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leaking rear diff


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12 replies to this topic

#1 theotherskip

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 05:34 PM

while driving home from work yesterday, i heard a new noise. sounded almost like someone sanding something, but hard to pinpoint. in the course of going over the car when i got home, i discovered that the rear diff has begun to leak. i removed the skid plate and opened the check pulg, and found that it is about a quarter inch low on oil. both seals where the axles enter seem ok, as well as the front seal. it almost seems as though it is coming from the top. is there any way the vent could leak oil like this? 97obw with 90k.

the noise turned out to be a heat shield that resonated right around 3300rpm. i'll poke around more this weekend to try and stop that....

#2 ferret

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 06:11 PM

Endwrench has a problem like you describe documented. Thought I saw it over there:
http://www.endwrench...LeakInfoS01.pdf

#3 theotherskip

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 06:44 PM

thanks for that link. i was just reading in the service manual about removing the diff - it seems quite involved, and requires some special tools. i think i may just keep my eye on the level, and if it continues, i may try and blow it out with compressed air with it still on the car to clear the vent. seems strange, though. i know it wasn't overfilled. i wonder what could have screwed up the vent...

thanks again for the link.

#4 kevinsUBARU

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 09:52 PM

All of a sudden started? Probably not :) Is it the OEM Subaru plate? Yes? That just hid it. My differential does the same thing, and has for the past 60K of my ownership. Gear oil is thick, so it will be a slow leak. Just keep an eye on it. Sometimes, I find it helps if I take the filler plug and the drain plug out and clean the threads. Just make sure you put them back in the right holes.

#5 Commuter

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 10:15 PM

My 97 OB did the same thing about a year ago. It was cold, and I was due for service, so I asked them to check it out. I ended up with all the seals changed. :( I'm still not sure if that was really the issue, but my dealer is normally pretty straight up with me. Mine too looked as if it was coming out of the vent. I didn't check the link yet. I'll have to read up on what they say.

Anyway, I haven't had a repeat.

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#6 theotherskip

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 05:16 PM

thanks for the additional info. it seems to be holding ok. it only takes a little oil to make a big mess underneath a car.

commuter - how much did it cost to drop the diff and replace all the seals? just wondering if mine goes that route if i should consider it or if it is better to just have it done...

#7 Commuter

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 05:41 PM

The dealer did the work and I had other servicing going on. I'd have to dig up the bill. It wasn't a lot, but it wasn't a little either with parts and labour added up. I think it was around a 2 hour labour charge, but don't quote me on that.

If it hadn't been so cold, I would have wiped the thing down and done more investigation to find the actually leak.

Interestingly, my dealer told me that Subaru doesn't recommend synthetic gear oil! Seals tend to leak. I was running synthetic at the time. Don't know if I buy that one or not.

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#8 cookie

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 06:18 PM

them. I would wait till spring and put in new seals. It might be good to monitor the level frequently until you know how much it uses.
I just sold my Jeep and I had found a leaking diff ten years ago.
I always meant to put in seals but never did.
It used one pint a year in my use and I told the new owner to watch the level or change the seals.

#9 North Ursalia

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 06:41 PM

It's not the diff seals though. It is the vent. Mine started leaking a few thousand miles ago (I'm at ~105k miles now).

#10 theotherskip

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 07:06 PM

sadly, the only access to the vent is to remove the whole diff, which seems rather involved if you don't have all the special tools. i'd rather not chance screwing something up more if i just have to top it off periodically (i'm doing monthly oil changes as it is)...

#11 cookie

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 11:57 AM

to run an extension tube up off it to a catch can like race cars do sometimes.
You could monitor how much comes out from the catch can and if it went up a ways it just might cure it.
I have seen some odd things with diffs in the winter. When the oil gets thick it can pump in strange ways.
I had a VW years ago in Maine that on the coldest days would actually drive in neutral.
I had fitted it with an old hotplate under the crankcase to get it to start and once I got it going it would first stall the engine several times and then go driving down my drive way when it warmed enough to let up the clutch.
I cured that by very light oil in the tranny.
I still don't miss the winter that much here in SF.

#12 theotherskip

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 05:25 PM

ironically, this past week has been the warmest it has been in philly since around october. i'll be taking another look tomorrow when i change the engine oil...

#13 cookie

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Posted 05 March 2004 - 05:40 PM

This vent thing is a new one on me. Trust Subaru to engineer in some weirdness.




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