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Author Topic: Rear axle fluid replacement a maintenance need?  (Read 7821 times, 19 Replies)
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jbcallahan
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« on: March 02, 2011, 01:39:50 PM »

Hi all -- When I went to get an oil change, the mechanic told me I needed to get a rear axle fluid change, too, since it needed to be done at 30,000 miles. My 2008 Acadia SLT has 37,000 miles on it now. In looking at the maintenance list for this car, it doesn't indicate anything any changing the rear axle fluid. Anyone know whether this is required and, if so, what number of miles it needs to be changed? Thanks for any input!

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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 02:04:25 PM »

this is from my 2010 manual... i removed the mention of the air filter and trans.. but AWD shows

First Engine Oil Change After
50,000 Miles
. All‐wheel drive only: Transfer
case fluid change (severe
service) for vehicles mainly
driven when frequently towing a
trailer, or used for taxi, police,
or delivery service.
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 05:42:29 PM »

Sounds like your dealer/mechanic is using the "Dealer Profit Service Recommendation Mileage" instead of the GM Schedule of Maintenance Mileage that rbarrios has posted.  The manual is showing 50000 miles for the transfer case fluid change under SEVERE DUTY.

The transfer case that is mentioned is on an AWD Acadia, and is located in the front of the vehicle.  The rear fluid would probable have an even longer service life and may actually never even require changing.

Unless you do constant towing, police or taxi service (excessive prolonged idling) or have driven in water deep enough to cover the transfer case or rear axle on your AWD, you will be fine without doing any fluid changes for a while yet.

And if you don't have an AWD, then you really know the mechanic is looking to line his pocket with your money! 
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 07:08:04 PM »

Maybe your service advisor will have you get the muffler bearings repacked, too! Grin Shocked
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 07:11:48 PM »

Hi -- Thanks for your responses. If I'm understanding you correctly, unless I'm using my AWD car to tow things or other strenous uses, then there's no need to change the car's rear axle fluid?  Great news. (-: Thanks for your reply. Joyce
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 07:14:31 PM »

jb, just be sure the fluid level is always checked when you go in for regular service.
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2011, 11:51:39 PM »

If you are a DIYer, replacing the rear differential fluid is easy.  You'll need a 3/8" hex drive, GM 75w-90 Hypoid Fluid (grape smell!), and a jack.

I just changed my rear differential fluid at 41k miles.  The fluid that drained out was black, and the drain plug magnet had black gunk on it.  I cleaned the magnet, and re-installed the drain plug.  I used a $6 hand pump (sourced from Autozone) that fits the 32 oz. gear lube container, to fill the rear diff. through the fill plug, until the fluid began to weep out the bottom of the fill plug hole.  I tightened both plugs to 26 ft-lbs.

I completed the job in 30 minutes - 15 minutes was spent waiting for the fluid to drain out.

My advice for AWD owners - change your transfer case and rear differential fluid (same 75w-90 fluid) @ or before 50k miles.  The amount of gunk on the magnet for the rear diff. and the blackness of the fluid (new fluid is clear) convinced me this servicing is worthwhile.
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 09:59:52 AM »

I am at 50k (or slightly more) now.  The rear differential is fairly straightforward, but I have searched the site and cannot find much info on the transfer case.  Does anyone have a picture of the correct nut(s) to remove to drain and refill it?  Thanks!
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2011, 09:31:15 PM »

Here is a link to the online repair catalog.  Hope it works....

http://sm.gpona.com:9001/si/showDoc.do?docSyskey=1760569&pubCellSyskey=158305&pubObjSyskey=1760569&from=sm&cellId=158305#tab2-1760569

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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2011, 10:30:34 PM »


Nope...I got a system error message when I clicked the link.  Thanks, though...
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2011, 11:31:20 PM »

The Fill and Drain Bolts are the same size, and are on the passenger side of the case.  According to the manual, you need to take the exhaust pipe off, but according to another forum member, you just need an alternate method to turn the female hexagonal (allen) head on the Fill and Drain bolts.

The Fill and Drain bolts installation torque is 29 ft-lbs.  The Service Manual instructs that sealant be applied to Fill and Drain bolts before installation.

The Transfer Case and the Rear Differential fluid are the same type - Hypoid 75w-90.  I used GM fluid when I replaced the rear diff.
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2011, 11:39:40 PM »

Here is a generic link to the homepage:  http://sm.gpona.com:9001/si/home.do

Put in some info and you can find the exploded transfer case pic.
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 07:29:49 AM »

That's the ticket!  Thanks!
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2011, 10:22:19 PM »

That's the ticket!  Thanks!

I changed the transfer case fluid on the Outlook this past weekend.  Despite the service manual mentioning the exhaust pipe needed to be removed, I was able to get my 3/8" drive ratchet and a 3/8" hexagon socket on both the Fill and Drain bolts.  I jacked up the left front to coax more fluid to drain out the Drain hole, which is on the right side of the transfer case.

The condition of the drained fluid was much, much better than the fluid I drained from the rear differential the weekend prior.  The transfer case drain magnet had very little metal contamination on it, vs. the black greasy gunk on the rear diff drain plug magnet.

I think going forward, I'll changed the rear differential every 30k, and the transfer case every 50k.  If you pull a trailer, I'd suggest at least this interval.
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2011, 03:57:06 PM »

I had a similar experience:

Transfer case oil looked very fresh and had little or nothing on the magnet.  Rear differential oil looked very black and there was a lot of sludge and particles on the magnet.

To get the fill plug off on the transfer case you need to remove the heat shield which is a few 10mm bolts.  A ratcheting wrench or a socket work best.  For the fill and drain plugs themselves a trick I like to use is to put a 10mm ratcheting wrench on the hex head itself right after it comes out of the plug so there is nothing extending further that the socket.  No need for a ratchet or to take off the exhaust.
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2011, 08:07:05 AM »

I just follow the owners manual to a tee when it comes to maintenance.  Do that and you have all the proof you need if something goes wrong and the dealer and/or manufacturer trys to blame it on a lack of maintenance.
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2011, 12:02:59 PM »

I just follow the owners manual to a tee when it comes to maintenance.  Do that and you have all the proof you need if something goes wrong and the dealer and/or manufacturer trys to blame it on a lack of maintenance.
The only problem with that approach is when the failure occurs AFTER the warranty period. The manufacturers are clearly recommending the minimum service requirements these days as a marketing gimmick.  Fine if you don't intend to keep the car for an extended period.
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2011, 12:54:14 PM »

The only problem with that approach is when the failure occurs AFTER the warranty period. The manufacturers are clearly recommending the minimum service requirements these days as a marketing gimmick.  Fine if you don't intend to keep the car for an extended period.

I wouldn't think they could get away with suggesting just the minimum knowing it could cost them while the vehicle is still under warranty but I understand you're thinking.  I'm still undecided as to whether or not we keep our Acadia for the long term or not.
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« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2011, 02:26:11 PM »

I wouldn't think they could get away with suggesting just the minimum knowing it could cost them while the vehicle is still under warranty but I understand you're thinking.  I'm still undecided as to whether or not we keep our Acadia for the long term or not.
Statistically they must know that any major issues due to their minimal recommended service schedule will only surface well after the warranty expires.  Only GM was dumb enough to get burned on the OLM issue and related timing chain failures - oh well.
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« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2011, 02:42:08 PM »

Statistically they must know that any major issues due to their minimal recommended service schedule will only surface well after the warranty expires.  Only GM was dumb enough to get burned on the OLM issue and related timing chain failures - oh well.

Quite true.
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