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Greasy/fluid leak on right rear wheel

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Old 10-20-2008, 06:33 PM   #1
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Greasy/fluid leak on right rear wheel

Noticed that my right rear wheel had some grease or liquid(gear oil?) leaking on the inside of the wheel. Is this a brake issue or axle leaking? I'm obviously not a mechanic, so please take it easy on my lack of knowledge. Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:40 PM   #2
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well i would say its your axle seal. BUT i would get it up in the air pull the wheel off and do some looking around just incase. better to be safe then sorry..possible brake damage is not a good thing....but then neither is gear oil leaking, just more of a safety issue.
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:44 PM   #3
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......also a good easier way to tell, determin what kind of fluid it is. if you touch it and rub your fingers togeather and its more of a clear light film that makes your skin feel kinda weird then its brake fluid..to double check that pop your hood and dip your finger in your brake master cyl and compare. hope that helps
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:52 AM   #4
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Should be able to tell by the smell, if you don't know what gear oil smells like go and open a jug at the parts store. Brake fliud has almost no smell.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:12 PM   #5
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Judging by the fact that like 99% of 3rd gen's blow rear oil seals at least once in their lifetime, I would go out on a limb and say its that.

Its a pretty easy fix, if you're interested:
http://www.4runners.org/writeups/rearseal/index.htm
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:33 PM   #6
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Definitely has a greasy smell. Sounds like the axle seal to me. Is this a huge deal to fix?
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Old 10-22-2008, 07:40 PM   #7
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not that big of a deal...there are 4 bolts to pull the rear axle nd pop the old seal out and the new one in...the biggest pain is undoing the break line and having to bleed them.
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:35 AM   #8
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Make sure your wheel bearing is ok. Ususally when the bearing goes it makes the seals go bad.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:02 AM   #9
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x2 on checking the wheel bearing. 9 times out of ten, it's always the wheel bearing which makes the seals go bad. Here is a good write-up:

http://www.4runners.org/writeups/rearseal/index.htm
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:56 AM   #10
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Ok, so I talked to a buddy who is going to help me out on this project. It sounds like I need to go ahead and replace the wheel bearing and the seal. How much is the bearing and should I just get it OEM from Toyota also? Also, should I just go ahead and do both sides now or just wait for the other side to fail? I REALLY appreciate all of the help guys!!!
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:06 AM   #11
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I just had the same on my rear passenger side. I figured after 150,000 miles and the rash of 3rd gen's that have had rear axle oil seal leaks, I had mine replaced.

Personally, I'd just do the one side, especially since you'll have the experience to do the other side IF it's needed. The one side failing is no indication of the other side. Don't fix it if it ain't broke.
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Old 10-28-2008, 09:36 AM   #12
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curious i see that 4 runners have these seals that go out but what about tacos? i dont see too many of them with leaky seals on this board..
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:37 PM   #13
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Taco's don't seem to have this problem.I believe its because 4runners ABS sensor's tone ring are at each wheel,while taco's only have one located in rear diff....The taco's are desighned with a large buishing that the seal,seals..

Which also leads me to believe that because of this tone ring on the axle shaft,the buishing that rides inside the seal is not very wide,because of phisical room on the axle shaft...Where this buishing is pressed on the shaft is critical.....

I believe this is the problem with the 4runners,the buishing must be pressed on so that the seal is center on the buishing contact...or else it will leak...eventually,but it will.
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Old 10-16-2011, 02:15 PM   #14
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OK. I read this article. I was having my doubts because the brakes started squeaking yesterday but as it turns out its not brake fluid, its the gear oil leaking from the drivers side rear. Its clear oil and smells like a locomotive It splattered all up into the wheel well. But the question is, can I drive it across town back to the shop that did the gear swap a week ago?

Last edited by pfmedic; 10-16-2011 at 02:23 PM.
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