Slow leak in Transaxel seam

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Bluesman78, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Bluesman78

    Bluesman78 Member

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    2006 135K miles.

    During a routine inspection for tire replacement, my trusty local mechanic showed me there was some transaxel fluid (very dark red) on the bottom seam of the tranxaxel. Despite having 25% of his client base have prius he said he never saw that. He told me to bring back the car and he would take a deeper look at it and charge me $50 to do so. He said it's possible it is a loose drain plug.

    I failed to take a picture, sorry. but he said it wasn't the axel seal he looked quickly.

    My assumption is the transaxle is damaged (maybe from road debris as I never had an accident). I put a cardboard under my car there was no drips on it in 48 hour so I imagine it is a slow leak through the actual transaxle seem.

    I saw only 1 thread about this condition and someone suggested to just leave it alone. I use the car mostly for commuting locally. I really don't want to spend 2K on a transaxle repair as I'd rather just get a newer car with newer safety features.. I was planning on seeing what he found but just going to drive it and have him replace the transaxle fluid every 1 year given how slow the leak is.

    I've had the transaxle fluid replaced one at 93,000 at the Toyota dealer.

    I was hoping to keep the car another 5 years. Car works and drives fine otherwise.

    Thanks for any advice or questions to ask on my second visit.
     
  2. DutchPrius

    DutchPrius Member

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    I'd also leave it as it is, like you decided. Think a refill every year to check how much is missing can give you a good view on the consumption. Sometimes it will do more harm (and costs) when you start working on it, for older cars I would always suggest to watch it for a few days or weeks and ask around before you go to a garage and have it all replaced. For critical parts like brakes or anything that's affecting your safety, ALWAYS have it checked by a professional and ask what the risk is while driving around. But in this case I don't think it can do your car lots harm driving it with a small leak like you mention.

    I never actually heard about changing this transaxle fluid, let alone where it's located . My Prius only goes to a garage to get an annual MOT or when I want to do some work underneath the car. But next time it's on the lift I will check if I can spot the box and see if it's leaking.

    Best regards, Nick

    Black 2007 Prius
     
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  3. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Did mechanic at least verify the fill plug and drain plug were tight?
    I would worry more about a meteor landing on my head than about that leak. There are ~19,000 drops in one quart.
     
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  4. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    No drips in 48 hours = not leaking!

    But park your car in a way that allows you to get under there and clean it so you can monitor if the situation changes. Keep doing the cardboard thing too.
     
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  5. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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    IF all you have is an actual seep from the transmission case seam AND the fluid level isn't very low then I would suggest living with it as is. A drain plug or axle shaft seal replacement is fairly "easy" - resealing the case isn't. As long as you can add fluid faster than it seeps out then that's the most cost effective solution. So do have your mechanic look at it closer, but if it's the case then have him check the level once or twice a year when you have the oil changed.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  6. Bluesman78

    Bluesman78 Member

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    Hah! Thanks for putting it in perspective. I really appreciate that!

    I actually think it's more "seepage" than a leak.

    He didn't check it because the shop was busy and they were understaffed he said to bring back the car so he can take a more thorough look. He said he would wipe it down and then see if any new fluid reappeared when I brought it back. As I understand he has to check the torque on it to be precise. I would also ask him to try to check the level if that is possible or add a quart while he is in there.
     
  7. Bluesman78

    Bluesman78 Member

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    I couldn't figure it out from youtube videos, but is there a way to check the level or do you just add a quart and see if anything spills out?
     
  8. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Transaxle fluid is not very precise. here's how it gets changed.

    1. have car raised and level (to best of ability)
    2. verify the fill plug can be loosened and remove it.
    3. place container under transaxle and remove drain plug.
    4. install new gasket on drain plug and reinstall it.
    5. add fluid through fill hole using a funnel and tube from top of engine compartment (most people) or use a forced flow system.
    6. stop filling when fluid flows out the fill port.
    7. should take a bit less than 4 quarts if I remember correctly
    8. I believe a level check is considered satisfactory if level is within 5mm of the bottom of the fill hole
    9. reinstall fill plug with a new gasket
    read about it here:
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. Bluesman78

    Bluesman78 Member

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    Thank you, but is it possible to "top off" this fluid? or should I request to have it done for me. It's $100 for the OEM fluid drain and fill. I'm fine paying for it because I don't have the equipment or space to do it myself (i live in an apartment)
     
  10. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Topping off would require steps 1,2,5,6,8,9.
    There is no way to check or add except removing the fill plug. At that point, the cost difference at a shop between checking and just replacing is probably minimal.
     
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  11. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Just remove the fill plug and stick a finger in it and if you feel fluid in there then it's still full...
     
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  12. ozmatt

    ozmatt Active Member

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    It's a thing! My camry hybrid leaks a few drops from the middle seam every night, It makes a dirty patch on our concrete which I clean periodically..

    Been doing it 3 years now and I have never checked the level as I hate our camry hybrid

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  13. Bluesman78

    Bluesman78 Member

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    Good to know! I think less is more in these situations. I think the fluid is around 40K miles old. I'm going to have him drain and refill it and if he doesn't see anything big then I'm going to live normally.
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yes, just do that procedure but omit the drain. In other words: with car raised and level, remove fill bolt only and feel with a pinkie finger.

    ahh, @PriusCamper beat me to it.
     
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  15. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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    If you hate it like that for long enough, eventually it will die- so worries there.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  16. ozmatt

    ozmatt Active Member

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    I am probably being a bit harsh, Its just not comfortable to sit in, and useless to cart anything! just rather prius!

    Okay maybe I should top it up, one day ..
    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  17. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Wow it’s more uncomfortable than a Prius?
     
  18. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Lots of leaks there over the years.
    Use the Search Forums link up top and search

    transaxle leak
     
  19. w2co

    w2co Member

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    Be careful with that, after a full drain, it will take as much as 4.8 qts. to fill. Yes the pinky in the hole method is about all we can do to tell if it's full or not...no dipstick on these.
     
  20. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Replaced mine 3 times it oerflows anything over 4 quarts.
     
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