Chrysler Full-Size Vans 1989-1998 Repair Guide

Drive Axle

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The manufacturer states that scheduled drive axle lubricant replacement is not necessary. However, we recommend checking the level and condition every 30,000 miles (48,000 km), and replacing the lubricant as necessary.

FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



The manufacturer recommends the use of a 80W-90 weight lubricant meeting API specification GL-5.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2 and 3



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Fig. Fig. 1: The rear axle fluid is checked via a plug in the rear cover



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Fig. Fig. 2: When checking gear oil level, stick your finger inside the check hole



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Fig. Fig. 3: The gear oil level should be 3/8in. (10mm) below the bottom of the filler hole

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  2.  
  3. With the vehicle level, remove the filler plug from the back side of the differential.
  4.  
  5. Drive axle lubricant is at the proper level if it is 3 / 8 in. (10mm) below the bottom of the filler hole. If the oil level is low, carefully insert your finger (watch out for sharp threads) into the hole and check that the oil level is within specification.
  6.  
  7. If not, add oil through the hole until the proper level is obtained. Most gear oils come in a plastic squeeze bottle with a nozzle that making addition simple. You can also use a common kitchen baster. Use only the specified lubricant.
  8.  
  9. Replace the filler plug and check for leaks.
  10.  
  11. Lower the vehicle.
  12.  

DRAIN & REFILL



See Figures 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14



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Fig. Fig. 4: Loosen all cover bolts and remove all bolts except two at the top and two at the bottom



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Fig. Fig. 5: Use a prybar to carefully pry the cover from the axle housing



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Fig. Fig. 6: The gear fluid should flow into the drain pan without causing a mess



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Fig. Fig. 7: Once the gear oil drains, remove the remaining bolts, then remove the axle housing cover



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Fig. Fig. 8: Use a scraper to remove gasket material from the axle housing ...



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Fig. Fig. 9: ... and the axle housing cover



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Fig. Fig. 10: Wipe the cover clean, as sealer will not adhere to an oily surface



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Fig. Fig. 11: Apply sealer in a continuous bead around the cover



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Fig. Fig. 12: When installing the axle cover, always replace the metal identification tag. This tag provides the only means of externally identifying the axle ratio



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Fig. Fig. 13: Remove the plug in the axle housing cover to fill and check the rear axle fluid



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Fig. Fig. 14: Fill the axle housing through the filler hole with the proper type and amount of gear oil

It is a good idea to warm the gear oil first so it will flow better. This can be accomplished by 15-20 miles (24-32 km) of highway driving. Oil which is warmed to normal operating temperature will flow faster, drain more completely and remove more contaminants from the axle.


CAUTION
The EPA warns that prolonged contact with used gear oil may cause a number of skin disorders, including cancer! You should make every effort to minimize your exposure to used gear oil. Protective gloves should be worn when changing the oil. Wash your hands and any other exposed skin areas as soon as possible after exposure to used gear oil. Soap and water, or waterless hand cleaner, should be used.

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  2.  
  3. Before you crawl under the vehicle, take a look at where you will be working and gather all the necessary tools, such as a few wrenches or a strip of sockets, the drain pan and some clean rags.
  4.  
  5. Position the drain pan beneath the drive axle. Keep in mind that the fast flowing oil, which will spill out as you loosen the rear cover, will flow with enough force that it could miss the pan. Position the drain pan accordingly and be ready to move the pan more directly beneath the drive axle as the oil flow lessens to a trickle.
  6.  
  7. Loosen the rear cover bolts with a wrench (or socket and driver), then carefully unscrew all but the top bolt with your fingers.
  8.  


CAUTION
Be careful of the oil; when at operating temperature, it is hot enough to cause a severe burn.

  1. Gently pry the cover loose from the drive axle.
  2.  
  3. Allow the oil to drain until nothing but a few drops come out of the drive axle.
  4.  
  5. Thoroughly clean all gasket mating surfaces and install a new gasket on the drive axle cover.
  6.  


WARNING
Never operate the drive axle without oil, otherwise severe damage will result.

  1. Remove the plug from the axle housing cover.
  2.  
  3. Refill the drive axle slowly, checking the level with your finger. Due to the positioning of the filler hole, it is very difficult to see the level of oil in the drive axle. This makes overfilling and spilling the gear oil a good possibility.
  4.  
  5. Install the filler plug.
  6.  
  7. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  8.  
  9. Empty your used oil into a suitable container for recycling.
  10.  

 
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