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Changing Gear Oil in a Nissan Titan Rear Differential

Drew is an authorized Amsoil dealer and a proud owner of a Nissan Titan 4X4 who wants to show others they can do their own car work at home.

Changing the oil in your Titan's rear differential may seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is nearly just as easy as changing your motor oil. Though this chore is often neglected, it is a good idea to refresh your gear oil regularly (I generally change mine every year before winter kicks in). Also be sure to use Nissan OEM synthetic gear oil, or something else compatible. I recommend using either Mobil 1, Royal Purple, or Amsoil synthetic products. They may cost a little bit more, but you are paying for quality.

Nissan took the time to design the rear end with a drain plug and a fill plug, so there is no need to remove the differential cover. This makes the job very quick, easy, and painless. It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes from start to finish.

I have compiled a step-by-step illustration of the process along with pictures. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll help you out any way I can.

Tip: Drive your truck around for a few minutes before starting. This will warm up your old oil and allow it to flow more easily out the drain hole.

Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-140 Synthetic Gear Oil

Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-140 Synthetic Gear Oil

Required Tools

  • 3 Quarts of Nissan-Compatible Gear Oil (Mobil 1, Amsoil, or Royal Purple)
  • 3/8" Drive Ratchet
  • Oil Drain Pan
  • Transfer Pump*
  • Gloves**

*I use a Koehler Enterprises transfer pump for this illustration. Other pumps can be used in a similar manner.

**You can do this without gloves, but be warned, gear oil smells terrible. If you happen to get it on your hands (or clothes) the smell will follow you for a long while. Believe me, you don't want to be sniffing this stuff any longer than you have to.

Step 1: Loosen the Fill Plug

Loosen this first with a 3/8" drive ratchet to ensure you are able to budge it. You don't want to drain your fluid only to realize you can't refill it.

Loosen this first with a 3/8" drive ratchet to ensure you are able to budge it. You don't want to drain your fluid only to realize you can't refill it.

Step 2: Loosen the Drain Plug

Be sure to position you drain pan directly underneath the plug. With the 3/8" ratchet, remove the lower drain plug.

Be sure to position you drain pan directly underneath the plug. With the 3/8" ratchet, remove the lower drain plug.

Step 3: Allow the Oil to Drain

Let all the old fluid drain out completely—until the stream becomes drips.

Let all the old fluid drain out completely—until the stream becomes drips.

Step 4: Replace the Drain Plug

After all the old fluid has drained out, replace the drain plug.  Do not over-tighten-it needs to be only snug enough to stop the fluid from leaking out.  Go ahead and completely remove the fill plug.

After all the old fluid has drained out, replace the drain plug. Do not over-tighten-it needs to be only snug enough to stop the fluid from leaking out. Go ahead and completely remove the fill plug.

Step 5: Pump the New Oil In

This can be done with a nipple that sometimes comes with the oil bottle. If not, you'll need a transfer pump.

This can be done with a nipple that sometimes comes with the oil bottle. If not, you'll need a transfer pump.

Now it's time to refill the rear differential with the new gear oil. Some synthetic fluids come with a nipple attached to the bottle for easy refilling. If you don't have that nipple, you will need to use a transfer pump.

Place the intake tube into the oil bottle and place the exit tube into the differential fill hole. Now start pumping! It shouldn't take too long to empty a quart. After the first quart is gone, have the second bottle opened to quickly move the tube from the empty one to the full one. Now pump until the second quart is empty.

After the second quart is empty, move the tube to the third oil container. This model Titan only requires about 2.25 quarts total, so pump only 1/4 of a quart (half a pint, if you will) of the third oil container. Pump slowly until oil begins to flow out the hole.

DO NOT OVERFILL! Let any excess fluids flow out. Overfilling the rear differential may cause seals to fail due to excess pressure.

Step 6: Replace the Fill Plug and Wipe Excess Oils

After the differential is full, remove the transfer pump.  Reinsert the fill plug and tighten, again, do not overtighten. Wipe away any excess fluid that dripped out with a paper towel or shop rag.

After the differential is full, remove the transfer pump. Reinsert the fill plug and tighten, again, do not overtighten. Wipe away any excess fluid that dripped out with a paper towel or shop rag.

Ride Smooth!

And that's all she wrote. This is a relatively easy preventative maintenance procedure, assuming you have the right tools.

Now that you're finished, clean up all your tools and properly dispose of your old gear oil.

Make note in your auto records of the day, mileage, and type of fluid you used for future references.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Joe on August 31, 2020:

Thanks for the help! Been looking online for a simple way explaining changing the real differential oil. Will do this today when I get home. It's been over 3 years. I know, bad bad bad.. lol

Drew Bobbitt (author) from Atlanta, GA on November 06, 2010:

Thanks for the comment Jeanie!

jeanie.stecher from Seattle on October 07, 2010:

Useful hub you have here Drew. Indeed if we can DIY these maintenance of our cars, we could surely save some bucks. Nice article.

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