Axle Seal Replacement: 2008 NCV3 3500 DRW

robmurray12

New member
2008 Dodge NCV3 170" WB 3500 DRW

Hello. I had a failing axle seal on my van. After attempts of finding a how-to write-up on both this site and the greater interwebs came back fruitless I decided to do a write-up in case anyone else would like to tackle this job. Very simple with a solid but basic set of tools (no special tools req'd in my case but some by-the-bookers may choose to use some). Took me ~3 hours (most of that cleaning hub casting and wheel flange). If I had to do it again I think I could do it in ~1.5 hours.

Note: This write up is specific to the NCV3 (MY2007+) 3500 DRW axle configuration.

Disclaimer: Methods shown are what worked for me whether right, wrong, or lucky. It is my attempt to show the basic concept/sequence of events. I'm a driveway wrencher with a good set of tools (not many specialty tools i.e. slide hammer, pullers, etc.) but not a trained mechanic.

More experienced wrenchers please feel free to share tips/tricks or call-out any questionable practices I performed.

Note: Depending on gear oil level, gear oil may (probably will) exit the hub/axle when removing the hub. Be prepared with a catch pan for sure. If you wish/need you can perform a complete gear oil change (drain pre hub removal, refill post reassembly). See part 21.

1) Jack and support axle end with failing seal. "Proper" jacking point is at front of leaf spring hanger where there is a saddle for the jack shoe to nest in. I then placed jack stands under the axle tube and let the jack down until it is barely resting on the stands in case of catastrophic jack failure. Don't forget to block tires.

2) Remove both wheels.

3) Remove wheel flange to hub bolts. (6) 19mm. Remove wheel flange.

4) Remove axle shaft flange nuts. (6) 16mm or 5/8". Slide out axle shaft. Place on a clean surface and keep clean for reassembly later.

5) Remove brake caliper to bracket bolts. (2) 24mm. Remove caliper and support being sure not to stress brake/sensor lines.

6) Slide off rotor. Be sure parking brake is released.

7) Remove spindle nuts/washers. In this order: (1) outer spindle nut, (1) lock washer, (1) inner spindle nut, (1) thrust washer, (1) outer hub tapered roller bearing. I used a mallet and broad flat blade screw driver to brake the spindle nuts free, very minor tapping. Be mindful not to gall the nuts if not using a proper spindle nut socket. Place all components on a clean surface and keep clean for reassembly later.

8) Slide hub casting off the spindle.

9) Use a punch and mallet to press out the tone ring on the backside of the hub casting.

10) With the tone ring removed, pry out the failed axle seal being careful not to gall the hub or damage the inner hub tapered roller bearing.

11) Clean all components as needed, I cleaned the tone ring and hub casting. Spindle, inside of hub and both tapered roller bearings shall be free of debris and contaminants! If using de-greasing fluid be careful to not contaminate brake rotor, pads or parking brake shoes/drum. I left the existing gear oil on the tapered roller bearings and inspected for cleanliness of bearings and races.

12) Lightly tap new axle seal into the hub with a mallet so that it is flush with the lip of the race it is pushed into.

13) Re-install the tone ring with a mallet. Make sure alignment is correct and that it seats uniformly. Be careful not to gall, dent or bend the tone ring. This was fairly challenging to get it to seat evenly.

14) Re-install the hub casting onto the spindle with the newly installed axle seal and tone ring. Ensure cleanliness and applicable greasing of spindle, hub casting, bearings and races.

15) Re-install the outer tapered roller bearing, spindle nuts, thrust washer, and lock washer in reverse order outlined in part 7. IMPORTANT: When setting pre-load on the bearing be sure to not over tighten. I set mine so that it spun "freely" considering the size/resistance of the hub and seal drag, but had ZERO PLAY between the hub and the spindle (wiggle/sliding of the hub on the spindle). I tightened slowly until no play was able to be detected. TAKE YOUR TIME AND GET IT RIGHT! Excessive or inadequate bearing pre-load are equally bad. I could not find any spindle nut torque specs or pre-load set parameters.

16) Ensure cleanliness of the axle shaft and coat inside of flange surface with a gasket/sealant product where it mates to the hub casting (this joint is effectively the "seal" on the outside of the hub. This joint and the seal I replaced are responsible for keeping all gear oil in the hub, lubricating the wheel bearings). I used a Permatex Black Silicone Adhesive Sealant.

17) Re-install the axle shaft making sure the splines key into the differential properly. Install the axle shaft flange nuts. (6) 16mm or 5/8". I torqued to 50 ft-lbs (similar to the T1N specs, could not find NCV3 specs).


18) Re-install in order: brake rotor, wheel flange. Install wheel flange/brake rotor bolts. (6) 19mm. I torqued to 150 ft-lbs (similar to the T1N specs, could not find NCV3 specs).

19) Re-install brake caliper with bolts. (2) 24mm. I torqued to 100ft-lbs (similar to the T1N specs, could not find NCV3 specs).

20) Re-install wheels with nuts. (6) 19mm. Torque to 177ft-lbs.

21) Verify proper gear oil level via rubber inspection port on differential cover. Gear oil should be up to the lower rim when the vehicle is on a level surface. I needed to replace approx. 0.3L of Fuchs Titan 80W90 (OEM via Europarts SD) to bring it back to the correct level. If you are electing for a complete gear oil change, capacity is 1.8L (remove plug on passenger side of differential housing and drain).

Pretty simple.

Exploded view of axle assembly attached along with pictures of the steps. Axle exploded view source: 2008 Dodge Sprinter Parts Manual (pdf).

Robert
 

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rjz5400

Member
I REALLY appreciate you writing this up as I haven't found any 3500 how to's either.......


I am looking at doing one or both sides on my 2003 3500 axle.
If anyone knows that the NCV3 and T1N 3500 hubs are the same please chime in and let me know.

Replacing wheel bearings also? worth doing while I'm in there?
 

rjz5400

Member
to answer my own questions

Yes, they are the same, Save one bolt size.

No, mine didn't need replacing but yes it would only be a couple of steps to press out the inners and replace them.

photo upload has beaten me! oh well, I have some photos!!
 
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flb4x4

New member
NCV3 writeup worked for 2006 T1N DRW.

Notes*
-Reiterating that tone ring is indeed reusable if you tap out via two weep holes on hub.
-If your handy with grinder it is doable to makeshift hub nut socket with $11 W1270 2 5/8" 4x4
spindle socket from Oreilys.

Service manual spec. for hub preload:

Tighten inner hub nut to (221ft/lb) while spinning the wheel hub constantly. Turn back inner nut and then tighten until it touches the thrust washer without play. Then tighten 1/8 turn. Install locking plate. Install outer hub nut and tighten to (184ft/lb).

Thank You rjz5400 for writeup.
 

widomski

New member
NCV3 writeup worked for 1999 T1N 412D with some changes:

- It's much easier to leave the wheel flange bolts in and unbolt the caliper with a 13mm, slide out the brake pads, then unbolt the carrier with a 19mm spanner/impact, then remove the wheel flange with a 19mm impact
- All other bolts seem to be the same
- Diff fill port is a 14mm allen key
- No tone ring to worry about since there is no ABS
- Check your axle carefully with your finger for any nicks that stick out as this will stop your bearing from going back in

Thanks for the writeup, I hope that would help any early T1N guys still running around.
 

levedr

Member
2008 Dodge NCV3 170" WB 3500 DRW

Took me ~3 hours (most of that cleaning hub casting and wheel flange). If I had to do it again I think I could do it in ~1.5 hours.

Note: This write up is specific to the NCV3 (MY2007+) 3500 DRW axle configuration.

Pretty simple.

Exploded view of axle assembly attached along with pictures of the steps. Axle exploded view source: 2008 Dodge Sprinter Parts Manual (pdf).

Robert

Pretty interesting. Thanks.
My dealer wants 5.8 hours labor. Warranty will only pay 3.0 (Mitchell rate book).
Dealer told me warranty company would not pay $600 "rack" charge so I had to pay it. Did the dealer not think I would check with the warranty company? This is on top of a "diagnostic" fee of $192.

Maybe I should have you do it since you are experienced and could probably do it it 2 hours or less. I'll even help by removing and replacing the wheels...by my dealers book that.s probably 2 hours in itself!!!
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
A 3500 overview. Thanks goes to Lindenengineering Dennis. :thumbup:
The issues come up from not being prepared with parts AND some special tools!!

The design on the 3500 is a "mini" fully floating axle design just as you would find under a heavy truck or bus its just at a Dinky/Tonka toy downsize.

First is having NEW axle nut lock plates on hand ! (Boy Scout motto here)
Simply put, in about 80% of cases during tear down you will bust off the retention tongues which cannot be used again.

The hub nuts are a crenelated design.
Therefore you need a special peg socket to bust them loose.
Yes you can use a punch at a pinch and hope you won't mar up the crenelated teeth.
I was always taught by (Ex WW2 RN & RAF mechanics) to the right tool so that the next bloke would state a professional "bod" put this back together. (Some habits die hard)

Gaining access to the rear seal.
Once on the bench. the seal is shrouded by the cup style tone ring. It is factory installed onto a machined shoulder by using a special cup placing tool.
Often the tone ring cup is deteriorated to such an extent by rust .Therefore it won't stand any resistance to removal and will often fall apart or seriously distort upon any attempts to remove it.
The removal technique is to use a suitable long punch poked through the hub and engage against a shoulder on the tone cup .
So new tone cups MUST be on hand otherwise the van is VOR'd
Then you can use a punch to carefully re-install the new tight fitting tone ring up but you can distort it. Hence have special cup we made for accurate placing of the tone ring.

Then there's the a seal itself !Easy to remove with a seal extractor or your favorite beating tool .(big old screwdriver??)
Caution behind the seal is a backing oil defection washer.
Often whacked up & then fattened by careless wrenching activity, its often thrown away and therefore found MIA .
So two new backing washer also need to be sourced BEFORE starting the job together with genuine style silicon hub seals and new tone rings.

Seals are best placed using an install cup or placing tool due to its recessed step location shoulder . Hence a BFH won't work in this case!!

Hope that is of help.:cheers:
Dennis
 

lindenengineering

Well-known member
Pretty interesting. Thanks.
My dealer wants 5.8 hours labor. Warranty will only pay 3.0 (Mitchell rate book).
Dealer told me warranty company would not pay $600 "rack" charge so I had to pay it. Did the dealer not think I would check with the warranty company? This is on top of a "diagnostic" fee of $192.

Maybe I should have you do it since you are experienced and could probably do it it 2 hours or less. I'll even help by removing and replacing the wheels...by my dealers book that.s probably 2 hours in itself!!!
I have just seen this last post above !
Its worthy of comment.

Mitchel (owned by Snap On) book times are fairly accurate in spite of claims about other shop systems by members. (I refer to Alldata which is often called Nodata in the trade )

The hours to do that task is fair @ 3 hours.

Now independent warranty companies.
I have a dour overview of these organizations and as a general rule they are made to make you feel good when you purchasing the plan , only to discover that it can be a minefield of qualification and compensation when getting a repair done.

Often they will demand using aftermarket parts over genuine and only cover the bare bones of a repair job leaving you the customer to cover the shortfall with the repair shop.

It can be scary !
Dennis
 

sipma02

Member
NCV3 writeup worked for 2006 T1N DRW.

Notes*
-Reiterating that tone ring is indeed reusable if you tap out via two weep holes on hub.
-If your handy with grinder it is doable to makeshift hub nut socket with $11 W1270 2 5/8" 4x4
spindle socket from Oreilys.

Service manual spec. for hub preload:

Tighten inner hub nut to (221ft/lb) while spinning the wheel hub constantly. Turn back inner nut and then tighten until it touches the thrust washer without play. Then tighten 1/8 turn. Install locking plate. Install outer hub nut and tighten to (184ft/lb).

Thank You rjz5400 for writeup.
Reiterating (for 2006 3500):

– W1270 2 5/8" lock nut remover does work in place of Wrench 9290 specified in the service manual (no modification required, if you're careful!) Or, if you're interested in this, it seems like it might work. Haven't tried it: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sprinter-Rear-Axle-Socket-BS9290/124075224870
– a 4" Plastic PVC bushing + 4 1/4" hole saw works great to drive the tone ring back on. Available from electrical parts supplier.
– You do have to obliterate the lock plate/washer. I dont think it should be reused. There is qty 1. I got it from my local Mercedes dealer in Minneapolis (Sears Mercedes), Dodge part #05103578AA, Merc part #A6673560073.

DIY tone ring driver:
IMG_1411.jpg
IMG_1412.jpg

4 1/4" hole saw to make a hole in 2x6: (4" Plastic PVC bushing is under the wood)
IMG_1413.jpg
 
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