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Front Diff Fluid Change???

explorerguy27

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Has any one ever changed the front diff fluid on an AWD 5.0 EX? Is there a way to do it with out tearing out the entire assembly? Is there a need to change the fluid? I am going to change out the rear diff fluid and was going to do the front untill I saw that it was butted up against the front crossmember. Any suggestions out there?
 



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ExplorerDMB

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I am pretty sure you will have to pull the whole front suspension out to get to the diffential. How many miles are on the truck? I am somewhat in the similar boat as you; I need to replace the front gears in my truck and well, even with the lift it's still all covered up. Good luck - sorry for the bad news.

-Drew
 






302Xplorer

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I tried to change out my front diff. fluid with a hand pump from pep boys and couldn't get but half a quart out. Used the same pump to put fluid back in my transfer case and it worked lika a charm, so I dont think it's the pump. I wonder if I was doing it wrong or if there is another way of doing it.?
 






smiley1

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I have changed mine. Its a pain but can be done with the right pump. I let is siphon for a very long time. I ended up with 2 quarts pumped out. Toward the end I manually pumped it out as I was getting short on time. I pumped redline back in and that was that. The rear was cake.
 






Jester1994

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smiley1 said:
I have changed mine. Its a pain but can be done with the right pump. I let is siphon for a very long time. I ended up with 2 quarts pumped out. Toward the end I manually pumped it out as I was getting short on time. I pumped redline back in and that was that. The rear was cake.


After how many miles should you change the fluids? Any difference you noticed? I just hit 100k and I assume I have the original fluid in both cases. I might do the rear on my own in the spring, but I don't know about the front. What's the procedure for the rear diff?
 






ExplorerDMB

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The rear differential is really simple. Unfortunatly, you have to take off the rears cover (no drain plug), and let it it drain like that. I would recommend taking out all bolts except one from the top (except having it screwed in just a little, not all the way) and then taking a screwdriver to pry the cover off and allowing it to pour into whatever your using to gather up the fluid. Then once the heavy flow of fluid has stopped, unscrew the top screw and take the cover over to a bench or just to the floor and clean it (the inside that is). You will also want to take a razor blade and clean off the gasket/silicone off around the edge of the cover. If you can't get it off too well with the blade, use a wire brush or a wizz-wheel. Also clean up the housing/casing of the rear end of gasket/silicone crap. I would buy some brake clean for cleaning out the differential. You should spray down the Ring and Pinion including the bearings and then try and whipe out as much goop as possible at the bottom of the casing. Once it has stopped kind of dripping over the edge...use SILICONE (I recommend silicone over a gasket anyday for this type deal) and run a continious bead along the cover. Then spread it kind of evenly over the whole edge and let it sit for about 5-10 mins. Then make sure the surface is clean on the housing, and get 2 bolts and try and line up the cover as best as possible first - try not to smear the silicone all over the place. Then put a bolt in the right and left of the cover and screw them in a bit so you can get your rachet to tighten the bolts up. They do not need to be but so tight, but snug. I would say around 20-30 ft lbs. After the cover is tight, there will be a plug to the right of the driveshaft on the front of the differential. It takes a 3/8s drive rachet, and you should be able to break it loose with that. You will more than likely need 5.5 pints of gear lube. Fill it up til it starts to come out of the fill plug port and then put the plug back on and this one you just want to snug. Do NOT overtighten or you will not get it back off! Check around your cover and make sure nothing is leaking and you'll be good to go for 70-100K. Also, do not be light on the silicone, use it, but don't go too heavy on it!

Good Luck! It's quiet easy!

-Drew
 






ExplorerDMB

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One more thing, the bolts on the rear are 13mm!

-Drew
 






Jester1994

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ExplorerDMB00 said:
One more thing, the bolts on the rear are 13mm!

-Drew

Thanks for the info. Drew, hopefully I can do this in the spring myself.
 






ExplorerDMB

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Have fun. If you plan on using a different rear cover or front (i.e. chrome or aluminum) be sure to take like a wizz-wheel or just a coarse strip of sandpaper and rough up the edge where it seals to the housing. The silicone will stick better and will seal better.

-Drew
 






toddious

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ExplorerDMB said:
The rear differential is really simple. Unfortunatly, you have to take off the rears cover (no drain plug), and let it it drain like that. I would recommend taking out all bolts except one from the top (except having it screwed in just a little, not all the way) and then taking a screwdriver to pry the cover off and allowing it to pour into whatever your using to gather up the fluid. Then once the heavy flow of fluid has stopped, unscrew the top screw and take the cover over to a bench or just to the floor and clean it (the inside that is). You will also want to take a razor blade and clean off the gasket/silicone off around the edge of the cover. If you can't get it off too well with the blade, use a wire brush or a wizz-wheel. Also clean up the housing/casing of the rear end of gasket/silicone crap. I would buy some brake clean for cleaning out the differential. You should spray down the Ring and Pinion including the bearings and then try and whipe out as much goop as possible at the bottom of the casing. Once it has stopped kind of dripping over the edge...use SILICONE (I recommend silicone over a gasket anyday for this type deal) and run a continious bead along the cover. Then spread it kind of evenly over the whole edge and let it sit for about 5-10 mins. Then make sure the surface is clean on the housing, and get 2 bolts and try and line up the cover as best as possible first - try not to smear the silicone all over the place. Then put a bolt in the right and left of the cover and screw them in a bit so you can get your rachet to tighten the bolts up. They do not need to be but so tight, but snug. I would say around 20-30 ft lbs. After the cover is tight, there will be a plug to the right of the driveshaft on the front of the differential. It takes a 3/8s drive rachet, and you should be able to break it loose with that. You will more than likely need 5.5 pints of gear lube. Fill it up til it starts to come out of the fill plug port and then put the plug back on and this one you just want to snug. Do NOT overtighten or you will not get it back off! Check around your cover and make sure nothing is leaking and you'll be good to go for 70-100K. Also, do not be light on the silicone, use it, but don't go too heavy on it!

Good Luck! It's quiet easy!

-Drew

just found this post.... excellent write-up. i am doing this project today.
 






gijoecam

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For the front, I just had the tranny shop install a drain plug while they were replacing the pinion seal. The put it in the bottom, right near the rib that reinforces the housing. It's pretty tucked up out of the way and seems to be holding. I'm not real keen on the fact that they used a pipe plug, but it seems to be working.

-Joe
 






toddious

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i can't seem to get my fill plug out. i'm using a 3/8" socket extension, and have it fully sprayed down with PB, but the thing wont budge. now, i can't even take it to a shop to have them loosen it, because there is no fluid in the differential. any tips?
 






ExplorerDMB

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Is the problem on the rear? I guess the next step is either a bigger rachet, or using a rubber mallet to try and break it loose. I've had some trouble a few times on a few trucks, and I just had to use all my strength. Of coarse, this is harder when you are on the ground (like you are probably doing)...but I am lucky to take it up to the shop when I do mine. Good luck.

-Drew

EDIT: I've never had to use an extention on the plug, but maybe my rachet has a small enough head to fit in there. Make sur ethe extention isn't too long -- anything over 4-5 inches may be excessive and will take away from the torque!
 






toddious

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yes, it is on the rear differential. I'm using a 3" extension, because it was impossible to use just the ratchet. i'm going to try to get a piece of pipe about 12" long to use as a breaker bar, although i would have never thought this necessary for a fill plug (isn't it supposed to be somewhat loose?). and yes, i am working on the ground, so it's a total PITA. not to mention how hard it is to get the ratchet up there between the exhaust, driveshaft, and differential itself. any other ideas?
 






gijoecam

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toddious said:
yes, it is on the rear differential. I'm using a 3" extension, because it was impossible to use just the ratchet. i'm going to try to get a piece of pipe about 12" long to use as a breaker bar, although i would have never thought this necessary for a fill plug (isn't it supposed to be somewhat loose?). and yes, i am working on the ground, so it's a total PITA. not to mention how hard it is to get the ratchet up there between the exhaust, driveshaft, and differential itself. any other ideas?

3" extension, 3/8" ratchet, and 2-foot pipe. Use the pipe to make sure the extension is thoroughly seated in the plug, and then use it on the ratchet as a cheater bar to crank it loose.

I had to use it on mine. 89k on the original fluid.

-Joe
 






merc2dogs

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I've always used a breaker bar, it gets in tighter to the housing and seems to work a lot better than a ratchet and extension.

It's kind of late now, but they sell drain kits for automatic transmissions that can be installed in the cover, makes it easy to drain the axle if you go swamping.

another for front or rear, but best done when the diff is apart, or at least the cover is removed, find the lowest bolt for the cover, and from inside carefully drill into the hole for that bolt, then put a little sealer on the threads near the head of the bolt befor re-installing it. that way all you have to do is pull the new drain bolt to empty the housing

ken.
 






ExplorerDMB

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The threading used on a differential housing is not your normal threads. When you go to tighten it, only snug it -- do not over tighten or you will be back to where you are now!

-Drew
 






toddious

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ExplorerDMB said:
The threading used on a differential housing is not your normal threads. When you go to tighten it, only snug it -- do not over tighten or you will be back to where you are now!

-Drew

thats what i thought, and why i assumed getting the plug out wouldn't be a problem. it's hard to get the ratchet to sit well in the slot, it keeps wanting to strip..... i'm going to try heating it with a torch tomorrow. even a 2' breaker bar, unless i had the truck on a lift, would be impossibly to use. longest i could have would be 1'.
 






gijoecam

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ExplorerDMB said:
The threading used on a differential housing is not your normal threads. When you go to tighten it, only snug it -- do not over tighten or you will be back to where you are now!

-Drew

It's a tapered pipe thread with thread locking compound on it. A little heat is all it takes to melt the locking compound.

When you tighten it, you must make it tight enough that it slightly distorts the threads. Otherwise it will not seal or stay tight. You don't need to torque it to 150 ft*lbs, but it does need to stay tight.

I've never had any trouble with a ratchet, extension, and cheater. True, a breaker bar works better and is the right tool for the job, but when you're layin' underneath the ride with no way to get one, you use what you've got and take it back to Sears if you break it. :)

-Joe

-Joe
 



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