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Author Topic: AWD 50k Service to Rear Differential and Transfer Case  (Read 9168 times)
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ROBD
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« on: February 28, 2012, 09:08:23 AM »

I was wondering if anyone has done maint on these parts and their thoughts on using Mobil1 75w90 gear oil in place of the GM 75w90. Thanks
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Rocky
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 03:20:11 PM »

Shouldn't be any problem. In fact diffs and transfer cases are where I like synthetics.
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ROBD
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2012, 06:34:20 PM »

That's what I thought. It's synthetic like the GM fluid. Im curious in the condition of the old fluid.
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XRDreamliner
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« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 01:00:32 PM »

That's what I thought. It's synthetic like the GM fluid. Im curious in the condition of the old fluid.

I changed out the transmission, transfer case and rear differential fluid @ 41k miles on my '09 Outlook.  The rear diff. fluid, by far, was the most degraded.  The fluid was black, and the drain plug magnet had a "dollup" of black sludge on it.  By contrast, the transfer case fluid was almost clear, and the drain plug magnet was virtually free of accumulated sludge/debris.

I used the GM 75w-90 fluid for two reasons - 1) Although Mobil 75w-90 is acceptable, I didn't want to change fluid manufacturer and in the event of a warranty claim (5 yr/100k powertrain), call into question the use of a non-GM fluid; 2) the GM fluid has an additive to give it a grape smell, which does moderate the sulfur smell to a degree.

For a DIY project, a manual fluid pump really made replacing the fluid easier.  For the transfer case and rear diff., the fluid level is at "full" when it runs out the bottom edge of the fill hole with vehicle level.


Based on my experience, I'll be changing the rear differential fluid every 30k miles.
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2009 Outlook XR AWD
Cocoa Brown w/Tan
Build Date: 11/08
Purchase Date:  Feb 2010 w/19K miles
2008 Audi RS4 Cabriolet
2003 Audi A4 Quattro
GXPWeasel
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 08:56:40 AM »

That's weird that the rear diff fluid looked worse than the transfer case fluid. After all, they would be in use for the same amount of time. I guess the difference would be that the transfer case more than likely has more fluid to dissapate the foreign particles/moisture.  Huh?
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Greg.

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XRDreamliner
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2012, 12:25:40 AM »

That's weird that the rear diff fluid looked worse than the transfer case fluid.

I can only relay what I observed... and I'm not alone in my observations (quoting another Traverse owner):

I drained and replaced the transfer case and rear differential fluids today in our 2009 Traverse w/ 30k miles. The owners manual calls for this maintenance at 50k miles but has extremely limited information so I felt uneasy about letting it go to 50k. My Jeep and Ford F250 4x4 systems have much lower drain and fill durations and both vehicles have a combined 450k miles with no drive train problems.

Draining and filling is actually very easy as there are drain and fill plugs in both. A 10mm Hex bit is needed to remove the plugs. Also access to the fill plugs is very limited so you have to have a pump and hose extension to refill them after draining. It took approx 2 1/2 quarts to fill both. The manual calls for 75W90 synthetic, I replaced the original oil with Royal Purple Max Gear 75W90 full synthetic oil.

Here are a few of my observations:
- The magnet on the drain plugs both front and rear were heavily loaded with black metal particles. The rear plug had a thicker film than the transfer case plug.
- The drained oil in both was very dark. The rear diff oil was nearly as dark as used motor oil but neither smelled burned.
- The rear diff holds approx 1/2 quart less than the transfer case.

Even though there were no signs of overheating or drive problems, I'm a bit uncomfortable by the amount of film on the magnets and color of the drained oil at 30k. This is not something I have seen in either of my 4x4's. I'll likely drain it again at 50k just to check for additional wear.


In this case, the transfer case fluid showed more degradation/contamination then I witnessed on my Outlook.  What the old addage... YMMV? 
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2009 Outlook XR AWD
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Build Date: 11/08
Purchase Date:  Feb 2010 w/19K miles
2008 Audi RS4 Cabriolet
2003 Audi A4 Quattro
ROBD
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2012, 07:26:18 AM »

I'm servicing ours tomorrow. I'll let you know what I find.
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ROBD
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 01:15:48 PM »

Service complete.  The rear differential fluid was black and the magnet was covered in about 1/8 inch of debris.  The transfer case fluid was like new with almost nothing on the magnet.  I would now think that the differential fluid should be changed at least every 30k.  The fluid in the transfer case could have easily went to 100k.
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XRDreamliner
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 01:37:46 PM »

Service complete.  The rear differential fluid was black and the magnet was covered in about 1/8 inch of debris.  

On a related note, when I had my Outlook in for recent service to replace the water pump, the PS pump, and the PS steering rack, I relayed my observations about the condition of the rear diff. fluid to the service advisors.  They were surprised, probably because they have not had many requests, due to mostly following the "normal service" interval, which is to replace the fluid  @ 100k miles.  They commented that rarely get consumers that (ask to) follow the "severe service interval" (50k mile replacement) - due to ignorance, maybe?

When I change the fluid at the next mileage interval, in my case @ 70k miles, I'm curious if the fluid condition and magnet gunk will be better or similar to the condition at 41K miles.  Is the sludge on the magnet due to "break-in"?, or is the sludge a continuing phenomenon from "normal operation"?  I guess I'll find out in 20k miles, as I'm now at 50k on the odometer.
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2009 Outlook XR AWD
Cocoa Brown w/Tan
Build Date: 11/08
Purchase Date:  Feb 2010 w/19K miles
2008 Audi RS4 Cabriolet
2003 Audi A4 Quattro
ROBD
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 06:11:12 PM »

Near 50k now and will be changing the rear diff fluid again at 80k.  Seeing the problems with some of the water pumps I'm wondering if ours is going to fail soon and if it is  covered under the 100k power train warranty?
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 08:58:27 AM »

@ROBD, according to the warranty information I have available to me, the new vehicle Powertrain warranty should cover the following;
-Gasoline engines - Cylinder Block and heads, and all internal parts, intake manifold, timing gears, timing gear chain or belt and cover, flywheel, harmonic balancer, valve covers, oil pan, oil pump, engine mounts, seals, and gaskets, water pump; also turbocharger and supercharger housings and internal parts, valves, seats, and gaskets.
-Transmission - Case and all internal parts, torque converter, vacuum modulator, seals and gaskets and transmission mounts, also transfer case and all internal parts, seals and gaskets.
-Front Wheel Drive - Final drive housing and all internal parts, axle shafts, constant velocity joints, front hub bearings, seals and
gaskets.
-Rear Wheel Drive - Axle housing and all internal parts, axle shafts, bearings, supports, seals and gaskets propeller shafts. U-joints.

The above warranty information is for model years 1993 through 2012 General Motors vehicles.

Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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ROBD
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 01:13:05 PM »

Michelle, Thanks for the warranty info, everything with our Traverse is great so far. thumbs up
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 02:14:06 PM »

@ROBD, you are very welcome.  I am glad to read things are going well.

Michelle, Chevrolet Customer Service
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CGIM5804
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2013, 03:07:54 PM »

Changed out the rear differential fluid last night and like some have found, the fluid was gray and the plug has metal shaving and a thick coat of sludge on it.  As the oil was draining, it did look like it was starting to look clearer but there was still some gray fluid coming out.

I used Mobil 1 fluid and used a small hand pump I bought for $12.00. The rear diff. was very easy, took 15 mins.  Don't understand how a dealer can charge $150-$160 for this service.  Tomorrow I do the front.
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jwhjr
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2013, 05:30:34 PM »

We'll be hitting 50K in the next week or so and this is on tap for me to do.  I'm going to also dump the tranny fluid and refill as well.
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Rocky
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2013, 07:56:53 PM »

Wonder if the diff sucked in water or not. Used to Diffs having breathers. Have never looked at mine to see if it does.\

Synthetics really do make a difference in trucks.
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XRDreamliner
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« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2013, 02:42:52 PM »

Changed out the rear differential fluid last night and like some have found, the fluid was gray and the plug has metal shaving and a thick coat of sludge on it.  As the oil was draining, it did look like it was starting to look clearer but there was still some gray fluid coming out.

Tomorrow I do the front.

When I changed the transfer case fluid, a.k.a. the "front", the fluid drained out was way cleaner than the rear diff, and the magnet was relatively clean.

The rear differential includes the differential carrier, which houses a clutch pack, so it is understandable if some clutch material gets entrained in the fluid, darkens it, and results in sludge build-up on the drain plug magnet.
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2009 Outlook XR AWD
Cocoa Brown w/Tan
Build Date: 11/08
Purchase Date:  Feb 2010 w/19K miles
2008 Audi RS4 Cabriolet
2003 Audi A4 Quattro
68freek
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2014, 03:03:50 PM »

Getting ready to change out the fluid in the transfer case and rear differential.  Dose any one know what the GM part number is for the proper synthetic fluid to use?  I have searched the different fourms and could not find the right part number.  Is it GM 12346190 or 89021675 or 88900401 or non of the above?
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2009 Silver Ice LTZ AWD
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2014, 03:44:49 PM »

That was not to bad, 1 hour to change the Rear Differential, Transfer Case, and Transmission Fluids plus front pads.  Beer 
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2009 Silver Ice LTZ AWD
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