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Old 09-26-2011, 06:05 PM #1
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brake fluid or differential fluid?

Hey everybody I have a question about brake fluid and/or differential fluid. One of the newest 4Runners I've been looking at to buy has a leak that I'm thinking is brake fluid but I've been told it could be diff fluid. It is damp on the underside of the hub like I've seen brake fluid do before and to me it smells like brake fluid. It seems thin and smooth and fairly clear when you rub your fingers together like brake fluid does. How can I tell by looking at it which fluid it is? Thanks
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:58 PM #2
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Move on, there are better ones out there. More than likely it is diff fluid if it is coming from the rear axle.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:00 PM #3
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How bad of a problem is it if it is differential fluid? I'm going to get it at a good price if I so chose. How much would it cost if it was the diff fluid seal on that particular side?
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:16 PM #4
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Uh... Moving on just because of a axle seal leak?! That would be stupid. They are one of the most common issues with these trucks, and are extremely easy to replace. The seal from Toyota is ~$20 and takes maybe 30 minutes to swap out.

Yeah you're supposed to change the brake shoes as well if they are saturated with diff fluid, but I often clean them good and don't have problems.

If the brake fluid is not low then you can pretty much assume its an axle seal.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:31 PM #5
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If it was brake fluid it would probably be the wheel cylinder and that is very easy to replace, I don't think an axle seal is that hard. Seems like it would be pretty easy to differentiate between brake fluid and gear oil, but who knows.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:31 PM #6
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Quote:
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Seems like it would be pretty easy to differentiate between brake fluid and gear oil, but who knows.
Brake fluid - Caustic, will eat your paint and burns your skin
Gear oil - Won't
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:13 PM #7
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I agree, the axle seal is not that hard. And since it isn't, why wouldn't the seller change it before selling the 4runner? So, as a cynic, it makes me wonder: what else is the seller not disclosing?

If it is a great deal, then definitely take a second look by all means. The DIY fix is not that hard and there are some good write ups on how to repair those seals.

Take some pics of it and post them if ya can.
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:17 PM #8
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ok thanks for your input guys.. If I was to buy it I'd post some pics but I'm still shopping around for a good buy... When I get something I'll post it... You guys have helped me learn a lot in the last couple weeks. Thanks
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:21 PM #9
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RiverRat,

If you haven't read through this thread, do so. It covers more than everything ya need to know. If you have more questions, just ask.

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Old 09-27-2011, 08:42 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baja Runner View Post
Uh... Moving on just because of a axle seal leak?! That would be stupid. They are one of the most common issues with these trucks, and are extremely easy to replace. The seal from Toyota is ~$20 and takes maybe 30 minutes to swap out.

Yeah you're supposed to change the brake shoes as well if they are saturated with diff fluid, but I often clean them good and don't have problems.

If the brake fluid is not low then you can pretty much assume its an axle seal.
Not even that, I just picked up 4 at $5 each. Had to add shipping, but I got other parts as well, so the average piece price for the seals was really only about $6.

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If it was brake fluid it would probably be the wheel cylinder and that is very easy to replace, I don't think an axle seal is that hard. Seems like it would be pretty easy to differentiate between brake fluid and gear oil, but who knows.
Yeah, either way it shouldn't be too hard or expensive to fix. They should definitely smell different. Pop the filler plug and dip your finger in, smell it, see if it smells the same as what is coming out of the hub.


OP, you are talking about the rear right? If it is the front, then it is definitely brake fluid because the diff fluid doesn't reach the hubs in front.
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:59 AM #11
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you will mos def know if its gear oil. that crap stinks. especially after when its old and used.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:00 AM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelsonmd View Post
Not even that, I just picked up 4 at $5 each. Had to add shipping, but I got other parts as well, so the average piece price for the seals was really only about $6.



Yeah, either way it shouldn't be too hard or expensive to fix. They should definitely smell different. Pop the filler plug and dip your finger in, smell it, see if it smells the same as what is coming out of the hub.


OP, you are talking about the rear right? If it is the front, then it is definitely brake fluid because the diff fluid doesn't reach the hubs in front.
nelson,

where you getting your parts?
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