1981 CJ7 Restoration - 2020.04.09

I was texting with a friend of mine last night who convinced me not to give up on the front bearing cap of the manual transmission. Basically, "sack up" and get the job done right! He is right - when I get this thing all back together, the one leak will be the seal I skipped because I got intimidated. Leaving a 14+ year old seal in place is not a good idea.

Noting before how I couldn't get any of my 13mm sockets into the recesses around the bolt head, I took one of the sockets and ground it down with a metal grinding wheel on the angle grinder. I almost took it too far, but this is what I ended up with. Not very pretty, but 100% functional.

Now I have a thin-walled 13mm socket.

Now it was time to get back to the 4 bolts that hold the front bearing cap on. The hack job modification of the socket worked out great. I was able to get all 4 bolts off with no problem at all. A light tap, then the bearing cap came off.

Rather easy if you have a socket that fits properly.

Once I had the bearing cap off, it took me a while to figure out how to get the dang oil seal out. It was installed with the flat side out and garter spring side facing in, which is correct, but how the heck does one get the seal out? There was no place from the other side to tap it out with a punch, so I tried a seal puller - no good, it just ripped the rubber part off.

I got a small thin flathead screwdriver and tapped it in under the bottom of the seal, then worked it all the way around until I could get enough of a gap to try the seal puller again - success.

Next, I tapped the new seal into place using a small punch. I think this will work out fine. Oiled the seal to keep it from being damaged during reinstallation.

Front oil seal replacement.

The front oil seal replacement took some time, but I decided to keep going and secure the new gasket with RTV silicone sealer. Many mechanics skip the paper gasket and just use RTV, but I created a metal-RTV-paper gasket-RTV-metal sandwich. Hopefully it was the right move.

RTV and new gasket installed, then bearing cap back on the transmission.

Next, the shift fork inserts. The inserts that were on the shift forks were green. I replaced them with new one and they are white. They look old and dirty, but they are new - just got stained from oil residue.

New shift fork inserts installed.

Last thing for today, the rear oil seal, which links up with the input shaft of the transfer case. I was able to very easily pop this out from the other side using a punch, then tapped in the new oil seal using a hammer and a 46mm socket. Everything worked out great - time will tell.

New rear oil seal installed.

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