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Front Differential Oil Change
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Differential Oil Change

Jared Fenton

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$50

Talent:

***

Tools:

8mm hex driver, drain pan, gloves, hand pump

Applicable Models:

Porsche 955 Cayenne (2004-08)
Porsche 955 Cayenne GTS (2008)
Porsche 955 Cayenne S (2003-08)
Porsche 955 Cayenne Turbo (2003-08)
Porsche 955 Cayenne Turbo S (2006)

Parts Required:

gear oil, new drain plugs

Hot Tip:

Make sure you have a drain pan with capacity

Performance Gain:

A quieter, smoother and cooler running final drive

Complementary Modification:

Replace rear differential oil.

In this article, I will go over the steps involved with changing the front differential oil on your Porsche Cayenne. Changing the oil is not a difficult job, but can be a bit messy. It is advisable to lay down a plastic tarp or sheeting underneath the car to catch any possible spills. You'll also want to have a drain pan with a capacity of at least five liters to be on the safe side. When filling the front differential, you'll need roughly one liter of Porsche approved gear oil.

Begin by jacking up the Cayenne and securing it on four jackstands (See our article on Jacking Up Your Cayenne for more information). This is both to gain clearance to the rear differential and also to keep the Cayenne level. This is important. If you do not have the car level, it will affect the measurement for filling the differential back up. Note, if you have air suspension on your Cayenne, it is possible to gain enough clearance to access the transfer case by putting the suspension to its highest setting.

Now remove the lower engine cover to gain access to the front differential (see our article on Removing Under Body Trays for more information). It is located just to the right of the oil pan. You'll find that the fill plug is located just behind one of the crossmembers. This can make removal a bit difficult as a regular sized hex key will not fit. I had to cut 10mm off the end of an 8mm hex key. This allowed me to insert it into the fill plug.

Note that Porsche recommends replacing the drain plug seals each time you remove the plugs. At this time it appears that Porsche is only selling the seals with new drain plugs. (part number 955-332-057-00). I would visually inspect each seal first for damage or wear before automatically replacing it.

Shown here are the drain (yellow arrow) and fill (green arrow) plugs on the front differential.
Figure 1

Shown here are the drain (yellow arrow) and fill (green arrow) plugs on the front differential.

You'll want to remove the fill plug first to help drain the oil from the differential.
Figure 2

You'll want to remove the fill plug first to help drain the oil from the differential. Use the modified 8mm hex key (green arrow) to loosen and remove the plug. Once the fill plug is removed, remove the drain plug (yellow arrow) and let the differential drain completely. Make sure you have a drain pan underneath to catch the old fluid. Inspect the sealing ring on the drain plug. Now replace or reinstall the plug and torque it to 35Nm (26 ft/lbs.). Use a hand pump to fill the differential with gear oil until it just starts to pour out the fill plug threads. Now either replace or reinstall the plug and torque it to 35Nm (26 ft/lbs.).

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Comments and Suggestions:
Zachariah Comments: You can get additional Air Suspension height, when Low Range transmission is selected. Even at the maximum height 10.75" lift, the work space is very cramped, as the Cayenne must remain level to perform this dirty, messy procedure.
January 16, 2017
Zachariah Comments: What is a symptom of low or degraded gear oil? I'm getting a low groaning sound accelerating from a dead stop. The sound emanates from just forward the passenger footwell area and dissipates once up to speed.
December 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: sounds more like an axle or a beraring. I would however check the diff oil to be sure it is ok. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
timw Comments: what is modified for the 8mm hex key?
January 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe figure two shows it. It has to be cut to fit into the fill plug. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Alex Comments: You mentioned ATF. It should be gear oil. Please fix so people don't mess up their cars.
July 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for catching that. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vtjlaw Comments: Would you do both differentials, transfer case, and transmission fluid/filter on that interval?
July 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Transmission can wait a bit longer. T-case and diffs, yes. Trans maybe at 60k. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vtjlaw Comments: I believe the service interval for this oil is something like 16 years. Would you go by that? What's your recommended change interval?
June 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Every 3 years or 30k miles. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sun 1/22/2017 02:35:54 AM