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Old April 1st, 2010, 11:11 PM
DIXIE FIX's Avatar

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Default Ford 8.8 Rear Differential Fluid Change

F150 Rear Differential Oil Change*

*1998 Ford F150 4x4 with 4.6L V-8, 4R70W 4spd electronic automatic (code U in doorjam), 3.55LS axle. Axle service interval 30,000 miles or 24 months according to Haynes.

Follow these instructions at your own risk.

Tools/Parts needed for the job:

Safety glasses
Rubber gloves
3/8 Ratchet, and 1/2 socket
Cleaning solvent such as Brakekleen
Drain pan
Small funnel with hose
Rags/paper towels
3 quarts Redline 100% Synthetic 75W90** gear oil (Ford specifies only synthetic!)
Replacement differential cover gasket
Gasket type blue silicone sealer
scraper blade or flat wide chisel
flat blade screwdriver
Note: wear safety glasses while under the vehicle for eye protection as there's lots of dirt and grime under there just waiting to drop into your eyes.

Time to do job:

Less than 1 hour

1.Wait until the vehicle has cooled off for at least 1/2hr if you've just driven it to avoid getting a "hot oil treatment"... burns hurt!
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />

2.Position the drain pan under the rear diff cover.

3.Remove or loosen all the cover bolts using the 1/2 inch socket ratchet. Note the position of the two tags on the bolts.
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_2.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />

4.Using a large flat blade screwdriver pry the bottom of the cover up slowly. When most of the fluid has run out pry the cover off the axle. The old fluid was really black and dirty
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_3.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_4.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_5.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />

5.Use a solvent or brakekleen to clean the diff cover in combination with rags or paper towel
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_6.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />

6.Use a flat edge scraper or chisel to remove any old excess silicone sealer. My factory sealed diff didn't even use a real gasket, only black silicone sealer.
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_7.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />

7.When the cover is clean move to the axle and using your finger or a spatula and remove as much old oil as possible. There is a small pocket in the diff that holds half a cup of oil in the bottom. Try to slosh it out or use a few paper towels to absorb it. Wipe off oil anywhere you can get to on the gears and walls inside the axle.

8.Now clean the gasket surface on the axle with a scraper and some steel wool to get it clean. Finish off with solvent on a rag or paper towel to remove any trace of grease/oil on the gasket surface.
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_8.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />

9.Clean the diff cover in the same manner

10.When the surfaces have dried, apply a bead of silicone gasket to the cover and to the axle gasket surface
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_9.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_10.jpg" alt="Changing The Fluid In Your 8.8 Rear Axle" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_11.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_12.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_13.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />

11.Apply the new gasket and press it down gently to spread the silicone slightly.
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_14.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_15.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />

12.Wait 10-15 minutes for the silicone to skin over.

13.Apply the cover to the diff, insert all the bolts and tighten them lightly. There is no specific order. I started at the bottom, moved up the sides, and finished at the top bolt. I believe the Haynes manual states 30-38ft/lbs. Tighten the bolts all one more time to spec, then check each one for tightness.

14.Insert a 3/8 ratchet into the drain nut and remove it
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_16.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_17.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />

15.Clean any metal shavings & sludge of the plug.
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_18.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_19.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />

16.Insert a small funnel and tube into the hole or use a transfer pump (easier, less messy).
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_20.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />

17.Fill the case with just under **3 Quarts (5.7 pints spec) for F150 and Expy rear axles, F250 are more. Or fill the axle on level ground until oil starts to run out of the filler hole. I call gear oil "yummy lube" because it stinks so bad
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_21.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />

18.Replace the drain plug. Loktite is optional on the threads of the plug
<img src="http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/photopost/files/1/1/1/diff_fluid_22.jpg" alt="Differential Fluid Change 8.8" />

19.Wipe away any spilled oil.

20.Clean up.

** note: Some Ford techs recommend not using the Ford spec 70W140 synthetic due to it not being able to absorb water and possibly leading to corrosion and failure of parts within the axle assembly. For that reason I chose Redline 75W90. Please note this is not my recommendation. Do so at your own risk!

Installing a replacement gasket is also optional. Some prefer blue silicone only but it needs to be tacky (>15mins wait) before putting parts together or the silicone will squeeze out from between parts resulting in leaks.

Article submitted by Peter Ferlow

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