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How to remove stuck front differential drain and fill plugs

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by loredoarturo, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Feb 20, 2012 at 6:57 PM
    #1
    loredoarturo

    loredoarturo [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I recently did the differential fluid change on my truck the front, back, and transfer case. When I got to the front this time around I hit a brick wall. I could not get the front drain plug off for the life of me. No matter what I did it would not come off, I almost wanted to cry when I thought of what the dumb asses at the dealership would say I needed to do and how much it would cost. So I was determined not to give up. So I did a little research and had some sleepless nights but finally figured out what to do and went to town with my tools.

    1. I first went to dealer and ordered new drain plugs and after $20 bucks and a day shipment I had the parts.
    2. I went to lowes and bought some blast bolt remover and spayed the plugs as much as I could. I also bought a kobolt 10m hex socket because the other one I used broke trying to take off the plugs the first time. You have to remove the rear skid plate to get to differential and it’s a pain in the ass to get back on if you have a lift because of the diff drop spacers.
    3. I let the plugs sit for a couple of hours before I began.
    4. I got a regular hammer and hit the plugs about ten times as hard as I could and also hit around the differential by the plugs.
    5. then I got my 3/4 ratchet, socket and a pipe and attempted to remove the plugs and this worked.
    6. So don’t lose hope you can do it just as long as you don’t damage plug to much that you cant get socket to work.

    I think the last time I changed the fluids I over tightened the plugs and didn’t torque to spec. I bought a torque ratchet at Harbor Freight tools to avoid this on anything. From reading previous post fill plug to 29 and drain to 48lbs or something like that.

    Here are some pics of what I did.

    Front differential drain plug stuck on my 10m allen socket and new drain plug to replace it. Had to replace it due to damage I cause trying to remove it. I had to order it from the dealer/stealer cost about $10 bucks. I used some anti seize on the threads to keep it from getting stuck again. I also torque it to spec of 48lbs so as not to over tighten again.

    [​IMG]

    This plug uses a copper washer that you need from the dealer. Make sure to clean off the crap off the magnet on the drain plug.

    [​IMG]

    Front differential fill plug that I also replaced. Both front plugs seemed to be very rusted and difficult to take off so I put new ones in.

    [​IMG]

    This plug uses a crush washer that I also got from the stealership.

    [​IMG]

    Picture of both plugs installed.
    [​IMG]

    Picture of how I fill the differential. I used a pump that I bought from walmart it made it very easy.
    [​IMG]

    I hope this helps anybody with the same prob. So don’t give up and try this before you think you have to go to dealer.
     
  2. Feb 20, 2012 at 7:04 PM
    #2
    KenLyns

    KenLyns Lord of War

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    And you are in Texas, where snow and road salt are uncommon?
     
  3. Feb 20, 2012 at 7:29 PM
    #3
    loredoarturo

    loredoarturo [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I live close to the ocean and take the truck out on the beach sometimes and get too close to water is the only thing I can think of.
     
  4. Feb 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM
    #4
    KenLyns

    KenLyns Lord of War

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    That makes all the difference. I've seen stainless steel aircraft parts corrode in coastal service. Probably worse than road salt exposure.
     
  5. Feb 20, 2012 at 8:56 PM
    #5
    loredoarturo

    loredoarturo [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yea and I remember when this happened, I was out late on the beach one day and the tide came in up on the beach. the water blocked parts of the beach so I had to drive through the water and thats that. I took the truck the the car wash as fast as I could drive but it didnt really matter. ohh well lesson learned.
     
  6. Jul 26, 2013 at 8:04 AM
    #6
    Eldub

    Eldub Member

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    When I first attempted to remove the front diff drain plug it used some PB blaster (which now I realize does nothing for drain plugs as it doesn't get to the threads), a 10mm hex bit, and a 1/2" drive ratchet but it just wouldn't budge. I banged on the hex bit with a hammer while in the plug, I hit the wrench with a hammer while on the bit, but no budge. It was tough to get the ratchet or the breaker bar in there because there is little clearance. As soon as I saw that the drain plug was starting to round off I stopped as I knew I was in over my head and took it to the dealer and asked them to break it loose for me. What you see in the image on the right side is the condition of the plug when returned from the dealer, very close to being rounded, and on the left is the new plug from the dealer for $10. (I don't know how to change the attachment/photo size as it shows up in the post)
    IMAG0409.jpg
    Even after that I had to use a breaker bar and extension to get it off. I also grinded the tip off of the hex head with a dremel so it had sharp edges instead of chamfers. After I torqued it back on to 55lbs it was easily removed with just the ratchet wrench so I guess they are just cranking it on and over torquing it at the dealer, and even more so at the factory.
     
  7. Jul 26, 2013 at 8:48 AM
    #7
    teamfast

    teamfast Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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    Antiseize is the best.
     
  8. Jul 26, 2013 at 8:59 AM
    #8
    Bearcoatoffroad

    Bearcoatoffroad Well-Known Member

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    Mine is just total stripped out where the Allen plug goes in. I am either going to weld a nut to it or dremel the hole into a 1/2" square and stick a ratchet directly into it (this worked on my land rover).
     
  9. Jul 26, 2013 at 9:38 AM
    #9
    Wheelspinner

    Wheelspinner Coco Loco Customs

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    On stuff like this where there are no rubber o rings or thing that can get damaged a little heat helps a lot. I'm not talking torch it till you melt the diff but a little heat from a small bernzomatic torch is all it takes. Just heat the plug til it gets a little orange then let it cool till you can touch it. Don't use water to cool it. The heat will expand te plug then it will contract when it cools and this small movement is usually enough to break up the rust/corrosion.
     
  10. Jul 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM
    #10
    REDdawn6

    REDdawn6 Well-Known Member

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    50/50 mix of ATF and acetone on the stuck bolts!!!
     
  11. Jul 26, 2013 at 9:44 AM
    #11
    Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Always outnumbered, never outgunned

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    Took me a whole week of soaking the plugs in PB Blaster, but they did come off. Anti seized them before putting the new ones back in.

    I thought you didn't want to heat the bolt you were trying to get out, but the area around the bolt? That way the bolt doesn't expand, but the threads in the area around it do?
     
  12. Jul 26, 2013 at 9:59 AM
    #12
    Wheelspinner

    Wheelspinner Coco Loco Customs

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    That's true when using high heat so you don't damage the bolt/plug your working with but this scenario is just enough heat to get some movement
     
  13. Jul 26, 2013 at 10:29 AM
    #13
    Bearcoatoffroad

    Bearcoatoffroad Well-Known Member

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    Heating a bolt works fine, it grows much further lengthwise relieving some of the stretch imparted on it when it is tightened as opposed to binding the threads from diameter increase.

    Turbine bolting uses only heat to tighten and loosen larger bolting. (gas, electric or induction heating)

    http://youtu.be/J3o1mDhcuk0

    In any case, thermal cycles help to break the bond. I was just worried about heat burning up the gear oil inside, or damaging seals.
     
  14. Jul 29, 2013 at 7:31 AM
    #14
    Eldub

    Eldub Member

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    I have also read of people hammering a slightly larger torques bit into the stripped plug and having success with that. This avoids potential damage from welding heat, and is a possible solution for those of us without welding machines sitting next to our Taco in the garage. If it doesn't work you still have welding as an option.

    I would be interested to know how you cut a square hole with a rotary dremel tool, sounds like it could be a useful trick to have up my sleeve.
     
  15. Jul 29, 2013 at 8:16 AM
    #15
    Bearcoatoffroad

    Bearcoatoffroad Well-Known Member

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  16. Jul 29, 2013 at 12:02 PM
    #16
    monkeyface

    monkeyface Douchebag, or just douche if we're friends

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    I think both drain and fill are over-torqued from the factory. And using Allen fittings is kind of goofy. Anyway, when I did a drain-n-fill a few months ago I didn't use a torque wrench, just snugged them like I would the oil pan - no leaks at all.

    I mean, really? 48 lbs? Christ, that's more than the factory U-bolt torque (37 lbs).

    They both were way to tight from the factory, IMO. Even 30 lbs is too much for a 10mm Allen fitting, hence why all the rounded out Allen bolts.
     
  17. Jul 29, 2013 at 1:08 PM
    #17
    Bearcoatoffroad

    Bearcoatoffroad Well-Known Member

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    Do you blame Japan or Texas for that? lol
     
  18. Jul 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM
    #18
    monkeyface

    monkeyface Douchebag, or just douche if we're friends

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    Don't know. I had a '65 Mercedes that used Allen bolts for the rear differential, they were 22mm or 24mm, can't remember which. I still have those giant Allen wrenches buried somewhere in the garage. 10mm Allens, they don't torque down too well. Certainly not over 20-25 lbs.
     
  19. Jul 30, 2013 at 5:58 AM
    #19
    Eldub

    Eldub Member

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    I torqued the replacement drain bolt to 50-lbs and and broke it loose again just to see how difficult it "should" be and it was no problem at all. I realize it helped that it was just installed but these threads aren't exposed to anything except for possibly oil, so they don't really seize or corrode, they looked shiny and new on the old plug. This makes me believe they are torqued to well over 50-lbs from the factory.

    A commonly highly over-torqued drain plug from the factory in combination with an inappropriate application of a 10-mm allen fitting, is this possibly a ploy to get us to the stealership? I smell conspiracy! Kind of like how they don't want us to be able to drain and fill our own transmission fluid. I went to the dealer to buy transmission fluid and the guy said I need a scan tool, I said ridiculous no I don't I have TacomaWorld and a wire!
    http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/2nd-gen-tacomas/63851-how-drain-refill-automatic-transmission.html
    It's a good thing we have these forums to collaborate on ways to do things and solve problems ourselves and not get ripped off at the stealership.
     
  20. Jul 30, 2013 at 7:20 AM
    #20
    Bearcoatoffroad

    Bearcoatoffroad Well-Known Member

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    I think the design of the plug has something to do with it too. I have similar plugs on my King Quad diff housings, I intentionally torqued it to a low value with neverseize and it comes out real hard every time. Something about that flanged plug design.

    Maybe if we stuck a copper washer in it it would solve the problem???
     
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