Transaxle Fluid Fill (Post #210) 10/13/2010

As you read yesterday, or are about to go back and read from yesterday, or about to click on the next link in your list, I had a sick feeling in my stomach from finding very little fluid in my transfer case. The fluid that was there was in terrible shape.

I had a gallon of Dex-Merc which is a Dextron III compatible fluid. Matter of fact, Dextron is a General Motors owned name. It denotes a standard of fluid. As the fluid was improved with each new formula they added a number to denote which formula was in the container. Dextron, was replaced with Dextron II, IIa and eventually Dextron III. In 2006 all the licenses to produce this fluid expired.

The licenses were for companies wishing to produce a Dextron III fluid and market it. If the company’s product met GM’s standard they received a license to use the name. That is why you see companies that don’t use the name produce documentation that compares their “BRAND NAME X” product to Dextron III with out using the Dextron III name.

With all the licenses expired it is more important now to know the numbers for the fluid to compare it to another company. Claiming or using the Dextron III name does mean anything any more. GM no longer controls the quality or standard and thus companies can say their product is Dextron III even though you don’t know what it really is.

Now this is not to say that these companies are skimping on quality. Any company in their right mind that wants repeat business will continue to produce fluids of the quality they are able.

Today Dextron VI is the standard and is specially formulated for “today’s” automotive transmissions. Meaning, Dextron III will not work in your wife’s Chevy Aveo. And Dextron VI is not formulated for your 1978 Chevy Suburban.

With that out of the way. I had some Coastal Dextron III. Its just some generic transmission fluid my buddy gave me when he decided he would not be fixing his step-son’s 1991 Range Rover with the busted transmission case. I will run this fluid for a few months and then drain it. That is, if the transfer case is not crapped out. If it is good to go, I’ll refill it with Castrol Dex Merc.

I located the fill plug.

I broke it free using a 1/2 inch break over bar. It required at least that much leverage it was well placed.

I then broke the drain plug lose.

You can see my painting handy work there behind the transfer case. This plug took the 1/2 inch break over bar and the cheater pipe for me to break it lose. It was in very tight.

The fluid that drained out was black like the fluid that came out of the viscous coupling. I would say there was not near enough fluid in the transfer case. After it drained out, I prepared the plugs with with gray gasket sealer and put the drain plug back in.

I then located my fluid pump.

If you don’t own this tool, go tomorrow and buy one, hell, buy two. They are great for filling differentials, transfer cases, anywhere you need to move fluid from a bottle into a place where you can’t tip a bottle up.

I proceeded to fill the transfer case.

You can see my black nitrile glove covered hand on the pump. I pumped a full half gallon into the transfer case.

I can’t wait to drive the Range Rover to test my work. I will probably empty the transmission and refill it with transmission fluid. This is only a test as I’m pretty sure that 4th gear is toast. I’m hoping that it is not and that the troubles I had are related to the transfer case and the VC.

With that said and a prayer on my lips, I need to see if the new used viscous coupling works.
I need to see if the brakes work.
I need to feel the transmission shift into and out of fourth gear.
I need to know that all this work has made a difference.
I need my Range Rover Morale lifted.

Thanks for all the great posts from the guys over on

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering….hopefully! {fingers crossed}