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2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While doing an engine oil change and tire rotation on my 2019 Pathfinder today, I got a good look at the transfer case. I've seen a few threads on t-case issues here, but no advice on changing out the 75w90 GL5 gear oil in them. Given the tiny ~3/4qt capacity and the fact they're packed next to a catalytic converter makes me feel like that little bit of oil gets worked hard.

The 10mm hex drain plug is simple to get to, but the fill / level check plug took a foot long extension snaked above the subframe to be able to even reach the fill plug. Then you've got to rig up a means to pump fluid in, or route tubing down from the engine bay and fill it IV style. You could probably shove a piece of tubing on the gear oil bottle nipple and get it in that way, but probably only like half the bottle.

Just looking for experiences here.
 

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2013 Pathfinder SL, Connecticut, USA
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I hope you're asking for future reference! With a 2019 Pathy, you shouldn't have to deal with that issue for several years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bought my 2019 used as an ex-rental and I've currently got 25300 miles on it. It will bug me until I get the T-case and rear diff oils changed out, plus these T-cases aren't necessarily known to be problem free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I got around to doing a drain/fill on my 2019 Pathfinder's transfer case today. Vehicle currently has about 25700 miles on it. I barely got 10oz of gear oil out of it and refilled about the same amount until fluid dribbled out of the refill plug. The factory oil looked terrible to me and I guess not surprising given the tiny capacity and it's proximity to exhaust piping.

It's not a fun job on your back and the refill port is a bugger to get to. It's a horrible reach-around with a foot long extension with a 10mm hex socket on it. The drain plug is right out in the open. I need to invest in a fluid pump that can pump gear oil. I filled it from above IV style. Slow and dribbly.

I gave the T-case a ~10oz flush with some Supertech synth blend 75w90 I had on hand and then refilled it with Supertech full synthetic 75w90.

Just to add to the above:
According to the service manual for the ~2013-2016 Pathfinder, the transfer case oil capacity is 0.31 liters or 5/8 pint. That's about what I got out of my 2019. Volume is not given in the owner's manual.

The owner's manual does recommend the following service for the T-case and rear diff that I'm sure most folks don't follow: "If towing a trailer, using a camper or a car-top, or driving on rough or muddy roads, change (not just inspect) oil at every
20,000 miles (32,000 km) or 24 months."



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not quite a year later, but at ~35700mi I did another T-case drain/fill today. I had forgotten what an unpleasant job this is on your back in your driveway or garage. It took me about 20x in/out from under the pathfinder until I figured out how to get to that darn fill plug again and get it removed. Scraped up my hands and arms in the process like I did last time. It takes a special concoction of extensions and swivels to get the fill plug off. The drain plug faces straight down kind of in the open, so that's not bad.

The other difference this time is I used a cheap $8 pressurized garden sprayer to get the gear oil back into the T-case. I took the tip off the sprayer and shoved a piece of clear vinyl hose I had on hand. Still made a mess fiddling around with it.

This is one of those jobs I wound't mind spending $100 to have done, but I just don't have a lot of faith in my local shops and I know they'd charge more. It's just a few ounces of gear oil is all these hold. A frighteningly small amount for a gear box that has to churn constantly.
 

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I decided to drain and fill my PF transfer case after draining my daughters Escape. I found her Escape transfer case oil dirty and thickened from heat at 120,000 miles. These two pictures are my first PF drain at 147,000 miles and my second drain with 10 miles on the new fill. It didn't look like the drain plug would really drain enough of the oil. Since I had the ramps and tools out, it was simple to drain again after 10 miles. My experience is that if I drained it again it would be much cleaner. I will probably drain and fill again for the last time EVER next time I do my daughter's Escape oil change.

I really wanted to check the transmission
Food Table Floor
, but i have the lifetime power train warranty, and don't want to do anything that could give the dealer an excuse not to honor the warranty.

I couldn't get the rear diff oil at a reasonable price, so decided not to drain it. I found my daughter's Escape old rear diff oil about the same color as the oil I was putting in. I think the front transfer case does 99% of the work.

And I agree, this is a frighteningly small amount of oil for a gear box! My daughter's Escape had at least double that!

By the way, to get the fill plug out I used a 24" long 3/8" extension left over from changing the plugs in a 1984 Camaro which made the job easy.
I also used a 6-10 dollar oil pump that screws onto the bottle to fill which also made the job easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Nice! Assuming yours is the 2013 in your sig, its held up for 7yrs and 140k miles.

The t-cases are different on the 2017+ PFs. More of a pain in the ass to service as well. The fill and drain plugs are 10mm hex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How often should the gear oil be changed?
If you want to try to keep your PF until the wheels fall of, you should change it as often as you can tolerate. I base this on the ridiculously undersized design of this gearbox and the tiny little splash of gear oil it's forced to live on.

Realistically, once you spill and fill it 2-3x, you could probably go every couple years or 20-30K miles.

Left with the factory oil in it, you're living on borrowed time if it's ~6yrs/old with 60K miles on it.
 

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If you want to try to keep your PF until the wheels fall of, you should change it as often as you can tolerate. I base this on the ridiculously undersized design of this gearbox and the tiny little splash of gear oil it's forced to live on.

Realistically, once you spill and fill it 2-3x, you could probably go every couple years or 20-30K miles.

Left with the factory oil in it, you're living on borrowed time if it's ~6yrs/old with 60K miles on it.
I had the dealer change gear oil once and that was over 100k miles ago...
 

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So I appreciate all of the info contained in this message trail. I am struggling with the front transfer case fluid change on my 2015 PathFinder. I have tried to fit a 10mm hex into the top plug and it will not accept it. Opening seems to be smaller. The lower plug does accept the 10mm hex. From reading it sounds like the drain plug faces directly down which is important as I have another 10mm plug that faces horizontal to the drivers side. Can anyone shed light on this. Many thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's possible the 15's T-case is different than on the 2017+

I think we have factory service manual info links here that would cover a 2015 and spec the plug sizes.
 

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I'm about to do an oil change on my 14 Platinum, and I'm changing the transfer case and rear differential oil as well. Can anyone on here verify the drain/fill plug sizes on my transfer case I'm working with minimal tools here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Like said above, should be a 10mm hex. Make sure you can get onto and loosen the fill plug first and you have a plan to get gear oil up into there. It's a pain doing on your back on the ground.

The rear diff is a piece of cake and the gear oil won't be nearly as nasty looking as what you'll find in the T-case.
 
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