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After changing my rear differential seals a couple months ago I was hoping my major car problems would be behind me but it looks like they were just beginning...

My car seems to be leaking out of two places now. One seems to be from around the driver side transaxle shaft and it seems to be transmission fluid.

Another leak seems to be coming from the transfer assembly where it attaches to the propeller shaft and it is gear oil.

What on earth could have possibly caused both of these leaks to start at the same time? Some sort of transmission issue maybe? Is there any sort of simple explanation for these? I was thinking maybe the breather valve was plugged on transfer case same as my rear differential issue but don't believe that would explain the transaxle leak.

I have a bad feeling this is going to cost me big time...
 

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Was quoted $1500 to change transfer case seal because supposedly the transmission has to be dropped(which service manual says as well). Has anyone attempted to change it in the vehicle?

What a stupid design that you have to drop the whole freaking transmission to change a seal...
 

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Ok kept digging and found out that it seems like it shouldn't be too major of a job. The seal is actually an o-ring and the o-ring looks like it can be replaced by taking the propeller shaft off, removing the 5 bolts and pulling out transfer shaft, replace o-ring and re-install shafts. Sounds like this leak is quite rare, no dealerships in Canada carry the o-ring(special order only) and another toyota/honda mechanic shop told me they have never done one.

I might end up just trying to do it myself, only thing I am somewhat worried about is if there will be any issues re-meshing gears when re-installing the transfer shaft. No one else has done this work on here?

Transaxle seal seems fairly straight forward as well as I have done a few cv axles and seals in the past. I read about a few other members that had seals go because of transmission bearing problems, hoping that isn't the case here. I might just change the seal and o-ring and sell this thing because I am not liking these issues.
 

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Changed the axle seal and the o-ring on the transfer case. Axle seal seems to be doing its job although we will see as time goes on.

Transfer case still is leaking... Noticed it isn't leaking from where the o-ring goes but rather where the transfer shaft sticks through. The oil must be getting between the bearing and the shaft somehow, guessing I am going to need to get a new shaft/assembly to remedy this problem...
 

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First I want to say I talked to a Toyota tech who confirmed that there is no way to remove transfer case without first removing engine/transmission assembly... He said they have done a few of them and that they have tried to cheat but it can't be done. The main point of this is that if you have an AWD and no warranty hope you don't ever have transfer case issues...

Ok so after talking to many many people and scouring every inch of the internet I could find I still couldn't understand how this transfer shaft assembly was leaking. Today I finally got my answer.

The bearing that is pressed onto the housing has a seal built into it(hence why there are no seals on part drawings). You can only see this seal after disassembling the shaft which requires a press/pullers and either some special tools or ingenuity.

When I got mine apart the seal was obviously the culprit to my leak. Whether or not this was leaking because the bearing was failing or if the seal had just worn I do not know. Regardless the only way to replace the seal is to replace the whole bearing assembly which here costs $280 plus the labour costs to disassemble and assemble shaft(unless you have a press etc and can do the work yourself).

This seems to be a rare issue as neither my local dealership technicians or other local Toyota shop have ever had to repair this part before. I don't know what caused it in my case if it was just a faulty bearing or what. The only thing I can speculate is that my original diff fluid was a bit over full so that may have affected it.

Here is what the bearing/seal and shaft etc look like when disassembled for reference.

 

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I'm updating this old thread to include the bearing picture that 06SportV6 had posted a few years back.
Like the OP, replacing the O-ring seal did nothing, only once the bearing was replaced, was the leak fixed.

I made the mistake of originally bring my Rav4 to the local Toyota dealership. They diagnosed a pinion seal leak, charged me $100 and then refused to give me repair estimate.

I then went to a decent transmission shop, they diagnosed the problem as an O-ring leak. But, after removing the assembly noted the bearing seal might also be leaking. The bearing seal fix isn't referenced on any of the dealers service manuals. The bearing assembly couldn't be ordered in time, so only the Oring was fixed.


I got the bearing replaced at a different shop and still had a leak. But, after further inspection, the problem was the transfer case was overfilled and oil was puking out the breather . There are 2 upper plugs on the case, if you choose the wrong one you'll put in too much oil. The shop owner drained and refilled the case and gave me $20 for the troubles.

Total repair costs were about $1200, if I'd avoided the dealership debacle it would have easily been under $1000
Costs:
Toyota dealer inspection - $100
1st transmission shop - $300
2nd transmission shop - $260
Bearing assembly - $500
O-ring - $20
Fill and drain plugs, crush washers - $40 (the idiot previous owner had stripped out both bolts)
 

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06Sportv6 & Tourendo06, thank you very much for your input on the transfer case leak. That gives me assurance of how to tackle this leak on my Rav4. Do you guys happen to have the part number for the bearing? I'm assuming it's Toyota part number 41201K?
 

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Well, I think I've got this problem myself, now. Noticed a fairly large puddle of a very light-colored oil under my RAV after a 2500 mile vacation. I see wetness around the driver's side halfshaft, where it enters the transfer case.
 
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