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Monday, March 7, 2011

DIY Changing Rear Differential Oil

Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day, and I just had to seize the moment... to work on my car. It's been a great 4000 miles now, and I haven't flushed out the Tranny Fluid, and I hadn't flushed out the Rear Differential Fluid either. It is recommended that you do these oil changes, including the engine, after breaking in the car. It's not the end of the world if you don't change these oils, but it can cause damage, and shorten the lifespan of your auto parts.

Well, as always, keeping you viewers in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to make a DIY tutorial on how to change your Rear Diff Oil. Let's get started.


Hope you've enjoyed the video. I think that pretty much sums it up. The following are just some more detailed steps, my personal experience, and tips.
Tools you will need: Rear Axle Fluid (Check your owner's manual for proper part numbers), Oil pan, Floor Jack, Axle Stands, Torque wrench with 3/8" drive, or adapter to 3/8" drive, Breaker bar or Socket wrench with 3/8" drive, Paper Towels and Towels.

The proper fluid for V6 Automatic Camaros without Limited Slip Differential. Need only 1 qt of oil (946 mL). One bottle is enough. Notice that this is a Synthetic Lubricant. No need to go Royal Purple or other brands. Infact, using GM specified fluids and oils is the only way to keep your warranty. Keep that in mind.

I chose to use a coffee filter, to see how much crap I can filter out on my first oil change. This is not needed, just for satisfying my curiosity. Use a regular Oil Pan in this case.

NOT mentioned in the video. But this should be a no brainer. ALWAYS block off the wheels incase the car rolls.

After the car is lifted, make your way to the Rear Differential housing. You will see two plugs on the Driver's side of the housing. The top one is the Fill Plug, and the lower one is the Drain Plug.

I put my axle stands on the ramps I have made for my engine oil change, to get maximum height. Make sure you know where to place your stands. I have made a post on stand positions, look for it if you need a guide.

Both plugs removed, and both cleaned off. The plug on the RIGHT is the Fill Plug. The plug on the LEFT is the Drain Plug. As you can see, your differential is trapped with tons of metal shavings, I was happy that I got all that crap out! As mentioned in the video, both plugs are magnetic plugs, keeping the larger metal shavings from moving around. Both plugs also have rubber O-rings, make sure that you do not lose those.

Look at the color of that oil! It is completely black and gray, full of metal shavings! The original fluid itself is somewhat 'Apple Juice' colored. Clear and a bit yellow.

If you do not own a fluid pump. Then you are in for a treat... NOT. This was the hardest part of the fluid change. You have to squeeze the bottle of oil into the fill hole. Remember, by this point, your Drain Plug should be screwed in, and torqued. You will have to find a good angle to work this oil into the fill hole. It's not impossible, just a lot of work. Fill to the brim, when the oil starts to drip out of the hole, you can stop. I had a bit of oil left in my bottle when I was finished, which I'll save for another day.

After you are done filling the oil. Place the Fill Plug back in, and torque to the right specs, 24 lb-ft.
Clean up and you are done. Last thing, always make note of the date and odometer reading of your service. Keep track of it so you know when to service it again in the future.

Okay guys, so this was a pretty easy thing to do. This took me a good 1.5 hours to complete. However, this being the first time doing it, plus taking pics and filming videos for you guys, I would say I could do it in 15-20 minutes the next time around. If this is your first time doing it, take your time, and follow the proper steps. Don't rush, it's not a race. Always work at your own pace. In summary though, I would say, do this as soon as you hit your break-in point. As you could see in the videos and pictures, the oil gets pretty filthy by 4000 miles. NEXT UP, TRANNY FLUSH!


  1. Spade, I really appreciate you posting and hosting all of this. I especially like your Camaro community attitude, there needs to be more people like you.
    I would like to see a how to change your rear end gearing. I've discovered that although there are no aftermarket gearing options for the V-6, the V-8 gears are interchangeable.
    Since it's rare that I'll be able to top out my car on the streets (haven't done it yet), I'd like to get some more acceleration.
    BSR-1 or John

  2. Thank you for your kind words John. Not everyone thinks my contribution is good. Eitherway, I'll be e-mailing you, and we can talk from there =D


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