Transfer case fluid

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May 27, 2009
Richmond, VA
I searched without any luck but found that other toyota forums seem to have a bit of a debate on this transfer case fluid and I wanted to see what you all are using and have found out. I went to the dealer and talked to their service manager and he said they only use the toyota fluid. What I find odd is that it's not in stock even though they recommend it being changed every 30k on the vehicles that require it. I ordered two quarts.
The background is that I have a 2015 and I wanted to do (I'm my ocd fashion) a "break in" fluid change. I swapped out the diffs with Amsoil Severe gear and was glad I did as the fluid was definitely dirty. The transfer case oil retails for $77 a quart, $58 my cost but for the life of me can't understand what is in any fluid to make it that expensive.

Edit, I missed the typo on the title...not sure how to edit that.
Later model 200 series are filled with Transfer Fluid LF 75W. This a very high end ester based gear oil... The light weight is for mileage, and the ester keeps things protected.

That's good to know. I had ASSuMEd I would just use Mobil 1 90 Wt gear oil like I had all my previous cruisers

After the lockers were in the diffs for 500 miles I did use Mobil 1 90wt there.
So 2015 is the changeover year? Easy enough. What's another $100 in fluid on a 70k truck!
No, switch over to the lighter lube was earlier, maybe 10 or 11. I have not looked at the 2016 case, doubt it is different. Also, You don't have to use the 75W LF... any good synthetic 75W90 that meets the spec will work well... The high quality ester lube is required in order to hold up at such a light weight.
I gotcha. I'm surprised Amsoil didn't have a recommendation for it but will switch over post warranty period.
FWIW I checked w/dealer at 15k miles and they said my using AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR 75W 90 on front & rear diffs and T-case would not effect warranty. In fact, the guy said his wife drives an LX570 and he uses the same...
FWIW I checked w/dealer at 15k miles and they said my using AMSOIL SEVERE GEAR 75W 90 on front & rear diffs and T-case would not effect warranty. In fact, the guy said his wife drives an LX570 and he uses the same...

I'm honestly shocked a dealer told you that for liability purposes. The shop foreman at McGeorge Toyota here in Richmond said he can only tell me to use the LF fluid. I understand his prospective and am glad to see that its not the end of the world not to use this golden fluid!
2011 specs:
I use Ams oil in transfer and diffs.

I'm in the process of changing my transfer case fluid, I thought I would call my local dealership that had done all the work on my car up to when I bought it. I asked the parts manager what he used on my LX in the past, he said that they use the same gear oil for the differentials and transfer case. He said that at their/Lexus dealership they never use the Toyota/Lexus expensive transfer case fluid unless it's a warranty issue and they are forced to put it in a car. He was also was nice enough to send this snippet of what fluids should be put in the car. He made a comment that the Lexus/Toyota website does not specifically say that you have to use that expensive gear oil, therefore they use the same fluid for all.

Of course, like most service departments nowadays, profitability is the #1 priority. Following the manufacturer’s requirements is somewhere far down the list of priorities, right above doing the what’s best for the customer’s vehicle. I used the OE fluid, and did it myself. I remember it was more expensive, but the price difference wasn’t life altering so no big deal. Worth the piece of mind to me.
In 2011 a synchronizer was added to the transfer case and this partly explains their move away from a GL5 fluid which can be rough on yellow metal parts.

Anecdotally a few people report problems with the CDL and/or low range, then going back to the super expensive LF 75w fluid helping resolve the problem. Not every time though.

With as long as it goes between changes (cost/mile), our unique limited slip center diff that I don’t want to mess up, and the ability to save $30/liter ordering online I’ve been running the official stuff and it has worked great for me.

Also when you see the LF fluid in its virgin state it is physically quite different than any gear oil I’ve messed with. Very dark color, and very strong sulphur smell. Elsewhere on the board someone suggested this likely wasn’t an accident and could be explained by unique chemistry for this application. I believe them.
My LX is a 2010 and it calls for 75W90 GL-5 Gear Oil, what are your thoughts on the Red Line 75W90 GL-5 Gear Oil?
Ravenol 75W meets the relevant Toyota specifications. 2 quarts around $40 with shipping.
Here's the previous (lengthy) thread on this topic:


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