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Old 01-20-2004, 10:51 PM   #1
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Question Tow Vehicle Maintenance

Last year I purchased my vehicle (listed below) used from a drywall company.

They kept pretty complete maintenance records and the truck has been running perfectly.

The brakes are feeling low so I intended to have them worked on but I was thinking of other maintenance items.

1. Replace Fuel filter
2. Flush transmission fluid/filter
3. Flush radiator
4. Replace rear end fluid (whatever you call this)
5. Rotate the tires

The vehicle has 70K miles on.

Keep in mind nothing is wrong execpt the brakes. I hate to have a service shop do this work and then end up with trouble later. Like transmission problems because they messed something else up.

For example, we had a low coolant sensor problem on my wifes car. The dealer replaced the sensor and the next day it fell off and the coolant leaked out and the car over heated on the freeway and stranded her.

So I am a little skeptical of getting these things done.

Any advice what needs/should get done?
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Old 01-20-2004, 10:57 PM   #2
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Re: Tow Vehicle Maintenance

Quote:
Originally posted by Safari Tim
The vehicle has 70K miles on.

Any advice what needs/should get done?
I think your list is very reasonable although I would question the need for a differential oil change. For a tow vehicle I would also consider replacing fan, and other accessory belts, water hoses and thermostat and adding a transmission cooler (if one isn't already present).

My last word of advice is to establish a relationship with a good repair shop that you can trust to do your maintenance work.

Jack
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:04 PM   #3
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I think the list is also reasonable. However, I am of the following that the shop manuals should be followed. Towing a trailer does fall under heavy use....and as such on my car at least suggest changing the differential fluid, gasket and limited slip additive at regualr intervals. This is particularly important when you have new gears after the 500 mile break in. The gears seat together after that time and it is possible metal shavings could be on the magnet. It's cheap and worth it in my book.

I don't have my shop manuals near me right now, but I think under the heavy use it's every 6000 miles. Since I don't tow each use, I usually extend that to about 12,000 miles as I also use synthetic in the differential.

Eric
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silvertwinkie
Iand as such on my car at least suggest changing the differential fluid, gasket and limited slip additive at regualr intervals. This is particularly important when you have new gears after the 500 mile break in.
Eric
Interesting in that the manual for my 1999 Chevy Express with limited slip suggested its first differential oil change at 3,000 miles. The manual for my '03 GMC Savana with limited slip has no break in oil change recommendation.

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Old 01-20-2004, 11:40 PM   #5
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The break in is not really in the manual as the change intervals are....that 500 mile thing is most from the expert installers that most of the gearhead folk like me use that swear by that 500 initial change interval.....see what happens is that if you let it go longer there will be no damage in the warranty period, however some feel that if not done in the 500 mile initial interval that well after the warranty is gone, you wind up replacing axle shafts, bearings, etc. Some may never see any of it, but you know the aftermarket crowd...an ounce of prevention is worth about 1000lbs of cure.
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Old 01-20-2004, 11:47 PM   #6
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Well I'm past 500 miles, just hitting 5,000 miles this week of which 1,200 is towing.

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Old 01-20-2004, 11:54 PM   #7
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My last pick-up was an '00 Chevy-1500. GM's 1st year with a 'locking' limited-slip diff. There is a cam-weight in the diff gears that will lock both wheels under the right circumstances. My diff. siezed at less than 10K mi. After repair they told me to change the fluid at around 20K and then accord. to man. It is expensive ($120+), it's syn, not petro. I never had any other probs., changed all as reccom'd.
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Old 01-21-2004, 01:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcanavera
Well I'm past 500 miles, just hitting 5,000 miles this week of which 1,200 is towing.

Jack
Jack,

I'd change the fluid. It's not expensive and if you do it yourself, I'd be real interested in seeing what the magnet has caught at this point.

I don't want to sound like an alarmist, but in the car/truck forums, they all nearly say the same thing about changing the fluid at 500. Right now, I plan to do just that as the Nascar guy that installs these told me clearly, this is what should be done. He and the others however could be wrong.

Eric
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Old 01-21-2004, 08:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ed & Debbie
It is expensive ($120+), it's syn, not petro. I never had any other probs., changed all as reccom'd.
-Good Luck
Wow that is expensive. Last time I had it done it was about half that price. I remember I had it done at a Valvoline quick oil change shop. Now the way they did it was to overfill the differential which (according to them forces out the old lube). Once they do a certain amout of overfilling and the lube is free of debris they consider the lube has been changed. The access point is the plug on the differential. I wonder if the dealers do it differently?

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Old 01-21-2004, 09:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Now the way they did it was to overfill the differential which (according to them forces out the old lube)
That's pretty innovative considering that there is one plug. Gear lube is pretty heavy, I wouldn't think it would mix real well unless there was a lot of pressure, then I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the filler opening. They need to pull the cover and drain it, then wipe inside the inside of the housing and the cover, especially the bottom. A lot of vehicles don't have magnets in the filler plug, the particles end up suspended when it is turning and on the bottom at rest. Synthetic lube is about $7 a quart and most lighter vehicles will take less than 2 quarts plus a gasket.

For the PM I would also check the serpentine belt, hoses, antifreeze, battery and when it had wires, plugs, etc. from the records.

John
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Old 01-21-2004, 05:56 PM   #11
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jack

your savanna most likely has a drain plug on the differential. if it is similar to the semi floater i have in my truck.

makes changing the fluid a ten min. job tops.

of course the dealer or the lube place won't tell you this!

crawl under and take a look!

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Old 01-22-2004, 09:44 PM   #12
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I didn't do any towing with my '01 2500hd during the first 3,000 miles and then sparsley for the next 5, 816 miles. At 8,816 miles I drained the rear dif and it was filthy. I cleaned the inside with brake kleen and replaced the cover with a Mag Hytec aluminum cover. It increases the gear lube capacity by over a quart. It also has a bottom drain plug that is also a magnet to collect filings. At the 1 or 2 o'clock position is a screw-in dip stick that is also magnetic. Every few months I pull the stick out, wipe any filings off and tighten it back up. It also has a plug for installation of an oil sender for temperature gauge. I use Amsoil 75-90 gear lube that is light blue in color. I have now towed around 4,000 miles since the gear lube change and the fluid is still light blue with very very little metal powder on the stick. The Amsoil does not require an additive nor is it recommended with the G80 locker installed in the Chevy vehicle. You can add it if you wish but it isn't needed. I'm sold on the Mag Hytec and synthetic fluid combination.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:53 PM   #13
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I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I have 55,000 miles on my '03 Ranger and I've never changed the oil in the differential. I've towed for about 12,000 miles. This will be corrected very soon. Is this something that can be done by a Do It Yourselfer or better left to the pros? If I, of basic mechanical abilities, do this what should I be thinking of other than replacing the gasket and fluid? I'll look into the suggested Mag-Hytec cover and synthetics as suggested by Craig in Post #12. Jamie

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Old 06-30-2007, 10:38 PM   #14
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Jamie,
It is a pretty simple job. Look in your manual to determine the amount of fluid needed. Buy fluid, a new gasket and RTV or other pliable gasket sealer. Place a pan underneath the differential and start unbolting. I wouldn't remove any of the bolts until all are a little loose then start removing bolts from the bottom to the top. Much of the fluid may start leaking out but if it doesn't, tap on the lip of the cover with a rubber hammer. I've even placed a screwdriver next to the cover and tap with a hammer but you have to be sure you do not bend the cover or mar the surfaces. After the bolts are removed and cover taken off, clean both surfaces after using a putty knife to clean up any gasket or sealer. I use brake cleaner on the lower areas of the inside of the diff to get out any metal powder mixed with gear oil. I assure you that it will be there and you need to get it out. When all surfaces are cleaned, use gasket sealer on both sides of the gasket (or on diff and cover) and put the gasket in place. Fill the diff with the required rear end fluid. Check to be sure if you are to pour it in until it starts running out or a certain distance below the fill hole. Put the plug back in and let the lube settle. Check again to see if fluid needs to be added then replace plug. You're done. I'd check again after a day or so to be sure everything is the way it should be. Not required but I always do.

The Mag-Hytec rear cover shortens the rear lube changes because you don't have to remove the cover. It is well worth the purchase. It also doesn't need gasket sealer because it uses a round rubber O-ring. I have around 60,000 miles on my cover with not one leak.
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