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Old 12-22-2006, 04:59 PM   #1
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Does anyone know the proper technique for checking the oil level in the differential? Should the gear oil be level with the access plug, within an inch (ie, within reach with your finger), or something else?.....
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Old 12-22-2006, 04:59 PM   #2
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Does anyone know the proper technique for checking the oil level in the differential? Should the gear oil be level with the access plug, within an inch (ie, within reach with your finger), or something else?.....
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Old 12-22-2006, 06:40 PM   #3
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The oil should be level with the bottom of the threads in the access hole. That's the proper technique but I do know of those who figure it's okay if it's within an inch. Whatever you do, don't overfill or else it'll foam.
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Old 12-23-2006, 04:30 AM   #4
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Greetings from West Columbia, Texas

This raises another related question. The owner's manual for my SUV has me changing the differental fluid something like every 30,000 miles. My motor home owner's manual says nothing about it. Should it periodically be drained and replaced?
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:46 AM   #5
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Re checking the level. What I was told by a mechanic was to insert your finger in so that the first knuckle is at the inside of the hole and when extending the finger down the oil level should at least be at your finger tip. That is what I do.

In a post recently by Swansnest he indicated that at the police car maintenace facility he was involved with they changed the differential fluid after the 1st 5000 miles in order to get rid of any metal filings from the new gears and did nothing after that but check the level? Not an authority on this and would be interested in any other input.
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Old 12-23-2006, 07:50 AM   #6
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On my equipment and trucks we always like to change fluids after a short initial time frame. As mentioned, chips and filings from the initial machining operations get flushed out that way. After that it's more like a 5 year interval for axles on low mileage equipment. We've found that synthetic gear lube makes a huge difference in longevity of the fluid and the parts it's lubricating. The only drawback is that it stinks when you work with it.
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Old 12-23-2006, 03:43 PM   #7
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Hello Jetar:

My friend owns a differential repair shop and said that many gear manufactures put a coating on the gears to help during break-in. He said that you should change the fluid at about 5000 miles to remove the coating and any fine shavings in the fluid. He said that if you don't it could decrease the life of the differential. Remember there are gears meshing, pinion, carrier, and axle bearings break-in at the same time which may leave some fine shavings in the fluid.
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Old 12-27-2006, 03:27 PM   #8
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To follow up, just finished changing gear oil in my 2003's differential(about 5 years and 65K miles since birth). Oil was dark, a bit foamy, and some fine black sludge--no filings were attracted to the magnetic drain plug. So now "I feel better." Owners manual indicates 15 pints to fill it but that barely reaches your finger-tip when fully inserted thru the oil fill hole. Called Mark at WRV and we agreed 15 pints is adequate but 17-18 pts might be better. Therefore, I went with 2 gals and a quart container [18 pints)--still puts you "half-a-finger" below the fill hole. My apologies to all those with less than 65k miles or who trade before these "pedestrian" issues come up--smile.
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:16 AM   #9
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What kind of differential oil are you replacing with? Anyone using synthetic like Mobil 1 besides Cruzer ?
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:56 AM   #10
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Hello and HAPPY NEW YEAR:

FYI I am using Synthetic Differential Oil in the Alpine. I purchased a 5 gal pail of Valvoline from NAPA Auto & Truck parts for use in tractors and installed it in the Alpine for about $130.00.
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:04 PM   #11
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Dave, are you running synthetic in your front hubs as well? I would assume this would help the gas mileage as well and give superior lubrication also. Mike E.
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Old 12-31-2006, 03:08 PM   #12
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Danny, I am a great believer in "good, better, best"--synthetic is probably the best but I went for "good" and used Advanced Auto's house brand[Accell?](it was the only thing I readily found in gallons--I didnt want to sit under the coach sqeezing in 9 quart-size containers). If we were hauling 80-90k lbs of gravel up hill everyday then by all means go synthetic but for RVs--I figured 65K miles and 5 years was good enough for a change out. Actually, I was just checking the fluid level in the differential and decided to add a quart. During the process, I noticed some non-descript "floaties" on the end of my "official" oil level checking finger and decided it was time to change ...Happy New Year...dean
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Old 01-09-2007, 04:45 PM   #13
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Hello Mike

I never thought about running synthetic in my front hubs. I will try the next time I go out and get another 5 Gal pail of synthetic gear oil.
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:19 PM   #14
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Dave thanks for responding, almost thought no one saw my comment. The reason that I have been into the front wheels is because the right front loosens up on me after so long . Haven't figured out what causes it though.

Have been through the same oil as the engine, the original factory stuff, and several others after draining. Have found that the lock nut must be backed off with the main bolt to allow the cut washer to come up against the cut on the axle to keep it tight for awhile. This problem surfaced about 12 K miles ago.

Perhaps some one has a fix for this loosening
problem? Both front tires have wear on both sides. Have found tire pressure is critical.

38' Alpine 2003 FDDS, 2000 Suzuki toad. -50 here at home today. Mike E.

Boy would I like to try Propane!
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