Transaxle Seal Leak - How common, how dangerous?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Estes Kefauver, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    To be fair, you can't tar them all with the same brush...

    Most would be deserving though, lol.
     
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  2. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Meh, pull out the broad brush and paint away:p.

    They all fit nicely in(y).
     
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  3. Kasra

    Kasra Junior Member

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    Thanks but I think the manual is referring to a different seal (aluminum crush washer for the drain and fill plug).

    I will take it to the dealership and they might actually take it in under warranty. The car passed the 60,000 mark on January 7th 2019, so it's been only two months. the fluid
    I will take it to the dealership and they might actually take it in under warranty. The car passed the 60,000 mark on January 7th 2019, so it's been only two months. the fluid "seepage" (dust and dirt) looks pretty old and I remember always seeing it long before. I wish the place that changed my tires would have told me about it 6 months ago.

    Thanks again :)
     
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  4. Kasra

    Kasra Junior Member

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    So I did go to Autonation Toyota in Irvine and of course they kept saying that warranty is over and we can't quote you till we look in depth:cautious:...What I'm going to do is to clean up the splash area and check the oil level every 5000 miles (top it off). If things stay the way they are, I will change the seal myself with the next transmission oil change. I'll post some pictures to keep you all updated.

    TBH I don't even feel safe having a dealership do my oil change (y). Does anyone have the correct part number by any chance?

    Thanks
     
    #44 Kasra, Mar 19, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    It's definitely not a trivial job changing a seal; I'd at least get a quote. Do you regularly do stuff like shocks, wheel bearing replacement? If so I'll shut up, lol.

    Get a firm quote, and tell them to stick to it. The last transmission seal repair (son's car), they (Honda dealership) quoted very low, Something like $135 CDN, and I confirmed, emphatically. Then an hour in they called said it would cost about double.

    I said charge what you like, and brace for the review. They ended up charging $95, lol.
     
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  6. Kasra

    Kasra Junior Member

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    Alright, here is what happened:

    1) Dealer is pointless and they quoted me $2500 because they thought this was a transmission seal. I just left them because this shows they didn't even take the tire or engine cover off to see what is leaking.

    2) I took the river side tire off and cleaned the area with Brake cleaner (Brake Parts Cleaner MAC Chemical 13 oz). This stuff worked really well. I have tried other brake cleaners from Walmart, but they don't really work. If anyone could suggest a better one, please let me know :)

    https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/MCR4800

    3) The Driver side (LH) seal part number is 90311-40037 or 43410M
    The Passenger side (RH) Seal Part number is 90311-50045 or 43420H

    Someone told me the left and right seals are the same, but I just can't justify the difference in part numbers. Be smart and re-check the parts yourself (attached).

    Conclusion: After cleaning, I haven't seen any leaks so far. I need to drive a lot more to see a something, but I will top off the transmission oil with every oil change. You can really do this using the same engine cover inlet you use for oil, Hint: look adjacent of the oil filter ;)

    My guess is that the leak was caused by pressure inside the transmission (I don't know if these transmissions have vents, correct me please). This was probably a small leak and was never noticed by the previous owner, so fingers crossed.

    I dislike the dealerships and so here is the DIY for those of you that feel the same:

    NOTE: Wait about 5 minutes after engine off, disconnect the positive terminal and leave the car for 30 minutes (for the remaining power to drain). If you don't do this step, you might have to tow the car to the dealership. Someone here can explain this better?

    1) Loosen the front axle nut (take it to a mechanic ship and have them loosen it for you and hand tight it then to drive home). Trust me, power tools were used on this. You need 30 mm 12 point socket. (160 ft.lbs)
    2) Remove the engine cover (big plastic underneath)
    3) Open the transaxle filler and drain plugs (37 ft.lbf) respectively and keep the fluid (or change it). 3.6 qts
    4) Take the front wheel off (of course the side that needs repair)
    5) Separate the speed sensor and flexible hoses (be smart, just secure them so they won't get damaged by moving caliper or anything).
    6) Separate tie rod end assembly (37 ft.lbf)
    7) Separate Front stabilizer Assembly (55 ft. lbs)
    8) Separate Front Disc brake Caliper (2 bolts 100 ft.lbf)
    9) Remove Rotor
    10) front Axle assembly
    11) Separate front Lower suspension
    12) Go underneath and remove the front axle assembly with a pry bar ( This shouldn't be a problem if you took the engine cover off). Use the notched or watch some videos online. You can also but the tool (up2u).
    NOTE: Take a few picture showing how much the seal is inside the housing and the orientation. This will give you an idea of how much the new seal needs to go in. Don't just hit it till it stops :)

    13) Remove the seal with a seal puller ($8 online)
    14) clean the area, use some multi purpose grease to lube the outer area of the seal and tap it in gently. Hint: Use a PVC tube that has the same diameter as your seal and place it on the seal. Then tap the end of the tube the seal seats in.
    Pop the axle back in and steps 11, 10, 9, ...


    Please correct anything that is wrong or modify it and write a new one. When it comes to fixing this, I will record a video. Maybe someone will do it before I do :)

    Thanks
     

    Attached Files:

    #46 Kasra, Apr 16, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
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  7. Kasra

    Kasra Junior Member

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    Alright, here is my 50,000 miles later update. I changed the Transaxle oil around a month ago at 100K (first one was around 58K). Leveled the car, put 3.8 qts of gorgeous WS ATF in there and dumped 3 bottles of brake cleaner to clean up some mess. Here are some pictures as a reference to my old pictures in page 2 of this post :)

    I will post a follow up if the status changes or when I don the next Transaxle fluid change at 135K.
     

    Attached Files:

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  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Regarding your earlier comment about a vent on the transaxle: I believe there is one, atop the transaxle. Looks like a little spigot with a cap?

    Your transaxle looks clean now, hopefully stays that way. (y)
     
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  9. Kasra

    Kasra Junior Member

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    Thanks, I hope the same.

    Regarding the vent on top, I was cleaning the EGR system two weeks ago so I had access to it. It has a black cap on top of it, so I didn't bother to take it off or anything. I just cleaned the first around it to see if anything new builds up over time :) I will update you at 300K miles (jk)
     
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  10. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    You REALLY need to watch any mechanic, or technician, ALWAYS!

    Brake cleaner is okay for smaller leaks. Use Gunk(flammable version), spray it all over,
    then hose it off. It's a lot cheaper too.

    There IS a reason they are different, but I can't remember WHY they are.
    Sometimes the seals just wear out. There is a vent at the top. It looks like a brake bleeder
    valve, with a metal cap crimped on it. Which should move some.
    You can remove it, clean it out if it's dirty, then re-install it.

    After replacing the seals, did you top off the fluid level? If so, and you resolved the leak, you should not
    need to add anymore fluid.

    I don't know why you would disconnect the battery just to replace the axel seals, but it doesn't really hurt. Just do not open the drivers door! And keep the key fob at least 20 feet away.
    When you have the caliper off, if you open the drivers door the brake accumulator could pump
    the puck out. Though I think this is only for the rear brakes.
    You just need a longer breaker bar, and/or a longer pipe. Just stand of the wrench or pipe, with the wheel still on,
    but you have to remove the wheel to get the center cap off without scratching it, then re install the wheel.
    You only need 3 nuts, hand time since you aren't driving it.

    You do not have to take the suspension apart. I only removed the caliper assembly.
    I didn't take it apart, just the two bolts that how the whole thing to the wheel.
    Then you can turn the front all the way out, and ease the outer joint out of the bearing. It's tight, but can be done.
    Just be VERY careful you do not pinch the boot! I pinched one boot when I replaced the bearings.
    One teenie tiny hole!
    I was in too much of a hurry. Wrap a rag around the boot to protect it.

    As long as you got the seals replace, you did a good job! :)


     
  11. 2012 Prius v wagon 3

    2012 Prius v wagon 3 Active Member

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    Well done on the list and the successful job.

    minor correction on this - the transaxle drain and fill plugs (for gen 3 as far as I know) are spec'ed at 39 Nm = 29 ft-lb, not 37 ft-lb

    and a comment on the previous discussion of an extraction tool ...

    For cars in general, often this task can be challenging due to the c-ring that sits inside a rectangular groove in the splined shaft. The challenge is to get that ring to self-center so that when you pry or slide-hammer it out (pulling the splined shaft out of the transaxle), the round ring will compress radially, allowing removal. Vs. having it sit deep in the groove where it becomes an obstacle that may need a lot of force to shear it or force it to self-center. The trick is to apply a constant medium prying force while the axle is slowly rotated, hopefully encouraging the ring to center itself.

    If doing this, not much pry force is usually needed, and just a big screwdriver is often enough. As mentioned though, the challenge may be to find a convenient fulcrum for the lever.

    And on the transaxle breather, I was very surprised when I found it mentioned on here that it was sealed. So later reports of a breather plug, such as this one:
    Is this a transaxle breather plug? (see photo) | PriusChat
    make a lot more sense to me.

    Transaxle seals will often last a very long time, but can easily be damaged when a CV axle is removed.
     
    #51 2012 Prius v wagon 3, Apr 20, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
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