Differential Fluid level

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

Moderators: plenzen, goglio704, glenlloyd, Nissan_Ranger

Post Reply
User avatar
kassim503
Posts: 1027
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

Differential Fluid level

#1

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

Throughout my time driving this vehicle, I have always overfilled the r-180 rear by about 1/4-1/2 inch over the bottom of the fill plug with gear oil. Btw, its done by jacking the rear up a fantastic amount and filling it, so upon level operation its overfilled. Ran everything from AMSOIL premium fluids, to coastal (no name brand) gallon jugs of snake oil. Never had a problem except for a little foaming which blew out the breather occasionally.

On my newest final drive, I decided to attempt to run a synthetic fluid, Super Tech (Wal Mart branded) full synth 75-140W oil, with hopes of keeping the gear set happy. This model of supertech appears to be distributed through Warren Oil, never heard of them. But it is Gl-5 rated and also good for some other manufacture certifications.

I ran this rear for about 1,500 miles, with rather light driving, 900 of them being in town driving, light throttle, no tire spinning whatsoever. The rest of the 570 are light highway miles, 70mph or less. The 30 extra miles is when I took the car up to 85 and held it there for 2 spurts of 10 minutes through NYC and the New Jersey area. And that is when the story got sour, the gears started to make the death rumble, but went away once I slowed down. So far it dosent make any real rumbling or vibration at reasonable speeds 0-70, but I can feel a significant amount of slop in the set. Its not serious, but its going from a 0 play differential, to a medium play, in just a little bit of harsh driving.

Im thinking it could be a fluid level issue, I filled this one to the bottom lip of the fill plug (correct fill point) and I think there isnt enough to go around when the speed picks up. Or, it is a issue of poor fluid quality and it thinned out too much when the speed and heat picked up while driving faster.

Ive taken other differentials that I had up to 100mph running some dirty old garbage, and I never seen wear at that rate before.

Finally, my apologies for wordiness and unorganization, its late, im tired, and paniky, cause she has to do a round trip from Upstate NY-Florida this wednesday, and the last thing I need to do is blow a rear that is new, that I actually like and want to get some good miles out of.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

Carimbo
Posts: 459
Joined: 14 years ago

Re: Differential Fluid level

#2

Post by Carimbo » 11 years ago

kassim503 wrote:Throughout my time driving this vehicle, I have always overfilled the r-180 rear by about 1/4-1/2 inch over the bottom of the fill plug with gear oil...I filled this one to the bottom lip of the fill plug (correct fill point) and I think there isnt enough to go around when the speed picks up.
Do you really think the correct fill level is the "1/4-1/2 inch over the bottom of the fill plug" you mention? If so, most (all?) of the rest of us are rolling around low on gear oil. WE should be the ones w/ the differential problems then, not you! :D

Seriously now, 1/4-1/2 inch under-or-overfill should not seem to cause much damage so quickly. But my experience w/ running an expensive synthetic gear oil in an older (but sound) differential soon caused a loud whine at highway speeds that did not ever go away even after draining and switching back to the mfr. recommended cheaper stuff that it had been running for most of its life.

Didn't you recently replace the diff?

User avatar
kassim503
Posts: 1027
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

#3

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

Yep, I just replaced this diff sometime in January.

I stated that I overfilled the diff by the 1/4-1/2 over the fill plug, and I know its overfilling, but I never experienced problems with doing so. The rears failed some other way not due to bad lubrication.

Im experiencing problems with this new one b/c I filled it to the correct level. Today I drained the oil, which appeared sound, magnet showed more than usual metal wear, but nothing catastrophic. Properly filled it with NAPA/valvoline synth 75-140, but only driven it in town today. I may take it up to 85 tomorrow and see what happens.

Also regreased+ inspected the U-joints and cv axles. Both appear good.
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

rlaggren
Posts: 541
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: San Francisco

#4

Post by rlaggren » 11 years ago

Im experiencing problems with this new one b/c I filled it to the correct level.
Doesn't compute, least not to me....

Until recent years I never drove below 75 on a highway and often 85+ for an hours (or until I saw something overtaking <g>). I've never over filled a diff, not because of any plan but just because it was too damn much messy trouble. I seriously doubt the factory would leave itself open to warrantee work resulting simply from driving 50% over the highest speed limit around - just don't make sense. In Canada I ran old 200 benz for two hours at 120. The begger dropped a valve, but the diff was always fine and I drove it for another 5k (after repair) until I parted it out because the drivers seat started dropping too low...

It seems more likely it's either something that "came with" or something to do with the synth oil - though until Carimbo above I hadn't heard any problems that way.

Luck, Rufus
82 Maxima wagon

User avatar
kassim503
Posts: 1027
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

#5

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

I drove it for 200 hwy miles today with the new fluid, cruising at 73 mph most of the time, with a peak of 85 mph. The growling is still there at 85, but its more subtle (fillings still in place). Im actually going to point fingers at the Super-Tech oil. Not saying its bad nor nothing, but it just doesn't seem to agree with this particular set of hypoid gears.

Also its $10/liter, and you get what you pay for, and $10 bucks dont go far with synth's

Also Rufus, you are right. Nobody is going to sell a differential that cannot handle highway speeds, and the r-180 was also in all sorts of z-cars, and everybody has driven theirs into the triple digits. Also, I used to drive this car at 85+ all the time, on the factory fluid that was 2 decades old with no problems :D
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

User avatar
kassim503
Posts: 1027
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

#6

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

Ran it from Binghamton, NY- Chapel Hill, NC, no problems from the diff! Cruised from 70-80 the whole way.

Unfortunatley, the tranny pops out of OD when the cruise control is switched on, even standby. Isnt that a weird problem or what? I know the CC is not connected to the OD circuit, there was a discussion about this on another thread, where I was corrected. Now, isnt that crazy? It started doing it in a snowstorm on the way down from upstate NY, I think it may have to do with something about the chunk of snow that the exhaust and pans plowed due to the lack of ground clearance. Also, it pops out when I go over a bump as well, but cycling the OD switch would put it back into OD guranteed.

Besides that, im all smiles nothing else broke :D :D :D
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

User avatar
asavage
Site Admin
Posts: 5347
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Duvall, Wash.
Contact:

#7

Post by asavage » 11 years ago

The only thing with "Super Tech" on the label that I'll use is their spray carb cleaner.

Just because it says "Synthetic" doesn't mean it is. I think I've covered that before somewhere.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

User avatar
kassim503
Posts: 1027
Joined: 14 years ago
Location: Stony Brook, NY

#8

Post by kassim503 » 11 years ago

asavage wrote: Just because it says "Synthetic" doesn't mean it is. I think I've covered that before somewhere.
Now I do remember, you did do a extensive writeup on synthetic fluids, I shoulda remembered that before buying some ST garbage.

Also, the CC operates with the OD properly now, I think I may have a small crack in a vac line somewhere thatll leak a little too much vacuum when the CC actuator is valved on. Prolly will leave that one to be checked in the spring, its cooold out!
'83 maxima sedan, l24e, a/t, black

227K SOLD 6/7/2012

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest