MAINTENANCE : Jeep JK Wrangler Differential Fluid Change Write-Up

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
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Changing the fluid in your Jeep JK Wrangler’s differentials is an important part of routine maintenance. New gear oil will insure your differentials will be well lubricated and function properly. And, unlike previous Jeep Wranglers, it will not be necessary remove the differential cover in order to do this. Granted, I do recommend that you do so anyway from time to time (every other fluid change) as it will give you a chance to inspect your gears and catch any damage or unsual wear.

Following "Schedule B" in the Jeep owner manual (heavy driving), I change my differential fluids every 15,000 miles. However, It’s always a good idea to do this as IF you've submerged your axles in deep water for prolonged periods of time. Below is a list of what you will need and instructions on how to service yourself differentials on a Jeep JK Wrangler Dana 30 or Dana 44 axle.

What You Will Need
• 3/8" Drive Ratchet
• Torque Wrench
• 3" Ratchet Extension
• Oil Catch Pan
• Paper Towels
• (4) Quarts 75W90 or Heavier Gear Oil (Use synthetic IF you have a limited slip differential)

Differential Fluid Capacity
Front Dana 44
2.7 pints (1.35 quarts)

Rear Dana 44
4.75 pints (2.375 quarts)


Basic Fluid Change Instructions
1. Using the square head of a 3/8" Drive ratchet, remove the fill bolt from your differential cover.
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2. Place an oil catch pan underneath your differential. Then, using a 3/8" drive ratchet with a 3" extension attached to it, remove the drain bolt from the base of it as shown.
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3. Allow your differential to drain completely before proceeding.
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4. Your Jeep JK Wrangler’s drain bolt is magnetic and the inside end of it should be fuzzy with fine iron filings. Use a paper towel and some brake cleaner to wipe the bolt clean. If you find any metal chunks, you should skip down to the Thorough Fluid Change Instructions for instructions on how to remove the differential cover.
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5. Using a 3/8" drive ratchet with a 3" extension attached to it, reinstall your drain bolt back on to the base of your differential. Tighten this bolt to 25 ft. lbs. of torque.
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6. Proceed to refill your differential with gear oil. Please note that a front Dana 44 differential only needs 2.7 pints (1.35 quarts) and the rear only needs 4.75 pints (2.375 quarts). If you have factory covers, all you need to do is fill up your differentials until gear oil oozes out of the fill hole. If you have an after market differential cover that has a higher fill hole than factory, DO NOT be tempted to add any more gear oil than is needs. Doing so will result in a differential that is over-filled that will cause gear oil to get pumped out of the breather tube. If you are unsure how much you'll need in your axle, a good rule of thumb to follow is that you only need as much gear oil as is needed to get it to reach the bottom of your axle tubes. You can use a zip tie bent in a 90° angle to act as a dip stick to help you know where that is. NOTE: IF you have a limited slip differential, you will need to add friction modifier into your differential or, be sure to use a synthetic gear oil as it will have friction modifier in it.
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7. Using the square head of a 3/8" Drive ratchet, re-install the fill bolt on to the differential cover. Tighten this bolt to 25 ft. lbs. of torque.
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Thorough Fluid Change Instructions
In order to perform a thorough differential fluid change, you will be required to remove your differential covers. For instructions on how to do this, simply click on the link below. While it was written for the installation of aftermarket differential covers, the process is the same.

Differential Cover Installation Write-Up

That’s it! Please let me know if you have any questions and don’t forget to take your old gear oil to your local recycling center (PepBoys, Autozone or the like).

 

JethroJK

New member
So after doing this maintenance I found that the rear only used about 2 quarts and oozed out of filler hole. Front axle used a little over 1 quart and oozed out of filler hole. No shavings or chunks on drain plug.

That should be ok, right? as far as amount that was used? It is to the bottom of the axle.
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
So after doing this maintenance I found that the rear only used about 2 quarts and oozed out of filler hole. Front axle used a little over 1 quart and oozed out of filler hole. No shavings or chunks on drain plug.

That should be ok, right? as far as amount that was used? It is to the bottom of the axle.

Yup, sounds about right to me.
 

Jeep du Boy

New member
Ok, thanks for the write up. I put 1 qt in the front and almost 2 in the back.

I have 5 small metal shavings from the rear diff stuck on the magnet. Just over paper thin and may 3 mm x 1.5mm.

Should I be stressed?

Thanks again for a great easy write up. Saved me some $$.


'11 Mango Tango Unlimited.
American by Birth, Veteran so my family lives free.
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
Ok, thanks for the write up. I put 1 qt in the front and almost 2 in the back.

I have 5 small metal shavings from the rear diff stuck on the magnet. Just over paper thin and may 3 mm x 1.5mm.

Should I be stressed?

Thanks again for a great easy write up. Saved me some $$.


'11 Mango Tango Unlimited.
American by Birth, Veteran so my family lives free.

Well, you really shouldn't have anything other than black fuzz. If I saw some bright shavings, I would have pull the cover to do a closer inspection. Assuming you have a Rubicon, they are most likely from your locker and really, there isn't too much you can do about it.
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
On my 2012 Rubi will I need to add friction modifier?

BTKillerr

As mentioned, you only need friction modifier if you have a limited slip differential. Being that you have a Rubicon with lockers, you will not need to add any.
 

Kneece

New member
I have an 08 Sahara 4wd, no lockers, so is mine a limited slip?

Sent from my SPH-L710 using WAYALIFE mobile app

You can look on your Purchase Window sticker. It should say. If you don't have limited slip the additive wont hurt it. If you do have limited slip and you don't add it, we'll it could burn up the clutches inside the diff.


Sent by Pony Express
 

Kneece

New member
I have an 08 Sahara 4wd, no lockers, so is mine a limited slip?

Sent from my SPH-L710 using WAYALIFE mobile app

You can look on your Purchase Window sticker. It should say. If you don't have limited slip the additive wont hurt it. If you do have limited slip and you don't add it, we'll it could burn up the clutches inside the diff.


Sent by Pony Express
 
Found the window sticket and I have the Dana 44 rear limited slip. So the front is also? Which synthetic oil do you recommend?

Sent from my SPH-L710 using WAYALIFE mobile app
 

Damtall55

Member
First Time Differential Fluid Change

I am going to change my fluid for the first time this coming weekend. i will be removing my stock covers and replacing with Solid Diff Covers on my front (30) and rear (44). I will be adding Lube Lockers as well. I have a couple questions. I don't run off road a lot, maybe 4 or 5 times a year because this is my commuter and daily driver. Is changing the diff fluid out every 30,000 miles okay? I have a 2.5" lift with 33's, nothing too fancy. Also, o you have a recommendation on a brand to use (Royal Purple (pictred in your write up), Mobil 1, Valvoline, etc.)?

Thanks a lot guys for your help!!

Big Mike
Springfield, VA
 

wayoflife

Administrator
Staff member
I am going to change my fluid for the first time this coming weekend. i will be removing my stock covers and replacing with Solid Diff Covers on my front (30) and rear (44). I will be adding Lube Lockers as well. I have a couple questions. I don't run off road a lot, maybe 4 or 5 times a year because this is my commuter and daily driver. Is changing the diff fluid out every 30,000 miles okay? I have a 2.5" lift with 33's, nothing too fancy. Also, o you have a recommendation on a brand to use (Royal Purple (pictred in your write up), Mobil 1, Valvoline, etc.)?

Thanks a lot guys for your help!!

Big Mike
Springfield, VA

Yup, 30,000 miles is fine and really any gear oil will get the job done fine. If you have a limited slip, I would recommend a synthetic lube - brand makes no difference.
 

Theplasterman

New member
Quick question...I unscrewed the filler plug on my 2012 jk rubicon and fluid came gushing out ? I'm guessing .25 quarts on the ground. How the heck would they get fluid that far over the filler plug and now do I need to drain and refill to make sure the correct amount is in there? Also the 2012 manual says 80w 90 oil, is 75w 90 alright to use. Thanks
 
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