Driver side leak - Nissan Armada Forum: Armada & Infiniti QX56 Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-10-2017, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Driver side leak

During a my drive home to San Diego from Las Vegas today, my truck started leaking a fluid. I didn't realize it until I got home, but there is fluid on the suspension and brakes on the driver side front and then also on the underbody all the way back to the right rear tire. It seems oily as it has not evaporated.

I looked with a flashlight but didn't see any obvious leaks which isn't right because there is plenty of evidence that something is leaking. I didn't notice any decline in turning ability nor brake feel. I checked the master cylinder reservoir and the power steering reservoirs and they both seem to be within range.

The engine was too hot when I got home to really poke around, but I am wondering if anyone else has a couple suggestions for common issues I might begin to look at.

I am hoping it is not related to the transmission fluid / engine coolant / radiator issue I've seen on the forums here..

-B

08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Checked engine oil level this morning and found it to be low a bunch. I drove it briefly this morning and could smell oil. Confirmed for me that is the fluid.

Any of you aware of a usual suspect on the driver side to inspect? Seals? Hoses or fittings that are known to fail?

Thx

08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-11-2017, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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OK, so this seems weird to me.

My shop called and told me that the front differential has an overflow tube and that for some unknown reason I was getting differential fluid coming out of that tube. Really weird. I haven't had anything done to the diffs. I talked about it with the oil change shop in July, but we didn't change the fluid. Apparently there is no check valve on that overflow tube either which is unusual according to my shop.

Anyone have any insight to this scenario? (BTW: I was not driving in 4wd on the freeway)

08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-12-2017, 10:24 AM
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Similar problem: https://www.clubarmada.com/forums/4-p...ferential.html

2005 Armada LE 207K miles,
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-12-2017, 09:05 PM
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I had the front diff leak from the vent tube once. I changed the front diff fluid at about 90k and somewhere around 120K I took it to a shop who replaced a leaky rear seal on the front diff - and obviously changed the fluid then too. I didn't know what type of fluid they used so I was always planning to drain and fill it with my trusty Mobil 1.

Before I got around to changing it myself I had the vent tube leak- probably within 2000 miles of getting the seal replaced. My leak was confined to the front driver wheel well, and some misting down the drives side of the Mada, but it was a pita to clean up. I had to take the wheel well liner out to get it all.

Anyhow - after the leak I drained what was left and it seemed to be about the amount that should have come out of a full diff. So either the guy overfilled it (not sure how) or the leak just seemed worse than it was.

I filled it back up with new fluid. I also ran the diff breather hose into an empty Fuji water bottle. I cut a hole in the cap for the hose and cut a couple vent holes in the bottle so it could breathe and tucked in behind the air filter. This way if it leaks again the bottle will catch it. In about 30k since the first leak I have collected about a tablespoon of fluid.

So I can't say what causes it - I assume on long hot drives it just churns and foams up and creates pressure or something - but I can say that it does not appear to be a big deal or something that will continue to happen.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-12-2017, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Staplebox!

Doing a search on "differential leak" on these forums brought up a couple of posts that seem to have similar experiences that you and I've had.

I had the oil changed in July and I've driven it on long trips since then but this was the first time this happened. I don't remember them touching the differentials but maybe they did.I don't remember and the receipt doesn't say that they did.

I kind of wonder if air temperature had something to do with my situation given that it's never happened to me before. We had almost a 50 degree temperature swing on the day that I drove it and this happened. It was almost freezing that morning and then by the afternoon it was close to 80 degrees in the desert.

I was driving pretty fast, as everyone does in the desert, so the heat and speed may have been enough to cause it. Sure made a mess in the wheel well and all down the underbody!

I'm taking it to a specialty shop that does work exclusively on differentials and transfer cases. I'm going to have them do a thorough inspection since I'm at about 130,000 miles now. The peace of mind that all is good will be nice. I drive my Armada on very long trips and I don't want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with my family.

I'll post an update later.

08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-14-2017, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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Update:

After having two shops look at my vehicle, it appears that indeed, I got some puking from the vent tube out of the front differential.

I had a shop that specializes in differentials evaluate both diffs and the transfer case and replace fluids. No issues were detected.

I guess I'm good to go, but I do like the idea someone had on these forums to put a plastic bottle under the hood behind the air intake filter housing and routing the breather tube into it to catch any more output should it happen again.

Would be less of a mess! As it is, I have that differential fluid on my exhaust system under the driver side and it smells terrible right now.

I need to get some degreaser on it and wash the underbody down...

Hope this thread helps someone!

08 Armada SE 4x4
Front: Bilstein 5100s, Rear: 2" PRG spacers, Bilstein 24-187077, Firestone Coil-Rite Air Springs (W237604150)
Volant (Gen 1) CAI, Nitto Terra Grapplers (275/70/R18), Bully Dog GT (10/2017), Hayden 678 Trans Cooler (12/2017)
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