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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2010 Rav 4 Sport. I have an oil leak coming from the inside left compartment which is now leaking. I'm pretty mechanically inclined. Just repaced both rear wheel bearings, shocks and brakes and rotors. Everything is clean underneath with NO leaks anywhere. The brake line is 7" lower and 12" away from where this oil is pooled in the back compartment. The master cylendar is staying at the same level no loss, new KB shocks no leaks. I'm stumped. Can anyone help?
 

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Take a picture and post it. Tell us what kind of oil is it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Oil smells smokey and it
Take a picture and post it. Tell us what kind of oil is it?
The location is the back left compartment of this 2010 Rav4 Sport. To the best of my ability it looks and feels like brake fluid but smells a little smokey like oil. The attached photo is prior to wiping it up. The oil looks a little green-ish/used. We bought the car 6 months ago (mint with 100k) and no leaks. But after putting in new rear spec KYB shocks, new wheel bearings rotors and brakes it began to leak a week or so after. In theory there is really no way any oil can travel up hill and back to this compartment. We are guessing that the oil was there, with the new shocks noticed the ride was rougher a bit, so that bounced the oil (whatever kind it is) that was in there around more to find new cracks to leak out. By the photo of 4321 that is prior to cleaning up and looks like there are LOTS of small gnats and bugs so leads me to believe it may have been there prior. Second image is a shot inside the comparment pointing to the drivers, I see some drip marks. Likely water or gas over flow (that is right were the gas cap is) Did you ever find the solution to your oil leak in the same spot? Any help would help me sleep tonight. :)
 

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Hi Calvin, only a couple of things off the top of my head. First, what’s on the other side of this panel, inside the vehicle - is this near the lower trunk floor? If so, see if there is anything in the carpet there. Same if this is in the lower quarter panel behind the wheel. Look also for rodent droppings, as this could be urine, which has a higher surface tension and will cling to the underside of a surface. Lots of people are having rodent trouble from not using the vehicle.

Another possibility is undercoating. You didn’t fill in all of your profile, where are you located? If Canada or a northern state, the vehicle could have been undercoated with a “drip” type formula (lower viscosity) which may have reactivated with the heat we have had recently, allowing drips. This does resemble a honey/goo type of product I’ve seen before (still oil based, no we are not baiting Winnie-the-Pooh! Lol). If this is the case, just wipe off any drips and let it be.

Have you tried to remove this substance by wiping or using a light solvent like brake cleaner? If so, how long until it comes back?
 

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One of my friends had a similar issue. Greenish fluid under the rear bumper. So he called me to take a look.
In 10 seconds I found out what it was - he had moved the day before and in his trunk it still was a big jug of laundry detergent laying sideways, with top lose.
Spilled in the same location like yours. It was slowly draining under the car, getting mixed with whatever dirt and grime it cleaned on the way...
 

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The only thing I can think of is the shock leaking and the fluid went on the tires.
 

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That leak in the pics is inside the passengers cab. Would take a lot of force to splash that fluid inside, trough the gourmet.
That's why I think something was spilled there. Like my friend's detergent...
 

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That leak in the pics is inside the passengers cab. Would take a lot of force to splash that fluid inside, trough the gourmet.
That's why I think something was spilled there. Like my friend's detergent...
I would suspect that as well as a possibility. Does the stuff have a smell with the fingertip test?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Ok here is the latest. I wiped out the entire inside back left compartment and cleaned the oil up with brake CLEANER 3 days ago. Today I looked and there was a little bit on the bottom grommet where the wiring harness comes in to the bottom of the compartment from under the car. The oil loosened up the tape on the harness inside and I noticed a 1/16 black hard tube in the wiring harness and the end was uncapped. I looked again to see where that harness went and it traveled back and above the rear differential. So I googled "tube" Rav 4 2010 rear diff and on select sport models (mine) they would install a long tube on the breather on top of the rear differential. Standard differentials have a small breathing button. Apparently someone thoght this car would be submerged 1/2 way in water. The oil has s smokey smell (like diff fluid). Last fall when I bought the Rav I replaced the rear diff fluid and since it was jacked up on the back, I'm thinking I may have overfilled the rear diff a bit, then when heating up the rear diff oil is pushing up through the breather tube which ends in the compartment where I'm seeing the oil show up. I about 94% confident this is the culprit. Anyone have an addition to my saga.
 

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Ok here is the latest. I wiped out the entire inside back left compartment and cleaned the oil up with brake fluid 3 days ago. Today I looked and there was a little bit on the bottom grommet where the wiring harness comes in to the bottom of the compartment from under the car. The oil loosened up the tape on the harness inside and I noticed a 1/16 black hard tube in the wiring harness and the end was uncapped. I looked again to see where that harness went and it traveled back and above the rear differential. So I googled "tube" Rav 4 2010 rear diff and on select sport models (mine) they would install a long tube on the breather on top of the rear differential. Standard differentials have a small breathing button. Apparently someone thoght this car would be submerged 1/2 way in water. The oil has s smokey smell (like diff fluid). Last fall when I bought the Rav I replaced the rear diff fluid and since it was jacked up on the back, I'm thinking I may have overfilled the rear diff a bit, then when heating up the rear diff oil is pushing up through the breather tube which ends in the compartment where I'm seeing the oil show up. I about 94% confident this is the culprit. Anyone have an addition to my saga.
Very interesting. DL175 just added a remote breather to his RAV. Don’t know how he will feel about the parts being available from the factory! Hope this is the case for you, that it’s just overfilled and blowing out. Can you wrap it with a loose-weave rag to catch the blown oil?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yep, rag in place and suspect this will eventually stop. lol. My brother, who lives out of town has been a top mechanic for race boats and it stumped him too. Sure he would have caught it sooner if he was able to have his hands on the vehicle. This is the first time I've ever seen an electrical wiring harness used with a tube that can carry air and when someone overfills a diff, fluids. lol. It all happened right after both rear wheel bearings and brakes. Thanks for your time and have and amazing day.
 

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Yesterday I installed my trailer hitch. In doing that I noticed a hard tube (nylon) in the grommet area that Calvin mentioned.

I had qualms with pushing the smells from the differential oil in the cabin (like DL175 did), so maybe Toyota put check valves to "suck" clean air from the cabin (vacuum when cooling), but reliefs it (when hot) trough the other check valve (spring loaded) on top of diff, outside of the cab.
In the OP case, oil getting pushed on that breather means it is a tremendous pressure inside the diff when hot, that doesn't get relieved tough the spring loaded valve on top of the diff (rusted?), and oil vapors manage to get pushed past whatever check valve is on that line.

See the arrow:

154955


And the diagrams:


Manual page:
154956


A pic of the differential from "top", while is being removed (another tread). Note the power and vacuum hose running together and the top overpressure vent:
 

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So far no smell or any differential fluid coming out of my modified breather valve in the rear differential fill hole.
 

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In your mod it would not be possible to leak. I said that maybe would smell when heated... Probably that's why Toyota kept it outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That makes more sense to me. But as you mentioned for the fluid to heat up and go up and out the tube there would have to be either a malfunction in the little metal breather valve on top, too much diff fluid or other ?? This is my daughters car off to college in 3 weeks and just want to make sure it's in top running shape. I'm guessing I should open up the fill plug while on a flat surface to see if there is too much fluid. Hard to do when I only have 1 jack and 2 stands. Thanks all for your comments. It has really been a blessing to get closer to the end of this.
 

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I think are probably vapors that go up that vacuum line. Fluid cannot be overfilled, since the fill hole is like 1/2 way up the diff case. You can't push the liquid "up" from there, the diff is 1/2 filled with air.
And yes, check the metallic relief valve on top of the diff, you can contort the hand and feel it if is moving or not.
 

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I think are probably vapors that go up that vacuum line. Fluid cannot be overfilled, since the fill hole is like 1/2 way up the diff case. You can't push the liquid "up" from there, the diff is 1/2 filled with air.
And yes, check the metallic relief valve on top of the diff, you can contort the hand and feel it if is moving or not.
Yes you can over fill it especially if your car is not on an even surface when filling it with fluid. One way I found out is that if you jack your car up and fill it but don't check it when the car is back on the ground. Many members have over filled their rear differential and this is one of the common way. The trick is not to put back the fill plug after filling when it is on jack stands right away. Lower the car and let all the excess oil flow out. Once the oil stops dripping jack up the car and then put the fill plug back on.
 

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That's what I meant to. I assumed that anyone doing this by itself looks at a level vehicle.
But even in that case that you say, I doubt one can fill it all the way up to the breather, unless he turns the car upside down.
Personally I am lucky that my driveway is slanted with the same angle as of my ramps. So ifI drive the car on ramps, it's level.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yes you can over fill it especially if your car is not on an even surface when filling it with fluid. One way I found out is that if you jack your car up and fill it but don't check it when the car is back on the ground. Many members have over filled their rear differential and this is one of the common way. The trick is not to put back the fill plug after filling when it is on jack stands right away. Lower the car and let all the excess oil flow out. Once the oil stops dripping jack up the car and then put the fill plug back on.
Smart. I think I'll open up the fill, drop it down to see if anything comes out. Just thinking that if there is extra and its building pressure when hot, it needs to go somewhere. The breather cap to the best of my fingers is not moving. I'll squish a rag with JB penetrant for a few days onto the top cap to see if it will loosen up. I don't know of a good way to spray that breather cap. I'm welcome to any suggestions. THanks ALL.
 

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The breather cap to the best of my fingers is not moving.
That's classical problem with those pressure relief vents. They rust shut, so when the fluid inside diff heats up, the air that wants to expand has no relief. So the air builds up pressure. It either goes past the CV axle seals (you will see leaking marks) or get forced past the vacuum breather check valve, up on cab compartment.
 
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