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Old 03-13-2021, 09:33 AM   #1
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Freightliner Rear Axle Vent Missing?

This one has me truly puzzled. 15000 miles ago, I paid a shop to drop my transmission pan, flush and change filters. This along with full grease job etc. While under the coach to install the Supersteer motion control units on the air bag lines, I found a considerable amount of oil and road grime on the pumpkin and passenger side of the axle. My first thought was a right rear axle seal was leaking, however, you can see by my pictures, there isn't any oil near the back of the brake mounting/backing plate.



I have searched for the vent location based upon what I can find online and came up with two possibilities. One, a poppet type vent on top of the pumpkin, the other, a fitting screwed into the face of the pumpkin and looped around to the opposite side and affixed with a clamp. Neither is present on my axle. Finding the leak has been near impossible. The level in the gear-case is low, so I know this is the initial source. Now we have postponed a trip indefinitely until this is repaired. There hasn't been any indication of oil on the barn floor although I do see a small drip on the pumpkin now.
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Old 03-13-2021, 09:54 AM   #2
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Check for poppet valve on top of axle housing.
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Old 03-13-2021, 06:50 PM   #3
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Check for poppet valve on top of axle housing.
Thank you! That more or less reaffirms what a couple of guys (who are truck mechanics) told me today after our department's response call to a PMVA. It makes sense, but I can't see up there so I've rubbed my gloved hand over the area looking for a fitting. They suggested it's broken off even with the axle housing.
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Old 03-14-2021, 04:53 PM   #4
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Mirror and bright flashlight allows you to inspect out-of-view places. In fact I bought an inspection mirror with built-in LED lights a few years ago, it's handy to have at time although often the LED lights shine in my eyes and I revert to a mirror and bright flashlight.
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Old 03-14-2021, 06:29 PM   #5
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I'm going to try that, I used an old rear view mirror yesterday but still, I can't get it in there enough to see. The inspection mirror is a good idea, I'll try it. I have a remote camera on a cable, but someone has to man the laptop while I'm underneath, it's just too greasy now to take something like that near it. So I'll need to wait until a computer savvy helper is around if the mirror idea fails.
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Old 03-14-2021, 07:03 PM   #6
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axle vent

I have used my cell phone in the past to view tight places just use camera in video mode it has worked for me many times
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Old 03-14-2021, 07:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TGAWLAK View Post
I have used my cell phone in the past to view tight places just use camera in video mode it has worked for me many times
Me too. A selfie stick helps to see the tops of axles, tanks and air bags.
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Old 03-14-2021, 09:03 PM   #8
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I'll try video mode, that might work. What is a selfie stick?
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Old 03-14-2021, 09:42 PM   #9
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I'll try video mode, that might work. What is a selfie stick?
It's an extendable/collapsible metal rod that has a rubber coated handle with a pushbutton on one end and a clamp that holds your cell phone on the other end. An electrical connector near the clamp plugs into the phone. When the button is pushed the camera will take a picture. A phone with camera lenses on the front and back works best.
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Old 03-14-2021, 09:47 PM   #10
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It's an extendable/collapsible metal rod that has a rubber coated handle with a pushbutton on one end and a clamp that holds your cell phone on the other end. An electrical connector near the clamp plugs into the phone. When the button is pushed the camera will take a picture. A phone with camera lenses on the front and back works best.
If I can't find it with the stick mirror I'll get one. Never heard of it until tonight, always wondered how people were taking those shots of themselves from up in the air.
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Old 03-14-2021, 10:49 PM   #11
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If I can't find it with the stick mirror I'll get one. Never heard of it until tonight, always wondered how people were taking those shots of themselves from up in the air.
I spent a lot of time on my back under the coach one day taking pics of just about every component where I could find a model or serial number. I organized all the pics by system; e.g.- engine, transmission, axles, air system, steering gear, brakes, etc.
I also did the same thing with all components in the basement compartments, electrical panels, fuel filters, generator, etc. I also took pics of all the appliances including reefer, furnaces, hot water heater, etc.
It seems to never fail that something breaks and parts need to be ordered when it's dark, wet or you're on the side of the road. It sure helps to have all the info you need on your phone.
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Old 03-15-2021, 08:56 PM   #12
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I spent a lot of time on my back under the coach one day taking pics of just about every component where I could find a model or serial number. I organized all the pics by system; e.g.- engine, transmission, axles, air system, steering gear, brakes, etc.
I also did the same thing with all components in the basement compartments, electrical panels, fuel filters, generator, etc. I also took pics of all the appliances including reefer, furnaces, hot water heater, etc.
It seems to never fail that something breaks and parts need to be ordered when it's dark, wet or you're on the side of the road. It sure helps to have all the info you need on your phone.
I've done some of that myself and saved either pictures or numbers on paper. It's almost daunting, I was noticing more than I cared to see under the stern while searching around.
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Old 03-15-2021, 09:11 PM   #13
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UPDATE

Tonight was the lottery! Not only did I find the hole, but the thing was not broken at the threads, oh no, not broken, but completely missing

I made a stick mirror from my trusty 60's Mopar rear view mirror, and taped it, and a cheap Harbor Freight florescent flashlight, to the end of a hand grass clipper. You know, the one grandpa used to use that looks like a golf club with a Ginsu knife mounted on it. That provided the reach and the angle required to spot the hole. It was partially hidden by a cable which passed over it. Once I located it, I was able to contort myself between the axle, sway bar, leveling jacks, my 20 ton jacks and assorted other obstacles in order to obtain a better view. Doesn't appear to be thread damage but it's a damn mystery to me how that thing went missing.

The rear axle was supposed to have been serviced along with a bunch of other chassis repair and maintenance 15K miles ago. I hired a guy who is supposed to be a pro at this stuff just to ensure everything was gone over properly. One of the items I paid for was the complete maintenance of axles and hubs. I'm not so sure he drained or even checked that rear axle fluid because I had to use a breaker bar and one leg to remove the fill plug

The oil was not terribly bad, no water detected and the plug had minimal particles on its magnet. My plan is to flush good before filling again. One item I'm uncertain about is the hubs. My front hubs are oil bath and easy to check. The rear I'm not sure what they are. If oil bath, how do I drain them? Remove the rear duals and the axle cover plate?
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:45 AM   #14
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Just drain and refill the differential. The rear axle bearings are lubed by oil from the differential via the axle housing. I would not recommend flushing the differential.
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