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Discussion Starter #1
So, hoping to go the DIY route with my second rear diff fluid change. I have an adapter to take my 1/2" torque wrench socket down to a 3/8", but it does not appear to want to fully seat in the fill plug for the rear diff. I thought I had it in there as far as it would go and got about 1/8 turn before it torqued out, deforming the fill plug a bit in the process (Pic #1). Looking at the socket adapter (Pic #2) the way it's manufactured the ends are rounded off so hard it doesn't look like it's made for this thing in the first place, which makes me wonder if there's a different adapter or tool I should be using.

Any suggestions? Or should I just take it to the dealer and tell them to install a new plug before I make it any worse?


Pic #1 - fill plug
405631


Pic #2 - socket adapter
405632
 

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Order a new one, weld an old socket on there, and turn like hell. Make sure you’re turning the right way obviously, but I’ve gotten confused before.
 

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I’m assuming you haven’t gotten it out to change the fluid yet? Hopefully you went to the fill plug before you drained it. This may be a slightly taboo answer for some people but I have used this method many times on farm machinery and it has worked quite well, actually never damaged anything doing this. FOR REMOVAL ONLY... take a hardened 1/2-3/8 adapter not the ones with rounded edges for slight socket flexing those don’t fit as well and you will end up twisting out. What I mean is your 3/8 end of your socket should have sharp squared edges that fit like a glove into the hole. NOT the kind with round smooth corners and edges. Take a 1/2 in. Impact and turn it down to a low-medium setting and let it work for a while knocking rapidly on the plug to bust it loose. However if you have already distorted your plug too much do not try this method it will only make it worse. Also time is your friend, let that impact rattle for a while and DO NOT feel that you can turn it up to a higher power setting or you’re just asking for trouble. Hopefully this helps and good luck!
 

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Valve lapping or grinding compound. I once had a product called screw grip. It was like sand in oil that filled all the gaps. If yours isn't too far gone, may be worth a try. I'd hate to get heat near all those wires by the diff. Good luck. If you've already changed it once and didn't overtighten it, it's probably just getting a grip on the fastener.
 

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They sell square head adaptor that sit flush. Mine is from autozone from a few years ago.
@17sport this is exactly the adapter I am referring to. A lot of extensions and adapters today are made to allow for a slight bit of twisting on the end of your tool for situations in tight spaces but they are often more Hindrance than help. The one you have is the one OP needs for a super tight fit!
 

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Valve lapping or grinding compound. I once had a product called screw grip. It was like sand in oil that filled all the gaps. If yours isn't too far gone, may be worth a try. I'd hate to get heat near all those wires by the diff. Good luck. If you've already changed it once and didn't overtighten it, it's probably just getting a grip on the fastener.
I think Sears/Craftsman used to sell the Screw Grip, I thought it was metal filings in some kind of medium.

Steel wool might work to fill in gaps and get a better grip, also.
 

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I think Sears/Craftsman used to sell the Screw Grip, I thought it was metal filings in some kind of medium.

Steel wool might work to fill in gaps and get a better grip, also.
That's probably what's in there. It has bailed me out a couple of times with some phillips and hex screws. It's real easy to have issue with these drain bolts. I usually hammer the breaker bar in there but when I tighten them it's just wrist tight so hopefully the next time there won't be an issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Cross-threaded, maybe? Gosh, I hope not - that could get QUITE expensive.
I don't think the bolt ever turned, although I suppose the dealer might have cross-threaded it putting it back in the last time. This is the first time I've tried messing with it.

I’m assuming you haven’t gotten it out to change the fluid yet? Hopefully you went to the fill plug before you drained it. This may be a slightly taboo answer for some people but I have used this method many times on farm machinery and it has worked quite well, actually never damaged anything doing this. FOR REMOVAL ONLY... take a hardened 1/2-3/8 adapter not the ones with rounded edges for slight socket flexing those don’t fit as well and you will end up twisting out. What I mean is your 3/8 end of your socket should have sharp squared edges that fit like a glove into the hole. NOT the kind with round smooth corners and edges. Take a 1/2 in. Impact and turn it down to a low-medium setting and let it work for a while knocking rapidly on the plug to bust it loose. However if you have already distorted your plug too much do not try this method it will only make it worse. Also time is your friend, let that impact rattle for a while and DO NOT feel that you can turn it up to a higher power setting or you’re just asking for trouble. Hopefully this helps and good luck!
Yes, went for the fill plug first. :)

Sounds like a good strategy with the impact wrench. That and a new adapter like you describe. And a new plug.




They sell square head adaptor that sit flush. Mine is from autozone from a few years ago.
Yep. That's what I need.

Wish me luck folks. Will report back.
 

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I don't think the bolt ever turned, although I suppose the dealer might have cross-threaded it putting it back in the last time. This is the first time I've tried messing with it.
Take it back to the dealer who removed the plug previously. If you make matters worse, the fix is on you. The dealer who last inserted that plug has a responsibility to make certain it is removable with the proper tools.

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!!
 

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Does anyone know if the drain plug is truly 3/8" (9.525mm)...or is it possibly 10mm?
Reason I ask is that I can't find a flat ended 3/8 drive, but I found this 10mm square drive:
Given everything else is truly metric, is it possible the drain bolts are too? Looking at the rounded out example above, I do wonder if a .5mm tighter fit might be the solution? Or would it just not fit at all?
I'm planning to do my first diff service this week, and just want to stack the odds of a problem free experience in my favor!
Thanks...

Update:
I gave a try with a 3/8 drive on the diff fill plug - and the plug came loose without any struggle. Felt like it was actually torqued to 35 ft-lbs.
Still wonder about the 10mm size question though...
 

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Discussion Starter #14



They sell square head adaptor that sit flush. Mine is from autozone from a few years ago.
Well, I've tried finding something like this and drawing a blank. That thing doesn't happen to have a part # on it or anything, does it?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
So hang on. You were using your torque wrench as a breaker bar?
Yes... is there a reason not to?

Edit: To be clear, I can see why you'd want a genuine breaker bar for busting apart something that is seized and rusted but we're talking about a bolt that shouldn't require any more oomph than you put in it to tighten a lug nut. If there's something fundamentally wrong with that then I've been doing it wrong for 30 years - albeit with the same torque wrench.
 

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Yes... is there a reason not to?
A few important things to remember about torque wrenches:

1. Never use a torque wrench as a breaker bar in either direction. Applying force beyond its torque setting can cause a loss of calibration or permanent damage.

2. Never use a torque wrench to loosen a right-handed fastener or tighten a left-handed fastener unless it is specifically designed for bi-directional use. Some torque wrenches are made only for tightening right-handed fasteners and will be damaged if used in the opposite direction.

3. Always set the torque setting back to zero after use. Otherwise, the spring can set causing it to lose calibration.
 
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