First DIY Transfer Case Fluid Change (w/ Pics) - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-11-2008, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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First DIY Transfer Case Fluid Change (w/ Pics)

Hello everyone,

I decided to tackle the next project on my 2000 rav4, which was change the transfer case fluid. I didnt even know I had one till I read Haynes Manual and I didnt even know where it was till I researched this forum. I know it hasnt been changed in over 70,000 miles so I def. wanted to do it. So here are things I used to change the fluid:
1. 10qt oil catch pan w/ screen
2. Rags and big piece of cardboard
3. 1 qt. of GL-5 Coastal SAE 75W-90 gear oil
4. 10 mm hex wrench
5. Lubricant spray just in case bolt was rusty
6. 10ft of clear tube 3/8 inch thick (You dont need 10ft, but it was a good deal. Id say you need about 2 1/2 to 3 feet.
7. THE ALMIGHTY HAYNES MANUAL (even though they were very vague about the transfer case). To be honest I didnt even use the manual for this, but I always keep it handy just in case.


To start, I checked the transfer case dip stick, which is located behind the passanger side tire. If you turn your wheel all the way to the left you can see it sticking out. The owners manual and haynes manual dont even mention a transfer case dipstick. The right amount of oil is in the case, but the oil itself is dirty. Here is a pic from behind the wheel, under the car and then the dipstick.




After finding the location of the dipstick and checking the fluid level and quality, its time to find the drain plug. Its basically between the transfluid pan and the motor oil pan. Its right near the exhaust pipe, so if u follow it under the car you'll see it.



Now, its time to drain the old fluid. A strong turn clockwise and the drain plug is turning. THe drain plug had some gunk on it, so I cleaned it before putting back. I wanted to check how much fluid was in there so I know about how much to add. The haynes manual says 0.7 quarts, but i wanted to make sure. So i took an empty motor oil quart and put the fluid in there. The motor oil quarts have the measurements on the back so you can see how much oil is in it. The old oil filled about 3/4 of the quart so Haynes manual was about right.




After draining and putting back plug, its time to add the fluid. Now Im pretty sure there is a check/fill plug somewhere, but after reading horror stories about how difficult it is to find or get to, i decided to add the fluid through the dipstick, just like the transfluid. The dipstick is kind of hard to get to because of the distance, so this is where the clear tubing comes into play. I didnt find a need to raise the car or remove the wheel. I try and avoid excess work if its truely unnecessary. I dont think i'll even raise my car, unless i need to rotate tires or check brakes. ANyway, I used a 2 1/2 foot piece of clear tube. The squeeze bottle fits perfectly into the tube. I put rags under the area just in case I overfilled it or the tube came out. I also put the cardbard under this area too. Since the gear oil doesnt have the measurements on the back like the motor oil, it is kind of difficult to figure out how much 3/4 or 0.7 of a quart is. So every once in a while, I would take tube out, let it settle and check with the dipstick. I would add fluid until it got to the right area.


I must say, Im new to all this fluid changing stuff and this was a pretty simple, easy and quick project. I hope you all enjoy!!

Stephen L.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-10-2009, 09:42 PM
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Great article, thanks,

Stephen L,

thank you very much for the great DIY article on Transfer Case Oil change.

I bought my 99 RAV4 (used) about 18 months ago and already added 20K miles on it, it recently started to make a "Da, Da, Da" noise when I start accerlating from stop, it happens very occasionally, and I also hear occasional high pitch rotational noise - it seems to be from driver side front (listening while I am driving). I checked the transfer case oil, the level is ok, but it smells badly, also dark/brownish.

I bought the GL-5 gear oil last summer, thinking about changing it and Rear Diff. oil, but couldn't open the drain hole on my first try, so did not do it last year.

I suspect the noise could be related to those two, so went to a local repair shop to have them done, the technician said they couldn't do it, don't have the special tools, and I need to go to a transmission shop. I had your article a few days ago and decided to Do-it-Myself. I went to a nearby auto parts shop to get clear plastic tube to fill from the dipstick, but they did not have it.

I ended up using two free "straws" from McDonald, extend the two together with glue tape, and taped one end to the oil bottle, squeeze the oil in, relax and let the oil bottle to "breathe" some air in and get back to full shape, then squeeze again... let is settle and measure with dipstick, ... job done without problem.

I also used the same method and changed the Rear Differential oil.

Both plugs had black mud (fine metal debris from mechnical robbing) and oil being much darker than the new oil, it appears the oil could possibly be original on my 85K mileage RAV4, or at least a few years old.

The RAV4 drives ok for two short trips today, I did not hear the noise after Rear Diff change. It had a bit "metal robbing noise" from driver front side after the transfer case oil change on the first trip, but it could take a little time for the debris to dilute into the new oil. or whatever, ... I am keeping my fingers crossed, wish me good luck!

thanks,

masterhu
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 09-26-2009, 06:25 PM
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Did mine recently. Except instead of using regular gear oil I used Mobile 1. 75w-90 gear oil. Changed the rear differential at the same time and used Valvoline DuraBlend 80w-90. Since the change I've consistently gotten about +2 mpg.

Had similar results with my previous vehicle, a Nissan Pathfinder.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-24-2010, 02:28 PM
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Excellent post. I'll do mine and the rear diff too after I have done a brake job (new lines, drums, shoes, springs and cylinders).

I will be using Royal Purple Synthetic 75w-90 for both rear diff and the transfer case.

Proud owner of a 1999 4.1 and a 2011 V6 with 3rd row!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-31-2010, 07:05 PM
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Just pulled my dipstick out and it seems low can i put any gear oil in it as i dont know whats in it now.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-16-2010, 10:21 AM
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Is this on a auto transmission AWD?
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bailiffm64
Just pulled my dipstick out and it seems low can i put any gear oil in it as i dont know whats in it now.
I would refill it with whatever the book says, just to be safe. Or you could just change the oil. Off the top of my head Im not sure what the book exactly says the gear oil should be.

Stephen L.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2010, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcbikes
Is this on a auto transmission AWD?
Yes sir, auto trans.

Stephen L.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 06:08 AM
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Does anyone know the capacity of the AWD trans-axle?

I have just drained mine doing an engine change and took out 6 litres.

Thats a pretty expensive refill 6 litres at $6.00 per litre.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZAZ
Does anyone know the capacity of the AWD trans-axle?

I have just drained mine doing an engine change and took out 6 litres.

Thats a pretty expensive refill 6 litres at $6.00 per litre.
According to Haynes, an 1999 automatic 4WD trans-axel is approx 3.5qts (3.3 liters)
and a 1999 manual 4WD trans-axel is 5.3qts (5.0 liters)

Stephen L.
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