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Old 02-27-2006, 08:38 AM   #1
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Exclamation Differential oil leaking from the breather. How much is too much?

Hello all.

It always seems the first post in a new forum is a cry for help.

So that being said, I have a 1998 4WD 5SPD 4 Runner that is experiencing some minor front differential concerns.

A little history:
~4wks ago I had the oil in both differentials flushed.
Friday night I was stuck in a couple hours of stop-n-go (and long idle) traffic.
This morning I noticed the smell if differential fluid when I pulled into the driveway. I climbed under the truck and noticed that there was a "fair" bit along the front of the transfer case and that side of the engine. Come to find out that it appears that 100% of it came through the breather from the front differential.
No obvious change in gas mileage, strange noises, shifting, etc.

Exactly how much as blown out, I have no idea. Just enough to collect in those areas, but not enough to cause any puddles. I plan on cleaning the truck off and giving it a look over to see if it's still coming out.

Is there any way to tell how much has leaked out?
And how concerned should I be?
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Old 02-27-2006, 08:46 AM   #2
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lol this is exactly what i asked yesterday welcome to the board. btw
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Old 02-27-2006, 08:49 AM   #3
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Maybe I should just watch your thread. I haven't had time to look through new posts in the past 4-5 days.
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Old 02-27-2006, 08:53 AM   #4
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Well I would be concerned at any fluid that is leaking out. The shop could have over filled it and that breather is doing its job and letting the expanded fluid out, or something could really be wrong. The best way to check your level is to park on flat ground, open the fill plug and have a look/feel. The fluid should be level with the bottom of the fill hole. Or if you want don't clean it and take it back to the shop that did the flush/fill and have them look at it. Since it didn't leak before the flush, I would bet they put to much in, but be safe and check it.
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Old 02-27-2006, 12:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 599er
Maybe I should just watch your thread. I haven't had time to look through new posts in the past 4-5 days.

i honestly dont care whos thread lol but as long as we get the answers we are looking for. I checkd mine again today and maybe its the cold but it shimmers of possible gear oil left over from 2 days ago when i cleaned my wires from the breather all the way attached to my steering rack. Since it doesnt look red and smells like gear oil more than power steering fluid. I am hopeing.

http://www.yotatech.com/showthread.p...+breather+leak
http://www.yotatech.com/showthread.p...+breather+leak

these kinda make me feel better. but good luck with yours
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:17 PM   #6
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More observations:

Before I left work this afternoon, I wrapped a piece of paper towl around the edge of the breather tube to give me an idea as to if any more fluid would escape while I drove home. 19mi home, with most of that being interstate didn't yield any fluid leaking out of the breather.

Undaunted, I got ballsy enough to engage 4WD and drive around the nighborhood for a mile or two and it didn't produce any more leakage.

The oil appears as if it were regular engine oil, but is thicker and has that differential oil smell. Unfortunately, I don't have any level ground at my place to check it out. I believe I'll change clothes, take it down to the wash and give it a good blast to remove the current oil and watch it closely afterwards.

I've resolved it could be one of three things:
1. It was overfilled.
2. Maybe it's not the right kind of oil?
3. There is water in the front differential?

I'm hoping it's #1. Stay tuned and I suppose we'll find out.
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:38 PM   #7
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after today i have confirmed that i am leaking from the dust boot on the control valve. question is i would need to buy some new tools to do that seal on the inside i think. wouldnt it be worth it more if i just bought a remanufactured rack at $290 instead of $85 on the seals and tools ? I guess the oil coming from the front was gear oil that came out of my breather which was clogged. what do you guys think?
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Old 02-28-2006, 04:03 PM   #8
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And an update on mine...

Washed my truck yesterday evening. The smell lingers (gag) but still no signs of continued leakage. Won't get a chance to crack it until this weekend.
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Old 03-06-2006, 03:21 AM   #9
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Another update...

So for the past couple of days there hasn't been much of anything happening with the front differential. However, the past couple of days the girlfriend and I have been doing some house shopping and I noticed the smell of diff fluid again. Crawled under the truck at a friends house and I found more fluid. Not as much as the first time, but it's in the same place.

Either Toyota SERIOUSLY overfilled the front differential, or I've got other plans. If the rain knocks off today I'll crawl back under it and see if I can figure out what the hell the problem is.
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Old 03-09-2006, 02:16 PM   #10
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Another update...

Removed the skid plate and crawled up under the truck to determine what was going on with the front differential. Determined that the leak is actually quite small, but at the elbow coming out of the front differential. It's hard to tell, but there might be a crack in the hose at that point.

Unfortunately, I didn't have an allen wrench of the correct size to open up the front differential to check to see if it was overfilled or not. It'll have to wait until I can pick one up and crawl back under there and check...
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Old 03-17-2006, 03:42 AM   #11
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Yet another update...

I finally made an opportunity to look at it closer. Here is what I know:

1. The front differential is not overheating. After driving it 30mi, I pulled the skid plate off and could immediately work on the differential without burning my hand, etc. Of course, the oil pan is hot!
2. The front differential is not overfilled. I removed the fill plug and wasn't greeted by oil in the face. I inserted a finger (kinky) into the hole and the oil is just level with the plug.
3. There isn't any water in the differential. Or, I'm assuming not, since I would think water would actually float on 90wt oil.
4. The fluid is still very much in good shape -- I had the front differential flushed (NO PROBLEMS PRIOR) < 3k ago.
5. An unknown (enough to smell when outside the truck and the engine is hot) amount of differential fluid continues to leak out of the breather extension semi-regularly. Some days I can smell (and see) it. Others I can't. No change in driving patterns or distances.

PLEASE HELP!

I'm absolutely stumped and don't particularly want to grenade my front end.

The only thing left I think I can do is completely flush the oil in it and replace with what I KNOW to be the correct oil. I don't know how many different types of differential oil there are -- but it's definately gear oil (smells it). Could the wrong weight oil cause these problems?
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Old 03-17-2006, 02:41 PM   #12
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:45 AM   #13
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I have a similar problem with my rear. I have leakage through my ARB compressor. Yea thats right. My extended breather was not working causing the backup of pressure which sent fluid through the air line up to the compressor. I called ARB and evendently they have had numerous calls about this. Their solution is to remove the extended breather and run it "open". This worked for a little bit then I noticed that the line was cracked right at the housing fitting but no fluid was comming out which tells me that my fitting is clogged causing the fluid to come out of the compressor. Once I get my household goods I will fix it. I just need to make sure that my diff level is good. Hope this helps!!
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Old 02-08-2007, 01:07 PM   #14
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Subscribing as I just noticed my '99 is leaking from the front breather as well.
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:30 PM   #15
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me too, i will def. keep an eye on this thread
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:57 PM   #16
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I didn't take the time to read anything except for the very first post. If your diff breather is leaking out gear oil than it was over filled. There is a plug in your front IFS similar to the plug in your rear diff that you can take off to fill your diff. Take both of those plugs out and and if fluid drains out than that's alright just let it drain until it stops. Your diffs should only be filled up to those plugs no higher other wise it comes out of the breather. Hope that made since.
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Old 02-08-2007, 03:06 PM   #17
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I didn't take the time to read anything except for the very first post. If your diff breather is leaking out gear oil than it was over filled. There is a plug in your front IFS similar to the plug in your rear diff that you can take off to fill your diff. Take both of those plugs out and and if fluid drains out than that's alright just let it drain until it stops. Your diffs should only be filled up to those plugs no higher other wise it comes out of the breather. Hope that made since.
that's what i have suspected in my case all along, however its been just TOO COLD to work on the runner outside...I changed my oil last week and that was a baddd mistake
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Old 02-09-2007, 12:42 PM   #18
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Cool well good luck with it. It shouldn't really hurt anything.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:40 PM   #19
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Thumbs down leaky front diff breather hose

I have a 2001 tacoma and the same thing is happening, leaking out the breather hose. I had to add some gear oil because it was starting to make noise. The noise dissapeared when I added oil but it keeps leaking out.
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:56 AM   #20
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I'm having the same problem and I confirmed the oil is leaking from the breather by wraping a paper towel around the check valve also. It's definitely diff oil and everthing on mine is working normal. I'm not overfilled since I did my oil change about 2 years ago and it did not keak until recently.

Regardless, I dropped my skid and check everthing again and it's fine except for the leak.

Here is a tread I started earlier:

http://www.yotatech.com/search.php?searchid=2688761
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:56 AM
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