Rear axle fluid is milky all the time - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-10-2013, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Rear axle fluid is milky all the time

I changed the rear diff fluid a couple of weeks ago on a scheduled basis. I was stunned by its color. It was something between the "coffee-and-milk", an old oil from the fryer and - sorry - children's diarrhea. Everything inside the diff housing was covered with reddish scurf but details were not rusty. I just wiped them off with a piece of cloth and they became shiny again.

I continue... Along with the "oil" I found some unidentified pieces of black rubber (???) inside the diff's housing. I decided it was the sealant's excess but I never seen the stuff inside the diff before.

My first thought was I somehow killed the vari-lock and the "oil" looks so strange due to worn clutch inside of varilok. But I didn't check that. Just removed the gunk and changed the oil.

It has been 2 weeks from the oil change. The truck passed ~500km, no off-road, no fords, nothing. Today I pulled the plug out of the differential cover and what do you think? I can see almost the same milky "oil" inside the diff (well, maybe not so milky as the previous time...). The diff's breather is ok, oil seals are ok too, so I don't think it's water.

What else it might be if not the water? Should I buy new varilok - 52104674AE? Or change the make of my oil (which is Castrol Syntrax Limited Slip 75W-140)

Any feedback would be highly appreciated.

Last edited by AByrvalg; 08-10-2013 at 01:18 PM.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2013, 02:48 PM
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It does sound a lot like water. Maybe there could be some residual water from the previous oil change. Had the Commander been through some deeper water previously?

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2013, 06:14 PM
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Maybe the breather tube is broken or missing.


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-11-2013, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AByrvalg View Post
The diff's breather is ok, oil seals are ok too,...
It's okay

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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It does sound a lot like water. Maybe there could be some residual water from the previous oil change. Had the Commander been through some deeper water previously?
No it had not. Maybe some shallow puddles, no more. The irony is what these 8 months were the most "peaceful season" for Commander from the moment when I bought it. I missed winter hunt in snows above its front bumber, I almost missed the spring hunt with its river floods. So I just don't understand where the diff could get the water.

My only reasonable suggestion is that the breather has been frozen throughout the winter and differential has taken water from the air (from my knowledge, the oil seals' purpose is to hold the oil, but they allow some air to get inside) and the water just couldn't vapourise through the breather. The more I drove the more water vapor appeared inside the housing. But if so, why I haven't seen any rust?

I'm gonna check rear diff after next 200 miles and hope to not see the horror again, but if so...

Last edited by AByrvalg; 08-12-2013 at 01:06 AM.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe the breather tube is broken or missing.
No no it's ok. The breather is "like new".
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by AByrvalg View Post
No no it's ok. The breather is "like new".
When I last replaced the diff fluid I was surprised to find that if you spin one of the tires, a lot of additional fluid drains out. I had already drained the diff and was just curious about the way the gears mesh, so I spun one tire with my foot. Much to my surprise a fair amount of old diff fluid started to drain out. I spun the tire until no more fluid came out and then resealed the diff and refilled it. Maybe what clouded the fresh fluid you put in was this residual old fluid.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JeepJorge View Post
When I last replaced the diff fluid I was surprised to find that if you spin one of the tires, a lot of additional fluid drains out.
Every time I replace the oil I spin the wheels exactly to drain out as much old stuff as possible. That's why I believe the old oil residues could not spoil the new one.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-12-2013, 08:21 PM
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Clean it out really good with brake cleaner an install new gear oil and you will be fine. The brake cleaner won't hurt anything but will clean it up really nice.




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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-13-2013, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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Clean it out really good with brake cleaner
Sure, you right, it should help. But it didn't. Every time I replace oil, I spend a full can (340ml ~ 11.5 oz) of such cleaner for every axis and I did that the last time (when I found out the oil is bad for the first time).

I admit, that oil might be milky before the second change due to residues from the previous one. But what I can't understand is how the water got into the diff housing, and is that the water at all.

If this weekend I find the oil is spoiled again, I'll try to extract water from the mixture. If to heat up the oil-water mixture I can see a foam. Don't know why I didn't do that yet.
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