Leaking front diff

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Mar 16, 2003
My front diff appears to be leaking...spontaneous leak! Parked with no use for approx 2 months after plow season. No abuse, all cover nuts on tight, fill plug and level good, drain plug good. Had a couple of warm days (high 70's) - is it probably the breather line is plugged and with the warmer days and plugged breather that pressure increase from heating is forcing oil past the cover gasket?

Open for ideas...

Washed down with LPS, and clean shop towels under diff to pinpoint leak overnight. Seems like a pain to change a cover gasket on the front diff....

It is a major pain... Wouldn't do it unless the leak was major or you're planning on doing the front axle seals/bearings at the same time.

You might just clean up the leak and smear some black permatex RTV on the seam, trying to force it in... It has worked for me to stop small leaks.

Diff leak

Front breather was rusted to hell...and plugged up. Cleaned up, flows nicely now, will clean and observe overnight for evidence of leakage. If so, will try the RTV smear campaign!

Thanks for the replies

Could you take a picture and post it of where it's leaking? Thabks in advance.
How long has it been since you serviced the knuckles?

R&R the third member isn't that big of a job. If the knuckles are due or close to due I'd pull it and do it right. The RTV smear method has never worked on any vehicle I ever tried it on.

Here are a few tips for a third member R&R

Use a bottle jack to pop the third out after you remove the bolts.

Have a tap and die on hand, the threads on the lower studs sometimes get buggered up from dragging over rocks.

It's also good to have a couple of extra studs on hand in case you need to replace any.

I use a floor jack to re-install the third, it is a heavy chunk of steel for one person to lift and there isn't room for two to do it.

Check the Drive shaft u-joint for wear at the same time.​

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