Anyone who works to maintain commercial vehicles knows that properly installed seals are a key to less downtime. For both mechanics and fleet owners, improperly installed seals can mean leaks, frustration, and more time in the shop instead of on the road. Rather than manually pushing a seal into place and hoping for the best, seal installation tools can help ensure that the job is done right the first time, every time.

Whether they’re for drive axles, crankshafts, or front or rear cam shafts, seals often feature an inner lip that has a degree of spring or flexibility. If seal installation doesn’t go smoothly, the metal of the shaft can grab onto the inner lip and compromise the seal. This leads to leaks that can quickly turn into major issues. Addressing a leak is not as simple as just adjusting a seal. Attempting to reposition or reinstall a seal often destroys the part itself. Depending on the placement of the seal, items like a timing belt or driveline may need to be removed simply to work on the seal—adding more downtime to what could otherwise be a fairly straightforward job. So, getting seal installation done correctly is crucial.

You can minimize unnecessary downtime and repair costs by using seal installation tool kits. To use these kits, you first need to match the size of the seal that needs to be installed to the correct installation driver tool. For a successful seal installation, inspect the surface where the new seal will be applied. Clean as much contamination as possible from around the old seal before removal.

Some kits feature an insert tool that guides the seal to the correct position in the driver tool. In kits without insert tools, you will have to manually guide the seal into place on the driver tool. Either way, take care to ensure that the new seal is kept as clean as possible. Oil seals are easily damaged, so it’s a good idea to leave a seal in its packaging until installation. When you’re ready to install, only handle a seal by its outside perimeter.

Once the seal is seated on the driver tool, place the driver tool over the shaft around which the seal is being installed. Take your time when driving the seal into place, ensuring that the seal is fully seated. Then, depending on the kit design, either press firmly on the driver tool, strike the driver tool several times with a dead-blow hammer, or use a screw and bolt to temporarily screw down the driver tool, applying pressure to the seal inside. The installation procedure is now complete. When you remove the driver tool, your seal will be square and installed correctly, without damage.

If you are working on a Dana Spicer® drive axle, Dana offers the Spicer seal installation tool kit, which features insert and driver tools precisely manufactured for a perfect fit on Spicer shafts. The wide variety of Spicer drive axle models found in commercial vehicles over the last 20 years means that making sure you have the right tools to do the job the right way is essential. This kit has you covered for installing input and output seals on a forward drive axle, and the pinion seal on a rear drive axle. A Seal Tool Installation Chart helps to quickly identify which tool to use based on axle model.

The convenient, all-inclusive kit provides a collection of color-coded tools for use on the most common Dana Spicer models. It also includes comprehensive, easy to understand instructions to help you install with confidence. Everything is organized within a lightweight carrying case.

Considering that pinion seals should be checked and possibly replaced whenever servicing a universal joint, this kit could be indispensable in many busy garages. Maintenance recommendations for pinion seals do vary by manufacturer. Yet in most cases, these seals must be replaced when leaks develop. Replacement of the pinion seal requires removal of the driveline, pinion shaft nut and end yoke. Many manufacturers, including Spicer, recommend using a seal installation tool when installing new drive axle seals. Using proper tools and following the related instructions can help avoid personal injury or component damage.

Make your life easier—get every seal installed perfectly and your servicing done right, with a seal installation tool kit. If Dana Spicer® drive axles in your fleet need to be serviced, check out the Spicer seal installation tool kit today.