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 Rear axel seals leaking on 61 beetle 
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Post Rear axel seals leaking on 61 beetle
OK so I finally got around to replacing the starter an the 61 ragtop and while I'm under the car I notice both rear axels are leaking gear oil down the inside of the wheels. Doing a bit of research on the replacement of the rear seals and it appears that some people are of the opinion the metal washer of some replacement kits is of inferior metal and bends when the castle nut is torqued down causing it to chew up the small o ring. Their advice is to leave the washer out of the install. The replacement seals I got are from WW and the metal washers seem to be stout and of good quality. Can anyone shed any light on whether to leave the washers out? Can't see why VW would have put them in in the first place if they didn't serve a purpose.


Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:45 pm
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Post Re: Rear axel seals leaking on 61 beetle
I just replaced the rear seals on mine and left the metal washer ones out. Everything looks great and is working fine.

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Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:40 am
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Post Re: Rear axel seals leaking on 61 beetle
all I can tell ya is that the axle seal kits are "universal" and you'll have a lot of leftover parts that aren't used in your particular application.. I'd be checking the "blue book" and use only - and all - parts they prescribe for your year.

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:02 am
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Post Re: Rear axel seals leaking on 61 beetle
Howdy Dana,

Brian's advice above is on the money! The kits have all the parts for several types of axles (Type 1, Type 3,), and you may not need a piece or two for your application. The Bentley workshop manual for your particular era of Beetle will show you an exploded diagram of the axle part and the kit pieces you'll use. Be sure to torque the axle nut when finished to the proper torque value (at least 217 ft. lbs.) also, too little and the seals can leak and mess up your brakes... If you don't have a torque wrench (I don't have one either... yet) that reads that high, there is a cheater method that I can coach you on that will work fine. You have 36mm axle nuts, correct?

Bill Bowman


Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:40 am
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Post Re: Rear axel seals leaking on 61 beetle
Thanks Bill,

All wrapped up with both sides and they are currently both staying dry. I have a really large torque wrench at the quarry we use on equipment repairs that works great for those axel nuts. The 61 is back on the road again! New gas tank, rebuilt the carb, and a valve adjustment and she is running again. With the new starter, she is starting strong and consistent which was her biggest problem in the past. Her Wednesday trip out of the garage was her first in over a year! Really nice to be driving her again.


Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:58 pm
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