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Leak at front shaft slip joint?

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Old 09-18-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
geodude [OP] geodude is offline
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Leak at front shaft slip joint?

Could anyone tell me what this fluid is that's coming out from my front driveshaft slip? There's only a very little bit of it that dripped down onto the cross-member below it, and it's an oily consistency with a reddish hue (see pic).

I did just hit all my chassis zerks with some grease, definitely not overgreased, so I was figuring this could be a little grease contaminated moisture that might have been pushed out? I know some grease might come out of there while greasing, but I only ask because this is a little more viscous than just grease.

Possibly a stupid question, but this shaft isn't filled with fluid from the transfer case or front diff is it? Because then this may be of concern.

Appreciate it

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Old 09-18-2013, 12:45 PM   #2
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There's no diff fluid in the front driveshaft of a 1st gen Tacoma. If you look, the front shaft has a u-joint where it bolts on to the front diff flange, and the same for the transfer case. It would be magical if fluid could span the air gap and make it in there, but despite our advances in quantum physics, it ain't happening. ;-) At least this is what I recall from my 2004.

Here's a brief grease lesson. Grease is generally a combination of a base lubricant (an oil) and a thickener (often a soap-based compound). Automotive grease, at least, is thixotropic. That means in its resting state, grease is a glob of oil emulsified in the soap thickener. When grease is sheared, it's viscosity drops to near (but usually not quite) the viscosity of the oil used to make the grease.


As you keep shearing this grease over and over again, the emulsified combination of soap+oil breaks down and the two separate. Ever seen really old, nasty grease from inside a u-joint? It's thicker and stickier than fresh grease - most of the oil has been sheared out of it, leaving behind mostly the soap base. What I *think* you're seeing there is the result of putting in fresh grease - the old, sheared grease (aka 'oil') is working it's way out of the shaft. Being less viscous, the oil will dump out first, and the soap base may or may not ever make an appearance.


If you want to be certain (and be good to your truck) drop the front drive shaft (mark it's orientation on both flanges and the slip yoke, first), take it apart, clean out all the old grease, put in fresh grease, and re-install. That's probably overkill, but you'll know for sure.
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:19 PM   #3
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Thanks obscurotron, I always appreciate a good science lesson. I don't think I'll be dropping the shaft, but thanks again for the info.
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