DIY Driveline Oil Service

DIY Driveline Oil Service

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I’m sure many people are constantly aware of that engine oil and filter that’s due for a change just around the corner. But how often do we think about the driveline oils? For me it’s not often enough, especially with hard life I give to the old girl. So, I’m going to run through just how to change driveline oils, in your own driveway, with just basic tools.


Of course, there are going to be specific points related to changing the driveline oils in a GU Nissan Patrol, and the quantities of oil for my 2.8 litre diesel model are going to be different to other model Patrols. But the principles are the same, no matter what type of vehicle you’re driving.

First of all, get the quantities and types of oil you will need for your diffs, gearbox and transfer case. Either by Google searching it, or checking at an auto parts store. If you own a Patrol, you’re in luck. You will need:

  • Front diff: 5.4 litres 80w-90 axle oil (sometimes called hypoid gear oil)
  • Rear Diff: 2.2 litres 85w-140 LSD
  • Gearbox: 5.1 litres 80w-90 universal gear oil
  • Transfer Case: 2.0 litres ATF Dextron 3 (weird I know)

As far as tools go:

  • A half inch breaker bar and ratchet for drain and fill plugs (depending on your vehicle, check the type of fasteners used)
  • Some way of getting the new oil in, be it a pump or a home made device like mine pictured below
  • An 18mm spanner for the transfer case drain plug (for the Patrol) preferably a long one
  • A wire brush, or a stick to clear dried mud from your drain plugs


Before you get all excited and drain the oil, be sure to crack the filler plug first. You’ll be screwed if you drain the lot and can’t refill it cos the fill plug is seized! Your breaker bar will be needed as these plugs are always reallllly tight. On the Patrol, and most other vehicles I believe; the half inch drive fits straight into the square of the plug with no socket needed.

As the oil drains, take note of the colour and smell of  the oil. If it smells burned, then you’ve been working that diff too hard. If the oil appears milky, or brown then you’ve been taking on water from mud or river crossings for sure. This can be resolved by extending your diff breathers. If they are already extended, you may have a blocked breather which causes the water to suck in past the seals.


Many drain plugs will have a magnet to catch tiny pieces of metal as wear and tear occurs. Take a look at these to spot any broken teeth or large chunks of metal. That’s bad times. However; a light paste of metal filings is entirely normal.

The last step of course, is to fill it back up. This homemade ghetto device of mine is Krafted out of an old mayonnaise container (see what I did there? Krafted? LOOOOL). Anyway, a 12V compressor attaches to the tubeless tyre valve in the lid, and the pressurized air pushes the new oil up the tube and into the hole.


There’s no dipsticks on diffs and gearboxes; so how do you know when it’s full? Well the rule for most of them is to fill it level with the bottom of the filler plug hole. Just poke your finger in there and feel around a bit if it’s too hard to see.

It’s a bloody messy job that’s for sure, but changing driveline oils is well within reach of anybody who knows their way around a spanner. Give it a crack before you forget again! 


Alex Garner

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  1. David
    September 20, 17:38 Reply
    Nice job with the oil replacement as usual Alex. Thanks David.
  2. Aaron
    September 23, 09:19 Reply
    Nothing beats giving your vehicle a thorough check and a bit of maintenance at home. Your diff fluid looks pretty good though; obviously no water getting in there! Aaron
  3. rolly
    October 18, 21:07 Reply
    great info Alex and demo, changed mine today after watching this you and Ronny give us all in the 4 wheel driving world inspiration and a bit of get up and do it thanks once again love your work-- Rolly
  4. Ricardo
    July 04, 22:20 Reply
    Alex, I keep watching your video I have been saving some $ in services and repairs waiting for your next video, great job.
    • Alex Garner
      July 05, 20:48 Reply
      Thanks Ricardo! Glad you've found them so useful :) I'm just filming one tonight on doing your own wiring, should be up in a month or so :)
  5. Ricardo
    July 04, 22:27 Reply
    I have been watching your videos, for a backyard mechanic you are great.
  6. Alfonso
    June 11, 13:39 Reply
    Very nice chanel, Please give me a link , where you changed your injectors. I will do by my self and also spark plug. I have a nissan patrol TB48 gasoline Automatic 2002. I started to do every maintenance by myself so your videos are wonderfull,

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