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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Truck is at right around 30k miles now and coming right up on 5 years old so I decided to replace all the fluids in it and filters since I had a completely free day. I realize it isn’t high miles at all, but hey, now I know that it has good fluid and that everything is on the same timeline. Replaced front and rear diff fluid, transfer case fluid, manual transmission fluid, engine oil, coolant drain and fill, and engine and cabin filters. Took 4.5 hours. (Obviously the oil and filters have been changed per normal schedule and the other fluid has been “checked” by the dealership).

I used Valvoline synthetic for everything because my local stores had it available; 75w-140 for the rear diff, 75w-90 for the front, synthetic D matic rated ATF for the transfer case, Valvoline Synchromesh for the MTF, and Valvoline synthetic engine oil. Fram oil filter, Fram air filter, and STP cabin filters. Pentosin pentafrost A3 for coolant.

The only tricky fluid was trying to find an equivalent MTF fluid. The Valvoline Synchromesh was the only GL-4, 75w-85/90 equivalent that I could find and verify was good to go.

A cheap oil pump is a must, along with a 10mm hex head socket, and a 3/8 driver and torque wrench. Along with a few replacement plug gaskets.

I didn’t see any significant build up of gunk or metal shavings and the only fluid that looked a little grimy was the transfer case oil. That was relatively dark looking.
 

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I had the same experience on fluids on mine at 40k. Front and rear diffs looked great. Transmission was great (auto for me). Transfer case seemed well used. I found it odd, but I guess the fact that someone else had the same experience is sort of reassuring.

I managed to do both diffs and the transfer case without a pump by using about 6" of hose on the fluid bottles -- found I could get the hose into the fill hole and get the bottle up high enough to fill everything okay.
 

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2016 Frontier SV 4x4 Crew Cab
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I noticed In the 2016 manual it says to use non synthetic hypoid fluid in the front diff. I know in my wife's suzuki it specified the same kind in the rear and when I put in expensive synthetic, it screwed up its operation and wouldn't turn properly. I swapped in conventional hypoid fluid and all was good again. Not saying the nissan will have an issue or if yours is the same as mine but id double check and would definitely put in what the manual says after my experience. Just looking out for my fellow fronty owners.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I noticed In the 2016 manual it says to use non synthetic hypoid fluid in the front diff. I know in my wife's suzuki it specified the same kind in the rear and when I put in expensive synthetic, it screwed up its operation and wouldn't turn properly. I swapped in conventional hypoid fluid and all was good again. Not saying the nissan will have an issue or if yours is the same as mine but id double check and would definitely put in what the manual says after my experience. Just looking out for my fellow fronty owners.
Hypoid is a kind of beveled gear, not a specific oil designation indicating conventional or synthetic oil. You can find Hypoid gear oils in both conventional and synthetic oil. My manual simply specifies that an equivalent API GL-5 oil be used if you aren’t going to use Nissan’s ‘Hypoid’ oil. Some manufacturers simply put “hypoid” on the side of the bottle as a more general indicator that it is rated for hypoid gearing, which our frontiers have.

So, point being, it probably wasn’t the fact that it was synthetic that did something to your suzuki rear diff, but maybe the wrong rating or weight? But either way, I appreciate you looking out!
 

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Yup I'm aware of hypoid type fluid. I used the same gl5 and weight in syn and had issues. Is yours a 2012? I've got a 2016 so maybe they updated it. Hope I'm wrong for your sake. Since its in the front you might not have any issues unless you're in 4x4 which wouldn't be turning tightly in dry anyway so probably never have or see any problems, who knows. Definitely let us know if the 4x4 is happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yup I'm aware of hypoid type fluid. I used the same gl5 and weight in syn and had issues. Is yours a 2012? I've got a 2016 so maybe they updated it. Hope I'm wrong for your sake. Since its in the front you might not have any issues unless you're in 4x4 which wouldn't be turning tightly in dry anyway so probably never have or see any problems, who knows. Definitely let us know if the 4x4 is happy.
So I looked at all the manuals from 2013 (my car year) to 2016 online and 2016 is the first year they put in the manual specifying a non-synthetic equivalent for the front diff. Interesting. Makes you wonder what changed.
 

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'09 no mention of non-syn, front specs GL-5 80w-90 -- I used full syn 75w-90 30k miles ago and all fine

rear with locker specs gl-5 synthetic 75w-140
 
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