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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello people. This is my first DIY and I don't post here often so hope it helps some of you. Just my way of giving back I guess.

First of all I suggest getting a helping hand with this. First phase was the removal. Took my dad and I about 2 hrs. Second phase was replacing the seal and putting everything back together which also took about 2hrs.

Special things you will need:

permatex ultra black

5.5mm allen key to remove the magnet holder thingy

seal puller (the one in the toyota manual is hecka expensive, look for one with hooks pointing outwards capable of min about 1 7/8in spread and max about 2 1/8in spread, the ends of the hooks should also be nice and thin to get underneath the seal)

66mm OD pipe to hammer the new seal in

plastic rod or hard wooden rod

Here we go:



Here's what it looks like. Notice no oil leaking from the sides which would indicate axle seals.

Mark the location where the shaft meets the coupler housing so when you put it back on it is the way it was before. Then remove the two 14mm bolts in the middle of the propeller shaft. These bolts were extremely tight. Then remove the four 12mm nuts on the coupler. I got some cardboard boxes to help elevate the shaft so it wouldnt bend to much.





Next remove the four 12mm bolts holding the coupler onto the differential. The coupler is held on with gasket seal. I used a plastic rod and a hammer to punch against the bottom of the coupler. From the back of the car you will see two small flat spots to hit with your plastic rod. This flat spot is also reinforced by the ribs at the bottom of the coupler so I figured it was safe to bang on these but only with the plastic rod. Once it's knocked out the coupler is retained by the diff mount brackets. Take the four 17mm bolts off and you should be able to free the coupler.





You will need a jackstand to support the diff. The back of the diff will be held up by the rear mount. Remove the spring clip thingy that holds in the magnet coil. REMOVE the connector for the magnet coil on the passenger side of the diff. It's just above the axle. Pull the magnet out. Apparently your're supposed to change the o-ring on the magnet but I didn't. Unscrew the three allen bolts. Take out the washers on the center axle noting position and orientation. One washer is a spring washer. Then use the puller to remove the gasket.

Use the 66mm tube to hammer in the new gasket to about 7mm depth from the lip. Put everything back together. Scrape off the old orange gasket and use new gasket compound to keep water and dust out.









Good luck :)
 

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I know this is an old thread, but I would like to thank for the detailed instructions and photos, I have 2008 Rav4 (V6, Sport) I noticed the differential leak a few weeks ago. I followed the steps and replaced the seal. The breather was clogged but I could not take it out due to the tight space around, though I managed to clean it up and ensured it moves freely, I will keep an eye on it.
If you own third generation of RAV4, please clean/ wiggle the rear differential breather regularly. It is located in a tight spot (top of rear differential) but really worth the efforts.
 

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I too have thanked Mr. Noodle for this great post. There are many posts on the differential issues for this gen but this is very through for 1 of what appears to be common leaks.

My diff vent seemed fine so I would like to change it but not sure if that is possible when it is still in the rav. Does anyone know the maximum angle I can drop the diff with axles still in?

My leak was not dirty. However oil drops were accumulating where the rav was parked. I thought the leak may have been between the coupler and diff but I park a little up hill and once opened there was not wetness anywhere along the silicone seal.

Should there be any fluid between the diff and coupler? I suspect there should not be any. The silicone is there as a dust/moisture barrier. Now to find a 66mm diameter pipe and purchase some type of puller for that seal.
 
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