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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys, just looking for some insight into what is causing this fluid leak on the front passenger side, just behind the wheel. Its all over the suspension components-- lower part of the spring/strut, control arm, swaybar, steering linkage, tie rods and cv axle (mainly the outer boot and shaft).It even looks like it got on the fender/mudflap! There is also some fluid on the top of the steering rack but I am not sure if thats related or something else. It happened all of a sudden as I hadn't been driving it while I was battling the exhaust components. I am sure I would have noticed it as I was working on where the converters meet, and i had that tire off just before driving it and I had looked behind the rotor and didn't notice any fluid anywhere. Immediately after driving it about 60 km I checked on the converter connection and noticed fluid everwhere. Seems like something burst or sprayed all over.

It appears oily, maybe reddish brown but its mixed with rust and dirt so not sure how helpful that is. Doesn't smell like the engine oil. The brake fluid is not low. The power steering fluid shows MIN when cold-- the leaking fluid doesn't smell like whats in the power steering fluid reservoir and that is a dark red. From what I can tell from the "cleaner" parts of the leak on the cv axle boot I don't think its power steering fluid but I am not sure obviously. Seemed amber to me there if anything. I haven't checked the ATF yet as its not on level ground. I don't think its coolant as I put blue stuff in there and that isn't low.

Could it be the shock absorber?

Here are some pics:

From under the passenger seat looking forward:

20200828_162938.jpg

Inside of Fender/Mudflap:

20200828_162951.jpg

From front of vehicle looking underneath passenger side:

20200828_163944.jpg 20200828_163035.jpg 20200828_163100.jpg 20200828_163932.jpg 20200828_163106.jpg

20200828_163129.jpg 20200828_163925.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2
And a couple from further in, looking up. I can see something wet up above what i believe is the starting motor in the lower right corner of this pic:

20200828_163232.jpg

And some fluid on top of the steering rack itself:

20200828_163321.jpg

There might be something else going on there not sure.

Just trying to get an idea of what I am dealing with. Planning to bring it in next week. Thanks for any help!
 

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Could be gear oil. The fluid is held in by seals where the axle shafts enter the Diff. You can develop a leak when these seals fail.
 

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Looking closer at the pictures, I think it's probably not gear oil based on the fact that it's not on the metal part that the inner boot is connected to. Anyway, if it was gear oil, you'd probably be able to identify it pretty easily by the smell.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Maytawn. The CV axle seal seems ok, absolutely dry in that area where it enters the diff. I did check that first as i had to put a new one in there in the spring.
 

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Edit: i was going to ask about the color but obvi i didnt read the whole post. MYB
i doubt its any of the suspension components.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'll clean it up over the weekend and see if I can replicate it. I did notice tonight when i was looking under there again, there is a little transmission fluid leaking from around the transmission cooler hose area. Not much, its not actively dripping, but its wet and the clamps there might need to be tightened. Could be spraying from there maybe?
 

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I'll clean it up over the weekend and see if I can replicate it. I did notice tonight when i was looking under there again, there is a little transmission fluid leaking from around the transmission cooler hose area. Not much, its not actively dripping, but its wet and the clamps there might need to be tightened. Could be spraying from there maybe?
yeah, might be. check your aft fluid. I did have a leak from there some time back, more of a drip though.
 

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Use a white paper towel to try to soak some up and ID the general color.

Then spray the whole area with foaming engine cleaner, and once its clean again maybe you can find it starting point - or narrow it down.
 

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Wiper fluid reservoir? Hard to say with everything so dirty but perhaps it's just washer fluid spilled all over everything that was already grimy and making it appear oily?
 

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is it on top of the frail rail in that front pass side? I had a PSF leak that was dripping onto the top of the frame and then down from there onto the front suspension area. if its really thinned out it may not look dark brown. but given the volume i would think it would be pretty low, but maybe not, there is alot more in the system than in the little reservoir.

it also could be trans fluid from the cooler/ lines/ connections. thata should be pretty easy to find by getting it warmed up driving it a little bit after cleaning around it.

good luck!
 

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Judging by the reddish tint from the fluid on the CV boot clamp, I'd say you have a power steering fluid leak, or maybe ATF leak.

If power steering it could be coming out the end of the steering rack, or coming down from the power steering pump/reservoir that is above that to the passenger side of the motor, or from a line running to the steering rack. The whole system is pressurized when running so it could force out of a pinhole or bad seal. check your power steering reservoir and I bet its low.
 

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LIke others said foaming engine cleaner. Also a case of brake cleaner might be usefull. Clean clean clean. Then drive and check, drive and check. That way you can find the source.
 

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I have been really happy with the Castrol SuperClean for cleaning engines and grease. I have found that the foaming engine cleaner can take the gloss finish off engine parts and paint.
 

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What fluids are going low?

Some of that looks to be the engine oil cooler seal. That is a pretty common leak.
The rack looks like it might be leaking a bit as well.

The outer tie rod ends have been replaced sometime in the life of the truck, I can tell they are aftermarket. But they look find and not an issue. Just shows that it had had front end work done before.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Early2010 yes good eye-- the outer tie rod is a Moog. I replaced all 4 ball joints with Moog as well. The wheel bearings are Timken. The rest is all stock although the CV axle is from a 2017 Frontier (I had to destroy mine trying to get the wheel bearing off).

I cleaned it up with some Dawn dish liquid, it worked pretty good. So what i found when I got it on level ground and warmed up, the ATF was dripping from the transmission cooler hose. I think it must have been ATF dripping and getting blown all over everything while driving. The ATF level is right on the lower end line of the HOT hashmarks/crisscrosses on the dipstick. I tightened the little hose clamp that a shop had put on there, it was a little loose for sure and no longer dripping.

I did turn the steering back and forth quite a bit and didn't see anything leaking. Drove it about 60 km and no more leaking. Thanks to everyone for your advice and opinions!
 
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