Replaced transfer case fluid today

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3,180
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West Michigan
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As the title says, replaced the transfer case fluid on my 2011 F159 today. Factory spec is 100-150k miles, this is the first change at just short of 100k. Fluid didn’t seem grossly out of viscosity but was grossly contaminated with grey goop/particals and possibly some moisture. Ford specs a “transfer case fluid” now that mercon is no longer officially produced so I don’t know if they are using anything fancier than the old mercon but I am certainly not impressed. Put Amsoil multi vehicle atf in and plan to change every 30-50k from here out.
 

4WD

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I’m going to stick with early … with Ford PTU’s out of my life … the GM’s seem so easy …
 
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NY
Originally Posted By: 4WD
I’m going to stick with early … with Ford PTU’s out of my life … the GM’s seem so easy …
I'm sticking with early too in my Jeep. I did the Liberty at about 30K, my Rubicon will be getting it done within the month at just over 10K miles. I'll probably go to 50K intervals after that.
 
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Northeastern Vermont
IMHO Ford Spec are way to long at 100-150,000 miles on Trans and Transfer case. I do question the rational for there maintenance schedule. I use the severe service. There is a specific transfer case fluid. Motorcraft xl-12 Transfer case fluid
 
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A Warm place to live in
It is a good idea to replace earlier than what the manual says. Their recommendation is to get past the warranty with minimum of cost, not in the owner's best interest for long equipment life. I changed my Ford SUV rear diff oil at about 22,000 miles and it came out greyish in color (suggesting water or water vapor contamination). It had always been driven only on the street, never off road or in flood. Manual also says change the ATF at 150,000 miles. I am definitely changing earlier than that.
 
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Originally Posted By: berniedd
It is a good idea to replace earlier than what the manual says. Their recommendation is to get past the warranty with minimum of cost, not in the owner's best interest for long equipment life. I changed my Ford SUV rear diff oil at about 22,000 miles and it came out greyish in color (suggesting water or water vapor contamination). It had always been driven only on the street, never off road or in flood. Manual also says change the ATF at 150,000 miles. I am definitely changing earlier than that.
I agree; did ATF and coolant at 80k with planned bi-yearly drain and fills after that. After doing a lot of reading I decided to to the front dif and t-case at 100k (50k early). After this t-case drain I'm sure the front dif fluid will look terrible when I finally crack it open. Rear dif was done a couple years back when I installed my posi.
 

Kestas

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I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. Manufacturers are pushing this fill-for-life concept in their new designs and the bearings are suffering short lives from debris denting. The problem is so bad that bearing manufacturers are asked to come up with debris dent resistant raceways, which is expensive, difficult, and a backwards way to manage the problem. The fluid should really be changed out early after break-in. 20K is a good suggestion. I only see the bearing problems. It's a good bet the gear teeth have a similar problem. Ditto for transmissions and differentials.
 
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I usually go ever 36k or thereabouts. 123k on my JK now. The last change was at 96k, so it is due soon. I think the longest I ran that unit was 50k. The fluid came out looking brand new. Still, I like peace of mind. It is as cheap as a couple of bottles of ATF.
 

4WD

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Texas
Originally Posted By: littleant
IMHO Ford Spec are way to long at 100-150,000 miles on Trans and Transfer case. I do question the rational for there maintenance schedule. I use the severe service. There is a specific transfer case fluid. Motorcraft xl-12 Transfer case fluid
On our 2015 Explorer Sport… the shocker to me was the OM stated 150k … but then you flip around several pages back … and severe service is 30k ! Why not have that on the same page. And BTW, when you have only 18 ounces of fluid to manage ecoboost torque … and being cooked by dual exhaust 3” below PTU … you’d reach “severe” PDQ …
 
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Originally Posted By: Kestas
I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. Manufacturers are pushing this fill-for-life concept in their new designs and the bearings are suffering short lives from debris denting. The problem is so bad that bearing manufacturers are asked to come up with debris dent resistant raceways, which is expensive, difficult, and a backwards way to manage the problem. The fluid should really be changed out early after break-in. 20K is a good suggestion. I only see the bearing problems. It's a good bet the gear teeth have a similar problem. Ditto for transmissions and differentials.
These problems are caused by too low an operating viscosity (i.e too low a [email protected]*C) or too long an OCI ? ..... wait aren't they of superior base oils AND add pack ? Application blunders simply could not be resolved by non-application remedies, I suppose.
 
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I agree on the short interval.. its esp. important on the first change. I changed the gear oil on the 2013 outback at 15000miles the front which shares with the 6speed transmission was very silty. The rear looked very bad as well.. Subsequently I went to 30k-40k mile intervals and both look nowhere remotely as bad as the first short 15000 interval.
 

Kestas

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Originally Posted By: zeng
Originally Posted By: Kestas
I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. Manufacturers are pushing this fill-for-life concept in their new designs and the bearings are suffering short lives from debris denting. The problem is so bad that bearing manufacturers are asked to come up with debris dent resistant raceways, which is expensive, difficult, and a backwards way to manage the problem. The fluid should really be changed out early after break-in. 20K is a good suggestion. I only see the bearing problems. It's a good bet the gear teeth have a similar problem. Ditto for transmissions and differentials.
These problems are caused by too low an operating viscosity (i.e too low a [email protected]*C) or too long an OCI ? ..... wait aren't they of superior base oils AND add pack ? Application blunders simply could not be resolved by non-application remedies, I suppose.
The problem is not the oil, per se. It is the break-in debris that floats around with the oil. Manufacturers have now asked suppliers to guarantee a limit on how much debris is present on the parts used for assembly. They are making design and manufacture of components very difficult in the name of chasing the almighty fill-for-life concept. Again I repeat, change the fluid early after break-in. You'll see all the crud come out. The first change looks like metallic paint. The next change, whenever it is done, will come out considerably cleaner. The lubes specified are fine.
 
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NY
Originally Posted By: Kestas
Originally Posted By: zeng
Originally Posted By: Kestas
I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. Manufacturers are pushing this fill-for-life concept in their new designs and the bearings are suffering short lives from debris denting. The problem is so bad that bearing manufacturers are asked to come up with debris dent resistant raceways, which is expensive, difficult, and a backwards way to manage the problem. The fluid should really be changed out early after break-in. 20K is a good suggestion. I only see the bearing problems. It's a good bet the gear teeth have a similar problem. Ditto for transmissions and differentials.
These problems are caused by too low an operating viscosity (i.e too low a [email protected]*C) or too long an OCI ? ..... wait aren't they of superior base oils AND add pack ? Application blunders simply could not be resolved by non-application remedies, I suppose.
The problem is not the oil, per se. It is the break-in debris that floats around with the oil. Manufacturers have now asked suppliers to guarantee a limit on how much debris is present on the parts used for assembly. They are making design and manufacture of components very difficult in the name of chasing the almighty fill-for-life concept. Again I repeat, change the fluid early after break-in. You'll see all the crud come out. The first change looks like metallic paint. The next change, whenever it is done, will come out considerably cleaner. The lubes specified are fine.
Spot on! It's the break in [censored] you want out early. The fluid unfortunately has to go too.
 
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725
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Northeastern Vermont
Originally Posted By: Kestas
I urge people not to wait 100K to change out the fluid in their transfer case units. Manufacturers are pushing this fill-for-life concept in their new designs and the bearings are suffering short lives from debris denting. The problem is so bad that bearing manufacturers are asked to come up with debris dent resistant raceways, which is expensive, difficult, and a backwards way to manage the problem. The fluid should really be changed out early after break-in. 20K is a good suggestion. I only see the bearing problems. It's a good bet the gear teeth have a similar problem. Ditto for transmissions and differentials.
How many ways can I agree with the above. 1000% should do it.
 
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872
Location
Indy
Agree with everything stated here. I do all my driveline components (drain and fill) more often than recommended. Diff’s, transfer cases, transmissions. At least every 30k, and absolutely as soon as I buy a used car. Every fluid. It’s expensive once, but I now know what the gears and bearings are swimming around in. New cars I can barely keep from dumping and filling the driveline components before the 10k mark, and every single one I’ve done has had stripper dust in it.
 
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Kuwait
My Explorer specs Mercon V, I stick with 12,500 miles since its real easy to do. Too short, maybe. But it still comes out a bit dirty even at that mileage and I'd rather have fresh fluid in there than that stuff.
 
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Ocala, Florida
Since on the subject of T-case fluids, I just changed the fluid in my 05 F350 about 5 months ago but it got me to thinking... why do we use the super thin, not-so-heavy duty ATF in these things?? With the chains, gears and bearings in there, shouldn't we be using some form of SYN gear oil??
 
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Ponte Vedra Beach Florida
LX570/Landcruiser uses a special 75 way oil in the transfer case real expensive stuff 80 bucks later if you go off road dusty dirty roads consistently then they consider that severe service and recommend a 30,000 mile transfer case chain if you tow trailers and boats they recommend a 30,000 mile differential fluid change if you don’t go off road they don’t have a change interval
 
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304
Location
New Jersey
I used to do my diffs, manual transmission, and transfer case. Then I stopped, even the factory fill was always clean. Maybe toyota has better tolerances/parts, but my oil was always clean, with a fine film of grey silt on the magnetic drain plug. Same now on auto transmissions, no change. Fluid always looks new, no combustion, done. I also dont flush my brake lines. Or flush coolants. Change the oil, lube drivetrain, that is all. Everything else is really not needed anymore in my opinion. Waste of time and money in most instances. Your mileage may vary, and just what I do. 11 years/165k in my latest truck, owned since new.
 
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