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Fixing the rear differential oil leak – resealing with RTV silicone

The rear diff has been leaking ever since I got the van but it has got worse. I removed the rear cover, cleaned it up and used RTV silicone to make a new gasket, and that’s what this post will cover.

rear-differential-leak-repair-leaking

Loosen bolts

I had to spray a bit of WD40 around the bolts to get them off. A couple of the bolts where really corroded so I had to get a bolt grip socket (I bought a set for £14 here) and they came off easily. I put a bowl beneath incase the oil started coming out right away – it didn’t.

rear-differential-leak-repair-loosen-bolts

Prize open case

With the bolts still in but loosened I carefully used a big flat screw driver on the edge of the case.

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Drain oil

I let all the oil drain with the case still half on, just so it’s more controlled.

rear-differential-leak-repair-drain-oil

Scrape off old gasket sealant with a plastic scraper

I removed all the old gasket sealant (although I think this might have just been standard silicone) with an old plastic card. I did this on both mating surfaces: on the diff housing and the cover.

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Clean cover plate

I cleaned the cover plate in the same way as above but I also used some brake cleaner spray.

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Apply sealant (gasket maker or RTV silicone)

I made one clean bead of RTV silicone sealant around the cover plate inside lip making sure the bead goes inside of the bolt holes. I used ProSeal Red Silicone Gasket Maker – See it on Amazon

rear-differential-leak-repair-rtv-silicone

Place cover back on and hand tighten

With all the bolts about evenly hand tightened I left this it one hour (as instructions say) for the silicone to slightly set. Some silicone will squeeze out the sides, that’s alright.

rear-differential-leak-repair-hand-tighten

Fully tighten and leave for 24 hours before filling with oil

I went round in a star pattern making sure I tightened each bolt evenly bit by bit. A little bit more sealant came out at this point but it was a thicker consistency as expected.

rear-differential-leak-repair-tighten-bolt

I did a separate post on checking the rear differential oil level and topping it up – see Checking rear differential oil level and filling it up

I’ve just driven 300 miles and it has held up well – totally dry.

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