This blog article will provide the necessary steps and information to change the rear differential fluid on the 1999 - 2016 Ford F-350 Super Duty with a dual rear wheel axle, also known as the Dana 80 axle. We will also discuss the correct Ford F-350 Dana 80 rear differential fluid type specifications, the change interval, proper fluid capacity, and why changing your Ford F-350 rear differential fluid is so important.
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- Ford F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Change Info
- Video Guide for Ford F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Change on Dana 80 DRW
- Step-by-Step F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Gear Oil Change Instructions
Ford F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Change Info
The rear differential gear oil change procedures apply to F-350 models as listed below:
- 1999 - 2016 Ford F-350 Super Duty with DRW Dual Rear Wheel Dana 80 Axle
The F-350 Dana 80 rear differential was manufactured by Dana Spicer and also used by a variety of other truck manufacturers. Depending on the exact model you're doing this service on, visual differences may exist around the differential cover and other areas due to the different chassis. However, many of the general steps and procedures for changing the gear oil, fluid filling, and leveling process or sequence will still apply to these other models with a Dana 80 axle.
- 2011 - 2014 Ford F-450 Super Duty Trucks (Depending on options)
- 1988 - 2004 Ford F-450 Super Duty Trucks (Depending on options)
- 1988 - 1998 Ford F-350 DRW
- 1994 - 2002 Dodge Ram 3500 (SAE 80W-90 GL-5 or 75W-140 GL-5 suggested in heavy tow conditions)
- 1994 - 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 M/T (SAE 80W-90 GL-5 or 75W-140 GL-5 suggested in heavy tow conditions)
- 1991 - 2002 Chevrolet C3500HD (SAE 80W-90 GL-5 or 75W-140 GL-5 suggested in heavy tow conditions)
- 1991 - 2002 GMC C3500HD (SAE 80W-90 GL-5 or 75W-140 GL-5 suggested in heavy tow conditions)
Ford F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Change Interval
When should you change your Ford F-350 rear differential fluid? While it's always best to follow the manufacturers' recommendations, changing the Ford gear oil every 80,000 - 100,000 miles should be acceptable under usual light-duty driving conditions. However, if your truck experiences more aggressive driving, frequent trailer pulling, full-time/consistent 4WD engagement, off-roading, and servicing the differential fluids more frequently—like every 30,000 miles—would be recommended.
Also, if using a cheaper, non-synthetic brand of gear oil, the differential fluid will need to be changed more often. Following the recommended Ford-F-350 rear differential fluid change intervals and the recommendations noted here can eliminate and minimize mechanical issues and costly differential repairs.
Why Should Ford F-350 Rear Differential Gear Oil Be Changed?
Your rear Ford F-350 differential has a good amount of moving internal components. This includes bearings, pinion gears, and crown gears. These internal components rely solely on the diff fluid's lubrication film strength for protection and longevity. The diff fluid experiences excessive shear loads and various heat cycles through use. In time, these heat cycles and extreme loads deplete the differential fluid's lubricating properties and film strength. Continued use of old differential fluid will result in differential bearing, pinion gear wear, and failure. Therefore, having regular rear differential fluid changes is essential. Changing the Ford F-350 differential fluid as routine maintenance will significantly extend the life of the rear differential, minimize driveline noises due to wear, and ensure the bearings and gears receive reliable, clean lubrication.
Recommended Dana 80 Ford F-350 Rear Differential Gear Oil Specifications
- SAE 75W-90 GL-5 equivalent and compatible with Ford transaxle lubricant XT-75W90-QGT, XY-75W90-QLS, WSS-M2C918-A*
- SAE 75W-140 GL-5 equivalent and compatible with Ford transaxle lubricant XY-75W140-QL, XY-75W140-KL, WSL-M2C192-A for heavy tow conditions*
*Heavy tow conditions are considered frequent weekly and monthly increased payloads, trailer pulling, and towing for long durations and trips. Also, trucks exposed to full-time/consistent 4WD engagement, and off-roading may consider heavy tow gear oil options.
*Limited Slip Additive Note - We offer limited slip gear oils that include the necessary limited slip friction modifiers in the formulations, no additional LS additives are needed when using these. We have used the following 75W-90 and 75W-140 gear oils in LS differentials with no reports of chatter.
Dana 80 Ford F-350 Rear Differential Gear Oil Capacity
- 4.0 liters or 4.25 quarts*
*We suggest purchasing an extra 1-liter bottle of gear oil for the rear differential fluid change, for a total of 5 bottles. This is due to the bottles not being able to be completely drained during the differential filling process. Also, spills are possible. This extra gear oil can also be used for the final fluid level check and in case topping off the differential is needed in between service intervals.
Dana 80 Ford F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Change Tools
- 9/16 Socket - Rear Differential Cover Bolts
- 1/2 Square Bit Drive - Rear Differential Fill Plug
- 3/8- or 1/2-inch ratchet (dependent on socket drive size)
- 3/8- or 1/2-inch extensions (dependent on socket drive size)
- Dana 80 Rear Differential Cover Gasket - Mahle P38163TC or Mahle JV8 RTV
- Waste oil drain pan container
- Rags and protective rubber gloves
- Optional fluid pump tool (All EUROL and RAVENOL gear oil bottles come equipped with a built-in flex tube hose cap that is extracted from the bottle cap. This works well for most gear oil fill applications. However, if you choose to use a different brand of gear oil, the service is much easier with a fluid pump tool and flexible hose. We offer two fluid pump tool solutions. Part Numbers J91001 and T2A0129.)
Video Guide for Ford F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Change on Dana 80 DRW
Step-by-Step F-350 Rear Differential Fluid Gear Oil Change Instructions
Begin by confirming that the rear differential is warm. This allows the fluid to drain more thoroughly while it's being drained.
Ensure the vehicle and differential are in a level position for the entire fluid change. Most Ford F-350 rear differential gear oil changes can be done on a flat-level surface without lifting the vehicle.
In our case, we’re going to be gaining access to the bottom side of the vehicle by using an automotive lift. If you do decide to lift your vehicle, confirm you're lifting the vehicle correctly by referencing your factory owner’s manual for the proper vehicle lift point locations and safety procedures.
Thoroughly clean the surrounding areas around the differential cover from excess debris, corrosion, and rust. In our case, we used a wire brush and a small amount of solvent. This will minimize contaminating the differential with debris while the cover is removed.
Locate the rear differential fluid fill plug located on the rear right side of the differential cover.
Using a small pick or screwdriver ensure that the square bit area of the drain plug is free from excess rust and corrosion. This will ensure that the bit seats correctly into the drain plug minimizing the possibility of rounding or stripping the drain plug.
Using a half-inch square bit socket or ratchet, loosen and remove the fill plug in a counterclockwise direction.
Loosening the fill plug before draining the differential fluid confirms you have a way to refill the differential in case the fill plug is seized and can’t be removed.
Begin to remove the rear differential cover. This is held in place by 10 mounting bolts. Using a 9/16 socket and rachet loosen all mounting bolts in a counterclockwise direction.
If your truck is located in a snowy region and is exposed to large amounts of road salt, be careful not to shear or strip the mounting bolts. In some cases, some penetrating oil may be necessary.
Remove all mounting bolts except a few to support the cover. In our case, we left three bolts threaded loosely into the axle to keep the cover in place while we pryed it open.
With the cover held loosely in place, use a hammer and large screwdriver to lightly pry and release the differential cover from the axle, allowing the old gear oil to drain into a suitable waste oil drain pan. During this process be extremely careful not to groove or scar the axle gasket sealing areas during the differential cover removal, as this could later cause leaks when re-sealing the differential.
Remove the remaining mounting bolts, along with the differential cover.
While wearing protective gloves, use your fingers to direct the remaining pooled gear oil and sediment out of the bottom area of axle. Clean rags can also be used to absorb the gear oil and sediment from this area.
During this process, we suggest not using solvents on the internal components of the differential. Some solvents may have a negative effect on certain materials used in the differential.
Ideally, allow the axle to completely drain for around 1 hour. This will allow for a thorough drain of the axle tubes and differential.
Once you have confirmed the differential is thoroughly drained, begin cleaning the axle gasket sealing area using some clean rags and a gasket scraper. Ensure that the differential does not get contaminated with debris. Always cover the differential with clean rags and direct any old gasket material and debris out and away from the differential when cleaning.
In some instances, a medium grit conditioning pad can be used to clean the axle gasket surface area.
With the axle gasket sealing area thoroughly cleaned, you can now move on to cleaning the differential cover. Remove the old gasket material, debris, and old gear oil residue. This can be done using a light amount of solvent with rags, a gasket scraper, and in some instances, a conditioning pad. Again, be extremely careful not to groove or scar the gasket sealing areas as this could later cause leaks when re-sealing the differential.
To ensure a quality seal between the axle and differential cover use a clean rag with solvent on it to wipe clean the gasket mating surfaces of both the axle and differential cover of all oil residue.
Begin re-installing the differential cover back onto the axle. In our case, we're going to be using a gasket rather than RTV silicon to seal the differential cover. With clean and well prepared gasket sealing surfaces, no additional sealants are typically needed when using a gasket.
For reference, the gasket we used was Mahle P38163TC Axle Housing Cover Gasket.
Align the differential cover and gasket with the bolt holes and begin threading the mounting bolts in by hand. Confirm you are reinstalling the differential manufacture identification tags during this process.
Work your way around the differential cover, evenly tightening the bolts in an alternate sequence by hand. This will ensure the gasket is evenly compressed and seals properly.
Evenly torque the differential cover mounting bolts in an alternate criss-cross sequence. In our case, we tightened them to a 30 ft lb. torque specification.
Thoroughly clean the dirty metallic sediment found on the fill plug magnet. Also clean the fill plug threads from excess rust, corrosion, and debris.
Begin filling the differential with the recommended Dana 80 gear oil specification. In our case, we’re using an SAE 75W-140 viscosity, with a GL-5 Limited Slip specification.
The correct fluid level is achieved when a stream of fluid begins overflowing from the differential fluid fill port. The fill capacity for the Ford F-350 Dana 80 rear differential is 4.0 liters or 4.25 quarts.
Apply a small amount of automotive grade thread sealant or RTV on the fill plug threads to ensure a quality seal. Reinstall the fill plug by threading it in a clockwise direction. Using a ½ square bit or ½ torque wrench tighten the fill plug in a clockwise direction. In this instance, we tightened it to a 24 ft-lb torque specification.
Using a rag, clean and remove the excess fluid from the differential cover and fill plug areas. The differential should be completely cleaned from any fluid residue. This will help when at a later time inspecting and confirming that the rear differential does not have any leaks after performing your fluid change.
Please dispose of your old rear differential fluid responsibly by taking it to a certified recycling collection center.
Note: It is good to note in your records the current mileage at the time of your rear differential fluid change and when you might want to change it next. We also recommend that you keep detailed service records to track your vehicle's condition. Keeping good vehicle maintenance records can help improve your vehicle's resale value.
See our disclaimer on the right-hand side of this page. Always consult your service manual and confirm your application's specific fluid and oil requirements. Always follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended oil change intervals. Blauparts, Ravenol, and Eurol, are not affiliated with Ford Motor Company, Ford, Motorcraft, The Lincoln Motor Company, Lincoln, its affiliated companies, subsidiaries, its licensors, any other vehicle, or vehicle part manufacturer. The publication of any trademarks is not authorized by, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners. The statements and opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and may not be shared by all manufacturers. All trademarks and OE specification part numbers referenced in our videos and product listings are for identification purposes only and are in no way intended to denote any affiliation with their corresponding owners.