Land Rover LR3 (2005 Model Year) Front Differential Pinion Seal Replacement
I wrote up a nice PDF with images inserted, but the site wouldn't let me upload it (file size issue). I attached the pics so that you can see what is described below. Good luck!
Below is a set of photos and instructions that I put together after doing this replacement. It’s a fairly straightforward project – and can be done within about 4 hours with a little help (yes, you need someone to help you with this). Some of the parts are heavy, and there is lots of opportunity to pinch your fingers, get dirt in your eye, have your car fall on you, etc… so use proper safety gear (glasses, gloves, jackstands, etc…) and the normal safety precautions, as you would any time you work on your car. And last but not least, I’m not a Land Rover tech, I’m just a meticulous guy that likes to work on cars and save a little cash in the process – if you do this repair and something goes wrong, you can rest assured that I claim no responsibility. With that in mind, have fun & put the money you save towards some nice off-road kit for your Rover!
Dealer Price for replacement: $400+
Dealer Parts Cost: $30 (est. – this was for the seal only).
• 32mm Socket
• ½” Driver breaker bar (REQUIRED to loosen pinion nut!)
• 6” extension for E10 inverse torx socket
• Air ratchet (this helps immeasurably when removing drive shaft bolts)
• 3-Jaw Puller (must have for removing pinion drive fitting)
• E10 Inverse Torx Socket (also helps to have 5/16 or ¼” 12-point box-end wrench)
• 15mm Socket
• Tire Lug Wrench
• Floor Jack
• 5# hammer/mallet
• 2.5” ID / 3” OD cylinder for setting the new seal (you may be able to carefully use a block of wood…but having something this size will help quite a bit!)
• 8mm Allen Socket
• 75W90 Synthetic gear oil(1 quart)
1. Get the truck in off-road mode and up on the ramps so you have some room to work…
2. Start by removing the shields under the engine – and then identify the 6 bolts where the front driveshaft attaches to the differential.
3. Using the torx bit, and the 6” extension, put your socket behind the cross-member in the frame and break each one loose. You can jack up the driver’s side of the truck (front and rear wheels up) and use your foot to rotate the tire, which in turn rotates the front drive shaft. This will help to position the nuts at the 6-o’clock position so they are easy to reach. You have to hold the socket securely on the bolt, as it tends to slip off easily. If you can’t get it loose, I had some luck using the box-end of a 12-point ¼ or 5/16 wrench (I can’t remember which one fit)…and a BFH. Give it a few sharp ‘raps’ and it will come loose. After the 6 bolts are removed, we can move onto getting the differential angled down for seal removal. This is REQUIRED, unfortunately, but don’t fret, it’s not that tough.
4. Remove the longitudinal cross-member under the differential. There are 4 bolts on it, 15mm I believe. It should come out very easily.
5. Next remove the bolt on the front of the differential…it is under the center of the engine, and the head of the bolt is on the passenger side of the truck. It’s about 6” long, FYI. I don’t have a pic of this one…sorry.
6. Finally, remove the 3 big bolts behind the driver’s side tire. You can reach them from below the truck or from the wheel-well. The wheel-well is a great access spot. You can see the three slotted holes in the pic below.
8. Now that all of that is removed, you can see the differential sort of ‘hangs’ in the chassis. This is key, as you can now pry the differential forwards, and lift the driveshaft over the input. If the driveshaft is still stuck…give it a sharp blow with a hammer and it should break loose. DO NOT BEND THE SHEETMETAL COVER – ONLY HIT THE ‘RUSTY’ STEEL PART.
9. You are trying to get it to look like the pic below – notice the pinion shaft is below the cross-member of the frame, and the driveshaft is above it still. (in this pic I had already pulled the fixture on the end of the pinion shaft, I just wanted to use this pic to show the angle of the differential.
11. Next up, pull the flange off of the pinion shaft. You will NEED a 3-jaw puller. They are cheap, and available at most auto-part stores…
13. Crank it down, and hopefully this will happen!
15. Clean up the parts, let the oil drain out, and get ready to put in your new seal… You can see where the seal rides in the pic below.
17. Here you can see what I used to push in the new seal. Somehow I just happened to have this part laying on my bench. Lucky.
18. Hammer the new seal (carefully) into the differential housing. Make sure it is perfectly evenly seated all the way around.
19. I put some form-a-gasket on the inside of the flange to seal up the splines. It looked like the factory had done the same. I’m not sure if this is required, but I did not want any leaks. I then used a rubber mallet to seat the flange on the pinion again – at least until I could get the pinion nut started. I did not re-use the stamped-steel nut holder that was over the nut from the factory. I believe this was just to hold the nut in the part for easy assembly at the factory.
20. Reverse the disassembly instructions above. Make sure everything is TIGHT!
21. From the driver’s side wheel-well, pull out the small allen-plug from the side of the differential (8mm) and fill-to-level with 75W90 Synthetic gear oil.
22. Bolt your tire back on and you are finished!