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Winterizing drivetrains

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by BRIMOW525, Sep 2, 2001.

  1. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    I was looking through Chuck's snowplow site (great place by the way!!) and I didn't see anything about rear end and front end fluids. Or anything on front u joints for 4x4's and drive shaft u's either. What kind of maintenance should these parts recieve? wondering if u-joints are something that should be changed every season due to comercial plowing. Also anything about what kind of fluids are recommend for rears and also possible manual trannies. I have a 83 gmc 3500 manual and it has about 136K on it and I know I haven't changed the tranny fluid yet. But I will before the season gets started. Chuck has pretty well covered everything else about the plow and pump.
     
  2. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    I change the fluid in my daily driver truck every season. Thats all the fluids, tranny, t case and both diffs.
    In the plow trucks, I change anything that uses ATF, in some trucks thats trannies alone, or t case alone depending on drivetrain.
    Check all the u joints and replace as needed. If one front joint is going bad, do both sides.
    Dino
     
  3. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Somehow, I forgot to add this link on my site. It was there before, and on my Chevy Truck Pages.

    http://www.snowplowing-contractors.com/winter.html

    As far as the U joints, if they are not worn, then there is no need to replace them. Make sure you check all of them. Some of them might not have grease fittings, but instead, have plugs. You need to remove the plug, install a zerk fitting, grease the joint, then put the plug back in. If you leave the fitting in, it will get sheared off. If the joints have been replaced before on your front axle, they will have plugs in them. Stock front axle U joints, have no fittings or plugs. Grease all your U joints, and driveshaft slip yolks. Also be sure to grease the ball and spring on the Cardan joint (AKA CV joint, double U joint).

    As far as your axles, you have to remove the differential covers to drain the gear oil. Use a rag to wipe any sludge out of the housings. Inspect the teeth on the ring gear for wear and any broken teeth. You'll need new gaskets for the covers. Use red hi temp silicone to seal them up.

    Check your owners manual, most likely, 80w-90 GL 5 gear oil will be fine for your axles. It will also be fine for your trans and t case.
    This is a good time to switch to sythentic gear oil if you want to.

    The 1983 GM Factory Service manual I have recommends 80W GL-5 or 80W-90 GL-5 gear oil for the axles and manual transmission. If you have a rear locking differential, be sure to use the additive. That's GM part # 1052271/1052272 or equivalent.

    ~Chuck
     
  4. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    So basicly treat everything as u do in changing the oil. Do it now or pay later.
     
  5. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Maintenance down low on a truck is most important. You may think these areas are weathertight, but most diffs and trannies are vented. If the vents are only at the top of the axle then it would be possible for water and dirt to enter from a puddle or muddy road. I change mine every year just to be safe. Gears can be very expensive.
     
  6. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    One thing to keep in mind about U-joints, some have normal zerk-fittings on them to make greasing easier, others have a little pin-hole in the end of the cap that you need a special adapter for, and others are sealed. I just replaced the U-joints on my rear drive-shaft a couple of weeks ago, and I went with the ones with the zerk fittings on them. Some will say that they are weaker, but I've never had a problem with them breaking... and I've put my trucks through some strain.

    When it comes to differentials, it's very important to use the proper weight gear oil. If you're overly concerned, there are aftermarket diff-covers that not only have cooling fins, but also hold more fluid. I've heard these covers are very popular among people who do a great deal of towing. I'll see if I can find a link to more information if you'd like.

    Tim
     
  7. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Summit Racing and Jegs both sell the diff covers with cooling fins. The drawback, is that they are made of cast aluminum, and no where near as strong as the stock steel. Cast aluminum that thin cracks easily. On a pretty truck they look nice, but one that backs over snow and ice piles with who knows what in them, I'd rather have steel. Even some of the chrome covers on the market are thin and cheesy.

    ~Chuck
     
  8. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    I agree with ya on the chrome ones Chuck, I'm not a big fan of them at all. I thought the Mag-Hytec diff covers were steel? I'm going to have to look into that a little more...

    Tim
     
  9. plowjockey

    plowjockey PlowSite.com Sponsor
    Messages: 622

    Tim

    If you want the best of both worlds, there is no reason that a competent welder could not take a stock diff cover and cut off the dome and lay in a fill piece to give you more capacity. Never tried it , in fact I just thought of this but it sounds reasonable.

    Bruce
    The Snow Will Melt Away, But The Serious Plower Will Be Back Another Day.:p
     
  10. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Most transfer cases in modern trucks take ATF,not gear oil like Chuck said in his 1 st post.This is important,you dont want gear oil in a T-case that needs ATF,this would not be good,so check your manual,or stick your finger in the fill plug,and see whats in there,if its 90 wt,you'll know it,that stuff stinks something terrible.i too change all my fluids every year,and service the tranny at least 2x a year,even if i only have 5K miles,they are hard miles plowing and towing,and the cost is small.
     
  11. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Ugghhh... transmissions. Now there's a VERY important maintenance item. I'm with John on this one... at least twice a year. In fact, I think I'm going to try something new in a few weeks. I'm going to disconnect the return line from my trans cooler, put the line in a bucket, pump out a few quarts, stop the motor, put a few new quarts in, and repeat it over and over again untill I have clean fluid coming out. As long as you don't pump too much out at a time, this should be fairly effective in replacing the old fluid with the new. Granted, you're not changing the filter during this process, but I've been replacing that at each trans service anyway... so it should last a little longer.

    Tim
     
  12. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Tim,i drain my fluid thru the cooler a lot,with your tranny you;;; get 4 1/2 out of it.I know this because i have overfilled 1 gallon jugs trying to get it all in.They way to do it is,get a helper,run your cooler line into the 5 gallon jug,start it let the 4 1/2 quarts out,as sson as it spits,shut it down,add 4 quarts,and have the helper get 6-8 more ready.Fire it up,have the helper add fluis as the old fluid is filling the bucket still,as soon as the convertor is full of new fluid,the cooler will start to flow clean fluid,shut it down,recoonect,check fluid,fill or drain as neccesary.It wil take about 50 seconds for 4 1/2 quatrts to come out,so you have to fill it quickly,if oyu get behind,shut it down and add some more oil,then restart.
     
  13. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    John,

    Do you run synthetic ATF??? I'm running Amsoil in my engine right now, and I do notice it seems to run a little cooler, and smoother. I've seriously thought about getting the synthetic ATF, but that's pretty expensive stuff...

    Tim
     
  14. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    I should have been more clear in my first reply. I was replying to the questions asked specifically about the 83 Chevy 1 ton. That truck has the NP 205 gear driven case, which typically used gear oil. I agree, that most new trucks use ATF. The Chevy trucks of the same vintage, with the NP 203 fulltime t case, and the newer NP 208, both used ATF.

    ~Chuck
     
  15. 66Construction

    66Construction Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    If your universal joints are going bad be sure and change them. I let mine go for about 8 months, the vibration got so bad it cracked the case of the 700R-4 Tranny. A mechanic told me it's not hard to do on newer chevys. Just thought I's pass this along I know we all have better things to do with $1000 and a 10 hour day.
    Casey
     
  16. Lou

    Lou Member
    Messages: 74

    Gear oil

    Have been using 85W-90 hypoid gear oil in both axles ('76 GMC
    K2500) for 3 years.
     
  17. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    synthetic

    I was thinking that since I'm going to take the time to change fluids that I might as well use synthetic instead. Although if you normally change the fluids it could become costly as compared to regular. Although its better safe than sorry. As for my u-joints the truck has 95k on it and I'm pretty sure they haven't been changed. I really should take a good look at them to make sure, but should I just change them anyway just to be sure?
     
  18. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    Yeah... I would go ahead and change them. They're probably on their way out, and it's better to be safe than sorry. You don't want to be out in a storm and have one blow. It may also be a good time to get the rear (and maybe the front too) drive-shafts balanced. It's not that expensive, and it will save wear on the new U-joints as well as the transmission and transfer-case.

    As far as the synthetics go, it's kind of a toss up. I really like my truck, and plan on keeping it until it's absolutely impossible to drive any longer. So, I try to run synthetic everything. I go a little longer between fluid changes, but not to the limit. I've been told that synthetics don't loose their "slipperyness", but they do retain dirt... that's why they need to be changed. Theoretically, using synthetics will make your engine/trans/etc last a lot longer. Yes, it's more expensive, but when you figure how much new trucks cost these days... it suddenly becomes worth it.

    Tim
     
  19. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Tim,up to this time,I havent run synthetic trans fluid,but i am going to put amsoil in my Dodge auto.my 2 gmc's will keep the 9.oo a case wolfs head ATF i get at Sam's club,it hasnt let me down in the 5 yrs ive been using it,and it has a nice bright dye that "restores the fluid color real good.