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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an ancient Egyptian curse I think. One problem fixed and two more appear.

Part of this is me being a dumbass but, regardless of that, the NEW problem is in front of me and I can not avoid it.

While replacing the differential bushings I intended to replace the differential axle seals. Sounds fairly easy but it was the exact opposite.

I tried to remove the seals with my trusty seal remover but they would not budge. After fighting I decided to simply take off the side cover and knock them out.

Well....my differential had other plans. TWO of the bolts sheared off and the part of the cover the bolts passed through fractured (actually it seemed to turn to dust). I have seen this on marine boat engines and looks like galvanic corrosion. The other bolts came off fine. I now need to order a NEW cover. I was able to get the sheared off bolt studs out of he case.

PROBLEM: The side cover has the side axle bearing race pressed into it and there is no real way to get it out. I am sure I can destroy the old cover to get it out, and I may resort to that, but there has to be a way to get the race out.

ANY IDEAS???

On the other side I got the seal out after many attempts but it seems to be the only real way to get the side seal back in is to press it into the side cover. This will risk me destroying that cover also.

Has any one replaced the side bearings on one of these differentials?? I have a press so I can get the bearings off but are there any instructions on the replacement of the bearings? I don't have an issue doing it, I just need to know the pitfalls, and some of the hints.

Please help...I almost have the rear end done!!
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Good news! I got the race out. It was not in very tight.

That is great news for me. I wont have to replace the side bearing.

ONE ISSUE REMAINING: How to drive in the new seals? The outside lip is tall and I dont think I can place a large socket over the seal to drive it in. I have a seal driver set but the same issue, I dont think I can compress the seal without damaging it.

Any ideas???

Photos from differential.
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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1,610 Posts
I like to use large, 3/4" drive sockets (like 1 1/8" or larger) sockets to drive in the lip-seals for diff/trans on these cars. Slowly work the seal into one side of the socket and twist. The seal will conform to the 6/12 sided socket and won't be cut/smashed when you hammer home.

If you do/did replace the side retainer, you will need to reshim it. At the very least, transfer your old shims to the new retainer, but recognize your bearing preload may or may not be within spec.

Also, put a new o-ring on there. Once you let the magic out, those never reseal (especially after 12+ years).
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,780 Posts
^^^^ awesome post

the part about the pre-load is what would have sent me to car-part.com for a used diff.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I may have opened a bees nest with this issue. I ordered two new side covers. They come. With the seals already in place. I will reuse the old races so the bearings should be happy. The preload dies concern me. I will be using the old shims. With today's casting and computer lathing technology I'd have to think the side covers are close to identical but I also understand .02" is not much. Maybe I'll look for a backup differential incase I trashed this one.

I had to go dicking with the **** seals.... Lesson learned.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
I may have opened a bees nest with this issue. I ordered two new side covers. They come. With the seals already in place. I will reuse the old races so the bearings should be happy. The preload dies concern me. I will be using the old shims. With today's casting and computer lathing technology I'd have to think the side covers are close to identical but I also understand .02" is not much. Maybe I'll look for a backup differential incase I trashed this one.

I had to go dicking with the **** seals.... Lesson learned.
Subaru Rear diffs are very robust and if you pay attention to retain the same clearances - whatever parts affect it - you've got a good chance of no issues. I've resealed some, swapped chunks and have had no issues, i'ts fairly common really and no one is blowing up rear diffs. The other good news is generally speaking rear diffs don't catastrophically fail, you'll start getting some symptoms like noise if there were problems, though good chance you won't have any.

For the same reasons I'd be looking at used diffs as well. They're nearly worthless because they never fail and there's zero demand. But for some reason they're also not listed as frequently as other parts and tend to be listed for high prices sometimes, which is odd for a part that will never sell.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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276 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I ordered the new side bearing covers. They come w seals installed.

I will take the old covers and use a dial indicator to see how much difference the thickness of the old vs the new flange faces are. I'm sure they will be balls on close.

I found a replacement differential close to me from car-parts website for $125. That is almost cheap enough just to buy as insurance. They also had a used engine with 90k on it for $1100. That is also a good deal. I'd like to get it and rebuild in for insurance.
 
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