Pinion splines leaking - advice wanted
So, I've seen lots of threads and info on this, but have a few specific questions on this.
I have discovered the 12 bolt I picked up to put in my '72 is leaking from the pinion splines and coming out around the nut.
I am about to overhaul the rear end and put on new backing plates, axles, wheel studs, axle bearings and wheel seals. As far as I can tell, the 4.10 gear set and posi are in good shape and nice and tight so I wasn't going to mess with the pinion or carrier bearings, and I'll just clean up the rear cover gasket surface and install a new aluminum girdle cover.
I've currently got it sitting on a dolly/stand with the yoke down. It's been sitting that way since last fall after I drained the old nasty fluid out and put in about a quart of new fluid because I specifically wanted to check for a pinion seal leak, and it was fine all winter. In just in the past few days, it started to leak right at the pinion nut, a couple of drops. Definitely coming past the splines - there is fresh gear oil all around the pinion nut, but nothing coming around the outside of the seal.
Now, I know the best way to fix it would be to pull the yoke, put some RTV in the yoke splines (and not on the pinion splines) and then seal it all back up.
Question is - do I have to pull the yoke? Or is it possible to pull the nut and washer and just put some RTV behind the washer?
If I do pull the yoke, should I replace the pinion seal as well while I'm at it? It is not leaking now, and part of me says if it ain't broke, don't fix it, because replacing the seal might lead to a new seal leaking. If I were to pull the yoke and not replace the seal, I would do it super-careful to make sure I didn't mess up the seal (and if I did, then I would replace the seal.)
1972 Chevelle, 454, 2004r, 4.10
1981 Camaro Z28, 355, TH350, 3.73