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Spectra blue mica 2001 93k
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone, been trying to figure this one out for awhile, seen maybe 2 or 3 possibilities but I don't want to go throwing parts at the car if I can pinpoint the issue. It started with me noticing a leak on the passenger CV boot
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No tears, the fluid was really thin, not quite like grease in the joint. I followed the axle back to the transmission and it's dry as a bone
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up until the axle bearing bracket (I think is the name for this)?
It was a bit wet, but not as wet as the boot was.

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My understanding is that the axle has a small clip that goes on the splines to prevent the shaft from falling out (?) And this clip can wear out or be completely left out of install (2002 Toyota Camry leaking transmission fluid – mysterious fluid leak).
I checked my transmission fluid from the speedo sensor hole and it's pretty full. Not a pretty color, but still had some red tint.
I've never done axle work before but if it's not too involved I don't mind changing out the axle to just rid the car of the problem.
Appreciate any help!
 

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The axle is held by the two bolts on the carrier bearing bracket. If the boot is leaking you can buy a kit to replace the boots and grease. I just replaced my passenger axle so let me know if you have any questions.
 

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Spectra blue mica 2001 93k
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Discussion Starter #3
The axle is held by the two bolts on the carrier bearing bracket. If the boot is leaking you can buy a kit to replace the boots and grease. I just replaced my passenger axle so let me know if you have any questions.
Do you think that thin looking fluid is grease? I was reading that it can be pretty thin when it gets wet. I was set on replacing the band on the boot but I was confused why the bearing bracket was wet too, only slightly though.
 

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You need to identify the fluid. It is liquefied CV grease or engine oil. Many engine oil leaks (like the cam chain tensioner) will leak down onto the CV joiint.
 

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I can't tell in the first picture if it's a little blob of grease or a drop of oil. The other pics really look more like oil than grease. CV joint grease in my experience is always dark gray and gooey. Not at all like oil. Oil will drip, runs and spread out. Joint grease just sticks to where it's been slung. I'd be looking above it for an oil leak.
 

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I actually have been tracking a similar leak. Mine appears intermittently, as in 10 drops then nothing for a few days. No discernible driving differences. Wind turbulence and crevic crawling can result in difficult diagnosis. First, having done dozens of axle shafts, the clip that retains the shaft is easy enough to verify. If the shaft does not move in and out of the trans without significant effort. We have noted how hard it is to remove the shaft because of the tricks we employ to do it (rope/sledge hammer; drift/heavy hammer...). The joint articulates so if you can remove with relative ease, the clip is not working. That oil would be 90 weight trans oil if at all (I doubt). Check that oil through the port on side, not the speedo (not worth risk). The joint itself might have a leak. That leak can be a hole (splatter evident) or a loose band (clear seepage from the band of grease that stinks). Squeeze the joint and listen for pressure release or seek squiggly grease squirt. If you collapse the joint, there is a hole, tear or loose band. Check the valve cover near cylinder 4, the crank outer seal under crank pulley, the timing chain tensioner, oil pan and worst case - timing chain cover. Wash area down with a degreaser (NOT on pulleys or bearings) or soapy water and parts brush. Allow to dry. Take a powder spray (athletes foot?) and spray area. Drive, come back a few drives later and observe. The oil will leave a trail.

For me with an intermittent leak, I too have to clean and spray. I thought maybe it’s a result of crank case pressure (not really think it but...) and I am getting a new PCV. I’m using this as an excuse to install a catch can as well. My PCV clatters when I shake, but at 70k I figure I’ll splurge. Good luck.
 

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That oil pan is the most likely. Don’t crank down (oops). Number 2 is valve cover. 3 is timing chain tensioner seal.
Any pro / con to the oil pan gasket vs. Toyota Form A Gasket?
 

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Spectra blue mica 2001 93k
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Discussion Starter #11
You need to identify the fluid. It is liquefied CV grease or engine oil. Many engine oil leaks (like the cam chain tensioner) will leak down onto the CV joiint.
Its hard to tell, it doesn't smell like gear oil or grease, but it's super thin like engine oil, but there's no leaks above the boot
 

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Spectra blue mica 2001 93k
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Wow this blew up over night haha
To answer a few questions,
Cap weir and phattires had been trying to help me with a tensioner leak forever now, I've done everything under the sun, new tensioner, new o ring, rtv gasket maker, larger o ring, o ring grease, thing still leaks. There is oil evident on the pan, and I want to say the gasket on the pan is failing, but I've had bad oil pans before and this is a super slow seep, I'm not sure it could spray onto the boot. The timing chain cover is solid, theres no leak around any of the mating surface, besides what's running out of the tensioner. The only reason this gets me confused is because the axle is far enough away from any source of oil I'm not sure how oil is getting on it.
Edit: I should also mentioned I did the valve cover recently, and the tensioner leak is a slow seep as well, and there's a large enough distance from the engine to the CV boot the oil would have to be blowing onto the boot while I'm driving, but the drops on the boot only appear after the car sits, not after a drive of any kind.
 

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That oil pan is the most likely. Don’t crank down (oops). Number 2 is valve cover. 3 is timing chain tensioner seal.
Any pro / con to the oil pan gasket vs. Toyota Form A Gasket?
Toyota sealant or Permatex/Loctite Ultra-Grey is the proper way to seal the oil pan
 

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When I had this issue with my 1zz, the leak was actually from the front cover at the large bolt that goes through the belt tensioner pivot. The boss in the front cover is sealed by an o-ring. This was caused in my case, by that bolt being under-torqued.
Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
When I had this issue with my 1zz, the leak was actually from the front cover at the large bolt that goes through the belt tensioner pivot. The boss in the front cover is sealed by an o-ring. This was caused in my case, by that bolt being under-torqued.
Dave
Someone had mentioned that to me before, and I cleaned that side of the engine and afterwards there was no leaks coming from the bolt. I'll check again just to cover all the bases.
Edit: photo of belt tensioner bolt
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Any comment on possible PCV pressure pushing oil through a seal? Really reaching, but with an intermittent burp of oil drops, got me speculating. I have globbed on Toyo sealant around the rear pulley corner of the oil pan just because I could not tell 100 percent it wasn't the pan leaking (I did a good job on initial install, but never can say absolutely). Plus I made the amateur error of 'snugging' all the pan bolts despite knowing I had torqued them to spec. The corner most bolt pulled threads so I will have to address that. I am curious if anyone has tried an oil pan gasket. Yes FIPG is recommended, but if the pan is not mangled and the seating surface is also clean, the gasket seems so easy...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I can pull the pcv, I usually replace them on my cars when I have oil leaks just because they're cheap. I thought about getting some RTV and spreading some into the small leaks on the pan just to seal it. Of course it's hard to be sure it's the pan when the tensioner won't stop weeping onto it, but I occasionally stuff a paper towel under the tensioner and the boot and pan still get wet.
 

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When I had this issue with my 1zz, the leak was actually from the front cover at the large bolt that goes through the belt tensioner pivot. The boss in the front cover is sealed by an o-ring. This was caused in my case, by that bolt being under-torqued.
Dave
From my search, I believe that the drive belt tensioner and timing chain cover tension bolt is 51 ft/lb and the nut is 21 ft/lb. The timing chain cover bolts appear consistently 80 inch/lb. Anyone with a better view of this.
 

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Someone had mentioned that to me before, and I cleaned that side of the engine and afterwards there was no leaks coming from the bolt. I'll check again just to cover all the bases.
Edit: photo of belt tensioner bolt
That is the bolt and pivot. Mine leaked at the cover, not the bolt head.
 

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Any comment on possible PCV pressure pushing oil through a seal? Really reaching, but with an intermittent burp of oil drops, got me speculating. I have globbed on Toyo sealant around the rear pulley corner of the oil pan just because I could not tell 100 percent it wasn't the pan leaking (I did a good job on initial install, but never can say absolutely). Plus I made the amateur error of 'snugging' all the pan bolts despite knowing I had torqued them to spec. The corner most bolt pulled threads so I will have to address that. I am curious if anyone has tried an oil pan gasket. Yes FIPG is recommended, but if the pan is not mangled and the seating surface is also clean, the gasket seems so easy...
Excessive crankcase pressure will usually show up first at the crank lip seals. The o-ring in the tensioner can resist a lot of pressure.
 
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