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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I replaced the clutch on my Elise a few thousand miles ago, and I took that opportunity to replace several oil seals, including the trans output shaft seals. I used aftermarket seals made for a Toyota Celica from Advance Auto parts.

Since then, I noticed a leak from the passenger side of the trans where the output shaft comes out. I figured I damaged the seal when putting the axle back into the trans, so I pulled the axle back out and put another new seal in. At that time, I noticed that the old seal appeared to be in perfect shape, but the O shaped spring that runs around the edge of the seal seemed to have popped off of the seal.

I put another new seal in, being careful to make sure I put the axle straight into the trans to avoid popping this spring off. There was no leak for several hundred miles, but now it's leaking again! Could it be that the aftermarket seals are junk and for some reason are susceptible to having this spring come dislodged and cause a leak? Should I try a factory Lotus or Toyota seal?
 

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Not sure if it's relevant because I have never done the transmission shaft seals on the Elise. However I did have the exact same problem on an Esprit and the only thing I seemed to have done wrong was to not use the installation tool. Got the seal setting tool and have never had one leak since. Multiple best efforts without the tool always ended in leaks. May be the same for the Elise.
 

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I had the same problem on my Esprit having to replace the passenger side transmission half shaft seal on an annual basis. Finally the problem was found, it was some raised metal in the housing where the seal fits. Check it out with your finger and if you feel any raised metal then that is the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good recommendations, thanks.

Does the seal setting tool press the seal in to a precise depth rather than all the way into the bore? I have just been putting mine in all the way until it stops.

Also by raised metal, do you mean on the side of the bore where the seal sets, or at the end of the bore? (Which would cause the seal to not set square in the bore if you did push it all the way in?)
 

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Check the side of the bore where the seal sits for raised metal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When I was replacing the seal the second time, I noticed some very very small burrs of metal on the inside of the bore where the seal goes. They were so small I just shaved them off with a razor blade. There's certainly nothing big enough to deform the seal to the point where that spring would pop off. And I've confirmed that the leak is between the seal and the axle, not between the seal and the bore it goes into.

Using the seal install tool is a thought, but I just don't see the difference it would make unless it seats it in the bore at some specific depth other than completely down in the bore. The seal is coated with rubber on the outside, and it's extremely easy to push in and out of the bore, even by hand. Like I said, I got the old seal out with a seal puller without even damaging it.

Maybe I just need to try a true factory Toyota/Lotus seal? Maybe the spring is a little tighter compared to aftermarket? :shrug:
 

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When I was replacing the seal the second time, I noticed some very very small burrs of metal on the inside of the bore where the seal goes. They were so small I just shaved them off with a razor blade. There's certainly nothing big enough to deform the seal to the point where that spring would pop off. And I've confirmed that the leak is between the seal and the axle, not between the seal and the bore it goes into.

Using the seal install tool is a thought, but I just don't see the difference it would make unless it seats it in the bore at some specific depth other than completely down in the bore. The seal is coated with rubber on the outside, and it's extremely easy to push in and out of the bore, even by hand. Like I said, I got the old seal out with a seal puller without even damaging it.

Maybe I just need to try a true factory Toyota/Lotus seal? Maybe the spring is a little tighter compared to aftermarket? :shrug:
I replaced one that was leaking on my car with the OE; no issues after that.
 

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The seal is coated with rubber on the outside, and it's extremely easy to push in and out of the bore, even by hand.
I have a feeling that's the problem. I just replaced both seals with Toyota parts and they needed to be driven in. They went in easy, but definitely couldn't go in by hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Were they rubber coated on the outside? I attempted to order a Toyota seal at a dealer today. I told the parts guy to order one for a 2003 Celica, but he stumped me when he asked for a build date of the car. Apparently there are two possible seals.

Do you have the Toyota part numbers? I didn't want to tell the parts guy that it was actually for a Lotus, because I knew he would immediately just give me a blank stare and tell me they didn't have any parts to fit a Lotus.
 

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Yes, the steel core is coated inside and out with the brown "rubber" material.

I think I threw away the little bags they came in, so I can't check those #s. I ordered them from Monkeywrench as part of a larger order. From their website, left side is 90311-35064 and right side is 90311-35065.

When ordering 2zz parts from a Toyota dealer, tell the desk it's for a 2005 Celica GTS. That's how I spec'ed a new left axle circlip. (Don't reuse your old one).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Whoops, too late on the circlip, but nothing too bad seems to have happened as a result of re-using it.

Anyway, I'm glad that you mentioned Monkeywrench had them. They are only about 30min. from my house (well, 45min in rush hour traffic. :mad: )

I got a new factory seal from them today, and this mystery seems to be quickly unraveling.

Comparing the factory one to the first failed aftermarket one, I can clearly see that the lip that holds that spring in place is much beefier on the factory seal. The dust boot on the outside of the seal is much bigger too, but that spring lip being so much bigger definitely looks like it will make the difference.

I'll take some photos, but the factory seal looks like it will work a lot better.
 
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