OK first let me say that I have a 2006 4wd Grand Vitara. I have about 19,000 miles and just now realized that i should have changed my differential oil at 7500 miles! The dealer wants about $200US dollars to complete the job and I think thats ridiculous when I know I can do it myself.
I'm confused about what exactly needs to be changed. I know what/where the rear diff is but is there a front diff too? Does that need to be changed as well? What is an extension and what is the transfer case? Do I even have these on my 4WD model?
What fluids am I looking to change, with which weight oil, and how much of each oil? I plan on using REDLINE brands.
Good choice on the Redline products. I've been using them for years and have had nothing but excellent results.
You've got both a front and rear differential along with a transmission (auto or stick?) AND transfer case to change fluids in. You have 2 or 3 different TYPES of fluid to purchase depending on transmission style (the transfer case and a STANDARD trans take the same). Some of the fill plugs are difficult to reach and you'll need a suction / pump type hand oil gun to force the lube into the fill openings via the gun's hose.
only the diffs need to be changed at 7500 miles.. you don't have to change the transfer case for quite some time. And quite frankly, if you really do not know what a transfer case is, I would not attempt a diff fluid change. IF you get the old fluid out and cannot get it in think of the towing charge you wil be faced with. I would take it to a local mechanic as he will charge you less then a Suzuki dealer.
My '06 GV is a 2WD but my previous Suzuki was a 4WD Sidekick. I changed the rear end, extension case and manual transmission of my '06 at about 7500 miles. I used red line 75W90 in the rear end and MTS90 in the extension housing and manual transmission. The MTS made shifts smoother but I have not noticed any other difference. I think it was a good thing to do but it did not have much noticable effect.
The fill plug on the rear end up up high on the back side and uses a 10mm hex wrench if I remember right. All the other plugs were square 3/8 female - just stick a 3/8 extension in them. You will not have the extension housing, I believe, because you are 4WD. I had to look around a little to find things but if you are handy and have basic knowledge of vehicles I think you should be able to do it. It's also easier if the underside of your vehicle is fairly clean. There is a drain plug at a low point and a fill plug about halfway up. You pull both plugs, let everything drain out that will come out, put the drain plug back in and then fill until it starts to come back at you from the fill plug. I bought a little pump at Advance Auto for about $5 that worked fine to move the fluid into the fill plug - you definitely can't really do it from the bottle for the rear end and it is handy for all the openings. I made a little bit of a mess pumping it in and having a little come back out but that is pretty much to be expected (at least when I do it).
I did not change my Sidekick until close to 90K miles. By that point the rear end lube was black and the transmission was dirty but the transfer case and front differential were still pretty clean. That made sense to me because I was only rarely in 4WD - it was a part time system. I guess the new GV is 4WD all the time so maybe the front diff and transfer case need changed at the same time as the rear. That's a few more plugs to pull but its all the same process.
You also need to be able to get the vehicle up in the air and fairly level on jacks to do this work. Getting it filled properly requires the vehicle be at least close to level. You might jack it up and look for the plugs before buying the lube. I think there is a bit of a description where they are in the owners manual. I did not look long but the underside of my GV was pretty clean.
Thanks for the info guys. I took a look and it all seems very straight forward. I'll pick up the fluids tonight and a local speed shop and take pics along the way for others to see first hand when I finish the job tomorrow. Another how-to for you Metatrox.
XL7- "IF you get the old fluid out and cannot get it in think of the towing charge you wil be faced with."
To avoid this problem, I would just remove the fill plug before the drain plug, that way the fluid not only drains quicker but I'll be sure that the fill plug isnt stuck/frozen, leaving me stranded.
I've adjusted valves on my street bike, rebuilt the top end on my dirtbike, and always changed the brakes and motor oil on my cars by myself, I'm glad to be adding another money saving DIY to my list.
If the dealer wants $200 you can save a lot. Another thing I did that might be worth doing is to put a few drops of blue loctite on the drain plugs going back in. It's hard to get and keep them free of oil so I am not sure how much good this did but it only cost me a couple drops of loctitie per plug. It sounds to me like you have at least enough mechanical ability. I've rebuilt engines and transmissions but not in several decades and this job is closer to a brake job than a top end rebuild IMHO. Finding the plugs should be the hardest part. I used a hex T-wrench on the fill plug on the rear differential but a socket with a hex male piece would have been nice. I noticed Advance Auto had them when I was getting the pump - but by then I had the plug out so I just put it back the same way.
A leak is either the plugs or the seals or a crack in the housing. Tightening the plugs is very simple. Anything else is going to take awhile.
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