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Axle Seal Replacement

Tom Lang

General Information

The standard rear axle used in the F250/F250's, at least through the 1997 model year is the 10.25-inch ring gear axle also known as the Sterling 10.25-Inch Axle. Editor's note: the 1999-up models are the 10.5-Inch version which is very similar. The rear axle seals are prone to leakage, some years more than others. I have a 1993 F250 that had a leaky seal. After searching, I found a seal that I could replace my original seals with at a cost of less than $40 per side without having to remove any bearings from the hub and without needing any special tools to install the seals within the hub.

Ford redesigned the 10.25-inch axle seal system sometime during the 1994 model year and inplemented the design changes on rear axle units manufacturered after May 2, 1994. (The tag on the rear axle cover will give you date of build for the axle. Axle Identification Tag.) The redesign included a new seal, a dimensionally "thinner" bearing, and an oil slinger. For my 1993, I had the option of installing this "upgrade" at about $80 per side. This would involve replacing each innermost axle bearing. The new thinner bearing allows room for installation of the oil slinger. It appears the oil slinger has "paddles" on it that slings the oil away from the seal. I understand that several folks have had luck with this option. However, it is not foolproof, as owners of newer axles (that have these parts in them from the factory) also have been known to leak.

Medium and Heavy-duty truck OEMs generally use what is called a "Scotseal" between the hub and the rear axle. A Scotseal (Chicago Rawhide-CR tradename) is a special type of seal that "turns within itself". Please refer to Their Website for more information. CR lists two types of Scotseals for the 10.25" Ford Sterling axle. One type requires a press and a special die to press the seal into the hub. Your hand presses in the other type (literally). I wanted the latter. For the 1993 10.25" axle on my F250 the CR listing specified a CR Scotseal Plus #34386, less than $40 each from my local bearing distributor. I believe all year 10.25-Inch axles use this same part # hand-insertion seal but check with CR to be sure. The other type, that needs a special die to install, is a different catalog number. An added benefit of this type seal, because it turns within itself, it cannot wear a groove on the axle. I have 10k miles now with no leaks on the Scotseals, however, I understand there have been some failures.

Replacement Procedure

Remove 8 hex head bolts from hub. Axle should then pull out easily as shown in picture:

Remove hub lock nut with appropriate tool. One type, Lisle #28000, is shown in picture. This particular tool also works for the front axle hubs and is less than $40 at Pep Boys.

Following the instructions in the shop manual, remove the hub lock nut as shown in picture:

After lock nut is removed, slide hub and outer bearing off. The following picture depicts what you will see after the hub is removed. By the way, I put the inner bearing and the hub lock nut back on without the hub for the purposes of the photo only.

Turn hub over and you will see the old seal as shown in the next picture. Carefully pry this old seal out.

Obtain new seal as in the next picture:

Install new seal in hub as shown in the instructions that came with the seal. See following picture. It basically involves lightly oiling the seal and just pressing it in by hand.

Install hub, outer bearing, and hub lock nut. Carefully torque hub lock nut until it makes a ratchet sound in accordance with the shop manual. I did not replace any bearings. They all looked liked new. I also did not pack the bearings with grease as the rear end gear oil lubricates them; I merely coated them well with gear oil before putting the hub back on. Please double check rear end oil level as some came out when the axle was removed.

Insert axle and secure with 8 hex bolts. Finished job as shown below.

Spray down everything with brake cleaner and you're ready for several thousand more miles!

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