05+ Toyota Tacoma Front Diff / Transfer Case Oil Change

This is a guide for replacing your front differential and transfer case fluid in a 2005+ Toyota Tacoma. I put this on TacomaWorld.com a long time ago and thought I’d put it here too.  There is an excellent rear diff howto at http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/tec…-step-how.html

Unfortunately, it didn’t describe the front or transfer case, and I was assuming I wasn’t the only one who was slow enough to need some pointers.

Tools

PB Blaster is good for all the stuck bolts on this truck, too. Keeps you from stripping plugs. I put some PB Blaster on every plug I was removing beforehand.  Note on the gear oil: it turns out that whether you have a limited slip differential or not, gear oil rated for limited slip will work fine.  This was confirmed by people smarter than me on TacomaWorld.

This pump threads onto the Mobil-1 Bottle

This pump threads onto the Mobil-1 Bottle

Use this oil or any 75W-90

Use this oil or any 75W-90

Plug Locations

You need to remove your skid plate to get to the front diff. For perspective, here’s where it is relative to other parts of the truck:

Riiiiight here

Riiiiight here

Here’s a shot of the drain and fill plugs on the front diff. These take 10mm Hex / Allen keys. I found it best to get a 10mm hex socket from autozone,sears, wherever, so I could use a breaker bar + pb blaster to crack them loose the first time. That way I can also use a torque wrench to torque them correctly.

Front diff gets 1.6 quarts. The fill plug torques to 29lb-ft and the drain torques to 48 lb-ft. The magnet on the drain plug should be cleaned just like the rear diff.

Front diff up close

Front diff up close

The transfer case uses a 24mm socket like the rear diff. It is easier to get to, almost directly underneath the middle of the truck. Here’s a perspective shot of what you’re looking for:

Transfer case location

Transfer case location

The transfer case gets 1.1 quarts. The fill and drain plugs both torque to 27lb-ft. I also noticed that the transfer case’s drain plug doesn’t seem to have a magnet on it like the front diff.

Here’s a closer shot on where the plugs are:

Front diff closeup

Front diff closeup

Procedure

The procedure for both is identical to the rear. Take off the fill plug first, to make sure you can get it off while you still have oil. Then, put a pan under the drain plug, and crack it open. Let the oil drain. Clean both plugs. For the front diff, make sure to get any metal shavings off of the magnet. Reinstall the drain plug and torque it down. Fill the diff using the pump until it starts coming out. Reinstall the fill plug and torque it down. Done!

  • gil gam

    thanks for the write up

    • James Spadaro

      Glad it helped!