It is a 10 bolt - 8.5in - bolt in axle set up - id guess 28 spline and a mild gear ratio (guessing 2.53:1 or what ever as it doesnít **** and get with a 455) (clutch is slipping but thatís another day) wonít know until I pull the cover - was able to get the plug out with little problem - the diff took almost 2 quarts of gear lube before it started leaking out the hole - the axle seals are not leaking on either end - just the pinion seal - few newbie questions - are the bearings in the rear end packed like front end bearings or does the gear oil lube them? From what Iíve read the axle bearings are pressed in so Iíd need a shop with a press to help - how many bearings total in this rear end? (Both axle ends and pinion - are there inners?) I have never messed with a differential before - some friends are telling me I donít want too - long story short - how big of a job is the pinion seal? (Wondering if I can do it) IF I ran it in the past low on gear lube what should I be looking for / worried about in the rear end - Iím a little hard of hearing and I have a four speed M-21 (I believe) so I hear that Muncie whine when decelerating but havenít noticed rear end noise (again hard to hear with no top and just wind noise (just recently got the top)
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Old July 8th, 2018, 09:24 AM
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The bearings are lubed by the diff gear oil.
There are two bearings on the pinion, two bearings on the carrier, and two bearings on the axle shafts (one on each).

Here are part numbers that I archived when I rebuilt the rear in my car:
Axle Bearing: Timken Set9
Axle Seal: 712146
Carrier Bearing / Race: LM501349 / LM501314
Pinion Head Bearing / Race: M802048 / M802011
Pinion Tail Bearing / Race: M88048 / M88010
Pinion Seal: 2043

Last edited by Fun71; July 8th, 2018 at 09:30 AM.
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Old July 8th, 2018, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
The bearings are lubed by the diff gear oil.
There are two bearings on the pinion, two bearings on the carrier, and two bearings on the axle shafts (one on each).

Here are part numbers that I archived when I rebuilt the rear in my car:
Axle Bearing: Timken Set9
Axle Seal: 712146
Carrier Bearing / Race: LM501349 / LM501314
Pinion Head Bearing / Race: M802048 / M802011
Pinion Tail Bearing / Race: M88048 / M88010
Pinion Seal: 2043
thanks for sharing that! Know any good links on doing the deed?
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Old July 8th, 2018, 03:48 PM
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If your just doing the seal, mark the nut with white touchup paint or equivalent and the area next to it. Remove the nut and count the turns (precisely) it takes from where you broke it loose to all the way off. Remove the pinion, remove the old seal and reinstall the new one. Reinstall the nut with the exact amount of turns it took to remove it and line up the mark on the nut to the mark that was adjacent to it. I usually give it an extra 1/16" turn. Put the drive shaft back on and your done.
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Old July 8th, 2018, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
If your just doing the seal, mark the nut with white touchup paint or equivalent and the area next to it. Remove the nut and count the turns (precisely) it takes from where you broke it loose to all the way off. Remove the pinion, remove the old seal and reinstall the new one. Reinstall the nut with the exact amount of turns it took to remove it and line up the mark on the nut to the mark that was adjacent to it. I usually give it an extra 1/16" turn. Put the drive shaft back on and your done.
thanks! Exactly what I was looking for
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Old July 13th, 2018, 03:24 PM
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For this 72 - 8.5Ē 10 bolt olds will the following work?
Seal looks correct but w27 cap is shaped different - will it work?
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Old July 13th, 2018, 05:09 PM
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that will work, make sure those bolts are long enough. I've used ARP 1" long cause the ones from Parts Place were too short.
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Old July 13th, 2018, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 70cutty View Post
that will work, make sure those bolts are long enough. I've used ARP 1" long cause the ones from Parts Place were too short.
awesome! Thanks!
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Old July 15th, 2018, 12:39 PM
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Inspect the pinion for wear too..
There is a good chance the seal has worn a grove in it. They make a pinion and seal repair kit that is sold together.

Also eat your Wheaties. That pinion nut is no joke. Hold the pinion with a pipe wrench wedged against the floor and get a 3/4" breaker bar and a cheater pipe to break the nut loose.

As Eric said, just tighten the nut to the point it was at before, but I would suggest taking a center punch and scoring the pinion shaft threads right behind the nut to keep it from backing out.

Last edited by Sampson; July 15th, 2018 at 12:46 PM.
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Old July 16th, 2018, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Sampson View Post
Inspect the pinion for wear too..
There is a good chance the seal has worn a grove in it. They make a pinion and seal repair kit that is sold together.

Also eat your Wheaties. That pinion nut is no joke. Hold the pinion with a pipe wrench wedged against the floor and get a 3/4" breaker bar and a cheater pipe to break the nut loose.

As Eric said, just tighten the nut to the point it was at before, but I would suggest taking a center punch and scoring the pinion shaft threads right behind the nut to keep it from backing out.
thank you for the info!
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Old July 18th, 2018, 08:51 AM
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Ok - I blasted everything with pb blaster - cleaned it up - got the u joint caps loose - and before I pulled it I decided to try and shake the yoke (I realize that probably should have been step 1 in the process) that attaches to the pinion - there is play in it - up down - side to side - there should be zero play correct? Rebuild axle housing / differential time?
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Old July 20th, 2018, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 72442455 View Post
Ok - I blasted everything with pb blaster - cleaned it up - got the u joint caps loose - and before I pulled it I decided to try and shake the yoke (I realize that probably should have been step 1 in the process) that attaches to the pinion - there is play in it - up down - side to side - there should be zero play correct? Rebuild axle housing / differential time?
There should be negligible play in the pinion. Play could be from a failing bearing or if the pinion nut has been off before and reinstalled with the incorrect preload on the crush sleeve. This would also cause bearing failure and improper wear on the ring and pinion gears. You stated it took 2 qts of fluid to top it off. I would suspect that some of the bearings ran dry and are failing. I would either run the car in gear on jacks and listen for bearing noise. And or take the Differential cover off and look for metal in the housing/oil. It sounds like you maybe on the road to differential rebuild.
I am not an expert by any means. I hope others with more experience will chime in.
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Old July 20th, 2018, 10:56 AM
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Considering that the pinion bearings must be pre-loaded, there should be NO play at all. Any play indicates a lack of bearing pre-load, and movement of the pinion WRT the ring-gear could precipitate damage to it. Like Sampson advised, remove the cover and look for metal in the fluid. If not much, then you may have caught it early enough to not caused any damage to the gears and carrier bearings, but you'll still need to remove the carrier and pinion to fix the bearing situation there. Once you get that far, you might as well replace all bearings and seals and reset the pinion pre-load w/ a fresh crush sleeve (and maybe swap gears to give it more pep, add a posi if it doesn't have one).

If everything on the inside looks good, you MIGHT just be able to get away with tightening the pinion nut to remove all play in the pinion (after removing the yoke to replace the pinion seal) and restore some bearing pre-load. But you'll want to keep an eye/ear out for new leaks or noises.

Last edited by JohnnyBs68S; July 20th, 2018 at 11:00 AM.
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Old July 20th, 2018, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnnyBs68S View Post
Considering that the pinion bearings must be pre-loaded, there should be NO play at all. Any play indicates a lack of bearing pre-load, and movement of the pinion WRT the ring-gear could precipitate damage to it. Like Sampson advised, remove the cover and look for metal in the fluid. If not much, then you may have caught it early enough to not caused any damage to the gears and carrier bearings, but you'll still need to remove the carrier and pinion to fix the bearing situation there. Once you get that far, you might as well replace all bearings and seals and reset the pinion pre-load w/ a fresh crush sleeve (and maybe swap gears to give it more pep, add a posi if it doesn't have one).

If everything on the inside looks good, you MIGHT just be able to get away with tightening the pinion nut to remove all play in the pinion (after removing the yoke to replace the pinion seal) and restore some bearing pre-load. But you'll want to keep an eye/ear out for new leaks or noises.
ive been doing my reading on this one and I think Iím going to pull the whole housing and have it done by someone with experience - going to have it rebuilt - I also believe thatís where my vibration Iíve been chasing is coming from - and I agree - going to add the Posi and up the gears - debating between 3.08s and 3.23s I do want to run it on the highway - about one hour and fifteen minute drive between towns - any advice on ratio? I donít have to pull wheelies - but donít want to embarrass myself against modern mini vans etc hehe
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Old July 20th, 2018, 11:15 PM
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"In days gone by", 3.08 and 3.23 were considered "road gears". Take your pick.
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Old July 21st, 2018, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by OLDSter Ralph View Post
"In days gone by", 3.08 and 3.23 were considered "road gears". Take your pick.
thanks - leaning towards 3.23s figure that will ďpepĒ her up a bit to make it more fun and still be able to afford an hours worth of gas on the highway hehe
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Old July 22nd, 2018, 07:19 AM
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Use this calculator, very accurate with a lock up torque converter auto or a manual transmission car. Otherwise add 250 to 300 rpm for an old school auto. You gain 200 rpm on the highway going from a 3.08 to a 3.23 gear.

http://tech.oldsgmail.com/axle_RPM.php
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Old July 23rd, 2018, 06:29 AM
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10 bolt 8.5 issues pinion seal leak

Most likely the reason your pinion seal leaked was because the nut backed off the pinion causing the up down play in the pinion and making the seal fail. NOW depending on how long you drove this car this way will determine the damage you may or may not have cause and will most certainly cause you vibration.
THIS IS A VERY COMMON PROBLEM WITH MUSCLE CARS WHERE GUYS ARE DOING BURN OUT OR TRYING TO DO HARD LAUNCHES ALL THE TIME. It is ok if you like to drive you car like this...just have to stake that nut in place so you do not back off the nut when driving like a mad man...lol.

Idea here would be to tighten the the nut so there is NO play refill your diff and go for a quick short drive and see how everything sounds. IF it leaks like crazy do not do the drive.... BUT it sure seems like you were driving on it for some time anyway so I do not think it should be leaking that bad. evaluate the and see if vibration is gone or if things even sound worse. Might help you make that decision about spending more money at this time if you do not need to. Jim Mitschke


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Old July 24th, 2018, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by monzaz View Post
Most likely the reason your pinion seal leaked was because the nut backed off the pinion causing the up down play in the pinion and making the seal fail. NOW depending on how long you drove this car this way will determine the damage you may or may not have cause and will most certainly cause you vibration.
THIS IS A VERY COMMON PROBLEM WITH MUSCLE CARS WHERE GUYS ARE DOING BURN OUT OR TRYING TO DO HARD LAUNCHES ALL THE TIME. It is ok if you like to drive you car like this...just have to stake that nut in place so you do not back off the nut when driving like a mad man...lol.

Idea here would be to tighten the the nut so there is NO play refill your diff and go for a quick short drive and see how everything sounds. IF it leaks like crazy do not do the drive.... BUT it sure seems like you were driving on it for some time anyway so I do not think it should be leaking that bad. evaluate the and see if vibration is gone or if things even sound worse. Might help you make that decision about spending more money at this time if you do not need to. Jim Mitschke


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thanks for the info Jim! I actually do not drive it hard - not saying I donít want to someday 😜 - i am somewhat hard of hearing but I did not notice any bad sounds coming from the rear end - It does a lot of sitting as I am working hard on getting it up to snuff - I noticed a small stain on the driveway under the rear end recently (have had the car for 18 years - did a lot first couple years - financially fell on my *** for a bit and three years ago got back at it) and have kept my eye on the stain - did some short hops to work etc but nothing major - thinking maybe last summer I added air shocks and raised the *** a bit and after all that sitting the new angle had at the seal and bearings? - anyway the leak is now very bad - I added two bottles of gear lube and it steady streams out the front pinion seal - that and the up down side to side play conserns me - your the expert on these - was actually going to message you for advise - Iím prepared to pull the whole housing - got a $400 to $500 estimate on rebuilding it as is in Grand Rapids mi - but everyoneís telling me to swap gears and add Posi while itís out (which I am aiming to do) but I am having a hard time finding gears and Posi on line - they either are c - clip axles or they omit info like not telling how many splines etc - I saw your 3.73 rear end but those gears are steeper then I wanna go - looking more towards 3.23s I think? Anyways - Iíd like to give you my business if itís possible logistically? (330) that eastern Ohio area? Thoughts?
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Old August 3rd, 2018, 03:26 PM
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Does anybody know a part # for a Posi unit for the 72 olds 8.5 diff with bolt in 28 spline axles?
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Old August 3rd, 2018, 03:58 PM
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I think this is what I want for my 72 olds 8.5 28 spline boot in axle differential - anybody know otherwise?
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Old August 3rd, 2018, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 72442455 View Post
I think this is what I want for my 72 olds 8.5 28 spline boot in axle differential - anybody know otherwise?

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Old August 3rd, 2018, 06:21 PM
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PM Jim (monzaz) with that pn to make sure it will work. He may even have what you need.
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Old August 4th, 2018, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by oldcutlass View Post
PM Jim (monzaz) with that pn to make sure it will work. He may even have what you need.
i was in communication with Jim about this but I think he might be busy - I donít want to spam him - This Posi is the closest Iíve found so far - amazon says it doesnít fit my car but Jegs says it does (72-74 cutlass either base or s / 5.7 and 7.5) - I doubt amazon knows - only thing that seems screwy is it says ďGMĒ Not olds specific - and as far as I know my rear end was 71 to 72 only - so nervous that they might think itís c clip axle as it also says it fits many chevys - I just posted a question to jegs about it - just figured Iíd try here as well - Iíll post what they say - thanks!
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Old August 4th, 2018, 02:14 AM
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Jegs, Amazon and several others may not be right. Be careful. Monzaz is "THE" authority on differentials ! He sometimes comments on week ends. Send a PM to Monzaz as Oldcutlass suggested. Be patient.

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Old August 4th, 2018, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by OLDSter Ralph View Post
Jegs, Amazon and several others may not be right. Be careful. Monzaz is "THE" authority on differentials ! He sometimes comments on week ends. Send a PM to Monzaz as Oldcutlass suggested. Be patient.
ok I will try again thanks
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Old August 15th, 2018, 01:03 PM
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I got some Toys (Posi + rebuild kit) in the mail today! Thanks Monzaz - Jim - JD Race! Btw I love the sticker! 😜
Now to find the time to play with them!

Joe R.
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Old September 27th, 2018, 01:16 PM
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Making progress finally - took me forever to get this out - just because of life
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Old September 28th, 2018, 01:08 PM
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I have found it is easier to re-install the rear with the lower control arms attached first. Seems easier to lift the front end of the control arm into the frame bracket than to lift the rear to get the rear control arm into the axle bracket.
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Old September 29th, 2018, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Fun71 View Post
I have found it is easier to re-install the rear with the lower control arms attached first. Seems easier to lift the front end of the control arm into the frame bracket than to lift the rear to get the rear control arm into the axle bracket.
thanks for the tip - I will try that
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Old October 1st, 2018, 08:36 AM
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posi unit rebuild kits gears etc.

I always give discounts to the Classic olds site members so yes we can try to work out the best deal i can get you.
You also must remember that I am a worker...lol. NOT a phone jockey that sells parts so you will get alot of tech help here which sometimes offsets what you can sometimes get cheaper else where in the big world of CHEAP parts. Jim
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Old October 23rd, 2018, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by monzaz View Post
I always give discounts to the Classic olds site members so yes we can try to work out the best deal i can get you.
You also must remember that I am a worker...lol. NOT a phone jockey that sells parts so you will get alot of tech help here which sometimes offsets what you can sometimes get cheaper else where in the big world of CHEAP parts. Jim
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got the rear end done - working on bushings then reassemble - any recommendation for brake in Jim? And what gear oil for this Posi? Also... made a rookie error - praying itís not crittical but I knicked the inner dog ear with a hack saw cutting the sleeve out - pic attached - let me know how bad 😩

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Old October 25th, 2018, 12:10 AM
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Never mind Jim - I found your answer in another thread - mineral based fluid with limited slip additive - I have original gears but added the Eaton Posi - Iím going to treat it like new gears with a few runs to heat it up and let it cool completely off and change the fluid just to be safe - thanks again! Joe R.
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Old November 1st, 2018, 11:02 AM
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A lot of progress today!
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Old November 4th, 2018, 07:16 AM
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Good Job! Looks good! Curious: Why red as a highlight color? Will the car become red at a later date?

Did you get an answer about the accidental hacksaw nic?
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Old November 4th, 2018, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by BackInTheGame View Post
Good Job! Looks good! Curious: Why red as a highlight color? Will the car become red at a later date?

Did you get an answer about the accidental hacksaw nic?
just red to throw a little color in there - also it makes it feel ďcleaned upĒ to me - all black feels like it could still be rusty greasy in the shadows - can barely see it - car will go metallic grey in the big picture - I have the aluminum diff cover that will go on it after the initial break in and I change the gear oil - as far as the nick - it wasnít bad so Iím not sweating it - i had to hammer pretty good to get the new bushing in - so if it was gonna create a problem I figure it would at that point *shrug*
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Old November 4th, 2018, 06:49 PM
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Makes sense; thanks for satisfying my curiosity :-) .
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Old November 8th, 2018, 09:07 AM
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All back together just in time for storage 😩 - thanks all for your help as always! Canít wait until spring! ~ Joe R.
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