80 Series Landcruiser Diff Replacement

Submitted: Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 13:04
ThreadID: 105378 Views:7733 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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I've got a bit of a dilemma. My once trusty 1996 Landcruiser GXL is now getting a bit long in the tooth and is in need of a few repairs. In the past I haven't thought twice about this and have just fixed what needed to be fixed, no matter the cost. That said, not much has gone wrong with her.

Now my rear axle seals seem to have gone and have drowned my rear brakes with gear oil. Also my handbrake is cactus and would need a new drum etc. Rather than just replace the rear seals I was thinking of buying a whole rear axle/diff and removing and replacing. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Is it a big job? Also, I have my eye on a replacement rear axle/diff that is LSD. I'm not sure if my original one is. Will this matter?

Any help or advice much appreciated!! Thanks in advance!

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Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 13:30

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 13:30
Hullo HP

I would suggest you have a look at www.LCOOL.org, the Land Cruiser owners group.
It is free to join and they are a most helpful group of (mostly) guys.
There are resources such as reports, instructions, help with diagnosis, as well as a large number of archived topics covering every conceivable aspect of ownership.

As to the question of a LSD diff, the general consensus seem to be that Toyota are yet to make one that works for any length of time. I took the option of putting an Eaton E-locker in the rear and a proper (and excellent) Detroit LSD in the front.

BTW, I was surprised at the relatively low cost of (genuine) replacement rear drums/discs for my 80 series

AnswerID: 522594

Follow Up By: Ross M - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 14:54

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 14:54
Also check your diff breather to ensure it is free and will vent the expansion of air pressure in the axle housing.
If the seals are a bit worn and the breather is blocked it will definitely push gear oil out to the hubs and brake drums each time it warms up as you drive.
FollowupID: 803675

Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 20:26

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 20:26
Hi. It is quite a long, heavy job but if you have a bit of mechanical experience it is achievable. When you say your hand brake drum needs replacing, do you mean a tailshaft handbrake or drums in the centre of the rear discs. If it is the latter then I think I would look seriously at replacing the diff assembly as the handbrake assemblies can get a bit expensive if, as you say, they are saturated in diff oil.
As others have said, the Toyota LSD's are not much better than a standard diff at the best of times. Cheers, Bob.
AnswerID: 522622

Reply By: Work2Travel - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 22:21

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 22:21
Hi Hermanpeckel,
I would not replace the whole rear axle assembly to fix an oil leak. Replaceing the rear axle seals is a really easy job, and if that does not stop the oil coming out of where you say it is, then the actual axles themselves may have a groove in them where the sealing surface runs on them. If thats the case, then the axles can be easily replaced. As for your hand brake, on the 80s you need to stay on top of it, adjusting at the rear wheels is fairly straight forward, and if that does not work you may need new shoes/pads or drums. But, again not a reason to replace your whole rear axle assembly.
Chances are the assembly you have your eye on has leaking axle seals and dodgy hand brake, they are very common problems on the 80s but both are fixable.
AnswerID: 522630

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 23:01

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 23:01

I'm with Work2Travel here. Have checked some prices tonight, and here's what I found.

Axle seals - $9 each
Handbrake shoes - $45
New discs - $170 pair
Disc pads(Bendix) - $75/set
These prices are from Onlineautoparts website - good, prompt service too.

Axle seals will wear out rapidly if the wheel bearings aren't kept adjusted regularly. You'll need some good degreaser too, to clean all the parts that you want to reuse.


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Reply By: hermanpeckel - Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 22:36

Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 at 22:36
Brilliant! Guys, thanks for your replies. It's been a while since I have dabbled in repairing my own car. That said, in the past, I had a LOT of experience. I owned a Ford Bronco and that kept me busy.

I'd be over the moon if it was just breather holes! I'll check that first! Thanks! If not, I guess I'll go with replacing the seals, then the drums at a later date.

Anyone have any good options for a workshop manual?


PS Thanks all for your input. It really is appreciated!!
AnswerID: 522632

Follow Up By: hermanpeckel - Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 12:39

Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 12:39
Champion!! Thanks Bob!
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 21:41

Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 21:41

After doing both front and rear hubs for close to 30 years, I finally made up the tool shown in photo a year or two ago. Makes tightening/loosening the rear "nut" a lot easier.

Also the point about the cone washers is a good one. May I suggest you get a copper hammer, if you or the mate hasn't one, and when hitting the studs, with restraint!!!!, keep the nuts on a bit, so the cone washers don't disappear into the depths of your shed. Or even further afield.

Finally, the rear is easier to do than the front, but take note of the way the lockwasher and "nut" mate up, before you've covered everything in grease. And where the lockscrews go too.

If you need some advice on adjusting the handbrake, Lcool has it covered, or we can give you a quick precise on it!

Have fun,


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Reply By: hermanpeckel - Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 14:35

Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 14:35
Thanks again guys! I'm now psyched up to do this. I've got a mate with some good tools on hand and a good spot to do it. I've also downloaded the repair manual from Offroad 80's. Top stuff!

One (hopefully) last question - how do I work out whether my diff is full-floating or semi-floating?
AnswerID: 522665

Follow Up By: Work2Travel - Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 18:39

Friday, Dec 06, 2013 at 18:39
Hi Again Hermanpeckel,
That model 80 series has full floating axles in the rear of the vehicle. Good luck and have fun. The hardest part about doing the rear axle seals for the first time is removing the cone washers. Once you have done it once, its easy, but the first time can be a bit of a challenge.
FollowupID: 803804

Reply By: hermanpeckel - Thursday, Dec 12, 2013 at 09:24

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013 at 09:24

Thanks to your encouragement and advice, I am now primed and ready to tackle Operation Landcruiser this weekend. I've booked a spot at a mates place and I've gone nuts on onlineautoparts (thanks Bob!!).

I also figured that if I'm going to do it, I may as well do it once and do it properly. So the plan is to replace the wheel bearings and seals, and also the disc rotors and handbrake shoes. I've got me a copy of the service manual and I am fairly confident.

My question - does anyone have any advice or things to watch out for when replacing the handbrake shoes? From what I've read from the manual it looks fairly involved and fiddly.

Thanks again!
AnswerID: 522934

Reply By: hermanpeckel - Tuesday, Jan 07, 2014 at 11:29

Tuesday, Jan 07, 2014 at 11:29
Hmmmm... seems like I royally stuffed this up! I'm not sure what I've done wrong but now I notice a distinct wobble in one of the back wheels after replacing the bearing and seals.

Does anyone have any idea of what this might be? I'm pretty sure I seated the bearing races in correctly, although I didn't use a press I used a punch (gently and gradually).

Also, I only half did one side as I ran out of time. When I went to finish it off over the weekend I noticed that I'd stripped the thread on two of the axle bolts. Does anyone know if these easily replaced?

Thanks for your help!!!
AnswerID: 524028

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