Thread: Differential oil change...

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  1. #1
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    Default Differential oil change...

    I had begun to hear some moans when making sharp turns in the car so I figured it was time to swap the differential oil/fluid. I did some research here and saw some threads on the matter but no photos. I've done diff oil changes before but not on the Viper. So I figured I'd put up some photos for others to see. One of the other posts had photos at one point but they have since been deleted/moved.

    This is not rocket science. You simply pull the fill plug on the Differential, suck out the fluid there and then refill. It takes about 1.5 liters or Quarts....ballpark. The only thing you need to worry about is having the car level to drain it correctly. In my case I needed the following:

    - 7/16 Allen socket on a 3/8 ratchet. I have seen that some have mentioned 10mm Allen but it was too large in my case.
    - Mopar Differential Oil - PN/ 04874469
    - Mopar Limited Slip Additive - PN/ 04318060AB
    - A vacuum/pump of some sort to get the old fluid out. I used a Mityvac MV7300. Awesome but a bit pricey unless you have more uses for it. You could easily use a loaner tool from a local store. Typically a hand pump. Not the fastest lor easiest, but doable.
    - A extension tube for the new oil to be fed in. In the photos below. Makes for a FAR CLEANER way to fill the diff.
    - A lift or a way to raise the car evenly. Jack stands, floor jacks, etc.

    Below is a shot from under the car. The fill plug is on the passenger side of the car, just in front of the axles.



    The hose sucking out the old fluid. It will be dirty, but should still be a bit translucent in the tube. You should pull out about 1.5 quarts.



    Below are the new diff oil (you need to buy 2 quarts). Just by asking, I got the oil at a bit of a discount. I paid a bit less than $50 for both. The additive was about $12.





    I also took a shot of the fill tube. It has a cap and a shut-off valve on the base. It screws right into the bottle. It has a rubber washer so no leaks at all. Lets you position the bottle into the wheel well so you can raise it. It also allows you to squeeze the fluid in making it go a bit faster.



    When you fill it, add the additive first. What I did was empty as much of the bottle as I could into the diff, I pour some of the diff oil into the small bottle, swish it around a bit and then back into the diff oil bottle. In short get as much of the additive in as possible. Once that is done, fill the diff until the oil begins to pour back out of the fill hole. Put the plug back in. I then moved the rear wheels a bit. I do it to purge any air that might be caught in the diff after filling it. I remove the plug after a couple of minutes. If the fluid seeps out, you're good. Tighten the plug diff and you are done.

    In the end, this is not something that requires a ton of skill.... Just a way to get the car up and patience. It is not as easy as an oil change but it is quite doable.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    very nice write-up, thanks

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    That additive is the stinkiest stuff I've ever smelled. Without it it'll moan like a crocodile when turning. ( oops)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    Heating up the lube bottles before squeezing in makes it much easier and less mess. A hair dryer works pretty good to heat the bottles up. For some reason the fill plug leaks on some of these cars. I clean all the threads real good and add a little teflon tape to the plug before re- installing. Nice write up.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    This is an easy task and i'm sure that many old Vipers are still running around with their original fluid since some people think that mileage is everything. In reality a 1997 viper with only 10K miles on her should have this fluid changed as it has been sitting around for 15 years. Would you take a dusty 10+ year old can of motor oil out of the junk pile in your garage and pour it into your motor? I dont think so.

    Great write-up. Luisv

    Similar procedure for the Transmission. I like to do em at the same time once every 2-3 years since i drive often & hard, and do a few track days. For the average person every 5-6 years would prob be fine.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    Quote Originally Posted by SHELBYVIPER View Post
    Heating up the lube bottles before squeezing in makes it much easier and less mess. A hair dryer works pretty good to heat the bottles up. For some reason the fill plug leaks on some of these cars. I clean all the threads real good and add a little teflon tape to the plug before re- installing. Nice write up.
    Never thought of that! Good idea.

    I never mentioned it but I drove the car for a bit to warm up the diff lube first. It makes it easier to pull. It only makes sense with the new lubricant. It has not been cycled and would be thicker. It was not hard putting it in, but definitely would have been easier to push in.

    Thanks for the tip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom426h View Post
    This is an easy task and i'm sure that many old Vipers are still running around with their original fluid since some people think that mileage is everything. In reality a 1997 viper with only 10K miles on her should have this fluid changed as it has been sitting around for 15 years. Would you take a dusty 10+ year old can of motor oil out of the junk pile in your garage and pour it into your motor? I dont think so.

    Great write-up. Luisv

    Similar procedure for the Transmission. I like to do em at the same time once every 2-3 years since i drive often & hard, and do a few track days. For the average person every 5-6 years would prob be fine.
    I have to do all the fluids. I was doing one at a time. I did the motor first for a 5 day cruise. Now I have to move to brake, clutch, trans and coolant. May do them over the week off next week.

    Excellent point though. At the end of the day the mileage is low but this stuff may have been in there for 10 years! I bought the car 5 months ago from the original owner with 32K miles. It was impeccable, but I don't know if there was anything other than motor oil done.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    If you have a custom 3" exhaust , do you have to remove the exhaust at all to get to the differential plug with a tool?

    The Dodge Dealer I went to messed up my plug , said the first time the plug comes out is the hardest. Then said they would have to pull a piece of my exhaust to extract the plug. I bought a new plug, then I left after hearing that ---

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    Did you use a 3/8" or a 7/16" hex key? I am in the process of changing out my fluid and I agree the 10mm is too big but isn't 7/16" larger than 10mm? I am on way to sears to find some allen sockets but have noticed the 7/16" size isn't very common. I don't know if the year matters but my car is an 02. Just want to make sure I get the right size (hopefully on this attempt) so I don't strip the plug.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    My hex hole was stripped bad. I used a pipe wrench to get it off

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    Update: I was able to use a 3/8" hex key and it fit perfectly and I was able to get it out with out any issues. Getting the oil out was easy. Getting the oil in on the other hand was fairly cumbersome and messy.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Differential oil change...

    Yeah it is a little "difficult". A little moving around at first to figure out the best angle for the hose and bottle.

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