Toyota Pick-ups/Land Cruiser/4Runner 1970-1988

Transfer Case



Pick-Ups and 4Runner w/MT-multipurpose gear oil API GL-4 or GL-5; SAE 75W-90 or 80W-90
Pick-Ups and 4Runner w/AT-ATF DEXRON®II
Land Cruiser-multipurpose gear oil API GL-4 or GL-5; SAE 90W.


See Figure 1

The oil in the transfer case should be checked at least every 7500 miles (12,000 km) and replaced every 25,000-30,000 miles (40,000-48,000 km), even more frequently if driven in deep water.

  1. With the truck parked on a level surface, remove the filler plug from the side of the transmission housing.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Checking the fluid level in the transfer case

  1. If the lubricant begins to trickle out of the hole, there is enough. Otherwise, carefully insert your finger (watch out for sharp threads) and check to see if the oil is up to the edge of the hole.

Prolonged and repeated skin contact with used engine oil, with no effort to remove the oil, may be harmful. Always follow these simple precautions when handling used motor oil.

Avoid prolonged skin contact with used motor oil.
Remove oil from skin by washing thoroughly with soap and water or waterless hand cleaner. Do not use gasoline, thinners or other solvents.
Avoid prolonged skin contact with oil-soaked clothing.

  1. If not, add oil through the hole until the level is at the edge of the hole. Most gear lubricants come in a plastic squeeze bottle with a nozzle; making additions simple. You can also use a common everyday kitchen baster.
  3. Replace the filler plug, run the engine and check for leaks.


Once every 24,000 miles (1970-78) or once every 30,000 miles (1979-88), the oil in the transfer case should be changed.

  1. The transfer case oil should be hot before it is drained. If the engine is at normal operating temperature, the oil should be hot enough.
  3. Raise the truck and support it properly on jackstands so that you can safely work underneath. You will probably not have enough room to work if the truck is not raised.
  5. The drain plug is located on the bottom of the transfer case. Place a pan under the drain plug and remove it. Keep a slight upward pressure on the plug while unscrewing it, this will keep the oil from pouring out until the plug is removed.

The oil will be HOT. Be careful when you remove the plug so that you don't take a bath in hot gear oil.

  1. Allow the oil to drain completely. Clean off the plug and replace it, tightening it until it is just snug.
  3. Remove the filler plug from the side of the case. There will be a gasket underneath this plug. Replace it if damaged.
  5. Fill the transfer case with gear (or ATF) oil through the filler plug hole as detailed previously. Refer to the Capacities Chart for the amount of oil needed to refill your transfer case.
  7. The oil level should come right up to the edge of the hole. You can stick your finger in to verify this. Watch out for sharp threads.
  9. Replace the filler plug and gasket, lower the truck, and check for leaks. Dispose of the old oil in the proper manner.