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DIY Rear Differential Drain & Fill LS430

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Old 04-16-14, 01:43 PM   #1
BradTank
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Default DIY Rear Differential Drain & Fill LS430

I didn't see a tutorial for a drain and fill on the rear differential for the LS430, so I thought I would take some pictures when i did mine.

Make sure this is done on level ground, if one end is jacked up, you will not be able to fill it the proper amount. Also, it's a good idea to allow the rear to cool off a bit.


Here's a list of things you need:

2 quarts of 75-90w synthetic gear oil (it actually only needs 1.3 quarts)
2 Crush Washers (one for the fill plug and one for the drain plug) I got these at the Lexus dealer, but it's a very standard washer that you could likely find at a lot of different places.

Click the image to open in full size.

Gear oil dispenser (these screw on the top and make it easier to put the fluid in since you're unable to get the bottle higher than the differential and use gravity

Click the image to open in full size.

10mm Allen bit and ratchet to unscrew plugs. These are used instead of a traditional hex bolt.



Click the image to open in full size.



Here is the label on the differential, synthetic only, 75w-90.



Click the image to open in full size.


Here are the two plugs. the top is the fill and the bottom is the drain.


Click the image to open in full size.

Unscrew the top plug first. That way you can inspect the level to see if it was low and if you possibly have a leak, and also, if it's stuck, you don't want to find out after all the gear oil has been drained out and it's then immobilized. Depending on how warm it was, a bit will likely dribble out when you unscrew the top plug.

Click the image to open in full size.


Then unscrew the bottom plug


Click the image to open in full size.


Fluid will then rush out. My fluid seemed factory fresh for the most part despite the mileage.

Click the image to open in full size.


The rear plug has a magnetic portion and it did have some powdered metal, but no chips or shards of metal. I cleaned them off then reinserted.


Click the image to open in full size.



I reinserted the bottom drain plug with a fresh crush washer and the factory recommended torque at 39 ft/lbs.

Click the image to open in full size.


I then took the gear oil and used the above dispenser to fill in the top fill plug. You keep pumping until the differential fills and fluid comes out the fill hole. When one bottle is drained you move the dispenser on to the next one.

Then reinsert plug with a fresh crush washer and torque down to 39 ft/lbs. You should use approximately 1.3 quarts, when mine was all said and done it was 1.5 containers of gear oil.

I would rate this as an easy job, about the same difficulty as an oil change. It's honestly not something that needs to be regularly done on a vehicle like this, but I'm guessing most have never had it done a single time.
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Old 04-16-14, 02:21 PM   #2
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Excellent pics and information. Thanks for taking the time to document this...
So...where do we sign up to use your lift... I think that's the only thing I'm missing... lol
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Old 04-16-14, 10:04 PM   #3
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Picture are worth a thousand words. Thanks for sharing. Now only if some could do the same for 04+ transmission drain and refill.
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Old 04-16-14, 10:19 PM   #4
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It would seem that a lift is mandatory... or can this be done with all 4 wheels on the ground?
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Old 04-17-14, 02:29 AM   #5
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Great job.
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Old 04-17-14, 07:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KawiLex View Post
It would seem that a lift is mandatory... or can this be done with all 4 wheels on the ground?
I just did mine last weekend. Since the drain and fill plugs are on the passenger side of the diff: To drain - I jacked the the drivers side up until I could put a 4X4 block of wood under the tire, To fill I swapped the block to the passenger side. Just enough room to work. Had 85K miles on my fluid and it was very clean with very fine dust only on the magnet. Probably didn't even need to be done at all.
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Old 04-17-14, 11:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campisi View Post
I just did mine last weekend. Since the drain and fill plugs are on the passenger side of the diff: To drain - I jacked the the drivers side up until I could put a 4X4 block of wood under the tire, To fill I swapped the block to the passenger side. Just enough room to work. Had 85K miles on my fluid and it was very clean with very fine dust only on the magnet. Probably didn't even need to be done at all.
Thanks. We'll see what 150K mile diff oil looks like in the next week or so. I'll have to find something good to prop the car up with just as you did.. I don't really like using my jack stands as I have trouble finding good placement for them. Maybe I just don't know the good/safe spots like I should.

I'm wondering if new oil will have a noticeable effect.
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Old 04-18-14, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KawiLex View Post
Thanks. We'll see what 150K mile diff oil looks like in the next week or so. I'll have to find something good to prop the car up with just as you did.. I don't really like using my jack stands as I have trouble finding good placement for them. Maybe I just don't know the good/safe spots like I should.

I'm wondering if new oil will have a noticeable effect.
One way to lift a car that's becoming popular are "tire cribs".

I know it looks dangerous, but it's actually very secure.

Click the image to open in full size.

Some people even make them from stacked 2x4s.
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Old 04-18-14, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradTank View Post
One way to lift a car that's becoming popular are "tire cribs".

I know it looks dangerous, but it's actually very secure.



Some people even make them from stacked 2x4s.
Old skool (is that how the kids spell it?!)!! Instead of ramps my dad and I used to use a couple 2foot lenghts of 2X6's stacked and screwed together with 2X4 blocks at each end to keep the wheels chocked. I'm still amazed at how useful small lengths of 2X4, 2X6, 4X4 etc can be in working on your car. Out of ingrained habit I never thow away scrap bits of wood for that reason (I have lots of pieces of scrap wood, wife doesn't care for it but oh well!)

BTW - props to OP for writing it up, good job. I always forget to do a writeup and take pics when I do repairs on my car. I should get better about it.
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Old 04-19-14, 12:04 PM   #10
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Interesting. First, thanks BradTank.

I determined that this job can be done with all wheels on the ground. I just crawled under the rear and both bolts were easily reachable. I'm not too overweight so that may have something to do with being able to do that.
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Old 04-19-14, 12:07 PM   #11
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Crush washers were $4 at dealership.

*edit* answered my own question.

Last edited by KawiLex; 04-21-14 at 08:48 AM..
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Old 04-21-14, 11:54 AM   #12
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Allow me to document this on my 2002 with 150K on it for those with simiilar mileage. First, I drove the car for 15 minutes. I started and finished the job with all 4 wheels on the ground. The bolts were tough to get off and there was barely enough room next to the exhaust to get the wrench to work, which was an obvious design feature. No socket extensions were necessary. Bolts were probably over torqued due to Lexus dealership checking them.. or maybe it was just some rust.

When I filled the top hole I pumped a lot in there until it really started to come out so that by the time I got the bolt in there it wasn't low. This is because when I originally removed the top bolt, fluid drained from it for at least a couple minutes, although it was a small steady stream. Total amount that drained was just around 1.8 quarts. Refilled with just around the same amount.

The fluid was quite black, but still had some thickness to it.

This change added two tenths to my quarter mile time...
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Old 04-21-14, 12:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KawiLex View Post
Allow me to document this on my 2002 with 150K on it for those with simiilar mileage. First, I drove the car for 15 minutes. I started and finished the job with all 4 wheels on the ground. The bolts were tough to get off and there was barely enough room next to the exhaust to get the wrench to work, which was an obvious design feature. No socket extensions were necessary. Bolts were probably over torqued due to Lexus dealership checking them.. or maybe it was just some rust.

When I filled the top hole I pumped a lot in there until it really started to come out so that by the time I got the bolt in there it wasn't low. This is because when I originally removed the top bolt, fluid drained from it for at least a couple minutes, although it was a small steady stream. Total amount that drained was just around 1.8 quarts. Refilled with just around the same amount.

The fluid was quite black, but still had some thickness to it.

This change added two tenths to my quarter mile time...
So you were able to do this by just reaching under the car and not raising it at all?
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Old 04-21-14, 01:39 PM   #14
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So you were able to do this by just reaching under the car and not raising it at all?
Kawilex is not "too overweight", like the rest of us!
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Old 04-22-14, 12:59 AM   #15
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So you were able to do this by just reaching under the car and not raising it at all?
Yes. Since permanently taking my spare tire out, the back end sits much better and that may have helped me get under there.

Make sure you get the pump for the fluid container just like BradTank showed. . It is the only way to go.
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Old 04-22-14, 12:59 AM
 
 
 
 
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2002, 430, additive, diff, differential, fill, fluid, flush, is350, lexus, ls, ls430, measurement, number, part, plug, rear

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