Half shaft oil seals

Does anyone know if its possible to replace the half shaft oil seals without removing the entire back axle assembly?


Which oil seal do you mean, the one on the differential, the half shaft U joints or the ones in the wheel hub bearing? If the wheel hub is what you mean, then you need to remove the wheel hub and take it to a press IIRC.

Hi Steve,
If you’re referring to the output shafts on the diff then I would say no.

It may be possible, but quite hard, and I can’t image trying it without a lift. The half shafts are easy enough to get off. But you also have to remove the brake disk which means the calipers and handbrake calipers have to come off. That’s far easier done with the diff on the workbench. Dropping the IRS is only about a 60 minute job.

It probably comes down to removal of the calipers and parking brake assembly. The calipers are safety wired on - I’d say impossible to either remove the wire and impossible squared to replace it with the diff in the cage.

Hi Bill

It is the one on the differential. I had a problem with one of the rear brakes seizing which caused the risk to overheat, and I presume the adjacent bearing. This has leaked ever since. I am getting geared up to remove rear suspension unit but as I have a pit I wondered if anyone had ever done this institu



X2 - Not a difficult task and some worthwhile additional things can be addressed ‘while you’re in there’.

How did you repair the seized disk at the time. Asking since it seems if you have the caliper off to fix it you were pretty close to the seal.

At one time, Brembo offered replacement brake rotors that had access holes in them that would enable you to remove the 5 bolts holding the output shaft assemblies in the diff without removing the disk or the caliper. The disk and caliper came right out with the output shaft assembly. You could then disassemble on the bench. If you don’t have those access holes, though, it is kinda fiddly getting the brakes out of your way.

It takes me 60 minutes to gather up the tools, set up the lights, tune the radio and fill the insulated glass with Coke Zero.
But you are correct in that it’s worthwhile to drop the thing if you are doing anything substantial to the rear suspension, brakes or drive train components.

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Not to mention putting a fresh coat of polyurethane on the lifting cradle. :rofl:

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I’d suggest pulling the IRS assembly to renew the output shaft seals. Then, determine which kind of output shafts you have because there were several quite different set-ups on the various E-Type versions.

On early cars, the output flange was separate and held by a castellated nut and therefore could probably be removed without disturbing the bearing set-up. Then, maybe the seals could be hooked out and replaced somewhat like a timing case seal job.

Later cars had a different set-up where the output flange was integral with the shaft and the whole assembly would need to come out before the seal could be accessed.

In any case, each type was set up with a specific end float, early cars with shims and later cars wit a crush spacer so it’s best not to disturb too much.

Here are the parts I used on my 3.8 although in this case, I was rebuilding the whole axle as part of the restoration.

And how the IRS comes out as an assembly:-

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Hello Clive,
No Crush Spacer with any E Type (yes for later XJ6s, XJS etc.) Later E Types had a Double Row, Angular Contact, Ball Bearing race that had a split centre race. This system provided bearing preload when the nut securing the bearing was tightened. This bearing is no longer available and the replacement is less than totally satisfactory in my opinion. The replacement is 2mm narrower (27mm), requiring two, 2mm thick spacers, and has a one piece centre race with no scope to preload the bearing.

The output shafts and bearing housings from an S2 XJ6 are interchangeable with the E Type parts and have opposing taper roller bearing where the correct setting is facilitated.



Stock rotors have holes to access the bolts for the hub, but they don’t help with the safety wiring.

Torrington made excellent double spherical roller bearings : anything there that’d work?

Ah, thanks Bill. My experience is mainly with the 3.8E-Types but I guess I’ve come across the crush spacers on the later sedans.

However, there does seem to be some confusion regarding these output shafts. For instance, Barratt’s catalogue that I have only shows the types with the integral flange, whereas the 4.2 Jaguar Parts List (J.37) clearly shows both kinds, integral flange and the separate type I show in my photo.

I was going to say it takes me 60 minutes just to get the car up on the stands.


Hello Terry,
Those that have the holes are of no help in removing the bolts for the Output Shaft flange (I assume that is the part you meant by the hub), until the Half Shafts have been removed. However, once that is done, the whole assembly of Output Shaft, Flange, Brake Caliper and Rotor can be removed as one.

To get to the seal, the flange has to be removed from the Output Shaft and to do that, the brake caliper has to be removed. Accordingly, I’m not sure that there is any advantage in removing the assembly as a whole.



Hi Bill. I think he’s talking about removing the hub, or output shaft assembly while the diff, caliper and rotors are still in the cage and the cage is still attached to the car. My point was only that you would have a difficult to impossible time in removing and replacing the safety wire on the three bolts even if you could access the bolts through the rotor holes.

Three bolts? It’s five bolts on the Salisbury diffs, at least in the XJ’s. The only three bolt arrangement I’m familiar with is the Dana diff, used only one or two years around 1987 because Salisbury was bought out and production got interrupted.

I agree, though, applying safety wire would be a bear.