1. Welcome to Tundras.com!

    You are currently viewing as a guest! To get full-access, you need to register for a FREE account.

    As a registered member, you’ll be able to:
    • Participate in all Tundra discussion topics
    • Transfer over your build thread from a different forum to this one
    • Communicate privately with other Tundra owners from around the world
    • Post your own photos in our Members Gallery
    • Access all special features of the site

Rear Diff Pinion Seal Leak

Discussion in '2nd Gen Tundras (2007-2013)' started by SOB, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. Apr 11, 2017 at 4:43 PM
    #1
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    New to me (in Jan) 2013 CrewMax 4x4 w/ 55k miles. Noticed a couple weeks ago the pinion seal had a tiny leak. Not dripping but seeping and slinging oil all over the underneath. Found out the breather was completely clogged. Replaced breather and drained/added new diff fluid. Fluid was a little low and drain plug magnet was caked (see pic taken after a little wiping). Figured that would take care of the leak to an extent but now it's even worse. Sitting overnight leaves a couple drops on the floor and the underneath is def getting more slinged on it.

    Questions:
    1. Any concern with mechanical damage from the pic of the drain plug? I don't feel any issues...
    2. How difficult is it to replace the seal with moderate abilities and tools? I figure you drop the end of the shaft (couple bolts) but then does the seal need to be pulled and pressed in???

    IMG_1406.jpg
     
  2. Apr 12, 2017 at 3:03 PM
    #2
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
  3. Apr 12, 2017 at 3:12 PM
    #3
    tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Member:
    #3927
    Messages:
    949
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Tom
    Wilmington, NC
    Vehicle:
    White 2016 Tundra DC ltd
    I've never taken a tundra one apart but if it's anything like a GM one... a royal pain in the ass even with a hydraulic press & other tools
     
  4. Apr 12, 2017 at 4:07 PM
    #4
    Ericsopa

    Ericsopa Old man and the sea

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2015
    Member:
    #2069
    Messages:
    550
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Mike
    N of Rio Grande, S of Red, E of Pecos, W of Sabine
    Vehicle:
    2013 Tundra CrewMax TRD Limited Super Duper White
    Only pinion seal I ever had to replace was on my old '90 Jeep Comanche. It was a cinch. Drive shaft off, the splined yoke was bolted to the pinion gear shaft (large nut or large bolt, don't remember which), pry out old seal, tap in new one, replace yoke and tighten to 250ft lbs. The yoke provided the machined surface that the seal rode on. But I'm not sure about the setup on our Tundras.

    What I do know is that gunk on your drain plug does NOT look good to me. Never seen one that looked that bad.

    Edit ...... I just looked up the 2nd Gen Tundra diff oil seal setup. It's basically the same as I describe above, but it does show using a puller for the flange, and for the seal, then a cup used to drive in the new seal, and when all back together, adjusting the preload on the pinion. The only difference in what I described is that the Tundra driveshaft has the U-joint coming off with the driveshaft, and what you're working with at the diff is a flange, not a yoke. 325 ft lb on the pinion nut (a lotta torque).

    If it were me, I'd have a pro inspect the whole differential, and do the seal. Might well be more issues, the way that plug looks. I think it got pretty hot at some point, due to lack of lube.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  5. Apr 12, 2017 at 6:00 PM
    #5
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Thanks for the input fellas. Hopefully someone can chime in with Tundra experience.

    The more I think about it the more I feel it's above my abilities. Good point @Ericsopa on having them check out the Diff at the same time.

    The fluid wasn't THAT low where I felt there would be damage but then I saw the drain plug. When I popped open the diff to drain/fill there was a big puff of air - hard to put into words but it blew debris in my face and lasted a good second or two. Similar response when I removed the breather a couple days later.

    Let's say there is some damage. As long as I keep the fluid topped off there should be minimal additional damage right? I'm starting to pull a 6,500lb TT this year and I think I should be able to tell pretty quickly if there is serious damage.
     
  6. Apr 13, 2017 at 5:56 AM
    #6
    Ericsopa

    Ericsopa Old man and the sea

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2015
    Member:
    #2069
    Messages:
    550
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Mike
    N of Rio Grande, S of Red, E of Pecos, W of Sabine
    Vehicle:
    2013 Tundra CrewMax TRD Limited Super Duper White
    Best that you have it looked at before towing. You don't want to be stuck somewhere with the trailer hitched, needing a tow with the truck's rear axle off the ground. You might not have had to put much in to top off the diff, but it looks to me like it got really low at some point in its life. Since it's new to you, you just don't know.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  7. Apr 14, 2017 at 5:22 AM
    #7
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    I'm a little disappointed in the lack of responses. No offense Eric - I greatly appreciate your input - but I would also like to hear other's thoughts on the drain plug build up.
     
  8. Apr 14, 2017 at 5:47 AM
    #8
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Professional Cat Herding Expert Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    15,418
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    White 3500HD
    Fuzzy Mirror Dice
    Drain plug is perfectly normal. Nothing to worry about.
     
  9. Apr 14, 2017 at 5:55 AM
    #9
    Bprose

    Bprose New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2017
    Member:
    #5955
    Messages:
    627
    Gender:
    Male
    Vehicle:
    17 Tundra CM TRD
    I agree. No worries. That's how mine looked in old Chevy and 4Runner
     
  10. Apr 14, 2017 at 6:06 AM
    #10
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Thanks fellas...the more I looked into it the more it seemed normal. When I changed the fluid in my Tacoma it had more miles but didn't look as bad as this one.

    I'll probably just live with the leak (making sure to check the fluid level occasionally) until I feel like dropping the $$ to get the seal replaced.
     
  11. Apr 14, 2017 at 6:25 AM
    #11
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Professional Cat Herding Expert Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    15,418
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    White 3500HD
    Fuzzy Mirror Dice
    You do realize that your truck is under warranty if the truck is still 55k miles right? (5 yr/60k)
     
  12. Apr 14, 2017 at 6:44 AM
    #12
    Les7311

    Les7311 Look up, what do you see

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    Member:
    #5738
    Messages:
    1,228
    Gender:
    Male
    Vehicle:
    2008 Blue Tundra TRD 4x4
    Saw something on YouTube. Check their search engine
     
  13. Apr 14, 2017 at 10:34 AM
    #13
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    No...I did not (stupid me). I'm so used to having a truck that's NOT under warranty that I didn't even think about it! Looks like a service call is in order...
     
  14. Jan 3, 2019 at 6:12 AM
    #14
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Update on my old thread - April 2017 I had the pinion seal replaced under warranty. I towed a camper all summer 2017 and 2018 and now the seal's been leaking again from the same spot. The dealership who did the work said their work is out of warranty and my truck is out of warranty.

    Assuming they replaced the seal properly the first time what could be causing this to leak again? The breather was replaced before the seal replacement and it doesn't seem to be clogged. I've attached the sheet from the service manual - there isn't much to it. Should I replace it yet again and see what happens??

    upload_2019-1-3_9-12-21.jpg
     
  15. Jan 3, 2019 at 6:20 AM
    #15
    osidepunker

    osidepunker OsidePunker

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Member:
    #4918
    Messages:
    1,389
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Alex
    SoCal
    Vehicle:
    2013 Tundra DC 4x4
    Full LT, full armor, fully self contained Speed Glamper
    The stealership probably did a crappy job. I would have a gear shop take a look at it. Shouldn't be too expensive. You can do a complete rebuild for less and a grand I think
     
    ColoradoTJ likes this.
  16. Jan 3, 2019 at 6:24 AM
    #16
    osidepunker

    osidepunker OsidePunker

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Member:
    #4918
    Messages:
    1,389
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Alex
    SoCal
    Vehicle:
    2013 Tundra DC 4x4
    Full LT, full armor, fully self contained Speed Glamper
    btw, its not a breather. Its a pop off valve. Its normally closed unless too much pressure, then it opens.
     
    15whtrd likes this.
  17. Jan 3, 2019 at 7:24 AM
    #17
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Professional Cat Herding Expert Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    15,418
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    White 3500HD
    Fuzzy Mirror Dice
    Things to look for:

    On the flange, make sure the part that’s the sealing surface is clean and free of burrs.

    Use correct seal installation tools.

    After installing the new seal and before installing the flange, lube up the seal and flange face. Use differential lube on the inside of the seal, and some general purpose grease on the outside. If a little grease gets inside, it’s ok. Use caution when installing flange not to damage new seal.

    After the job is complete and no leaks are found, drive it for a while at freeway speeds. Use a thermal gun (get a cheap HF one) and see what the rear differential temperature is. This will tell you if your rear axle is in trouble. If you hit 180-200 degrees empty with an ambient temperature of ~80*, you may have an issue. This extra heat could cause seal failure. When towing, the rear axle will see a lot more work, and temp. On one of my other Dodge trucks, I had an aftermarket diff cover. This allowed me to add 1.5 extra qts and a temp probe for in cab monitoring. Towing heavy up passes in summer months I would see a little over 200*F.
     
    SOB [OP] likes this.
  18. Jan 3, 2019 at 7:45 AM
    #18
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Professional Cat Herding Expert Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    15,418
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    White 3500HD
    Fuzzy Mirror Dice
    You might wanna get a baseline temp now before any work is done. I would hate to see you replace the seal and end up needing a rebuild on the rear axle.
     
    SOB [OP] likes this.
  19. Jan 3, 2019 at 10:36 AM
    #19
    Dr_Al

    Dr_Al New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2018
    Member:
    #20385
    Messages:
    64
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Al
    I've changed a couple of those seals in my lifetime. To do it you need a large socket to fit that pinion nut (27" maybe). The nut is a lock nut, the type where you have to use a punch to push a section of it into slot in the pinion gear. When the pinion gear is first set up that nut is tightened like crazy to load the pinion bearings. Between the bearings is what's called a crush collar. It's basically a piece of pipe that gets squashed as you tighten the nut. When I've replaced the seal I don't think I torqued it down to the correct value (I think I stopped at maybe 150 ft/lbs.

    The flange slides right off once the nut is removed. It has an inner race that the seal rubs against. It's possible that yours has some rust on it or some other damage that's causing it to leak. To install it correctly you should have the correct tool. If you had it done at a Toyota dealership they should of had it. Since the pinion gear is still in place the tool has to fit around the end of it. I actually have it but before I did I carefully tapped it into place with a hammer slowly going around the outside edge. It's pretty large so it's not that hard to install. The dealership most likely also replaced the nut, I've reused them. When reusing the nut you know things are right because the spot on the nut that was bent into the slot will line up again with the slot.

    There's also another tool that uses two of the holes from the bolts that mount the propeller shaft to the flange to keep the pinion gear from turning while loosening/ tightening the nut. I've set the brake and had someone stand on the brakes before I got that tool. However it would be an easy one to make.

    I got lucky. Back when I had an '88 pickup I lifted it and changed the gears so I could run 35" Super Swampers. A local guy who was into Toyota trucks had bought a lot of the special service tools. He sold them to me real cheap along with a set of gears as he had a kid on the way and the wife said "no more". I also got a Camden Super charger for a 22RE from him.

    You can do it yourself and it's one of those jobs where if you get to a point where, say you just can't remove the pinion nut, you can put it back together and let the dealer do it. That sludge on the drain nut is normal and a real slow leak isn't a big deal as long as you don't let it get too low. It will leave a mess on the driveway/ garage floor over time though. One trick I liked to do was replace the over pressure vent (breather) with a rubber hose. I would put a few loops in it and run it up to a high point. The vent is designed not to let water in but when under water anything can happen. The hose prevents that. A tip to keep the vent/ breather clear is to twist the cap with your fingers If it spins freely then it's most likely not plugged. If it spins with resistance then twist it until it frees up. If you can't spin it then replace it.
     
  20. Jan 3, 2019 at 11:15 AM
    #20
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    @ColoradoTJ Good advice on checking the temps. I'll borrow my dad's infrared temp gun and take some readings. I think the previous owner regularly had the rear axle under water as the breather was clogged and was holding a bunch or pressure inside the diff. I was hoping the seal was the only damage that it caused but since the seal is leaking again I'm worried there may be more damage. I feel like I should check temps before I replace the seal to see if I need someone to do more inspection and then also replace the seal at the same time.

    I also knew a guy w/ a Ram that had a larger diff cover. But it doesn't look like they make anything for the Tundra diffs since they're "sealed" and don't have a rear bolt-on cover like most. If there was one I'd buy it in a heartbeat!

    @Dr_Al I watched some youtube videos and it looks fairly easy to change. I have some decent mechanical tools and abilities but none of the SSTs. Regarding the tool to hold the flange while tightening/torquing. If the rear wheels are on the ground wound't that be enough weight to hole the gear in place? Or is that too much force directly on the gear?

    However you and TJ both recommended using the special service tools. Buying a socket for the pinion nut is one thing but buying a bunch of SSTs makes it less economical. I think the main SST I would want is the tool to hold the flange while torquing on the nut (if needed). I don't know how else you would loosen/torque that nut (spec calls for 325 ftlbs!!) unless you just impact the shit outta it. Actually it says 325 or less...not sure how much less is acceptable. The other SSTs just seem like gear and seal pullers. I feel like I can get around them with the right sized washer or nut and hammer.
     
  21. Jan 3, 2019 at 11:25 AM
    #21
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Does anyone know if the 2013s have a bearing or not? According to the service manual (pic a few posts up) there is no bearing. But Cool Spring's website shows that there is a bearing (#16), etc.

    upload_2019-1-3_14-25-28.jpg
     
  22. Jan 3, 2019 at 1:21 PM
    #22
    Dr_Al

    Dr_Al New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2018
    Member:
    #20385
    Messages:
    64
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Al
    You don't need the SSTs (special service tools). The tool that holds the flange is nice because, as you've read, the nut can be torqued down like crazy. If the truck is on the ground you only have limited room to try and break it free. On the ground with a long breaker bar means pulling it down or pushing it up. If up on jack stands you get a lot more access and most likely can pull the breaker bar towards you.

    #15 is the crush collar I was talking about. The reason it says 325 ft/lbs or less is that you could may need to put up to 325 ft/lbs to compress the crush collar. The pinion gear has a round shim on it to set the depth (very important but nothing you will have to worry about), a tapered roller bearing and race , the crush collar, a second set of tapered roller bearings (you should be able to see this one with the flange removed), possibly a washer, the flange, and the nut. Tapered bearings need a certain amount of preload. Too little and there will be slop, too little and the bearings will burn up. Slop will mean the pinion gear doesn't mesh well with the ring gear and will wear out fast. If you've ever done tapered wheel bearings you've had to set the preload by adjusting the nut and then use a cotter pin to hold the nut from loosening/ tightening up. The way the pinion gear works is you tighten up the nut to set the preload (the same as in a wheel) but the crush collar tries to stop you. It's basically a thin wall piece of pipe (like muffler tubing) with a ridge in it that makes it possible to be squeezed together. Even with that ridge it still takes a lot of force to crush one. Usually they need to be crushed a good 1/4" and just getting them started takes a lot more force than when you get close to getting the preload correct. Think of trying to crush a beer can. Once the can starts to crush it gets easier.

    The crush collar is replaced each time you remove the pinion gear as once they are squished they don't return to their old shape. But for just changing a seal it's not an issue. If you go all Magilla Gorilla on the nut you can put too much preload on the bearings. This is why I like to reuse the nut. If the indent from the last time the nut was locked into place lines up with the slot in the pinion gear you have it set to where it was before. The only other option is you are a whole turn too loose (easy to spot). Hopefully I'm not giving you too much information. I'm the type of person who likes to know what I'm messing with. It really isn't a hard job. This video shows it but doesn't really show the crush collar getting crushed.
     
    SOB [OP] and ColoradoTJ like this.
  23. Jan 3, 2019 at 1:57 PM
    #23
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Perfect amount of detail without being overly complicated...I like it! I saw most folks on the videos using an impact to loosen and tighten the pinion nut (making sure to count threads and mark beforehand). Since this was just removed a year or so ago I don't expect to have problems or need a breaker bar (or SST) to get er loosened.

    I went under there this afternoon and pushed on the flange and driveshaft to see if there was any play. Everything was solid so I don't think the bearing(s) are bad. The breather was also still loose and could wiggle/spin.

    After checking temps (as TJ suggested) I'll just replace the seal again, taking more care than the dealership, and make sure all making surfaces are clean. Then keep and eye on it from there.

    Thanks y'all for the help! I'll report back once I know more!
     
    ColoradoTJ likes this.
  24. Jan 3, 2019 at 2:02 PM
    #24
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Professional Cat Herding Expert Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    15,418
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    White 3500HD
    Fuzzy Mirror Dice
    What kind of temps are you seeing?
     
  25. Jan 3, 2019 at 2:03 PM
    #25
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Haven't checked yet. I'm getting the gun tomorrow and will be driving 2hrs at interstate speeds next week. I'll check before/after and if all seems good I'll get the seal ordered.
     
    ColoradoTJ likes this.
  26. Jan 11, 2019 at 7:09 AM
    #26
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Checked temp last week after driving about 20min at 60mph, ~45F outside, rear diff temp = 104F.
    Checked temp yesterday after driving about 2hrs at 75mph, ~25F outside, rear diff temp = 89F.

    Safe to say these numbers are in the normal range? I plan to replace the seal and check again afterwards.
     
    ColoradoTJ likes this.
  27. Jan 11, 2019 at 8:06 AM
    #27
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Professional Cat Herding Expert Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    15,418
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    White 3500HD
    Fuzzy Mirror Dice
    Those numbers are perfect.

    I think you will get this job done right (since it’s your truck) and this will be resolved.
     
    SOB [OP] likes this.
  28. Jan 11, 2019 at 9:33 AM
    #28
    SOB

    SOB [OP] Big Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    Member:
    #5873
    Messages:
    301
    Gender:
    Male
    Ohio
    Vehicle:
    2013 Red Crew Max Platinum
    Thanks CTJ! One last question about installing the new seal. I've heard conflicting advise - do you put any RTV sealant (or anything else) on the outside of the seal before installing it into the housing?
     
    ColoradoTJ likes this.
  29. Jan 11, 2019 at 10:37 AM
    #29
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ Professional Cat Herding Expert Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Member:
    #2766
    Messages:
    15,418
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Chris
    Colorado
    Vehicle:
    White 3500HD
    Fuzzy Mirror Dice
    Some people don’t, others do.

    I’m one of the guys that do. A thin layer on the lip before installation never hurts.
     
    SOB [OP] likes this.
  30. Jan 11, 2019 at 1:56 PM
    #30
    Dr_Al

    Dr_Al New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2018
    Member:
    #20385
    Messages:
    64
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Al
    It's a tight press fit. I never have and never had one leak around the outside edge. I do like to put a thin layer of grease on the rubber part of the seal. If you do make sure you put a very thin layer of sealant. I've seen too many times where people gob it on and the excess comes loose and floats around in the engine (or diff in this case).
     
    SOB [OP] likes this.

Products Discussed in

To Top