3 weeks ago, I heard a loud ticking coming from the rear of my jeep heading up the hill to our house. Upon inspection when I got home, there was fluid leaking out of the drum. Thinking it was probably the brakes/cylander (which I had been meaning to replace soon anyway), I gathered my tools and went to work.
Instead, after pulling off the outer hub, we noticed the fluid coming from around the axle/axle tube and the axle itself could wiggle up/down/left/right. I'd never done a bearing replacement before, but figured hey... couldn't be THAT hard. We grabbed a chilton manual and after 3 days, finally had everything disassembled (mainly because we didn't have the right tools & had to work around my job). Figured we'd replace the brakes since we had everything apart anyways, and grabbed everything from the local parts stores (pep boys/kragen/etc).
The bearing I was sold was an aftermarket with the seal built-in, and meant to put the new bearings in contact with a different area on the axle shaft. The directions it came with also said it would stick out of the axle tube about 1/4". Get everything back together by Sunday afternoon, fluid filled, test drive. So far, so good.
Fast-forward to Thursday... puddle under my tire at work. Checked brake lines again, nope... more differential fluid. Drove on it because it was late and I had work the next day. After work, went and rented all the tools we'd need that I didn't have, and bought parts direct from the Jeep dealer. Figured maybe the aftermarket part just wasn't quite right. Spent about 2-hrs Friday night pulling it apart (went quicker with all the right tools and knowing how everything fits together). Put back together Saturday. Again, test drive seemed fine.
Just over 1-week goes by, and I've got a puddle... again... yay... Took the tire & hub off, confirmed axle tube leaks for the 3rd time. Also, same slop that was present the first time. And now that I'm listening for it, I hear a slight tick when I'm coasting (can't hear it above the engine noise if I'm on the gas).
I really don't want to replace the axle bearing & seal again just to have it blow a week later, so what's next? New axle with a new bearing & seal? Maybe I missed some crucial step that isn't in any book or how-to guide for replacing axle bearings? If I DO need to replace the axle, do I have to do both sides or can I just replace the axle on the side that's having problems? (Don't really want to tear apart the other side since it seems to be operating fine... and at this moment, have no faith that this repair is going to work.)
Any Help/Guidance/Advice would be greatly appreciated... and if you're in the Sonoma County area (I'm new up here so don't know any fellow jeepers yet!) and not doing anything this weekend - drinks are on me if you can help fix the problem.
Make/Model: 1993 Jeep Wrangler YJ
Engine: 4.0 6-Cyl
Rear Diff: Dana 35
Axle Style: C-clip, Non-ABS
No major modifications that I'm aware of.