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After reading a few other posts on how to change the transfer case oil, which were quite helpful, I decided it was time to do the same on my 2007 Murano AWD with 75,000 miles. I did see a light film of oil/dirt on the bottom of the transfer case so I suspect this might be the beginning of a typical leak in the case seal or worse yet, a crack. It’s not dripping but I thought it’s time to see how much was in there.

Make sure you can remove the filler plug before removing the drain plug, otherwise you’d be in deep trouble. The hardest part was removing the filler plug since it’s harder to reach and in a confined area. After jacking up the car and resting on jack stands, I used a 9” long closed end 12mm wrench. I had just enough room to swing it about 5° and that was it, which barely rotated the plug. I then used a 3.5” long 12mm closed end wrench which gave me a little more swing and after about 30 minutes of making many small movements, I was able to remove the plug. Trust me, if you have big hands, don’t attempt to do it this way. My hands are not large and it was driving me insane. Removing the drain plug was very easy with a 10mm hex socket. It’s not on that tight. The capacity is only 5/8 of a pint (0.31 liters) but I’m not sure how much came out.

If you notice, both plugs will have a gray silicone sealant on the end as I showed in the photo. It was almost as though the sealant was on the end of the plug and not much on the threads. I then applied some new gray sealant to the last few threads of the drain plug and assembled it with no problem using 11 ft-lb.

I then filed it with fresh oil (API GL-5, SAE 80W-90 gear oil) using an easy technique. I thought about just connecting a ¼” ID hose to the end of the quart oil container and squeezing the bottle but I found a better way using a brake vacuum bleeder pump operating in reverse. As I showed in the photo, I just attached a black hose from the suction end of the pump into the container and connected another amber hose to the exhaust end going up about 12” into the filler hole. All you do is squeeze the handle and when released, it slowly forces the oil easily up. Keep filling until it starts to flow out of the hole. I did this in about a 55°F garage but if it was colder, the oil would be a lot thicker and not sure it would work well. In any event you can also buy a hand pump (see photo) to do the same thing. I got one at O’Reiley Auto for about $10 but never used it.

I thought all that was the hard part but when it came time to put the filler plug back in, then things got real interesting. As I said before, if you have large hands, don’t even attempt. I applied some fresh silicone to the last few threads and then blindly had to reach up and feel for the opening trying to get the plug engaged a few turns by hand. The whole time oil is still dripping out and mixing with the uncured silicone, which I’m not sure what that did to the silicones ability to cure correctly. Anyway, after attempting this many times, I was relieved to know I was almost done yet I couldn’t face taking another 30 minutes or so to screw the plug back in completely. I then realized that if I removed one bolt on the transfer case (see note in the photo), I could use the 9” long wrench and swing it about 45° with no problem. This made all the difference in the world. If you do this before removing the plug, you will definitely thank me. Replace the bolt and tighten to about 10 ft-lb by feel. The filler plug is supposed to be torqued to 11 ft-lb but it’s impossible to get a torque wrench in there so I just went by feel. Good luck.
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I know the owners manual doesnt call for a fluid change in the transfer case, nor differential, but from my vast experience with cars; it should be changed at no more than 30,000miles. The viscosity properties change in the gear oil with heat, age, and god forbid moisture/water.
well. im almost at 120k, and never changed it. :eek: wont be able to do it for another month.
 

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Thank you for the write up.

Thanks to it I replaced oil at home's garage - saving few bucks.

76k mile 2009 Murano - the oil was thick and dark, replaced 150ml with 300ml new oil.

-Mat
 

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Keep in mind:

Color is no indication of the usability of engine oil or gear oil.
Gear oil is thicker than engine oil.
 

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The transfer case only holds 5/8 of a pint, so you only had half the oil needed, which is probably why it was in that poor condition...

Good thing you checked and changed it, you MAY have dodged a bullet!

There's an app called CVTz50 that shows what percentage of AWD is going to front and rear. I have used CVTz50 on my 2003 and 2019, both show the distribution for front and rear CONSTANTLY changes for all driving conditions, including just driving down the road and lightly pressing on the gas pedal. This may explain why the transfer cases fail so often. It holds very little oil, so losing just a small amount puts a lot of additional stress on the remaining oil and gears...

I replaced the gear oil in my 2003 with Mobil 1 synthetic, which should resist heat better should it ever get too low before noticing...

You must have a leak to be down to only half the required oil. Or possibly it wasn't filled to the correct level when manufactured, or during previous maintenance. It doesn't get consumed, and it should remain at a stable volume...
 
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I did my TC oil change over the weekend. The oil was never changed since I bought the car new in 2005. I read almost all the writings in this forum on the TC oil change before I attempted, and indeed it would not have been possible without the right tools suggested. In my case, I went and bought the HF offset wrench and fluid pump.

I was also able to collect about 150ml plus some spills of the oil in a measuring cup, so it was low and probably due to the leak through the propeller shaft seal. The oil looks dirty and grayish but not as dark as used engine oil. Hope the damage is minimal.

I also want to thank the members who wrote the "how to" instructions which benefited me immensely.
 

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Today I attempted the transfer case gear oil change. I am using 80w-90 since I live In a hotter climate. I've heared of using a slightly different weight and viscosity if you live in colder climates. The oem manual call for "Genuine Nissan differential oil hypoid super GL-5 80w-90, or API GL-5 viscosity SAE 80w-90." After trying to loosen up filler plug for about an hour with standard wrenches I gave up, moved onto the rear differential and completed it no problem half hour. I am going to purchase an S-shaped wrench, an offset box end wrench and a half moon wrench. I will give it another shot next weekend. I need some nice tools as I have very standard stuff and nothing that's unique enough to fit in this tight space where the filler plug is on the TC. I will report back after I give it a second try with these wrenches to let you guys know if was any easier and what brand/length the wrenches are. Thank for helping me get this far with your recommendations on the job.
 

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Check out this thread for a set of Harbor Freight wrenches that will make it easier to remove the transfer case filler bolt:

 
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Check out this thread for a set of Harbor Freight wrenches that will make it easier to remove the transfer case filler bolt:

Awesome, I honestly did think harbor freight would have a unique set of wrenches like this. thank you muranosl2003!! After reading the thread it sounds like I should prob purchase a replacement filler plug just in case as well.
 

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Awesome, I honestly did think harbor freight would have a unique set of wrenches like this. thank you muranosl2003!! After reading the thread it sounds like I should prob purchase a replacement filler plug just in case as well.
I "didnt" think harbor freight........
In case anyone is having a hard time finding the filler plug for purchase, the part number is 31305-5V20A
I have a 2010 murano le 77,000 miles.
 

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Just wanted to update with a little bit of professional mechanic advice. I'm a diyer, however I have spoken with professional mechanics about the problem I have had with getting at bolts in tight positions under the car. He said that as I look at the bolt and realize that this bolt is the problem, getting this bolt out is the solution, I just cant get at it enough. He says sometimes I may be boxing myself in and stuck directly under the problem bolt position. If I were to use an 18inch,2ft,3ft extension on a ratchet and can reach the bolt from way farther back under the vehicle, then I will have a better chance at getting it free. I could be all the way back at the rear axle with long extensions connected together and can free a bolt. It made a whole lot of sense to me considering he works on cars with a lift and can stand under the car most of the time working on it. Just thought I'd mention. I will try the new wrenches and will also check if I can get at the bolt with a really long ratchet extension this weekend and report back.
 

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The Harbor Freight wrenches make it easy. No need to create a four foot set of extensions.
 

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The Harbor Freight wrenches make it easy. No need to create a four foot set of extensions.
I agree, just thought it was worth mentioning in general. Sometimes I box myself into one spot. But yeah, I'm sure the offset wrench is gonna get it loose, from what I've read in this thread so far. Thanks for helping me get this far!
 

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I admit that I also consider having an excuse to buy more tools to be a win/win! ?
 
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