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Old 07-06-2011, 11:12 AM   #1
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Differential maintenance

My last two trucks, a '97 F150 and '99 F250 both required rebuilds on the differentials. I drive very slowly and conservatively. Of all the fluids in the vehicles I've owned, the gear oil drains the dirtiest and if they have magnetic drain plugs they are built up with metal sludge.

On my new Tundra I'm going to service the heck out of the differential, hoping to avoid my recent fate. I'm going to put it on 10K drains, and an initial drain after a couple thousand miles.

Over the years it had become sort of a standard practice to ignore the differential. Not anymore in my case.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:32 AM   #2
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The Owners Manual will have recommendations. Otherwise, 12-15k is good if nervous. REDLINE makes unsurpassed gear oils. SCHAEFFER's would be another choice.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:42 AM   #3
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I was thinking of Redline. I've used in motorcycles. They make a 75-85 viscosity which Toyota uses. Toyota's 75-85 synthetic is supposed to be some new tech fluid which runs gearsets cooler, but is very expensive at 30. $ per quart. Redline is about $12. I could go to Mobil 1 75-90 it may be better for towing. But I hate to throw out incremental economy and power benefits of the thinner fluids provided they hold up.

Edit Lubrizol "tow proof" PDF:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...MPLwJQ&cad=rja

Looking at the charts in the link I can see why I have differential failures, I tow in the exact location the test was done. I frequently encounter high temps. Wow over 400 degree oil temps!

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Old 07-06-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
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You could add a temp gauge to the differential. I've always found of interest to watch on the 18-wheelers I've driven when so equipped.

I didn't notice that the current vehicle is a Toyota. I'd be inclined to use their fluid but on a reduced miles basis.
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:21 PM   #5
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Replacement of the pinion bearing on the differential of any truck that is used for towing is pretty much routine maintenance.

Leaving the 4wd on while on dry pavement is hard on the diffs.

I change the fluid every year or two. My Suburban has a high-capacity aluminum rear diff cover that increases the fluid capacity and is supposed to improve cooling, from mag-hytec. Not sure they're worth it but something to consider I guess.
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:44 PM   #6
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Maybe I am just lucky. I run the mobil 1 synthetic in my 2wd Dodge diferential. Change it every couple hundred K and add 1 tube of antislip additive. Now at 560 thousand, most o it towing and little or no material on the magnetic plug.. It is a Dana axle.
I know several people who have done multiple rebuilds on Ford rear ends but don't know if they just had bad luck or if there was a problem with these particular vehicles
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:51 PM   #7
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I use Amsoil Severe Gear 75-90 synthetic lube and change every 35,000 miles. I also added a Mag Hytec aluminum cover that added another qt. of gear lube. It has a magnetic screw-in dipstick to periodically check lube level and a large magnetic drain plug at the bottom of the cover which makes it easy to drain. It also has an additional threaded witness hole with plug in the cover when filling through the dipstick hole at the top. It uses an O ring rather than gasket to seal the cover to the dif. I highly recommend this cover as well as Amsoil products.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:18 AM   #8
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I also have the Mag-Hytec rear diff cover, but I use the Ford gear oil and anti-slip when I change the diff oil. Regarding the "jap" trucks, it is my understanding on Nisson trucks, for example, if you read their manual, it says not to tow over 45 mph while towing for at least 500 miles to "break in" the rear diff. I found that hard to believe until I saw it in my cousin's Nisson manual. I wonder if Toyota has the same situation?

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Old 07-15-2011, 11:46 AM   #9
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Yes the Toyota says to not tow for first 500 miles, and tow at 50 or less till 1000 miles. I purposely ran up the miles on mine and started towing at 1500 miles. At that point I drove at my normal 55-60 MPH but left early in morning to avoid the worst heat. The Tundra with tow package uses a much larger ring gear than the Titan. Its a nice beefy differential w/ 10.5 ring gear and large bearings.

I chatted w/ Dave at Redline and he recommended the factory weight 75W-85 GL5. I have some on order and I'll change the factory fill with less than 3K miles. This should get the break in particles out of the rear end and I can clean the sludge off the magnet.

This will be my most pampered rear-end lol.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:15 PM   #10
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I drained the factory fill today at 2500 miles on the Tundra. About 600 miles of towing.

Frankly the fluid didn't appear to need draining. The clarity was still pretty good with a light to moderate accumulation of metal sludge on the magnet.

Tundra forum posts seemed to indicate fluid got ugly pretty fast and with my previous two Ford differential overhauls I guess I'm pretty jumpy on this.

Anyway from what I saw the factory fill could have gone longer. I'll probably drain the Redline out at 15-20K to inspect whats going on in there. If that looks good the next batch can go even longer.
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Old 07-18-2011, 04:44 PM   #11
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Hey, couldn't hurt. I'd have done the same.
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