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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As focused as I am on engine oil and transmission fluid and power steering fluid and filters and coolant and all that, somehow the fact that this thing has a separate differential housing with it's own oil escaped me all this time (2001 2.7 w/42LE transmission). I'm browsing the Service Manual in the transmission section recently and a phrase about the differential housing jumps off the page at me. :fun_84:

So I see where everything is and buy a quart of 80W-90 gear oil. I get the right front wheel off, wind out the drain plug with a 6mm allen wrench and watch it drain. "Gee, that was fast" I thought. I measure and see that 8 ounces came out. "The housing looks a lot bigger than that. I thought alot more would have come out " . Then I discover that a full 32 ounces goes back in ! :eek:

Turns out that all this grime and grit near back of the oil pan and on the transmission pan that I thought was either a minor engine oil or trans fluid leak, was actually a leaky inboard seal in the differential. I'm going to apply 2 oz of Auto-Rx for a 1000 miles or so in hopes of stopping the leak. Then dump and refill.

The green plastic tag on the filler hole says 80W-90 Hypoid gear oil only. The manual says 75W-90 gear oil, and also says NO synthetic gear oil. Must be due to seal compatability.

Drain plug : 6 mm allen
Filler Hole Plug : 19 mm socket + 12"extension with the right front wheel off. A 3/4" socket will probably work as well.

This is supposed to be done every 60K miles, and I'm just discovering it for the first time at nearly 150K. I hang my head.
 

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For those who weren't aware the treps have a diff it is good that you brought it up. I honestly didn't realize until I started to frequent this site.
 

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Hmmmm I knew about it but am trying to aviod it... lol it is not at 60,000 miles yet... maybe in 6 monthes it will be there.... this post made me make a mental note.... Thank You.....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The scary thing here is that if I hadn't discovered it, and the leak continued, eventually the Differential would have been destroyed. And the transmission and maybe both Half axles would have taken a hit also. That would be one hell of an expensive way to find out that you have a differential.

The whole procedure only took 45 minutes - from rolling the floor jack out of the garage to putting it away and washing my hands.
 

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What's sad, is that one time I called the dealership to ask how much it was to get it done, and the service advisor, after I told him that it does indeed have a seperate differential, said it didn't need to be replaced. That scared the hell out of me.

I really should get that done. I need to get her in for an oil change and PS change, I guess I'll ask about the diffy again.
 

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Good info to know..All this time I assumed the differential bathed in tranny fluid.
Check this out..I have a 2001 sunfire..you cant even check the tranny fluid in my car..no dip stick for the tranny..sometimes I think these engineers are on crack
 

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I changed mine at like 40,000. :icon_roll Overly parinoid I guess.... You don't NEED to take the wheel off, I do mine when changing the oil, just use a short wrench to remove the plug.


I put synthetic in there, others on the site have also and no problems. I hope it's ok. :icon_neut I like the thought of having synthetic, is there ant reason it could do damage to the diff??
 

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Discussion Starter #9
To0nUtZ said:
Good info to know..All this time I assumed the differential bathed in tranny fluid.
Check this out..I have a 2001 sunfire..you cant even check the tranny fluid in my car..no dip stick for the tranny..sometimes I think these engineers are on crack
We have a 2001 Sunfire here too. You check the trans fluid level by removing the plug on the right side of the transmission. Then fill through the fill cap until it just runs out the hole. I never could get a straight answer as to whether this should be done with the tranny hot or cold. Since refilling an empty transmission would be done at cold temps and the hole is there to determine proper level, it makes sense to me that fluid level check is done with the thing cold.
 

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I found out about it at an lube shop called OIL CHANGERS (Canada). They showed me how dirty the oil was in their so I changed it at around 85,000 k's.
 

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The honeymoon's over

I recently acquired a 2001 'trep and noticed the wet spot near the left driveshaft at the diff. I was down 18 oz. of diff fluid through the seal. It has to go somewhere and the atf is clean. There's usually a pretty good reason the seals fail. In this case it's caused by the crapped out tripod bearing on the driveshaft wobbling around enough for its case to rub against and damage the differential seal. Replacing the driveshaft looks very straightforward but pulling out the seal on the outer diff adjuster requires a special socket. My first Mopar product and I like the transaxle setup as far as neutralizing the negative aspects of FWD but... In any case, I'd advise anyone low on differential fluid to check the ATF for the characteristic 90w stink which would indicate an internal transaxle leak and check the short stub/transaxle output seals. If seals leak, find out why.
 

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for you guys with the GM's with no dipstick (stupid idea) check with car running
 

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Discussion Starter #14
SHAUN said:
question, how do u go about filling the diff do u need one of those seringe type pumps?
If you go into Canadian Tire Shaun you'll find a clear vinyl tubing extender for the gear lube bottles. It's perhaps 12" long. Just jam in onto the end of the snout on the gear lube bottle, and squeeze away.
 

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I did this on my 1gen a long time ago but have yet to get it done on the 2nd. One of those things in the back of your head that you never get too untill your that bored I suppose. I used synthetic also without any probs.

I have to drain the diffs and transfer case on my GC,mothers durango and brothers Cherokee so Ill probably do it then.

The grand am I just got rid off had no dipstick on the tranny also. Who ever made that design should be hung.


Does anybody know if this stuff absorbs water? I got a gallon of the stuff but it has been sitting for about a year.
 

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With the changes made to the site and all the pictures being compressed...If a detail is blurry or hard to make out, click on the picture to view the full size image.


Since I couldn't find any threads about differential fluid changes with pictures, I will post them up so others will have an idea.

Before starting, run the car around a few blocks, or start after running a few errands, hot/warm oil will flow much better.
I had to remove the wheel because of how big it is. Removing the wheel is optional, but it does make the process much easier and faster.
For the new differential fluid, a quick and easy way to warm it up a bit is to have the bottle sit in a pan of hot/boiling water the time you're draining the differential.

The differential is on the other side of the splash guard next to the passenger wheel.

The drain plug is on the bottom, a 1/4" socket extension/ratchet will work. Top right of picture.

The bolt with the green tag, take it off first so when you take off the drain plug, the oil will flow smoothly. The bolt that worked for me is 19MM (First generation is 1 1/16" bolt with a black/silver tag according to Phuckin Phil, speepdaedeesi also said the second generations are 1 1/16" or 30 MM bolts.) Just to be safe, have a set of sockets ranging between 17MM to 30MM with a 12" ratchet extension.
Used gear oil will be black, the milky fluid you see is from when water got into the differential in REVENGE.

After you pop off the drain plug, wipe off the plug and bolt of dirt and grime. Once the fluid is drained, wipe off the surrounding areas.

After that, put the drain plug in, do not add too much torque on this or the bolt! A number of people say that the plug and bolt are both aluminum. Jam the hose into the differential (top hole) and pour away. The excess (overfilled) will pour out. You can use a gun to put the new fluid in, or you can use a funnel with 12" of hose attached to the bottom of the funnel.
DCellBatteries said:
Check Wal-Mart. They carry a Plastic pump that fits right on top of the differential fluid bottle.
You can try this if you don't want to mess with the funnel.
Fluid may not overflow until you remove the hose/gun.

After that's said and done, you can run around and do a few errands, when you get back, check both plugs to make sure they're on tight enough and you do not have a leak. A few have used thread tape (sealant) so they don't have to worry about that at all.

As mentioned before in this thread and manual, the differential fluid is to be changed every 60k miles. Many members on this site change it every 20-30k miles, 60 seems a little too far to go.

The gear oil to use is 80W/90 conventional gear oil.
DCellBatteries, a few others and I use Mobil 1 75W/90 synthetic oil and have no problems. The choice is yours. I don't know about the conventional oil, but the Mobil 1 synthetic is about $8.50 a quart.

The online service manual says the differential holds 0.78 quarts or 0.74 liters of fluid. That means, if the stealership says the differential requires more than one quart, they want more money.

It's best to have the passenger side of the car on jack stands for safety. You can use ramps (but you won't be able to take the wheel off) but if you do, also make use of the parking brake.

You can be like me and keep it on a hydraulic floor jack. While draining, you can release pressure from the jack until the rotor almost touches the ground to make sure you got as much out as possible. Do that at your own risk.
 

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If the manual says no synthetic, I would follow what the manual says. They have run tests to see what to use. There is a reason.
 
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