Chevrolet Cobalt Service & Repair Manual: Drive Axle Assembly Leak, Inspection

Chevrolet Cobalt Service & Repair Manual / Driveline / Drive Axle Assembly Leak, Inspection

A visual inspection must always be performed to confirm the presence of aftermarket components, potential collision damage, or areas of concern.
A rear-axle oil leak is easy to miss. The axle works normally until it suddenly seizes up, the expensive and possibly dangerous result of it running dry of oil.
The clearest sign of a leak is oil on the ground under the vehicle. Oil leaks from the hub oil seals of a live rear axle, may also leave traces on the inner surfaces of the wheels, or even get into the brakes.
Always clean drive axle assembly before starting the inspection. The origination of a leak can be narrowed down considerably during cleaning.
Axle oil is thick when cold and unlikely to drip out of a very small opening, but it flows freely when warm after a run. Any drip marks will probably be where you first parked the car after returning from a run. Within an hour the oil thickens as it cools and stops dripping.
You should also inspect the oil level, generally every 6,000 miles.
Some vehicles have "sealed for life" axles whose oil never needs changing. These axles do not have a drain plug. But they, too, can leak and need refilling, which is done through the plug hole by which they were filled originally.
1. Drive vehicle until axle reaches operating temperature.
2. Raise and support vehicle using a suitable lift.
3. Inspect axle vent or vent tube for leakage. Minor seepage around this area is normal.
4. Inspect drain plug for leakage if equipped.
5. Inspect fill plug for leakage.
6. Inspect differential housing cover gasket area for leakage.
7. Inspect pinion yoke oil seal for leakage.
8. Inspect for axle housing porosity.
9. On models equipped with independent rear suspension, inspect axle shaft oil seals for leakage.
10. On models without independent rear suspension, proceed as follows:
  a. Inspect axle tube to differential carrier housing joint for leakage.
  b. Remove wheel and tire assemblies.
  c. Inspect axle shaft oil seal for leakage. Wheels or brake components may show signs of contamination.
11. On all models, once leak has been detected repair system as required.
    Differential, Overhaul
    Disassembly When pinion gears are removed, place final drive carrier into a clean transmission oil pan in order to prevent losing needle bearings. 1. ...


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