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Cleaning a Differential  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: 12-26-2005 12:54 pm
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nvandal
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Folks,

I got a used differential/ rear axle and I know it's been handled in a number of ways, like vertical and horizontal. I would like to flush it out somehow, then collect the crud out of the bottom. Based on advice given, I'm also considering putting in a drain plug on the bottom.

Any ideas on how to do this? Or am I asking for trouble in any way?

I thought I'd lay it horizontall on sawhorse. Drain it with a suction tube. Fill it to the plug level with lighter oil (?), then spin it back and forth with the axles to get the lubricant to swish around on the gears and bearings, then drain it. Followed by pulling off the cover and cleaning it out completely.

Please advise.

Thanks,

Norm Vandal

Roxbury, VT

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 Posted: 12-26-2005 09:57 pm
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Arvin Appelman
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Norm,

I have not tried to flush a differential before but, if I was going to I think I would use ATF or diesel fuel.  Both will do a good job of cleaning petroleum products.  I would also remove the cover first.  That way what you break loose from one spot doesn't end up in another.

Arvin Appelman 19492

 

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 Posted: 12-26-2005 10:17 pm
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nvandal
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Arvin,

Diesel fuel...good idea. I'm going to put a drain plug in the bottom so I can drain it easily at any time.

I'll put the cover on, pour in the diesel, spin the axles, then drain it thoroughly. I'll then open it up again to remove as much diesel as possible.

Will the diesel residue contaminate the oil? I can drain it once again after a few miles to get as much new oil in the sump as possible.

Thanks for your reply,

Norm Vandal

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 Posted: 12-27-2005 04:53 pm
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Jim Sohl
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Regarding drilling a drain in the bottom of the differential: My '73 has a felt, or some other similar material, pad in the bottom of the differential, held in place by a wire clip that runs from the front, under the pinion boss to the rear of the case. I can't exactly recall the arrangement of the clip without taking a peek. In any case, at least on my '73, drilling a drain into the bottom would necessitate drilling through the pad. Not much of a problem for a drill, but the pad would tend to retain shavings from the drilling – not so good in a gear case. If one were to drill through the case but not the pad, well – actual draining would be a week long process as gear oil would barely seep through the pad. Again, this is true for sn11210 and I have not seen the inside of any other JH differential.

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 Posted: 12-28-2005 02:48 am
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Arvin Appelman
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Norm,

I doubt that a little residual diesel would be any problem but, it wouldn't hurt to drain and refill after a little use as you suggested.

Arvin

19492

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