transfer case fluid change - Nissan Forum

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post #1 of 18 Old Oct 20th, 2005, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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transfer case fluid change

I have 2001 Pathfinder LE.

I changed transfer case fluid the other day. It came out brownish as expected. Capacity is 3 1/8 according to the service manual. I was only able to drain out ~ 2 qt. Some fluid shot out from the filler hole when I removed it first. (That oil catch pan better be in the right spot when you remove those plugs.) I didn't expect fluid shooting out from filler hole. It wasn't much but it caught me by surprise.

I refilled it with ATF, I couldn't get 2 qt in there before ATF started to spill out of the fill hole. It was more like 1 3/4 - 1 7/8. I even had rear raised slightly when I was filling it up. I expected to drain/fill about 2 1/2 or so...

I used a 12" hose attachment that screws on top of the bottle for filling. It would have been easier with the hand pump I used for front differential. Hose attachment was $5 compared to $13 I spent on hand pump and I didn't want to reuse the pump that I used for gear oil.

Is < 2 qt about normal for transfer fluid replacement? That's only about 60% fluid replacement.
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post #2 of 18 Old Oct 20th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slacker01
I have 2001 Pathfinder LE.

I changed transfer case fluid the other day. It came out brownish as expected. Capacity is 3 1/8 according to the service manual. I was only able to drain out ~ 2 qt. Some fluid shot out from the filler hole when I removed it first. (That oil catch pan better be in the right spot when you remove those plugs.) I didn't expect fluid shooting out from filler hole. It wasn't much but it caught me by surprise.

I refilled it with ATF, I couldn't get 2 qt in there before ATF started to spill out of the fill hole. It was more like 1 3/4 - 1 7/8. I even had rear raised slightly when I was filling it up. I expected to drain/fill about 2 1/2 or so...

I used a 12" hose attachment that screws on top of the bottle for filling. It would have been easier with the hand pump I used for front differential. Hose attachment was $5 compared to $13 I spent on hand pump and I didn't want to reuse the pump that I used for gear oil.

Is < 2 qt about normal for transfer fluid replacement? That's only about 60% fluid replacement.


WHOA!!!!!!!!!!! YOU REFILLED IT WITH ATF? SOMEONE ELSE CHIME IN BUT I DONT THINK THE TRANFER CASE TAKES ATF I THINK IT TAKES AN OIL LUBRICANT.....

Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part........
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post #3 of 18 Old Oct 20th, 2005, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by architectdave
WHOA!!!!!!!!!!! YOU REFILLED IT WITH ATF? SOMEONE ELSE CHIME IN BUT I DONT THINK THE TRANFER CASE TAKES ATF I THINK IT TAKES AN OIL LUBRICANT.....
I had same reservations but I read through the service manual and here's the note:

On "RECOMMENDED FLUIDS AND LUBRICANTS" page, It says for All-mode use "Nissan Matic "D" (Continental U.S. and Alaska) or Canada NISSAN Automatic Transmission Fluid*2.

I followed *2 and it says: "DEXRON III/MERCON or equivalent may be used. Outside the continental U.S. and Alaska contact a NISAAN dealership for more information regarding suitable fluids, including recommended brand(s) of DEXRON III/MERCON Automatic Transimission Fluid.

So then you go to next page and it says for GEAR OIL use 75W-90 for transfer.

So then I go to the page that "Checking All-mode 4WD Transfer Fluid.". It says "A/T fluid is ued for the all-mode 4WD transfer in the factory."

The fluid that came out of the case is very consistent with ATF fluid. It wasn't thick like what I put in the differentials.

Also, someone else on this forum commented on my earlier post about what fluid to use for transfer case.

Quote:
I used Mobile 1 ATF in my 01 w/ all mode. I am now getting a slight noise while coasting on the highway. I may change it to the Nissan ATF to see if it goes away. I would not use 75w90 gear lube since All Mode actually has a little torque converter inside.

Last edited by slacker01; Oct 20th, 2005 at 05:13 PM.
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post #4 of 18 Old Oct 20th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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Dave, hes right. The "All Mode" takes the DexIII. From what I have been reading, the transfer case has its own little torque converter and thats why the full amount didnt come out. Do the drain/refill/drain/refill trick to take care of it. I am doing mine this weekend.....
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post #5 of 18 Old Oct 20th, 2005, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Max96
Dave, hes right. The "All Mode" takes the DexIII. From what I have been reading, the transfer case has its own little torque converter and thats why the full amount didnt come out. Do the drain/refill/drain/refill trick to take care of it. I am doing mine this weekend.....
So torque converter's holding on to some fluid... I'll go ahead and perform another drain/refill when I do engine oil change in another month or so to get rid of more of the old fluid. Thanks.
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post #6 of 18 Old Oct 21st, 2005, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slacker01
So torque converter's holding on to some fluid... I'll go ahead and perform another drain/refill when I do engine oil change in another month or so to get rid of more of the old fluid. Thanks.

Thats not something i have ever experienced. Im glad to hear all is well. That really freaked me out guy. I need to read up on the newer trans cases.


Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part........
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post #7 of 18 Old Oct 22nd, 2005, 08:52 PM
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I think the capacity is 3 1/8 pints and not quarts. Either way that is all I could get into my 01 w/ all mode. All 01s use ATF and not just All Mode. Jeeps have used ATF in their TCs since the late 80s and I never had trouble with my Jeep TCs.
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post #8 of 18 Old Oct 23rd, 2005, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smassey321
I think the capacity is 3 1/8 pints and not quarts. Either way that is all I could get into my 01 w/ all mode. All 01s use ATF and not just All Mode. Jeeps have used ATF in their TCs since the late 80s and I never had trouble with my Jeep TCs.
3 1/8 is in quarts. Service Manual lists manual transmission and differential in pints but all other figures are in quarts.
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post #9 of 18 Old Oct 24th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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Just did mine this weekend... what a bitch! Had to use the old hydraulic jack/breaker bar to get the plugs free. Nissan puts some kind of glue/sealer on these things which makes it tough. Same crap on differentials. Regardless, I just pumped ATF outta the 4qt jug until it started running outta the fill hole in the transfer case. No clue how much that was and dont care. Its full, my truck is happy.
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post #10 of 18 Old Oct 24th, 2005, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max96
Just did mine this weekend... what a bitch! Had to use the old hydraulic jack/breaker bar to get the plugs free. Nissan puts some kind of glue/sealer on these things which makes it tough. Same crap on differentials. Regardless, I just pumped ATF outta the 4qt jug until it started running outta the fill hole in the transfer case. No clue how much that was and dont care. Its full, my truck is happy.
I had same problem with rear differential drain plug. It took me about half an hour to get that one off. I know it's not the safest thing to do but eventually I had to tap the 17" breaker bar few times with hammer to get it started. Rest of the plugs came off easy though. The drain plug on the rear was in bad shape where 1/2 drive fits in so I have to assume previous guy who serviced it messed it up or over torqued it.

Did you buy yours used? Just wondering if previous guy who serviced it may have over torqued it. The transfer case plugs are only supposed have around 87-174 in-lb torque compared to 43-87 ft-lb on diffs (front filler for diff is 29-43 ft-lb) I would've thought transfer plugs should have been pretty easy to take off. I am sure some shop mechanics don't use torque wrenches for these things...

I am with you though. I am glad I don't have to do this again for awhile.
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post #11 of 18 Old Oct 24th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slacker01
I had same problem with rear differential drain plug. It took me about half an hour to get that one off. I know it's not the safest thing to do but eventually I had to tap the 17" breaker bar few times with hammer to get it started. Rest of the plugs came off easy though. The drain plug on the rear was in bad shape where 1/2 drive fits in so I have to assume previous guy who serviced it messed it up or over torqued it.

Did you buy yours used? Just wondering if previous guy who serviced it may have over torqued it. The transfer case plugs are only supposed have around 87-174 in-lb torque compared to 43-87 ft-lb on diffs (front filler for diff is 29-43 ft-lb) I would've thought transfer plugs should have been pretty easy to take off. I am sure some shop mechanics don't use torque wrenches for these things...

I am with you though. I am glad I don't have to do this again for awhile.
Slacker... stole it used from some dude that works with my buddy. The guy bought it new and all he ever did was the 3k oil changes at Jiffy lube and carwashes. None of the fluids besides motor oil were ever changed. Yeah, I did a number in the rear diff fill plug. Ehh... who cares. Everything is full and nothing is leaking. Didnt use a torque wrench either. Rear was easy... tighten the sh*t outta it. Transfer case was similar considering I was using a small 3/8 ratchet handle.
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post #12 of 18 Old Oct 24th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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One more thing... I used Redline LSD gear oil in the rear diff.. dont notice any difference, but its some good sh*t regardless. Regular cheap old Pennzoil DexIII in the trans/transfer. Gonna change that once a year from here on out.
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post #13 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2009, 12:17 AM
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transfer case fill

Just did a drain and fill on my all mode t-case on my 01 PF today and I noticed the same thing as slacker01 - about 2.5 drained out and I was able to pump back in about 1.5 quarts. I only loosened the filler plug (did not remove) before draining, so I can not say I saw fluid coing out the fill hole, but I assume there probably would have been. I did drive around the block after my initial fill of 1.5 quarrts, checked and was able to add a little more, but still less than what was drained out. After reading ths thread, I am not sure if it is okay to fill with less than what was drained, or should I try to add more by jacking the car up...?

I used Valvoline Maxlife ATF approved substitute for nissan matic d.

I did read somewhere that the factory overfills, is this true? Thanks in advance for any help/comments.
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post #14 of 18 Old Aug 9th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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ok so I have not noticed when the trans case has to be drained and refilled.
I have a 2003 part time 4WD SE.
if this is ATF is it shared with the Auto transmission.

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!!
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
2001 Sunny N16 RHD from new (N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy) Sold
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post #15 of 18 Old Sep 1st, 2009, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spande View Post
Just did a drain and fill on my all mode t-case on my 01 PF today and I noticed the same thing as slacker01 - about 2.5 drained out and I was able to pump back in about 1.5 quarts. I only loosened the filler plug (did not remove) before draining, so I can not say I saw fluid coing out the fill hole, but I assume there probably would have been. I did drive around the block after my initial fill of 1.5 quarrts, checked and was able to add a little more, but still less than what was drained out. After reading ths thread, I am not sure if it is okay to fill with less than what was drained, or should I try to add more by jacking the car up...?

I used Valvoline Maxlife ATF approved substitute for nissan matic d.

I did read somewhere that the factory overfills, is this true? Thanks in advance for any help/comments.
Just did the fluid change and same thing. Drained out 2.4 liter and only got 1.4 ltr back in. What to do? Will it harm the truck driving it? I'M FREAKIN OUT HAVE TO GO OUT OF TOWN TOMMORROW!! PLEASE HELP!!!
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