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Differential (Final Drive) Oil Change

Differential (Final Drive) Oil Change

Kyle Chatman

Nick Johannessen asks about easiest way to change diff oil.

Nick, I'll offer the overly fussy version. The short answer is that it is certainly a DOYer.

I recommend these steps.


  1. Put the car on stands. I like to put one stand under each half-shaft.
  2. Take off the plate under the differential.
  3. Now that it's easier to reach, remove the fill plug. There is one good reason to do this and one maybe reason to do this. The good reason was offered by Matthias Fouquet-Lapar -- to be certain that you will be able to remove it when it is time to put in the new oil. The other reason may not be critical, but I was struck by the suction force when I took off the drain plug first. To my way of thinking, the seals don't need any unnecessary stress.
  4. Remove drain plug and catch oil in basin. The differential holds 1.6 quarts US.
  5. Replace drain plug. I used teflon tape this time because of a slight drip.
  6. Putting new gear oil in is a pain. I use a can with a pump and flexible filler tube and pump about a gazillion times. When you get close to full, I recommend a step that may seem nuts and probably is nuts. Replace the plate and lower the car. I do this because I assume that the proper amount of oil is determined with the car level and my Jag on stands is at a steep angle and would be overfilled if not lowered. Can we all say anal retentive? My only defense is that I'm paranoid about oil seal leaks. Anyway, let the oil flow out until it stops, lift car, put stands back, take off plate and replace fill plug.
  7. Replace plate and tighten. (All this about taking the plate off and putting it back on is because I use a floor jack under the supporting plate to raise and lower the car.)

Lower car and enjoy.

I have since learned that there may be an access plug in the wheel-well to check the level and assist in the refill. Have a look if you're so inclined. I would probably fill from below anyway.

You will use something close to an 80-90 hypoid type oil. I mixed synthetic and regular but I doubt it matters.


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