Changing the Differential oil (turbo & non turbo models)

Steve Chong


Andy Woo

Created : 980415
Last updated: 991017

1) Jack up your car so that it is level. See other "How Someone ..." for suggestions of how to jack up your car.

2) Use a 3 liter (3/4 US gal) container to catch the oil.

3) Undo the filler plug. You want to make sure you do this FIRST. Because if you drain the oil... and find that the filler plug is really stuck... you'll be up the proverbial creek. ie. You've drained the oil, and now can't replace it. Besides, things always flow/drain easier when there is air coming in from the fill points. This is a good general rule of thumb.

On turbo models, its on the RH side of the diff, LH on the non turbo. Picture shows the fill plug being undone for the turbo diff. For this diff, your 1/2 " drive shaft will need to be about 3" long to clear the rear steering actuator.

Undoing the fill plug

Fill hole:

hole through which you will fill diff.

4) Undo the drain plug with a 1/2" drive. The drain plug is located on the left hand side of the diff by the exhaust pipe.

drain plug next to exhaust

You might find that the exhaust pipe is kind of in the way, for convenience, I (Andy), removed a couple of bolts (16 mm) connecting the muffler to the H-pipes and a side bolt (12 mm) securing the muffler to the car,

bolts connecting muffler to H-pipe

and then using an elastic band, held the muffler 'away' from the drain plug to give me an unobstructed access to loosen and remove the drain plug.

elastic band holding the muffler out of the way

The plug had some metal filings and the oil was quite 'yucky'.

dirty drain plug with metal filings

Drain the oil.

5) Clean up the drain plug and its magnetic end, and replace. You may wish to put some thread sealant on the plug to prevent it possibly leaking. NOT a thread LOCKER... but a thread SEALANT. Loctite, for example make such products. I (Andy) used white 592. [Steve : (29-43 ft lbs torque)] [Andy : (43-72 ft lbs torque)] Note that the Turbo version indicates 43-72 ft lbs, but the non-Turbo version indicates a 29-43 ft lbs. We're not sure of why such a discrepancy, or whether or not this was a typo.

6) Refill the diff with your favourite brand of oil- API GL 5 specification, viscosity SAE 80W-90. The turbo diff will take 3.1 liters (5 7/8 imp pts), and the non turbo 2.8 liters (4 7/8 imp pts). [Andy: my '93 TT takes 1.8 litres. I'd suggest checking your own service manual for the year, model and possibly country the car is manufactured for.]

There are two methods for filling the diff, one is to use a pump, and the other is to gravity feed the oil via a funnel & plastic tube as shown in the picture. [Andy: I prefer the gravity, funnel method].

Oh yeah.. if you unhooked parts of your exhaust system for convenience, put things back together and don't forget the gasket.

Filling the differential by using a funnel & tube

7) Reinstall the fill plug (29-43 ft lbs torque). As with the drain plug, you may wish to use thread sealant.

Happy re-oiling

Steve Chong & Andy Woo
May 1998

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