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Rear Grease Seal Replacement

If you find that your Volkswagen is pulling to one side and not stopping very well you may have a rear grease seal leaking. This is usually pretty obvious if you look at the back of the rear brake drum. When the rear seal leaks it will usually ruin the rear brake shoes and get grease inside the brake drum. We have already shown you how to correct the brake problem and remove the rear drum in the Brake Maintenance tech article. So we will move right onto replacing the faulty seal.


On most of the Bugs the seal is easy to access once the drum and brake shoes are out of the way.

To begin with pry the center spacer out with a screwdriver.
Then you can slide it down the axle and set it aside. On the swing axle bugs some grease may began to pour out so put a pan underneath the axle.
Now you will need a sharp medium sized punch.
You can remove the seal by punching between the seal and the bearing carrier.
Once you have opened up a space you can pry the seal out with a screwdriver.
Remove the old seal and set aside now you will see an o ring and a spacer against the bearing.
You can pry these out again with a screwdriver.
Once these have been removed then you can clean off the bearing surface and the axle with a clean rag.
The rear axle seal will usually come in a kit with o rings and new spacers. Slide the new spacer against the bearing.
Now install the new O-ring. You can get it wet with a little oil to make it slide down the axle easily and be sure it doesn't wrinkle.
Now put the seal over the axle and put it into place.
It can be tapped on into place with a hammer if done evenly.
Or you can make a tool out of a short piece of pipe, a cap, and a base. You can slide it over the axle and tap the seal into place with just a couple of taps of the hammer.
When you replaced the center spacer be sure to put the beveled edge in toward the o ring.
Now you are ready to replace the brakes and torque the drum back on.

On the last few years of the swing axle models the bearing and seal holder has to be removed from the backing plate. Place the unit in a vice. Now pry the seal out with a large screwdriver. You'll find a spacer in the bottom of the unit. Either clean it or replace it. After cleaning the unit put a new seal into place. You can now use the old seal and a piece of wood to press the new seal all the way into place. Put them together and squeeze them tightly in a vice. Now you can throw away the old seal and glue the new gasket to the outside of the unit. On this model there is a large O-ring on the outside of the bearing as well as the spacer and small O-ring on the axle. Now placed the thick spacer back into the seal so that the doubled edged will be facing the small O-ring when you slide it over the axle. Place it over the axle with the small drain hole down. Bolt it back into place and torque the rear brake drum on. All that is left is to top up the transmission with grease. This whole operation can be seen on Bug Me Video Volume 4.

Rick Higgins and Crew
Bug Me Video, Inc

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