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Thread: Diff fluid change tips...

  1. #1
    Senior Member E5EDDIE's Avatar
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    Default Diff fluid change tips...

    Anyone have any good tips for changing the fluid in a Dana 44 or similar diff? I need to do mine, even more so 'cause the front diff is leaking a bit so I guess the gasket goo is toast. Where do I place the gasket goo on the diff surface to seal it well? I've also heard it's good to use brake cleaner to rinse out the old fluid well before wiping and refilling...neccesary? Thanks y'all
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    Administrator miljeep's Avatar
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    Here is what I had the pleaure of doing today.

    Change the fluid on a 35 and 44.

    This is what I did and I am not sure that is is 100% correct, but it worked. I did it at the auto shop on Belvoir, and Kevin helped out a bit to keep the process moving.

    Process is same for the front and rear. Or, at least I did it the same.

    Have enough fluid, I think I got the 80-90 and had 5 quarts on hand. Check your manual for the fluid type required as I have had a few beers since the fluid change.


    • Remove the bolts holding the cover in place.
    • Use a flat head screwdriver to work the cover loose.
    • Drain the fluid out and then remove the cover after the majority of the fluid has been drained.
    • We sprayed out the inside of the carrier with brake cleaner working from the top to the bottom.
    • We took the cover to the cleaning tank and I cleaned it well and scraped off as much of the RTV as I could.
    • I then scraped the RTV off the carrier.
    • Then we covered the gears with a cloth and we used a light sanding tool to clean the surface on the carrier and the cover where the RTV will make contact.
    • We then put a pretty thick continuous bead of RTV Black on the cover going on the around the inside of the holes towards the inside center of the cover.
    • We then added RTV to the outside of the holes facing the edge of the cover so that it would have the greatest chance of making a good seal
    • Then we let the RTV set a few minutes as we cleaned the carrier again with brake fluid and made sure it was free of any debris from the sanding that may have got in there.
    • After that, it is just a matter of placing the cover back on and bolting it down. We waited a little while before filling with fluid to give the RTV some time to set.

    Hope that helps. I cannot remember exactly how much fluid it took, I want to say 2 quarts in the rear and maybe 1 and 1/2 in the front. I was not really paying attention since the front was a pain to fill and it seemed like it took forever.

    Spend the couple of bucks to use the lift at the auto shop. Kevin was a big help, and they dispose of the old fluid. Plsu it is nice doing the work with the lift...a lot easier.

  3. #3
    Machete wielding woodsman 94GC52's Avatar
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    http://www.lubelocker.com/ for all your gasket goo needs. We as off road drivers tend to go thru diff fluid changes alot more than most. so this item is a great investment. I ran em on my YJ front and rear for 2 years and never had a problem.

    If your going to use RTV then the RTV should go on the cover not the diff housing and surround all of the bolt holes. you only need about a 1/8th inch wide line.

    I'm not an advocate of using brake cleaner for the following reason: the brake cleaner breaks down the fluid your changing and gets it nice and clean inside. How ever you wont get all of the break cleaner out and it will continue to break down your new fluid and end up doing more damage than its worth. Its better to just let all of that fluid drain out naturally while spinning your tires by hand slowly to assist and left over fluid drainage.

    you also get more fluid drainage if you have your vehicle on an front to rear incline ehwn doing the rear. just make sure you put it back on level ground before you refill.
    Last edited by 94GC52; 07-21-2008 at 00:53. Reason: More info.
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    Member WFTW's Avatar
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    If you're going to remove the diff cover(s), then you might as well check to see if there are any small shavings of metal in there. I've heard that sometimes happens. I'm guessing the reason for that is the teeth on the gears aren't lined up correctly (which would need to be fixed). Someone on here would probably know more about that than I do. I've seen gears being installed before, but have never done it myself and avoid it like the plague. hahahaha

    I put the diff fluid in mine the last time I was home. How often do you all change this? For some reason I remember reading 60K miles.

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    Administrator miljeep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WFTW View Post
    How often do you all change this? For some reason I remember reading 60K miles.
    I have always heard that after going through a water crossing, you should change the dif fluids. Some may change their fluids after every ride, I don't know an exact answer, but I do know that as Josh pointed out above, we tend to change the fluid more often.

    This is what I heard about the water crossings and it may be in fifthpro's informaton sheet on water crossings also. Something about the difs heat up, but then as you enter the water, they rapidly cool down which will draw water in through the breather tube.

    I really expected my fluid to be milky because that is what I had heard the fluid will look like when it has water mixed in it. I had been through some pretty deep water these past few months, and was surprised that it did not have a milky appearance.

  6. #6
    Machete wielding woodsman 94GC52's Avatar
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    Best thing for water fording Jeeps is to run your breather tube as far up as it will go. you can even change that tube to a longer length of rubber hose and get it way out of the water.

    Found a link with pik-chers: http://www.4x4xplor.com/diff-service.html
    Last edited by 94GC52; 07-21-2008 at 19:11. Reason: Linky
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    Senior Member E5EDDIE's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the good poop y'all, so far, it seems to have paid off in as much as it's not leaking yet! Drove over to Korisu's spot, not dripping yet. I used the brake clearner angle, and it worked well to get the black crud off of the gears in the diff, but, after the fact I realized you're not supposed to get it on rubber etc, and my locker air line is rubber into the diff...see what happens! there was a fair amount of metal "dust" on the plug magnets...a bunch more on the rear. The fluid was pretty dark but I was happy to see it was not contaminated with water from my last trip to the mountains. Transfer case is next, I was told regular ATF is fine, that so? Sounds like you work harder off the clock than on it Ryan Thanks again y'all-Ed
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    darwinism at its best irish1371's Avatar
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    if you do use rtv to seal try to make 1 continuos bead its the meeting spots that tend to leak. also if your still using a d35 rear then change the fluid after each winter and water crossing. reason- the rubber plug in the diff cover will heat up with the diff then when it hits coldweather/water it shrinks allowing alot of moisture to enter the rear diff
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    Junior Member healerdoc1's Avatar
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    For transfer case on our 04 Wrangler, it shows ATF +4. For both auto transmission and transfer case.

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    Junior Member Don's Avatar
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    I change mine every oil change, milky oil has cost me lost before!

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