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Old 02-26-2014, 11:37 PM   #1
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Leaking Rear Axle fluid

A little help. I recently broke down in Iowa, about 4-5 months ago. The tow truck had to remove the axle shaft on the wheel to tow it. The service station replaced the axle and added the fluid. The break down was the fuel filter and had nothing to do with the rear axle. It was over 75.000 miles so it needed to replace the fluid anyway. No big deal. Now in Arizona I notice fluid leaking where the work was down earlier. I'd like to do this myself but not sure where the fluid fill hole is. It's a 97 Winnebago 35WP on a Ford 53. I'm a little hesitant in driving with the fluid loss ( I don't know how much leaked out). I'd appreciate any help. Thanks.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:25 AM   #2
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On the rear end (pumpkin) there should be a plug about 1/2 way up the back or front side. It is usually takes a large square drive to remove. Axle oil should be up to the bottom edge of plug hole.

I had an identical situation about one year ago. The axle was pulled to tow and then replaced with just the existing paper gasket. It began leaking there. Needed to pull axle back out a little. Clean well, eliminate paper gasket, and put RTV gasket compound on surface and bolt axle back in again. Note..... have coach parked level for best fluid level amount when refilling.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:31 AM   #3
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I see that some tow companys are lazy and removeing an axle for towing. The driveshaft should be disconnected for towing and I would not let a tow driver remove an axle for towing. The differential and side gears are not designed to spin that fast.
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:49 AM   #4
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It's tricky getting the paper gasket to seal, I had to have one redone after a brake job. I also wonder why the tow operator didn't just drop the drive shaft at the differential, no lube or seals to mess with when doing it that way. Just have to tie the drive shaft up so it doesn't drag, not a big deal, especially since the tow truck usually has lots of chains.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:57 AM   #5
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Removing the axle shafts are an acceptable way to prep a vehicle for towing. The differential and side gears aren't moving while the vehicle is being towed so no damage will occur to them. The brake drums and wheel bearings are the only thing turning and they would turn the same speed going down the road. Getting to the driveshaft isn't always that easy and if you drop one of the bearing caps and all the roller bearings come out you then must replace the u-joint.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Removing the axle shafts are an acceptable way to prep a vehicle for towing. The differential and side gears aren't moving while the vehicle is being towed so no damage will occur to them. The brake drums and wheel bearings are the only thing turning and they would turn the same speed going down the road. Getting to the driveshaft isn't always that easy and if you drop one of the bearing caps and all the roller bearings come out you then must replace the u-joint.
Yup.

Bruce
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:36 AM   #7
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Send a message via Skype™ to Vaflatlander
Both axle shafts out and you're free wheeling
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:03 AM   #8
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We had to get towed 2 years ago same thing fuel filters,(Sunday, Midnight on a 2 lane hwy 1/2 mh on hwy) sat there for 2 hours waiting for tow that had to come from 100 miles away. Very scary. Anywho the driver didn't remove the driveshaft I new he was suppose too but didn't say anything, I thought that we were going a short distance so he could get it somewhere safe to pull it. Nope 79 miles later we got to the repair shop.
We have never had any problems with the rig since then. I must have been a lucky one I guess.
tb
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:22 PM   #9
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The problem isn't the axle that can be damaged, it is the internals of the transmission because the output shaft is turning without either hydraulic pressure lubrication or splash lubrication. The rear output shaft bushings can overheat and gall or lock to the shaft from heat.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stink View Post
I see that some tow companys are lazy and removeing an axle for towing. The driveshaft should be disconnected for towing and I would not let a tow driver remove an axle for towing. The differential and side gears are not designed to spin that fast.
The drive shaft was removed. The reason I was being towed was I had a ring and pinion failure and the axle also needed to be pulled to prevent damage to the pumpkin housing. The tow company was not lazy, they were very professional. PM me if you have issues with the help I am trying to provide others.
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:43 PM   #11
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A bad ring and pinion explains removing the axles. But on an RV, you have to remove wheel covers on both sides to unbolt the axles for pulling. Crawl underneath and you only have 4 bolts holding the U joint on. A large rubber band or zip tie holds the bearing caps on if needed. It's still cleaner than pulling axles and having diff lube leak and coat wheels, tires, wheel wells, etc. JMHO.
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slemnah View Post
Removing the axle shafts are an acceptable way to prep a vehicle for towing. The differential and side gears aren't moving while the vehicle is being towed so no damage will occur to them. The brake drums and wheel bearings are the only thing turning and they would turn the same speed going down the road. Getting to the driveshaft isn't always that easy and if you drop one of the bearing caps and all the roller bearings come out you then must replace the u-joint.
If only one axle is removed as a the op states, the remaining axle will drive the side gear on that side witch will drive the spiders and the other side gear, not good as these gears are strait cut and not machined for that speed. The op states only one shaft is leaking where the tow driver removed it.
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:52 AM   #13
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You are absolutely correct but I think you will find that both axles were pulled and only one side is now leaking.
Steve
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:27 PM   #14
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Smile

Thanks for all the responses. I've found the fill hole. I glad, from the responses, that I wasn't the only one who went thru this ( thought he was adding more to the bill for his services). When I pulled the hubcap off I found that the bolts to the plate that covers the seal were all loose. I replaced the paper gasket with the RV silicone gasket and torqued the bolts to 30 lbs. Again thanks for all the help.
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