How to Check Rear Differential Fluid 09-14 Ford F-150
Hi, I’m Mike from 1A Auto. We’ve been selling auto parts for over 30 years!
Hi, everyone. Sue here at 1AAuto, and today I'm going to show you how to check your rear diff fluid on a 2011 F150 Eco Boost. You need any parts of your car? Click on the link below and head on over to 1aaauto.com.
The rear diff check and fill plug is located on the driver's side of the differential housing. And it's a 3/8 inch drive extension or ratchet. And just pull it down. This plug should have a magnet tip on it to show you if there's any metal. That is what we call minimal wear and tear. That's normal.
So now to check the fluid level, I put my pinky, and you can't because it's a limited slip. So there's a gear right here. So you really can't go down far, but I'm already pushing fluid out so that's perfect level. It's not pouring out. When I take the cap off, just dripping out.
Clean the plug, and you can put it back in. Tighten it up.
Thanks for watching. Visit us at 1AAuto.com for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.
Change Your Differential Fluid
This tech article was originally posted at FordF150.net. It is primarily intended for Ford F-150 trucks but most likely also applies to other Ford models and years.
F-150 Rear Differential Oil Change
This procedure was performed on a 1998 Ford F150 4x4 with 4.6L V-8, 4R70W 4spd electronic automatic (code U in doorjam), 3.55LS axle. Axle service interval 30,000 miles or 24 months according to Haynes.
Follow these instructions at your own risk.
Tools/Parts needed for the job:
- Safety glasses
- Rubber gloves
- 3/8 Ratchet, and 1/2 socket
- Brake Cleaner such as Brakleen
- Drain pan
- Small funnel with hose
- Rags/paper towels
- 3 quarts Redline 100% Synthetic 75W90 gear oil (Ford specifies only synthetic!)
- Replacement differential cover gasket
- Gasket type blue silicone sealer
- scraper blade or flat wide chisel
- flat blade screwdriver
Note: wear safety glasses while under the vehicle for eye protection as there's lots of dirt and grime under there just waiting to drop into your eyes.
Time to do job:
- Wait until the vehicle has cooled off for at least 1/2hr if you've just driven it to avoid getting a "hot oil treatment"... burns hurt!
- Position the drain pan under the rear diff cover.
- Remove or loosen all the cover bolts using the 1/2 inch socket ratchet. Note the position of the two tags on the bolts.
- Using a large flat blade screwdriver pry the bottom of the cover up slowly. When most of the fluid has run out pry the cover off the axle. The old fluid was really black and dirty.
- Use a solvent or brakekleen to clean the diff cover in combination with rags or paper towel.
- Use a flat edge scraper or chisel to remove any old excess silicone sealer. My factory sealed diff didn't even use a real gasket, only black silicone sealer.
- When the cover is clean move to the axle and using your finger or a spatula and remove as much old oil as possible. There is a small pocket in the diff that holds half a cup of oil in the bottom. Try to slosh it out or use a few paper towels to absorb it. Wipe off oil anywhere you can get to on the gears and walls inside the axle.
- Now clean the gasket surface on the axle with a scraper and some steel wool to get it clean. Finish off with solvent on a rag or paper towel to remove any trace of grease/oil on the gasket surface.
- Clean the diff cover in the same manner.
- When the surfaces have dried, apply a bead of silicone gasket to the cover and to the axle gasket surface.
- Apply the new gasket and press it down gently to spread the silicone slightly.
- Wait 10-15 minutes for the silicone to skin over.
- Apply the cover to the diff, insert all the bolts and tighten them lightly. There is no specific order. I started at the bottom, moved up the sides, and finished at the top bolt. I believe the Haynes manual states 30-38ft/lbs. Tighten the bolts all one more time to spec, then check each one for tightness.
- Insert a 3/8 ratchet into the drain nut and remove it.
Contributor's note: The information found here to replace my differential seal (and change the fluid) was great--with pictures even, but the contributer missed one cruciel bit of information to complete the job: the filler plug requires about a 3/8 square driver--not a common tool, and not mentioned. Mine was locked tight (I tried WD-40 and using a 3/8 socket end, but it wanted to strip), so I ended up just securing the lower end of the cover plate and filling from the top. It's buttoned up, working fine, and pretty now, but that square plug really threw me just when I thought I was done.
- Clean any metal shavings & sludge of the plug.
- Insert a small funnel and tube into the hole or use a transfer pump (easier, less messy).
- Fill the case with just under ** 3 Quarts (5.7 pints spec) for F150 and Expy rear axles, F250 are more. Or fill the axle on level ground until oil starts to run out of the filler hole. I call gear oil "yummy lube" because it stinks so bad.
- Replace the drain plug. Loktite is optional on the threads of the plug.
- Wipe any spilled oil.
- Clean up.
Note: Some Ford techs recommend not using the Ford spec 70W140 synthetic due to it not being able to absorb water and possibly leading to corrosion and failure of parts within the axle assembly. For that reason I chose Redline 75W90. Please note this is not my recommendation. Do so at your own risk!
Installing a replacement gasket is also optional. Some prefer blue silicone only but it needs to be tacky (>15mins wait) before putting parts together or the silicone will squeeze out from between parts resulting in leaks.
This article has been generously donated by Peter Ferlow.
F-150 Transfer Case, Front and Rear Differential Fluid Replacement
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On my 2011 F-150, Ford officially recommends replacing the transfer case and front and rear differential fluid at 150,000 miles. However, if you’re towing or in offroad environments frequently, you should change it earlier. Based on no actual data, I chose to change mine at about 100,000 miles. I don’t see a downside to getting fresh oil in all three of these systems, and it’s an easy job.
Tools / Consumables Required
* If you have a limited slip rear differential, you may want to add Ford’s Friction Modifier. Technically, it should not be required if you buy rear differential fluid that is already rated for a limited slip differential. However, it’s possible that without friction modifier your limited slip differential will have chatter. Ford recommends adding 4oz of Friction Modifier as linked above. My truck didn’t need this because it’s the F-150 Offroad with a locking rear differential.
The rear differential
Ford, in a move that will forever anger and baffle me, does not like to put drain plugs in their rear differentials. The F-150 is no different. As a a result, you have to remove the cover to drain, and then it can be refilled through the fill plug.
Another note: this procedure is easier with the spare tire removed. I didn’t document that step, but it gives more room to work around the rear axle.
Removing the Fill Plug – Rear Differential
Fill plug on top of rear differential
Removed fill plug
Make sure you can remove the fill plug before doing anything else. This is true for any fluid change on any part on any car. If you can’t get the fill plug out, the vehicle is still driveable. If you drain first, you could find yourself in trouble when you realize the fill plug is rust welded in place.
The F-150 rear differential fill plug is on top of the differential on the driver’s side above the axle shaft toward the front of the truck, as pictured. You don’t use a socket for this plug; instead, simply put a 3/8″ socket wrench directly on the bolt. A regular 3″ 3/8″ extension can be helpful.
Dirty plug still to be cleaned
Gunk wiped off of plug
The fill plug is intentionally magnetic, to help trap small shavings and metal particles as the differential wears over time. Be sure to clean the gunk off. I just wipe it with a cloth and maybe a little bit of brake cleaner.
Remove the Line Around the Cover
Pulls right off
I’m not sure what this line is for – ABS maybe? – but you need to detach it from the rear differential cover. These plastic plugs pull right off of the cover bolts. There are three in total.
Here are the other two.
Cable now loose
It tucks easily above the differential
Once they’re out, you can tuck the line above the differential as shown.
Draining the Rear Differential
Get your drain pan and start cracking all of the bolts loose
As stated, Ford didn’t put a drain plug on these differentials, so you have to remove the cover. (Sigh.)
Slide your drain pan under the rear differential. With that in place, crack each of the 12 cover bolts loose, but don’t remove them yet. The socket in the picture is on one of the bolts.
Tappy tap tap
Fluid pouring out
Once they’re all loose, you can start removing them. At some point, fluid will likely come pouring out. If all twelve bolts are removed and it still isn’t loose, you can give a firm whack on the top of the housing with a deadblow hammer. The force is often enough to loosen the cover.
Letting it finish draining
Once the flow slows down, pry off the cover completely and let the rest of it finish draining.
Cleaning the Mating Surfaces
Brake clean and a plastic scraper are your friend
The mating surface of the cover needs to be clean enough for the new RTV to bond to it and seal properly. I find a plastic scraper and some brake cleaner to be really helpful. The inside center of the cover doesn’t need to be cleaned quite as thoroughly as the outer mating surface, but I wiped it out with brake cleaner anyway.
Mating surface now clean
Use the same approach on the mating surface of the differential housing. Note that it’s not absolutely spotless, but all of the old RTV is gone. Any remaining imperfections are taken up by the new RTV. As you scrape out the old RTV, try to keep it from going into the differential housing. You don’t want to add chunks of garbage to your differential.
Putting the Cover Back
RTV applied to cover
Now the cover goes back on. Put a solid bead of RTV around the clean rim. I really like Permatex Ultra Black. Ultra Black seems to dry faster than the other colors of RTV, and I’ve never had any leaks with it.
The rear differential
Once the RTV is applied, carefully place the cover straight back on. Try not to shift it around too much, as that can smear the RTV. While holding the cover in place with one hand, use your other to thread the bolts back in by hand.
Torque them incrementally in a round robin pattern. The cover bolts torque to 33 lb-ft. I like to torque them all to 10, 20, and then 33 to ensure it’s evenly tightened. By round robin, I mean similar to lug nuts. Torque the bottom-most bolt, then the top, then the left, then the right, then the bottom left, top right, etc, moving as far across the cover as you can each time. This helps ensure the cover seats flush and avoids leaks.
Refill the Rear Differential
Rear diff fluid (75W140)
You want to give the RTV some time to dry – at least 15 minutes, but more is better. I went on to the front differential and transfer case and refilled the rear afterwards. Once dry, though, get out your three bottles of 75W140.
Pour in the fill hole until it starts dripping out
There is enough room above the rear differential to simply pour the fluid in as shown. If you are adding friction modifier for your limited slip differential, don’t forget to add all 4 ounces. Either way, fill with 75W140 until fluid starts dripping out of the fill hole. Once that happens, put the drain plug back in and tighten it down. Job done.
Removing the Front Differential Fill Plug
Front differential fill plug location
Close up of front diff fill plug
No wrench on the fill plug bolt
If you have 4wd, you may as well change the front differential fluid when you do the rear. Like the rear differential, start by removing the fill plug. It has a similar 3/8″ square drive bolt. Stick a wrench on and remove it.
Draining and Refilling the Front Differential
Far away shot of the transfer pump
Fill plug with transfer pump tube
The Ford factory manual procedure involves dismantling the front differential to drain it. I didn’t do this because it’s a huge pain and generally speaking, the front differential gets used much less often than the rear, so it doesn’t get nearly as dirty. The compromise, which is much easier and still gets mostly fresh fluid in the differential, is to use the transfer pump to drain it. Simply shove the suction end as far down into the fill hole as possible, and suck out as much fluid as you can. The picture shows the siphon end in the hole, with the output end in the drain pan.
Once you get everything you can out, you can reverse the tubes. Siphon fluid out of your bottles of 75W90 until it drips out of the fill hole. And with that, you’re done.
The front diff cover, if you choose to try to remove it
Just to elaborate on the earlier point. The factory-approved method requires removing the cover in this picture. Note how it is generally inaccessible. As stated, if you would like to try to remove this, the resulting procedure is similar to the one for the rear differential described earlier, but good luck getting to it, particularly when trying to reseal.
Transfer Case Skid Plate Removal
Skid plate for the transfer case
The transfer case has this skid plate just underneath it. Pulling this off makes it much easier to access the drain and fill plugs.
First and second bolts
Third and fourth bolts
Only four bolts hold it on. I busted these off with a portable impact wrench in no time.
Removing the Transfer Case Fill Plug
Fill plug for transfer case
This is the third section like this, so it shouldn’t be new information at this point. The transfer case has a 3/8″ square drive bolt for the fill plug. Use a wrench and take it off before doing anything else.
Draining the Transfer Case
Draining the transfer case
Hurray for drain plugs
In a rare move, Ford actually put a drain plug on this thing. Position your drain pan under the transfer case and remove the drain plug. I wish they did this with the differentials, as it’s much easier.
Refill the Transfer Case
Ford Transfer Case Fluid
Using the fluid transfer pump to refill
Once the fluid is drained, put the drain plug back in and tighten it down. That is so much easier than the differentials, it hurts. You can use the fluid transfer pump to fill the transfer case with Motorcraft transfer case fluid until it starts dripping out of the fill hole. Cap the drain plug, and the job is done.
Other than a general frustration over a lack of drain plugs on these differentials, this is still an easy job you can do at home. The differential in any car is going to pick up metal shavings in the fluid over time, and this is especially true for trucks that see a lot of towing or offroad use. Putting fresh oil in the differentials and transfer case periodically is pretty easy, doesn’t cost much, and will help extend the life of the vehicle.
← 99-04 Mustang Relay Control Module ReplacementInstalling an Outdoor Post Lamp →Sours: https://did-it-myself.com/f-150-transfer-case-front-and-rear-differential-fluid-replacement/
2004-2014 Ford F-150 Pickup Truck Routine Maintenance FAQ
The following intervals are based on the assumption that you will be doing the service work yourself, as opposed to paying to have the work done. These are our recommended minimum maintenance intervals for vehicles that are driven daily, and in many cases are shorter than the factory’s recommendations. Because frequent maintenance enhances the efficiency, performance and resale value of your Jeep, we encourage you to follow our schedule. If you drive in dusty areas, tow a trailer, idle or drive at low speeds for extended periods, or drive for short periods (less than four miles at a time) in below freezing temperatures, even smaller intervals are recommended.
When the vehicle is new, follow the maintenance schedule to the letter, record it in your owner’s manual and keep all receipts to protect the warranty and resale value. In many cases the initial maintenance check is done by the dealer at no cost (check with the service department when you buy the truck for more information).
Every 250 miles or weekly, whichever comes first
- Check the engine oil level
- Check the engine coolant level
- Check the brake and clutch fluid level
- Check the windshield washer fluid level
- Check the power steering fluid level
- Check the automatic transmission lubricant level
- Check the tires and tire pressures
Every 3000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first
All items listed above plus:
- Change the engine oil and oil filter
- Rotate the tires
- Check the manual transmission lubricant level
- Check the transfer case lubricant level (4WD models)
- Check the differential lubricant level
Every 7500 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first
All items listed above plus:
- Inspect and replace, if necessary, the windshield wiper blades
- Check and service the battery
- Check the cooling system
- Check the seat belts
Every 15,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first
All items listed above plus:
- Inspect and replace, if necessary, all underhood hoses
- Inspect the brake system*
- Inspect the suspension and steering components
- Fuel system check
- Inspect and replace, if necessary, air filter*
Every 30,000 miles or 24 months, whichever comes first
All items listed above plus:
- Check the exhaust system
- Replace the fuel filter
- Replace the air filter*
- Change the brake fluid
- Check the engine drivebelt
Every 60,000 miles or 48 months, whichever comes first
All items listed above plus:
- Replace manual transmission lubricant*
- Replace the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve
- Check and replace, if necessary, the spark plugs
- Check the ignition coils (V8 engines)
- Inspect and replace, if necessary, the spark plug wires (V6 engines)
- Replace the differential lubricant*
Every 100,000 miles
- Service the cooling system (drain, flush and refill)
- Replace the automatic transmission fluid**
- Replace the transfer case lubricant
- Replace the spark plugs
* This item is affected by “severe” operating conditions as described below. If your vehicle is operated under severe conditions, perform these maintenance tasks at 3000 miles/3 month intervals. Severe conditions include the following:
- Operating in mostly dusty areas (dirt roads, or off-road)
- Idling for extended periods and/or low speed operation
- Mostly short trips (less than 4 miles) when outside temperatures remain below freezing
** If operated under one or more of the following conditions, change the automatic transmission fluid every 15,000 miles.
- In heavy city traffic where the outside temperature is regularly above 90-degrees F (32-degrees C)
- In hilly or mountainous terrain
- Frequent trailer towing
- Frequent off road use
F150 fluid 2014 rear differential
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