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I noticed that the gas skid plate near the rear axle was moist and I thought maybe it was fuel. I touched it and it smelled like diff fluid. Checked where the DS goes into the differential housing and it had a little of the dirty grease accumulation but nothing that indicated an obvious leak. The boot to the DS feels intact and no oil on it. There isn't any dripping going on but the amount of fresh oil on the corner of the factory fuel skid plate was quite a bit.

The differential housing didn't have any indication of a leak on the outside of it. I'm thinking it may be leaking only when it's driven.
 

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A picture of the gas skid plate with oil on it. The breather hose was dry with old dust on it so I know I wasn't coming from he axle tube.
 

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Sometimes bad mechanics will call leaks "seepage" but it does exist and is not always possible to completely seal some things. If there is no drip it may be fine. Do you have a better picture of the area around the pinion seal? You could remove the fill cap on the differential cover and check if it is full.
 

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I'm going to check the oil level in the differential tomorrow. I ran my hand over the rear pinion seal area but there wasn't any significant moisture there. I can see tell tale signs where drops of oil is slung on different parts underneath the jeep in a linear arc pattern to the sides and above the area of the pinion seal. The flange of the DS has moisture on it but not sure if oil can come from that part of the DS. The first photo shows how that part of flange is moist. I reinspected the boot and it is dry and I didn't see or feel any tears. I'm just not 100% sure if it is the rear pinion seal or actually the DS but the leak has never been this noticeable.
 

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Here is another picture of the rear pinion seal. Is it safe to assume that the is coming from the seal? The only obvious moisture is on the flange of the DS. The bottom of the housing was not moist that's why I think it is only leaking as it is driven. I don't want to spend the money & time on repairing the wrong part.
 

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Ok, bought a new rear pinion seal, $36 at the dealership. Couldn't find it anywhere else. Is there a trick to getting the drive shaft separated from the yoke once the bolts are removed? I beat it with a rubber mallet but it hasn't budged.
 

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Ok, bought a new rear pinion seal, $36 at the dealership. Couldn't find it anywhere else. Is there a trick to getting the drive shaft separated from the yoke once the bolts are removed? I beat it with a rubber mallet but it hasn't budged.
Look for a aftermarket driveshaft writeup.
Mine popped off with a good whack with a hammer but you may need a puller.
It's important to know the torque spec. Last thing you want is to change the preload on the pinion gear.
 

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It's not exactly a torque spec, rather rotating torque. The correct way is to elevate the rear, remove the tires, put an inch/lbs dial or beam torque wrench on the pinion nut and rotate the pinion. Take note of the torque required to maintain rotation. Now you can remove the flange and change the seal. When reinstalling tighten the pinion nut a little at a time while checking rotating torque until the recorded spec is reached.
Alot of people just mark the pinion nut and flange then count the turns.
 

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It's not exactly a torque spec, rather rotating torque. The correct way is to elevate the rear, remove the tires, put an inch/lbs dial or beam torque wrench on the pinion nut and rotate the pinion. Take note of the torque required to maintain rotation. Now you can remove the flange and change the seal. When reinstalling tighten the pinion nut a little at a time while checking rotating torque until the recorded spec is reached. Alot of people just mark the pinion nut and flange then count the turns.
Thanks for clarifying !!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the information guys.
 
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