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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
New to the forum, been lurking a long time though. I have an 01 Rav4 AT, AWD and the rear carrier is leaking. This car is from the Northeast (US) and has quite a bit of rust on the differential so I would like to replace it rather than try to repair the seals.
I have seen that I can use one from a 4.1 and might even gain LSD, or use one from a highlander. While checking junkyards online it looks like the highlander unit is more plentiful and cheaper than the Rav4 carriers. Does anyone know which year highlanders are a direct bolt on? Will any of the 4.1 years also bolt on without modification?
@Commando, @rav4explore

Thanks for any advice
 

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It would need to not just bolt on but also have the same reduction ratio.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Right, I`m seeing 1st and 2nd gen Rav`s as 2.93:1, the highlander looks like 2.928:1 which should be close enough. I read on another thread that the highlander case is different so that rules that out. I don't want to mess with swapping the internals and the case is what I really need.

I could try replacing all the seals and rear cover gasket but it looks like there are a lot of special tools involved and I haven't messed with setting up gears before.
 

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Which seal is leaking on your diff? The stub shafts seals does not require any special tools. You remove the diff cover, use long nose pliers to unlock the stub shafts, then remove the stub shafts and replace the seals.

A common problem that cause leaks, is the breather/vent that is blocked and cause pressure inside the diff. If it's your case, it is possible that you won't need to replace any seal.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I got under the car yesterday to see if I could tell where it was leaking. It looked like the drivers side axle seal and maybe the front pinion seal. While I was there I saw that the breather was definitely plugged up, I'm hoping that was the only issue. Pulled the breather out and cleaned it up, seems to work now.

Good to hear I could change the axle seals without pulling the diff, hopefully the pinion seal is not the culprit.
I'm ordering new drain and fill plugs that I should get tomorrow and I'll do a fluid change and clean it up. Then I'll keep an eye on it for leaks.
I'll probably keep a lookout for a used diff that I can just replace a a later time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update: Changed the diff oil and replaced both drain and fill plugs. Had to use a chisel to get the drain plug off. Cleaned up the breather.
Took it for a couple short test drives and it is definitely leaking from the drivers axle seal.
Going to order up seals and dust covers then try to tackle this job with diff still in place.
I did scrape off some of the rust flaking and it seems like the housing is still pretty strong. Eventually need to pull it and treat it or replace with junkyard spare. Car is in central Texas now so no more road salt but I don't want it to get any worse.
 
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