Manual Transmission Drive Flange Seal Replacement for Vanagon

By Jim Felder

Time: about four hours

Tools: nothing special in a modestly-equipped shop. Assumes you have a

small cheap inertial puller set.


Do one side and then the other. In both cases:


  1. Jack up the first side, chock the other. release the emergency brake

and then put in neutral. You’ll need to lock up either the wheel and

other times turn it (to remove and tighten the CV joint bolts) or the

flange itself (for circlip removal/refitting) at various stages of this



  1. remove the allen-head bolts holding the inner CV joint to the

transmission flange. Clean out first with a small pick, then tap in

allen wrench with a small hammer to ensure seating in the fastener.

Otherwise, you risk rounding out a bolt.


  1. Drop and bag the CV joint for cleanliness. Have some good moly

greasy on hand if it needs repacking.


  1. You’re looking at the flange. Talk a hammer and a sharp tool and

drive it into the plastic plug in the center of the flange and pry out.


  1. Remove the C-clip with two screwdrivers, better a screwdriver and a

hook tool like a spark plug boot remover.


  1. Use a 3-jaw puller to remove the flange.


  1. Remove the two phillips screws that hold the plastic dirt shield to

the transmission.


  1. Clean everything you removed by soaking in gasoline, be sure you get

the spring washer from inside the flange.


Now you can see the seal in it’s aluminum housing.


  1. Use a sharp-pointed tool east and west positions on the seal itself

and punch holes.


  1. Use the screw tool with the puller to screw into the holes you

punched in the seal. There’s a big old ball bearing behind the seal,

don’t worry about it. Keep turning the puller screw into the seal

housing until the pressure of the screw point against the bearing rides

the seal out of its home. When you tighten the puller screw with a

wrench, you’re stopping the screw point against the bearing and riding

the seal up the threads and out of its seat.


  1. Oil up a new seal with transmission grease and tap home with a

stick, dowel or rod about 1/2 inch diameter and about 8 inches long.


  1. Tap flush with seal housing, keeping tapping constant while moving

rod or dowel constantly around seal housing.


  1. Remove soaking parts from gasoline and clean.


  1. Refit plastic dust cover and screws and then refit flange. Protect

with section of 2 x 4 and wail away with hammer until seated.


  1. Refit spring washer cup out (center part the closest to you).


  1. Refit clip ring with two medium flat screwdrivers. The first time

you do this, it will take about ten minutes. The second time, about 30

seconds. There is a technique.


  1. After fitting clip on axle stub, tap clip into place with small

flat punch and hammer to make sure it is seated in the groove against

the pressure of the spring washer.


  1. Tap in new seal, smear joint with RTV adhesive.


  1. Refit CV joint, packing with grease if necessary.


  1. Repeat from step 1 for next side.


  1. Drop shift rod by removing upper and lower 13mm bolts and nuts.


  1. Remove transmission filler plug with 17mm internal socket.


  1. Fill transmission per Bentley.


  1. Replace filler plug.


  1. Lube shift cup and shift bushing with moly grease, replace bad

rubber as necessary.


  1. Rehang rear shift assembly as reverse of removal in step 21.


  1. It’s over