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Replaced transfer case fluid today #4775910 06/02/18 10:53 PM
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buck91 Offline OP
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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.


2018 F150 Screw 4x4 2.7L Ecoboost
2011 F150 Scab 4x4 5.0L
1996 Mustang GT 5spd/ragtop
Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: buck91] #4775912 06/02/18 10:57 PM
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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 …

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: 4WD] #4776000 06/03/18 04:05 AM
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demarpaint Offline
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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.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: buck91] #4776054 06/03/18 07:28 AM
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littleant Offline
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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

Last edited by littleant; 06/03/18 07:34 AM.

I can't prevent getting old but I REFUSE to grow up.
2010 Mountaineer 4.0
2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0
Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: buck91] #4776074 06/03/18 08:06 AM
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berniedd Offline
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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.

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: berniedd] #4776105 06/03/18 08:39 AM
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buck91 Offline OP
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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.


2018 F150 Screw 4x4 2.7L Ecoboost
2011 F150 Scab 4x4 5.0L
1996 Mustang GT 5spd/ragtop
Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: buck91] #4776114 06/03/18 08:49 AM
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Kestas Offline
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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.

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: buck91] #4776115 06/03/18 08:52 AM
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IndyFan Offline
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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.


18 Jeep JLUR Wrangler 3.6 29k
15 Ford Transit 129k, Reman 3.5 @85k
17 Jeep Renegade 2.4 22k
08 Jeep Wrangler 3.8 139k
04 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 109k
99 Mercedes E430 Sport 99k
Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: littleant] #4776127 06/03/18 09:08 AM
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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 …

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: Kestas] #4776132 06/03/18 09:17 AM
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zeng Offline
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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.

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: buck91] #4776145 06/03/18 09:27 AM
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Rand Offline
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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.


2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2.0T
2020 Hyundai Elantra "Value Edition"
Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: zeng] #4776183 06/03/18 10:28 AM
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Kestas Offline
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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.

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: Kestas] #4776234 06/03/18 11:35 AM
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demarpaint Offline
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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.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: Kestas] #4776303 06/03/18 01:43 PM
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littleant Offline
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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.
How many ways can I agree with the above. 1000% should do it.


I can't prevent getting old but I REFUSE to grow up.
2010 Mountaineer 4.0
2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0
Re: Replaced transfer case fluid today [Re: buck91] #4776689 06/03/18 09:10 PM
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69Torino Offline
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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.


1969 Ford Torino GT 390 Auto
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