Change the differential fluid?

Change the differential fluid?

Postby DownByTheRiver [OP] » December 27th 2011, 3:07am

I bought my van with 165,000 miles on it and I have no idea of what maintenance has been done to it.

I am trying to think of the most important maintenance things to do. Yesterday I drained and replaced the transfer case fluid. Now I am thinking I should replace the front and rear differential fluid. It seems like it is more than I am comfortable doing myself because of the gasket. Any ideas on how much a Craigslist-type mechanic would charge to change the front and rear differential fluid? I already bought a gallon of 75/140 gear oil.

I flushed the coolant. It had the green stuff in it and after reading this forum I will not put the Dex-Cool in it.

Can anyone think of any other important things that should be done considering that I don't know the maintenance history of my Astro?

The brakes seem to work great. I replaced the air filter and had the oil and oil filter changed.

It had a bald tire and I went to a used tire place and got one with about 80% left put on for $40.
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Phantom » December 27th 2011, 3:16am

DownByTheRiver wrote:I flushed the coolant. It had the green stuff in it and after reading this forum I will not put the Dex-Cool in it.

:rofl: :rofl: you would rather believe rumors rather than fact ,,, oh well it your choice what you use ,, the sky is falling the sky is falling :rofl:
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby DownByTheRiver [OP] » December 27th 2011, 3:23am

Phantom wrote:
DownByTheRiver wrote:I flushed the coolant. It had the green stuff in it and after reading this forum I will not put the Dex-Cool in it.

:rofl: :rofl: you would rather believe rumors rather than fact ,,, oh well it your choice what you use ,, the sky is falling the sky is falling :rofl:


I noticed that there was quite a bit of controversy about the coolant. I don't really want this thread to be another one about it.

I actually just bought the Walmart SuperTech brand coolant, mostly because it didn't cost very much.

Back to my original question, does anyone have any suggestions on maintenance items that I should do to my van next?
Last edited by DownByTheRiver on December 27th 2011, 6:48am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Phantom » December 27th 2011, 3:53am

I not interested in anymore of the "controversy" , just think it funny

You could download the owners manual from this site ;; it has a list of maintenance matters , what to change , when to change it ,etc basically normal routine things as with any vehicle , one of the most common things is getting a good quality distributor cap with brass terminals , quality rotor , remove screens from dist ,
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby DownByTheRiver [OP] » December 27th 2011, 4:39am

Should I get a new distributor cap and rotor even though my van seems to be running fine?
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Phantom » December 27th 2011, 5:06am

It be fine now if it running fine , the dist cap is known to be a problem area though , if it runs fine now , just change fluids & filters now , wait till problems come later ,
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Lumpy » December 27th 2011, 7:40am

Phantom wrote:
I not interested in anymore of the "controversy" , just think it funny



Then Phantom, I wish you would have the common courtesy to STOP calling
other people's findings things like "rumors".

Have a little respect for what other people find with THEIR vans and THEIR experiments.

I find your continuous insulting posts and condescending attitude about anyone who doesn't
agree with you about DexCool to be the farthest thing from "funny".

Now knock it off, will you.


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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Lumpy » December 27th 2011, 7:45am

DownByTheRiver wrote:
... I am thinking I should replace the front and rear differential fluid. It seems like it is more than I am comfortable doing myself because of the gasket. Any ideas on how much a Craigslist-type mechanic would charge to change the front and rear differential fluid? I already bought a gallon of 75/140 gear oil...



There shouldn't be anything particularly difficult or tricky about the gasket in a
differential. You can use a formed gasked or you can squirt RTV sealant around
the mating surfaces. People here seem to be split on the two methods. They
both work. Professional mechanics do both/either.

I think the hardest thing about changing diff fluid is getting the filler plug out.
If it's corroded into place it can be a bear to remove. But if you can get to that,
the rest is quite simple.

Surely there's a "how to" around here somewhere. There's probably a gazillion on YouTube.


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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby DownByTheRiver [OP] » December 27th 2011, 9:41am

For changing the rear differential fluid I found this Youtube video (it's for a 1998 Chevy Silverado, but I would guess it would be similar):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrAZia3jmyA

I found this one for changing the front differential fluid (for a 1999 GMC Sierra):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzBiqB_zqhY

What do you use to clean the mating surfaces? Simple Green or some kind of solvent?

Do you use a razor blade to scrape off the old gasket material?
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby paintdrying » December 27th 2011, 12:45pm

Seattle? Probably just has green moss holding everything together. I have found for the craigslist mechanics, they will actually want more that a shop on a fluid change. It can be a dirty nasty job. Try and call around, I found a place that would change the fluid for 30 dollars. I just had them do it because the gasket was not leaking. If that gear lube gets on your clothes, they are ruined. I hate the smell of gear lube.
I just scrap the surfaces with a razor blade, maybe a light sanding, then I use something call right stuff to make the gasket, sets up in one minute and will almost never leak. I use no solvent.
Replace the fuel filter as well. Personally I would go ahead and replace plugs/ wires, cap, rotor, ect. If your thinking of just selling the van than that is one thing. If your planning on keeping it. Well, nothing like having a vehicle that you no for sure is good to go. Good luck. Only use ac delco parts, check out Rockauto.com
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Phantom » December 27th 2011, 1:57pm

Lumpy wrote:
Phantom wrote:
I not interested in anymore of the "controversy" , just think it funny



Then Phantom, I wish you would have the common courtesy to STOP calling
other people's findings things like "rumors".


I find your continuous insulting posts and condescending attitude about anyone who doesn't
agree with you about DexCool to be the farthest thing from "funny".

Now knock it off, will you.


Lump

You are one who does not have common courtesy to just let it go , FREQUENTLY IN MANY THREADS you make many snide condescending comments about other peoples preferences & products & preferred experience good results that you do not like , but in your mind you want your opinion to override fact and anyone else s opinion and good experiences,,

IF you had common courtesy you would keep your big nose out of it ,, YOU are the one who goes to the extent of using profanity and vulgarity simply because someone disagreed with you ,, time to grow up and face the fact that you do not run the world , and if you displayed common courtesy and common sense you would not start fights because someone disagrees with you , it's time for you stop acting like Hitler and act like a mature adult

IN EVERY chance you get to make distasteful comments , you will ,,even in threads that do not even mention the coolant or any other product you do not like you will make distasteful comments,,, so why don't you try practicing what you whine about ,, Try setting the example of what it is to show common courtesy,,,let us see that you are able & willing , then you may see a following :blah: :blah:
Last edited by Phantom on December 27th 2011, 2:46pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Phantom » December 27th 2011, 2:30pm

DownByTheRiver wrote:For changing the rear differential fluid I found this Youtube video (it's for a 1998 Chevy Silverado, but I would guess it would be similar):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrAZia3jmyA

I found this one for changing the front differential fluid (for a 1999 GMC Sierra):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzBiqB_zqhY

What do you use to clean the mating surfaces? Simple Green or some kind of solvent?

Do you use a razor blade to scrape off the old gasket material?

A razor blade can dig into the metal surface , so be careful with that , there is a tool called a gasket scraper that looks much like a large flat head screwdriver with a larger head to cover more area , a good condition flat head screwdriver can also be used , depends on the condition of old gasket as to how difficult it is to remove , sometimes quite easy with it mostly all coming off at once , sometimes parts of it become hardened and need scraping , something like PB Blaster will soften it up quickly , even sometimes a previous tech may have used some RTV sealant in place of a gasket
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby RECox286 » December 27th 2011, 3:35pm

Hey youse guys,

Piece on earth, gud will towards all posters...

Let's not start WW III, OK ?

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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby AWDASTROVAN1999 » December 27th 2011, 4:44pm

I got my Popcorn all ready ... .. Nothing to do the rest of the week too .. lets make it good eh ..
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Lumpy » December 27th 2011, 5:25pm

DownByTheRiver wrote:
What do you use to clean the mating surfaces? Simple Green or some kind of solvent?

Do you use a razor blade to scrape off the old gasket material?


Scrape it off, yes. Simple green, no. I wouldn't use any kind of water based
cleaner. On the diff COVER, you could use something like brake cleaner.
That's a really good grease solvent and it evaporates very quickly. It's
probably not too necessary to use a lot of solvent. The gaskets scrape
off well.


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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Corsemoto » December 27th 2011, 8:26pm

For gasket, yes a scraper or even a razor blade if you're careful. If it's old and crusty I spray them with contact cleaner to soften a bit first. For sealant, green Scotchbrite pad works very well and also when finish prepping after removing old gasket and shot of contact cleaner and wipe down mating surfaces before installing gasket or sealant.
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby Philly758 » December 28th 2011, 4:23am

Changing differential fluid is relatively easy. Here are some pointers:

- Not sure about 75-140w gear oil, manual calls for 75-90w. I currently have some Lucas 80-90w in my differentials and it really quieted things down, except for the minor chatter i get in my rear locking diff when coasting at highways speeds. I am considering switching back to 75-90w synthetic in the rear. Mobil1 75-90w is a popular choice for diffs.

- As Lumpy said, removing the filler plug may be the hardest part. Also, don't remove the diff cover until you have removed the filler plug. You don't want to take the cover off and then find out you cannot fill it back up...

- I am not sure when they changed, but apparently the front differential did not have a drain plug in earlier years. You MAY need to use a fluid pump to remove and replace fluid in the front diff. Do a little research to figure out what you have, or look under the front of your van.

- The gasket isn't a big deal. The first time I removed my rear diff cover I only used RTV gasket maker and did not have any issues. I clean my cover and diff mating surfaces with a 1" or 2" drywall taping/compound/spackle knife. Also, before you start scraping put a plastic shopping bag over the guts of your diff, this will keep the stuff you are scraping from ending up inside. The second time i took my cover off i replaced the cover which came with a standard gasket, I figured i would use it. I put a very thin layer of RTV on the diff cover then placed the gasket on the cover so it would stay in place. Then you can easily lift the cover into place and install it. Be sure to tighten down the bolts evenly to prevent warping the cover, i do it similar to putting a wheel on with 1/2 turns so it tightens down evenly.

- Make sure you are parked on even ground and fill the diff back up until it starts coming out the fill hole. Then install filler plug.

Help that helps.

EDIT: Other things you mentioned... Did you replace transfer case fluid with GM Autotrak fluid? This is a must have for certain years, if you didn't already look into this an did not use it, i suggest doing some research.
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby 'cudapaul » December 28th 2011, 4:40am

And the most important step:

Remove the fill plug first BEFORE taking off the rear cover!
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby syc427 » December 30th 2011, 8:29am

Don't forget to check rubber brake lines to calipers and also while at it the CV boots now before problems later....D
IF IT AIN'T BROKE FIX IT!
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Re: Change the differential fluid?

Postby throrope » January 4th 2012, 12:48am

Nothing to get the oil dirty in the differential. I suggest topping it off and looking for leaks, especially in the front. If it's in trouble, no amount of oil will make it better. If it's fine, don't fix what's not broke.
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