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Proud new owner of 2004 S, some probs... Steering leak, front differen

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Hello to all,

First i would like to introduce myself, and say how great forum you area running here :) I am a Finnish paper tech engineer, now supervising powerplants building. Paper production is in recession in Europe so changed my focus a bit. I live abroad 95% of my time. Right now I'm in Spain, Zaragoza. Been thinking of buying a Cayenne for a while, and while being in Spain, noticed they are not expensive here, and plenty of availability. I was a bit leary of trusting Spanish "manhaña" attitude on the maintenance but decided to purchace 2004 S cayenne, which is loaded and impecable inside and out side. The problems start when you look under the car...

I was suspecting something when steering started going a bit heavier, and had some shake on the wheel when driving 140km/h (80mph). On the shake I suspect I need to balance the wheels, which are around 50% worn. Positive thing is that they are worn evenly.

Today i was under the car checking the suspected source for steering fluid disappearing. By the way, adjustable air suspension is great when you need to have a look under the car. The problem was i could not find the leak point. I could notice there was some traces of leak, yellow residue on the plastic bottom cover. Too bad I don´t right now have any tools, so i could not even remove the coveer...

I was prepared to renew the steering rack, (1340 eur +200 eur labor at local Porsce representative) but noticed something else...

The front differential seems to have leak at the shaft seal of cardan. Do I have to change the whole differential, or do they sell seals?

(Or is it possible that the steering fluid leaks on the spot above and shaft just thows it, looking like shaft seal is leaking?)

The rear cardan also looked very rusty and original. The middle bearing support rubber shows some cracks when you yank it. I´ll replace that for sure.

Any ideas about the typical steering fluid leaks?

Tuesday I will hopeully have time to go buy some basic tools to be able to see what is going on...

Still happy with the car. Before buying I was reading here a lot, so i now, upon purchace I needed to throw 5k towards it ;)

thanks again,

Antti Nieminen

Edited by Antti66ht
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Before replacing loads of expensive parts, remove the lower engine covers, wash the area off and re-inspect it to locate the source of the leaks. P/S leaks or front differential leaks are not common. I remember reading once about a case were the P/S tank was leaking but can't remember why or how it was damaged.

Oh.... welcome to the forum. Search the site for information on the carden shaft.

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thanks for your fast reply, nice to know there are not typical leaks on front differentials. I have read everything on the cardan issues, plenty of info here. Will get an offer from local Porche shop and then decide if I order the piece and do it my self. I have built my -66 Mustang from a scrap but Cayenne is new ground for me.

Thanks again, will keep you posted when I dig deeper.


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  • 1 month later...

HI fellas,

been a while, was on holidaym enjoying Sunny copacabana beach... Back to business. After the holiday, battery was dead, no driving for 3,5 weeks (Quite normal) After some 600km of highway cruising to Barcelona nd back, should be ok. Well see. Jump started without any problems. No allergic reactions from Seat Leon (Spanish VW golf).

After lifting the suspension to highest position, removed the bottom cover. My friend was turning the wheels, engine running, while I was inspectiing under the car. Could not find any leaks, which is not nice. Would like to know what is it, so I could fix it. (Dont fix it if it aint broken? ;) )

Here is some pictures, first the front differential with yellowish color. Definately not gear oil. Does not feel like or smell like it.


On the floor there is residue, which I suspect to be dried pentosin, steering fluid?


During these 600km, there was no significant loss of steering fluid. The liquid leak earlier on the bottom cover evaporates comletely... I have no smell of coolant or any sign of leaks... Any ideas? I just need to keep driving it until it tells me what is wrong, I quess.

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P/S fluid doesn't evaporate but coolant does. Have you checked all fluid levels? I would suspect you have leaking coolant pipes under the intake manifold. The "V" between the cylinders can hold a lot of fluid and the leak appears to come and go as the level as collected coolant spills out and then refills.

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I have not checked the level of coolant, no smell of coolant occurs at all. Will check today. No signs of overheating the motor at least. I will continue my studies and keep updating here, if I find something...

Just came to my mind, that former owner could have started filling the system with water... hopefully not. ( At least it would not ruin the seals of transmission. )

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Well, checked the coolant level the other day, the level was low. It was very suprising for me that the color is yellowish. Porsche special liquid?

I still cannot find any leaks. Will have to take apart the plastics around the tank. I have read here about somebody having leaks close to tank, or the tank itself. I do not wan't to take it to local Porsche, for examination. I am planning to have the coolant pipes changed, but I am a bit nervous about taking it to local shop here in Zaeagoza, Spain, as a foreigner. I work with Spanish sub contractors... Nice people, it is just the culture difference.

I have driven the car about 1000 km, and was so stupid that just now I checked the level of coolant. I was a bit lower than the minimum level, but as I have`witnessed some liquid under the car only once, I'm suspecting, that it does not leak anymore after the level is at certain point.

Any body know about coolant leak that show at the front differential, as in the pictures?

My Cayenne was last maintained 25000km ago and soon it is time for 120000km maintenance (90tm). The car was not driven much before I bought it, the last maintenance was done spring 2008. It was about time somebody checked the liquids.

It also has occasional alarms from turning signal. I suspect corroded connection. have to tear them a part and clean them. When I get to finland, I will have to also do some "touch-up) painting under the car. The over lapping connections in front carriage look already quite rusty. Mediterranean environment and stupid use of road salt...


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