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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Brand new member. I've been thinking about buying a classic car for some time and I've spotted this really good looking Toyota Supra MK3. The car salesman says there's only one little problem... it's leaking a little bit transmission fluid in the back.

Looking at the pictures it doesn't look like transmission fluid. Seems to be exactly the color of engine oil... but it's not making sense to me.

What's your opinion guys? Is this still a buy? Or should I steer away from it? It's a pity because from what's available at the moment, it's my favorite (in terms of color, interior, model, engine, etc.).

PS: This would not be my daily driver, and I'm happy to try and do some repairs/upgrades myself, even if I'm a bit of a noob in mechanics.

Thanks so much,
Bruno


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That looks like its coming from the differential's front seal. If that's all that's wrong it wouldn't stop me at all. Just budget some repair money unless you can do it yourself. Undercar looks pretty good as these go. No rust or bent parts. Even the exhaust looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's the differential, fixing that leak shouldn't be much of a problem
That looks like its coming from the differential's front seal. If that's all that's wrong it wouldn't stop me at all.
Hi both!

Thanks so much for your replies, much appreciated.

Forgive me for picking your brain with a couple more 😊

The car is located a couple thousand kilometers away (almost a 20 hour trip). Would you feel comfortable traveling with such a leak for such a long way? Is it easy to check for the differential oil level and health along the way, or would I be better off dropping the car at a local Toyota leadership and have that checked and repaired before driving it back home?

I agree with you that overall the car looks really good and I would be happy to take this baby, make it my own and preserve such a beautiful car, for as long as I can 😊 The seller is asking for 16k, which seems to be a fair price.

Here's a few more pics for your viewing pleasure! I'm missing pics from the engine bay, I will ask the seller to send some. Thanks again!

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Hi both!

Thanks so much for your replies, much appreciated.

Forgive me for picking your brain with a couple more 😊

The car is located a couple thousand kilometers away (almost a 20 hour trip). Would you feel comfortable traveling with such a leak for such a long way? Is it easy to check for the differential oil level and health along the way, or would I be better off dropping the car at a local Toyota leadership and have that checked and repaired before driving it back home?

I agree with you that overall the car looks really good and I would be happy to take this baby, make it my own and preserve such a beautiful car, for as long as I can 😊 The seller is asking for 16k, which seems to be a fair price.

Here's a few more pics for your viewing pleasure! I'm missing pics from the engine bay, I will ask the seller to send some. Thanks again!

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wow that's very clean id say its worth it! for the differential it doesn't looks like its leaking enough for it to run out on the drive home. if it were me I would fill it up and drive it back, I do not know if there is a way to check on the mk3 but it wouldn't hurt to just drain it and replace with new fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
wow that's very clean id say its worth it! for the differential it doesn't looks like its leaking enough for it to run out on the drive home. if it were me I would fill it up and drive it back, I do not know if there is a way to check on the mk3 but it wouldn't hurt to just drain it and replace with new fluid.
Cool thanks for that. Excuse the noob question (again) but can you share some resources on how to drain and replace the fluid, and which fluid should be used on the mk3? Looks like this will be a good opportunity to improve my knowledge on mechanics a lot!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
wow that's very clean id say its worth it! for the differential it doesn't looks like its leaking enough for it to run out on the drive home.
PPS: Ok, couldn't be easier. Ok, I'll wait for the engine bay pics, I'll go and check the car and if that's all, I'll bring it home and then try to figure out where the differential is leaking and see if I can fix it. If all goes well, I'll come back to you guys 😊
 

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Yeah nice car. Most GL5 fluids out there will work for you, typically an 80W90. Don't know if that's a limited slip diff or not (probably is because that appears to be a turbo) but most of these fluids have LSD support in them now days. Valvoline makes a good GL5 that can go in any diff. Looks like the car is in somebody's shop can they help you with the repair or drain & fill?
If you decide to change the diff fluid make sure you open the fill plug FIRST!!! You don't want to drain first and then can't get the filler plug out then you're stuck. Sometimes the plugs can be very stubborn so make sure you take good tools with you. You need a 1/2 inch drive bar with a long lever arm and make sure the socket is a proper fit.
 

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Yeah nice car. Most GL5 fluids out there will work for you, typically an 80W90. Don't know if that's a limited slip diff or not (probably is because that appears to be a turbo) but most of these fluids have LSD support in them now days. Valvoline makes a good GL5 that can go in any diff. Looks like the car is in somebody's shop can they help you with the repair or drain & fill?
Hey, thanks for the reply. Not sure if it's an LSD but it's not a turbo. It's a '90 3.0 NA with 203hp. The car is in a dealership which specializes in classic cars, so they can lift the car to inspect'em, but I'm not sure if they can do repairs. I'll ask!

Yeah I've seen enough videos by now to know we loosen the fill plug first 😊

I take the opportunity to ask a quick question... some videos mention these plugs have washers that should be replaced each time. Any idea how I can find washers for the diff plugs?

Cheers and thanks!
 

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Cool thanks for that. Excuse the noob question (again) but can you share some resources on how to drain and replace the fluid, and which fluid should be used on the mk3? Looks like this will be a good opportunity to improve my knowledge on mechanics a lot!
should just be as easy as unscrewing the plug and refilling with a pump through the upper hole. your local mechanic store should carry diff fluid. depending on the model of your car you may need limited slip fluid
 

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Here is a great post that decodes the axle for you. This guy's info is accurate up to 1988. Since you have a 1990 look for the VIN tag inside the driver's door sill.


Also 1990 models without LSD probably will have the 2 pinion diff which will have the code G282.

As far as washers for the plugs go, I can't think of a time I ever needed to replace one. You should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here is a great post that decodes the axle for you. This guy's info is accurate up to 1988. Since you have a 1990 look for the VIN tag inside the driver's door sill.
Awesome, thanks so much, I'll read it religiously 😊

As far as washers for the plugs go, I can't think of a time I ever needed to replace one. You should be fine.
I guess I'm kind of hoping/dreaming that the leak is coming from bad washers... but since you say that, I guess I can keep dreaming. Let's see... I'll wait for pictures of the engine bay and post them here... if it all checks out, I'll go and pick the car up and we can go from there. In any case, and thankfully, it will be a "project" car and not a daily driver, so I can afford having it in the garage until it's good to go outside!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's the differential, fixing that leak shouldn't be much of a problem, Toyota sells all the stuff you'll need but rockauto tends to have the same parts but cheaper.
That looks like its coming from the differential's front seal. If that's all that's wrong it wouldn't stop me at all. Just budget some repair money unless you can do it yourself. Undercar looks pretty good as these go. No rust or bent parts. Even the exhaust looks good.
Hi both again! I have some pictures and even a short video from the car running! Looks pretty great to me. Next step, fly there and test drive it. If I like it, I guess I will be the newest proud owner of a Supra MK3! Please let me know your opinions!!

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Be careful attempting a pinion seal replacement, chances are very high you cause more problems than you solve.
Short of a complete diff overhaul I wouldn't touch the seal.

Re-using an old pinion crush sleeve (pinion bearing preload) is a very very bad idea.
Its known as shade tree mechanic work over here, and its not advised.

Car looks pretty good overall, nice find.
I recognize that Varta battery.

Is the car missing the charcoal canister and BVSV, or are the EU vehicles handling tank vapor differently?
I might dig through some EPC diagrams for EU vehicles and see if its different.

Also your profile image is accurate. SAP... yeah.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Be careful attempting a pinion seal replacement, chances are very high you cause more problems than you solve.
Short of a complete diff overhaul I wouldn't touch the seal.
So basically you mean to say that I better start shopping for a new differential? Or can I still try to figure out where the leak is?
Car looks pretty good overall, nice find.
I recognize that Varta battery.
Thanks! Pretty excited about it!
Is the car missing the charcoal canister and BVSV, or are the EU vehicles handling tank vapor differently?
I might dig through some EPC diagrams for EU vehicles and see if its different.
I honestly have no idea about it. My knowledge so far about mechanics are basically "installing" wheel spacers and K&N air filters...
Also your profile image is accurate. SAP... yeah.
IKR?
 

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He's saying that you need to rebuild the differential fully, not just replace the leaking pinion seal because it will lead to other problems if you partially disassemble it and put it back together. Given that you cannot buy a new one, you are looking at finding a non-leaking used one, or rebuilding what you have. You can also live with the leak and just monitor the fluid level.

There was a guy on the supramania site who bought one of these cars because he liked the idea of daily driving a 30 year old car. He was not particularly mechanically inclined but had an uncle who was. Even for him, after 2 years the upkeep was too much and he sold it. The car you are looking at is in great shape, but its 30+ years old with no warranty, and many parts discontinued. Make sure you are prepared for that. Dropping this off at the neighborhood mechanic is likely not going to be successful when something goes wrong. Just sourcing parts can be a challenge, and a good number of mechanics will not take your business because they see it as a liability. If you're prepared to learn to fix it yourself, have a spare car for daily use, and like challenges then go for it.
 

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Yep, rebuild the whole unit or find a local replacement unit with lower miles.

Also skip the K&N crap filters, just get a good dry element filter. AEM is good.
 

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