BEARING SAVER (or axle saver if you'd rather)

      My tow van failed state inspection the other day because of a leaky rear axle seal.  Not something I wanted to pay $400+ to have a shop fix when a rear seal is only $4.  so I decided to tackle it myself.  Not a complex job either.  Drain the center, pull the tires, drums, pin from the diff, c-clips and slide the axles out.  Well, surprise, surprise. A damaged axle.  I had heard of a bearing called a "BEARING SAVER" from one of those TV shows.  Probably Shadetree Mechanic.  Could that device keep me from replacing the axle?

I pulled out this axle.  Can you  see the damaged portion?  I knew you could.  There were flakes of metal all around the bearing.

To use the saver, just polish the crud off the axle with some emery cloth in the area where the seal normally rides.  This is actually a very wide area.

This is the original setup.  The seal takes up a good portion of the room, putting the bearing inside. A slide hammer will remove the two pieces.
Here is the outside view of the NAPA Bearing Saver.  I'd call it a axle saver myself.  You don't have to replace the axle.  You do have to replace the bearing with this new one.  But then its easier to find in their parts book when called a Bearing Saver.  This device is an integrated bearing/seal assembly.

For my application, the NAPA part number is R1556.  Total damage for this puppy, a reasonable $34.16.

An inside view of the saver. 

After installation, the Saver will protrude about 1/16 inch from the end of the axle tube compared with the original that is recessed.  The Saver moves the bearing out to the area previously used by the seal.

The integrated seal is a bit thinner and only has one lip on the inner edge.