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How to Change the Gear Oil on a Dodge Dakota

by John Walker

Gear oil is used in the differential of vehicles with rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive vehicles have a second differential on the front. The differential is what transmits the power from the transmission into the wheels. Dodge offers the Dakota with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive options. Use SAE 75w90 gear oil on the front differentials, and SAE 75w140 gear oil on the rear differentials. Changing the gear oil requires removing the differential cover, which gives you an opportunity to look inside the differential for damage. The job takes about one hour.

Park the Dakota and engage the emergency brake.

Slide an oil bucket beneath the differential. The process is the same for both front and rear differentials.

Loosen the bolts surrounding the differential cover with a socket wrench. Remove the bolts and set them to the side. Remove the cover. You might have to insert a flat-head screwdriver between the cover and the differential to pry it loose.

Scrape off all the gasket material from the cover and the differential with a scraper. Inspect the gears inside the differential for damage. Look for broken teeth or signs of excessive wear. Consult a mechanic if you notice any damaged components.

Install the new gasket by attaching it to the differential and holding the differential cover in place. Hand-tighten all bolts.

Tighten the bolts down one at a time with a socket wrench. Start with the lowest bolt, then go to the highest bolt. Alternate the bolts you tighten in a criss-cross pattern to evenly seat the gasket.

Remove the rubber fill cap and fill with the appropriate weight gear oil. Fill until the fluid level is just below the fill cap hole. A small bead of oil will run out of the hole when the differential is full. Replace the cap when finished.

Items you will need

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