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Ok, this is a weird one. I was at the beach windsurfing and changed out of my work clothes. Apparently the wind blew my dress shirt out of the car and up under the rear diff, because later that day, after smelling tranny fluid, I looked under there and saw a whole bunch of oily rags wrapped around the axle! I have been gradually pulling all of the cloth out of the CV joint where it attaches to the gear box. I got 99.9% of it out but there is some still in there on top of the joint where I cannot reach. The gear box leaked a lot of oil and where CV joint attaches to the gear box there appears to be a slightly wider gap between this flanged thing (dust shield?) and the side of the gear box. I don't see any more oil leaking. Perhaps it is empty. I'm going to put some more fluid in now and see if it starts leaking. Hopefully I didn't blow the side seal...

ANYWAY. I'm very concerned about this gap and the fact that oil leaked out. Diagnosis/prognosis anyone? Thank you.
 

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Ok, this is a weird one. I was at the beach windsurfing and changed out of my work clothes. Apparently the wind blew my dress shirt out of the car and up under the rear diff, because later that day, after smelling tranny fluid, I looked under there and saw a whole bunch of oily rags wrapped around the axle! I have been gradually pulling all of the cloth out of the CV joint where it attaches to the gear box. I got 99.9% of it out but there is some still in there on top of the joint where I cannot reach. The gear box leaked a lot of oil and where CV joint attaches to the gear box there appears to be a slightly wider gap between this flanged thing (dust shield?) and the side of the gear box. I don't see any more oil leaking. Perhaps it is empty. I'm going to put some more fluid in now and see if it starts leaking. Hopefully I didn't blow the side seal...

ANYWAY. I'm very concerned about this gap and the fact that oil leaked out. Diagnosis/prognosis anyone? Thank you.
Sounds like you need a seal, sorry, no way around it. That said, they are a bit time consuming, but really easy to replace. There's an excellent writeup here: http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-...e-seals-removing-rear-differential-guide.html
 

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Thank you! Yes, I filled it with some oil, which immediately leaked back out... Looking forward to learning a new repair this weekend!
 
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