water in the rear diff...but how?

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 10:27
ThreadID: 33218 Views:1752 Replies:4 FollowUps:6
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Hi All,
My '99 Defender has a problem of water getting into the rear diff. Not been doing water crossings so all I can imagine is the breather sucking in moisture as the diff cools down. When I drain the diff the oil is coming out brown (rusty-looking) with quite a bit of water mixed in. There's no oil leaks anywhere. There's rust appearing at the bottom rear of the diff housing. Any suggestions why or how to fix it?
cheers,
greenextreme
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Reply By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 10:30

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 10:30
Have you got air lockers.

Have seen this with lockers fitted to a TD5.

AnswerID: 168864

Follow Up By: greenextreme - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 10:46

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 10:46
No air lockers.

And no breather extensions.

All stock standard...just the way LR make them.
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FollowupID: 424219

Follow Up By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 19:19

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 19:19
Could be a condensation problem, do you wash the underside down when the vehicle is still hot ?
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FollowupID: 424307

Follow Up By: greenextreme - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 19:29

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 19:29
Derek,

I have on occasion washed off mud, sand, grit etc from underneath when the vehicle is warm (not hot), 3-4 times a year, for 2-3 minutes a time. Maybe some condensation and possibly some high pressure water finds its way into the breather as well?

I use a high pressure hose and often spray onto/around the brake drums/shoes to flush out built-up dust. Could this be letting water in somehow?

greenextreme
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FollowupID: 424308

Reply By: Member - RockyOne - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 13:15

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 13:15
All my rigs,over the years have had the breather hose run up to the high side of the engine compartment where they breathe air above the normal water crossing level and the air should be more moisture free as the diff/box cools then it sucks in to fill the void. Just remove the breather,buy a fitting to suit diff thread and hose tail on other end(elbow may be best) then also,a hose-tail to suit high end of hose with a female thread to suit the breather.Allow enough slack for diff drop over washouts,kerbs and "zip" tie it all up (use black ones..some white ones are a bit sus) Keep clear of exhaust/manifold (they did'nt when they fitted my ARB to the front..but they were good about it..Gave me some free hose.) I'd like e Defender in my fleet..
AnswerID: 168883

Follow Up By: greenextreme - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 19:30

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 19:30
Cheers Rockyone....I may try and fit a new, higher breather to see what happens. Greenextreme
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FollowupID: 424309

Reply By: boogyman - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 20:24

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2006 at 20:24
check your wheel bearings and seals... pull the axles out to see if they have signs of water too
AnswerID: 168963

Follow Up By: greenextreme - Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 09:15

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 09:15
good idea...probably the culprit....a job for the mechanic....cheers, greenextreme
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FollowupID: 424379

Reply By: Rob Ackland - Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 09:26

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 09:26
Greenextreme you have answered your own question. No extended diff breathers is the most likely cause of the problem. Most 4WD users seem to think a snorkel will solve all problems but many don't understand that even water flowing over a hot diff housing will cause the standard breather to "swallow" water. I have seen this problem with three Disco's in the last six months. But the problem is not limited to LR in any way.

As well folk seem to think that bearing seals are impervious but they are not so it always pays to take care and a little time when approaching a water crossing, regardless of depth.

Extended diff breathers will go a long way to preventing a recurrence but it won't guarantee the issue will not return given the issues with bearing seals.

If the problem has existed for a while then a solid check of everything is on the cards as if the oil has not provided full protection from heat and corrosion then you could easily have issues so get it thoroughly checked by an expert

Rob
AnswerID: 169028

Follow Up By: greenextreme - Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 09:34

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2006 at 09:34
Rob,
I can hear the alarm bells ringing.....
I recall hearing a soft squeak / light grinding noise from the rear drive train area (which I put down to an excessive build up of brake dust).
I'm off to the mechanics today to get things pulled apart, checked and repaired.
Fingers crossed there's no serious damage.
Thanks,
Greenextreme
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FollowupID: 424385

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