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Author Topic:  PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?  (Read 879 times)

Offline LipschitzWrath

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PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« on: April 11, 2022, 03:31:49 PM »
Alright folks, reaching out to hopefully get some input on how to proceed.

Vehicle is a 2014 Taurus SHO, non-PP.  It was manufactured 11/13.  It currently is sitting at 152k miles.  I bought it used with about 50k miles on it.  I use it as a commuter vehicle.  My round-trip commute is right at 100 miles/day.  90 of those miles are interstate so it doesn’t see a lot of abuse.  I do like to open the throttle once in a while, but it’s usually to pass someone.  I do not flog on it from a stand still pretty much ever.  Overall, I’d say the car has a pretty easy life.

I did not know about the whole PTU issue with these cars.  Subsequently, I have never had the PTU oil changed or really anything with the drivetrain.  I replaced the driver’s rear wheel bearing maybe 18 months ago due to growling.  Other than that, the car has been uber-reliable.

Over the winter, I started noticing the smell of burnt oil after I parked in the garage.  I then noticed some drops of oil on the driveway.  Being it was crappy winter weather, there wasn’t much to do.  At my next oil change, I asked the pit tech to see what he could see.  He said it looked like it was coming from the PTU.

The car has also developed a growl, very similar to the wheel bearing I replaced.  I didn’t get a good chance to check it this weekend but I plan to do it tonight.  It could be two separate issues, but it is putting some pressure of urgency on me.

The weather finally warmed up and so this weekend I took a look.  It appears that the oil is coming from the TOP of the PTU vent hose.  It looks like maybe it’s puking out the top – is that indicative of anything in particular?  It already has the vent hose listed in the TSB.  The hose was attached when I checked it this weekend.

Given the miles on the car and my unbeknownst neglect, I wanted to get a plan together for how to take care of this.  That’s where I need your guys’ help.

My PTU does not have the drain plug – only the fill plug.  So, first question – should I plan on doing a drill and tap to facilitate this whole process?

Second question – given the miles, I’m guessing it’s a safe bet that the PTU has plenty of sludge in it.  What’s the best way to get it out?  I have another car I can drive, so I can do whatever.  I was wondering about maybe putting some engine flush in it then taking it around the block?  Keep doing that until I stop getting sludge out?

Is this all a waste of time?  Should I just plan on getting another PTU?  There are no drivability problems to mention.  If the growl turns out to be a wheel bearing, then it’s not even making any noise.  Is it possible that this situation can be salvaged?
« Last Edit: April 11, 2022, 03:42:15 PM by LipschitzWrath »

Offline Macgyver

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2022, 11:26:41 AM »
I seriously doubt the PTU will recover with an oil change but.......

Your best bet is to remove the fill plug. Get a meat basting syringe. Extend the PTU vent hose. Inject new PTU fluid down the vent hose til it comes out of the fill port. Or just use the fill port and fill the PTU through that. Cap the fill plug and drive it around. That will loosen up the old stuff so it can be sucked out. So if this helps quell the PTU noises. Go a head and suck out the oil then put some good gear oil in. See what happens.

Offline LipschitzWrath

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2022, 11:54:47 AM »
I seriously doubt the PTU will recover with an oil change but.......

Your best bet is to remove the fill plug. Get a meat basting syringe. Extend the PTU vent hose. Inject new PTU fluid down the vent hose til it comes out of the fill port. Or just use the fill port and fill the PTU through that. Cap the fill plug and drive it around. That will loosen up the old stuff so it can be sucked out. So if this helps quell the PTU noises. Go a head and suck out the oil then put some good gear oil in. See what happens.
Thanks Macgyver.

To be clear, I haven't confirmed that the noise is coming from the PTU. It sounds just like the bad wheel bearing I had and it might be another wheel bearing going out. It snowed here last night so I didn't get a chance to jack the car up and diagnose one way or the other.

Assuming I'm sludged in there, are there any solvents I can put in there to get it out? I was thinking maybe a trip around the block to agitate then drain.

To me the effort is worth it. I can get a remanufactured PTU for about $750. If I have to change it, so be it.

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Offline Macgyver

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2022, 03:01:46 PM »
Just put Gear oil in and drive it for a few weeks. Get it mixed up. I would say heating it up will do the best but no chemicals imho. Just let the new oil desludge the PTU.

Swapping the oil out twice is super cheap since its only 1 quart ish. I would use a generic for the wash out and the final change I would use Amsoil or Redline. Or just use Amsoil/Redline for both swap outs.

While you are working on the oil. You can check the wheel bearing.

there are video's on how to suck out the oil.

Offline LipschitzWrath

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2022, 05:12:10 PM »
Just put Gear oil in and drive it for a few weeks. Get it mixed up. I would say heating it up will do the best but no chemicals imho. Just let the new oil desludge the PTU.

Swapping the oil out twice is super cheap since its only 1 quart ish. I would use a generic for the wash out and the final change I would use Amsoil or Redline. Or just use Amsoil/Redline for both swap outs.

While you are working on the oil. You can check the wheel bearing.

there are video's on how to suck out the oil.
Thanks for the advice. I will give it a shot.

I have a mity vac so I can accomplish it no matter what. That said, my plan was to drill and tap a drain plug on the bottom of the case to facilitate this and the future. I figure it's not likely to cause any problems. I've seen people post dimensions for installing one. Shouldn't be a big deal.

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Offline Macgyver

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2022, 11:19:27 PM »
Its not a huge deal but it can cause the case to crack over time if done wrong. Just be careful and obviously follow what others have done.

Offline LipschitzWrath

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2022, 06:15:57 PM »
Its not a huge deal but it can cause the case to crack over time if done wrong. Just be careful and obviously follow what others have done.
Okay, did the deed on Monday. It was bittersweet. First if all, my drain plug ruse was quickly squashed. The rear cylinder exhaust connection is to thank for that. The connection was oriented such that you could put a drain plug in the bottom of the PTU pretty much anywhere EXCEPT where it needed to go. There was no play in the exhaust to muscle it out of the way even temporarily.

So for plan B I got out my mity vac and decided to do it the hard way. My God, figuring out how to get the hose in the fill plug will test your patience. I was using the smallest hose I had and even once I got it in, I sincerely doubt I got it all the way to the bottom.  Is there some trick I am unaware of?

Anyways, the oil I sucked out didn't look bad at all. It was a medium reddish brown, nowhere near black. That was encouraging. I don't know how much I got out and by this point I was over it.

I pumped in more than I got out, I know that. But it still wasn't 16-18 ounces. More like 10-12 before it started coming out the fill plug. When I buttoned it back up, I also learned a valuable lesson about the fill plug.

Ive driven it back and forth to work yesterday and today. The noise is still there, which means either my PTU is in fact shot, or it's a wheel bearing. I still haven't had time to chase the wheel bearing.

The good news is I'm not smelling the burnt oil smell after I park it. I'm not popping the cork on the champagne bottle just yet but I'm trying to remain optimistic.

I will see how this goes for a while. I would feel better if I could trace the noise to a wheel bearing. I'm probably going to change the oil at least one more time, but it would be really nice to figure out a better way to do it.

If I do wind up having to replace the PTU, I've got some ideas to make the process way simpler.

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Offline Macgyver

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2022, 11:45:54 AM »
You might be ok then.

One more drain and fill and see if you can isolate the sound. It might be the wheel bearing etc.

Offline LipschitzWrath

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2022, 11:47:08 AM »
You might be ok then.

One more drain and fill and see if you can isolate the sound. It might be the wheel bearing etc.
Any tricks to sucking out the old oil?

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Offline SHOdded

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Re: PTU Vent Leak - How to fix?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2022, 04:41:14 AM »
i would recommend giving it a couple of rounds of drain/fill with redline lwsp gear oil.  it is very high in cleaning power and should get the sludge that is still stuck to the case/gears etc.

if you don't have the OEM vent extension into the engine bay, the stubby vent could cause a recurring issue. it has a very small opening through which pressure is supposed to be relieved. so you can get caught in a vicious cycle of sludge buildup/venting fluid if it gets even partially blocked.

lwsp is good to have for heat stability, lubrication, and cleaning power. i like amsoil severe gear also, but i don't think it can clean like lwsp can.
2007 Ford Edge SEL, Powerstop F/R Brake Kit, TXT LED 6000K Lo & Hi Beams, W16W LED Reverse Bulbs, 3BSpec 2.5w Map Lights, 5W Cree rear dome lights, 5W Cree cargo light, DTBL LED Taillights

If tuned:  Take note of the strategy code as you return to stock (including 3 bar MAP to 2 bar MAP) -> take car in & get it serviced -> check strategy code when you get car back -> have tuner update your tune if the strategy code has changed -> reload tune -> ENJOY!

 

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