This is how to easily do the transfer box oil change of your Land Rover Defender.
IMPORTANT INFO BEFORE OIL CHANGE
Before starting the transfer box oil change, here are some important information:
- When we read the workshop manual, we’re supposed to change transfer box oil around 80k km but that’s a long period of time for a fourwheelers. So we change it every 50k km, like the gearbox oil, and we are at peace with that.
As you can see, our Defender is a 2.4 tdci puma left hand drive, so the transfer box is a LT230. But, if you have another model like a TD5 or TDI it’s a very similar operation.
- The first thing you have to know is the oil capacity of the transfer box. In some Defenders, you just have to fill in the tranfer box with oil up to the filler plug level.
But not on the 2.4tdci Defenders. We have to fill the exact amount of oil. So, we have to refill exactly 2.3 liters of oil in the transfer case.
- Concerning the oil, the workshop manual talks about a SAE 75W90 API GL-4+5 oil.
Usually, we use the Motul Gear300 but this time, as we had a few bottles of Motorex with the same specs, we used this Motorex transfer box oil. This oil is also a SAE 75W90 API GL-4+5 and it’s from a very well-known swiss brand so we don’t care too much about this oil performance, it should be excellent.
Good to know that you mussn’t use a GL-5 because it could dammage your transfer box parts over time.
So you can use the Motorex, or Motul SAE 75W90 API GL-4+5 like us, or choose another brand with the same specs. It isn’t a too expensive transmission oil but you’ll need 3 bottles of one liter for your refill.
You will use 2 full bottles and 300ml of the third one. Then you can keep the opened third bottle in your car for an emergency top up refill, just in case.
Now that you have the basic important info, we can move on to the equipment we need for the transfer box oil change.
We will need:
3x 1 liter of oil, 1x ½ inch dynamometric torque wrench, 1x multi purpose pump, some Telfon tape, 1x oil container, 1x funnel, and a cloth.
Now, let’s start the work! And do watch the video until the end to have the last tips and info after the transfer box oil change.
The first step is to have a ride with your car to warm up the transferbox, then the oil will be easier to drain. Especialy if, like us, you are doing this operation outside in cold temperatures. Today’s termperature here was less than 5 degrees.
You have to find and remove the filler plug to help the oil have a better draining. It’s not as painful as the gearbox one to unscrew it.
You need a ½ inch dynamometric torque wrench with an angled cardon extension.
When the filler plug is removed, you can prepare your oil container and place it under the drain plug.
Then, unscrew gently the drain plug with the same ½ inch torque wrench and let the oil drain until no more is draining from the hole of the transfer box.
It’s preferable to finish unscrewing the drain plug by hand because hot oil will come out quickly and all at once. If you’re unsure of your container placement, you can hold it closer to the drain hole.
While the oil is draining, you can clean the small metal particles stuck on the magnet of the drain plug. The size and amount of metal particles can give you an indication about your transfer case health.
This magnet is here to collect the tiny metallic parts that come from the use of the car, so it’s absolutely normal to have those metallic flakes on it. It will also attract a bigger part that may be broken such as a gear’s tooth. So by cleaning & checking what there’s on this magnet you may be able to prevent a huge breakdown.
Before puting the drain plug back in place, you can add some Teflon tape to seal it correctly.
Just as for the gearbox, before we weren’t adding this Teflon tape. But drain plugs might sometimes have a minimal leak. That’s why now we’re adding this Teflon tape on all our plugs. This tape is really cheap and is easily findable in any sanitary plumbing shops. As you can see, you only need to put a little but enough to seal the thread.
Be sure to let the oil flush correctly until the last drops come out. Then wipe up the hole and screw back by hand the drain plug. After that, use the torque wrench to finish properly the tightening at 30 Newton Meters.
Now you can use your multi-purpose mini pump. Fill 1 liter of oil in the 1 liter bottle of the pump, place the hose in the filler hole, and pump to refill the transfer box.
This accessory is really usefull especialy for an operation with tricky spaces for refill. It’s a pain if you don’t have this item and a simple operation will be quickly transformed in an horrible nightmare. So, I absolutely recommend you to buy it before an oil change.
You can find this type of accessory on many mechanics websites or on Amazon and Ebay. You can buy pumps with a larger capacity such as 5 liters for example. But we prefered the 1 liter one like this we can easily store it in the car. It costs about 25 Euros but it’s absolutely worth it. The brand and reference are Laser 4385.
Now, place the hose in the filler hole and pump to refill the transfer case. This first operation has to be done twice completely because 2 full liters of oil must be filled in the transfer case.
To anticipate the fact that it’s not possible to pump up the last 50 ml of oil, you can already add 50 ml of oil to have the exact amount of oil needed. This means that you will precisely use your two first bottles of oil and then you will need to add 50 ml to your last 300 ml of oil.
With this tool, this operation is done quite quickly.
It’s absolutely doable to do this oil change by yourself but with some help it will obviously take less time.
Before scewing your filler plug back in place, you can make a level check with a small aluminum home made gauge.
As you know that today you have the correct amount of oil in your transfer box, you can manufacture a check level tool for when you want to check the level of oil in your transfer case.
You will notice that with 2.3 liters the level comes at about one 1/2 inch under the filler plug. With your home made tool you will be able to check your level at any time, if you presume a leaking for example.
After that, you can screw back the filler plug that was also previously taped with some teflon tape. And, as said in the manual you have to tighten it to 30 Newton Meters with your torque wrench.
There, it’s done!
And, of course, don’t forget to ditch your used oil the correct way 😊
OTHER TIPS & INFO
Just to have an indication of your transfer box health, have a look at the quality of the oil you drained. The color should be quite similar to the new oil. Just be a bit more darker but not black and burnt.
Other thing you can check is if you find some small metal parts or something like that. It’s not supposed to happen but we never know. Maybe you can prevent a future breakdown only by checking this.
Another thing you can do is mesure the quantity of oil you drained from your transfer box.
If your transfer box is well sealed and has no leaks you should have 2.3 liters of old used oil drained from your transfer box. Our transfer box has a few leaks and we drained 2.2 liters. But all is ok, we only lost 100ml since the last oil change.
So, There we are with the transfer box oil change