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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
JonathanM, no, it would not for the most part be normal to have a really dark drain or be full of metallic debris, but mine had been done ( or at least documented ) at around 30k and I did again at 69k and found some metal shavings, very very fine almost like a swimming film, in the drainings. Never heard any strange noises and never had any issues engaging or disengaging the transfer case, I cleaned my drain plug and refilled with Motul ATF. Now at 82k and change and everything seems fine.
I’ve read where others have said the same as what I had. Did Nissan put gear oil in it from the factory? I’ll probably change it again in 10k miles just to make sure.

Is the TC engaged or moving while just driving around in 2wd?
 

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The transfer case is always spinning since we don't have active front hubs. So in 2WD, the transmission is spinning the input shaft of the transfer case, which spins the output shaft for the rear propshaft and the chain-drive & clutching for the front propshaft. The front propshaft from the wheel end is spinning from the front wheels up, the half-shafts, the front diff and the front propshaft at the transfer case output shaft. The clutch in between is free-wheeling but is seeing a very low difference in speed because all tires are on the ground and spinning at approx the same rate.
Now engage 4WD, torque flows 50 / 50 through the transfer case down to both output shafts ( as the front 'locker' / transfer case clutch is now engaged and active ) and engine power reaches all 4 wheels from the transmission to the transfer case to the differentials to the wheels. There is no torque biasing because the Frontier is a part-time 4WD system and has no center differential so everything is locked together solid, which is why it is never system-engaged on dry roads or high traction surfaces.
 

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The transfer case is always spinning since we don't have active front hubs. So in 2WD, the transmission is spinning the input shaft of the transfer case, which spins the output shaft for the rear propshaft and the chain-drive & clutching for the front propshaft. The front propshaft from the wheel end is spinning from the front wheels up, the half-shafts, the front diff and the front propshaft at the transfer case output shaft. The clutch in between is free-wheeling but is seeing a very low difference in speed because all tires are on the ground and spinning at approx the same rate.
Now engage 4WD, torque flows 50 / 50 through the transfer case down to both output shafts ( as the front 'locker' / transfer case clutch is now engaged and active ) and engine power reaches all 4 wheels from the transmission to the transfer case to the differentials to the wheels. There is no torque biasing because the Frontier is a part-time 4WD system and has no center differential so everything is locked together solid, which is why it is never system-engaged on dry roads or high traction surfaces.
Great explanation! The benefit of such a system is that you don't have to remember to use 4WD every once-in-a-while to keep things lubed. There's also no vacuum-actuated system to fail, like Ford's IWE's. The Integrated Wheel Ends use vacuum to unlock the hubs, and release the vacuum to lock the hubs. When (not if) there's a vacuum leak, the IWEs grind since there's not enough vacuum to unlock, but too much to stay locked.
 

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I have 2 gallons of Castrol Transmax DEX/MERC, but it is not the "import" as others suggest. Is this the wrong ATF? It does say Ford and GM.

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75W90 for diffs, but is 80W90 the same? I have plenty of 80 also.
 

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I have 2 gallons of Castrol Transmax DEX/MERC, but it is not the "import" as others suggest. Is this the wrong ATF? It does say Ford and GM.

Also
75W90 for diffs, but is 80W90 the same? I have plenty of 80 also.
80w90 is not synthetic, not at least as far as anything I've found. I think some are synth blend. 75w90 can be, is relatively inexpensive and since everything up front spins all the time, I thought it worth the 30.00 bucks or so it cost to do Motul 100% synthetic. In my M226 I did Motul 75w140 which is $49.95 for two litres, that was just enough to fill it correctly.

As far as TransMax, in a transfer case, honestly I'm betting that as long as it has any oil in it that's transmission related, it should be fine. You have no synchro's, no bands or finicky clutches & solenoids and all it's really doing is keeping things from running dry. If you're still in warranty, I wouldn't, but if it were a trail-spare and you had a leak, I'm sure you could fill up with this and drive out. I'd just put MaticS or equivalent in and call it a day, I used Motul for that as well.
 
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