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Discussion Starter #1
I'm about to change my VTM4 fluid and figure that I'll change the transfer case oil, too. I bought the truck used and it has right at 130k on the clock.

The previous owner kept the maintenance records, but the dealer codes aren't always clear as to what was done each time. If it's been serviced with traditional transfer case oil, do I run any risk by using synthetic? I know it can be a bad idea in some applications since it could cause leaks, but I'm not sure the transfer case is one of them.

BTW, I'm definitely using the Honda VTM4 fluid and keeping my funnel/tubes/etc. separate for these changes. No mixin' and contaminatin'!

Thanks!
 

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I'm about to change my VTM4 fluid and figure that I'll change the transfer case oil, too. I bought the truck used and it has right at 130k on the clock.

The previous owner kept the maintenance records, but the dealer codes aren't always clear as to what was done each time. If it's been serviced with traditional transfer case oil, do I run any risk by using synthetic? I know it can be a bad idea in some applications since it could cause leaks, but I'm not sure the transfer case is one of them.

BTW, I'm definitely using the Honda VTM4 fluid and keeping my funnel/tubes/etc. separate for these changes. No mixin' and contaminatin'!

Thanks!
Run factory fluids for trans and VTM4. You should be fine. Syn in the transfer box is just a little more $ out of your pocket. No problem either way.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Run factory fluids for trans and VTM4. You should be fine. Syn in the transfer box is just a little more $ out of your pocket. No problem either way.

I'm planning on it. My concern is that switching to synthetic in the transfer box might end up leading to leaks if it's been running with conventional for the first 100K+ miles of its life.

Changed the VTM4 fluid today. And those bolts were no joke--even with a breaker bar, it took a lot of force to get them started. When the drain plug broke loose, what happened to my hands is somewhere between skinned knuckles and flayed entirely :act018:
 

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I changed to Royal Purple syn @ about 198,000km and have no problems.
 

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I'm planning on it. My concern is that switching to synthetic in the transfer box might end up leading to leaks if it's been running with conventional for the first 100K+ miles of its life.

Changed the VTM4 fluid today. And those bolts were no joke--even with a breaker bar, it took a lot of force to get them started. When the drain plug broke loose, what happened to my hands is somewhere between skinned knuckles and flayed entirely :act018:
No concerns; change or don't, as you please.

I know what you mean about the tight plugs and skinned knuckles. I bet you'll end up pushing with open hands next time, huh? Or pushing with your feet, maybe? :)
 

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Agree there should be no issue changing over to syn hypoid gear oil. Just use the correct viscosity. I figure that 75w-90 is close enough to the recommended 80w-90 hypoid gear oil. I started out using a conventional 80w-90 and switched to Mob 1 75w-90 when I couldn't find my regular hypoid gear oil. It was a total non-event.

If those drain bolts were that hard to crack, it makes me wonder if the original owner ever had those fluids changed. ??

Did you have much if any debris on the mag plug from the rear diff?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks for the responses! It has been serviced before; I have the complete service history from the dealer. According to the service records, I'm actually a couple thousand miles early on changing the VTM4 fluid. The time to do maintenance myself is difficult to come by, though, so I figured better to be early than late. There wasn't a whole lot on the magnet, but the fluid drained was a good few shades darker than the fresh stuff.

I did try open-hand pushing and got the fill plug off by using my foot, but the drain bolt was a beast.
 

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I don't recall whether I had to on the Ridgeline or not, but I've had plugs so tight before that I felt like I'd have to hit the breaker bar with a mini-sledge. In reality, the better plan was for me to make sure the gear case (or engine drain plugs, in the case of the older John Deere tractors) was thoroughly and completely hot. That nearly always made them quite reasonable to remove. If it didn't, either an impact wrench or a long cheater bar helped. :)

FWIW
 

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I forgot to say:

If you want to save just a touch of fuel, without giving up durability, consider using the Honda HGO-1 gear oil. It's slightly lower viscosity (better mpg), but remains a GL-5.
 

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If you change it regularly, or according to the MM, I would wonder why you want the added expense of synthetic? I haven't seen (not that it's not here on this website) of rear transfer case failures. It's your money, spend as you please.
 

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The added expense? One qt does two services. What are we talking here.....a couple of bucks?
Your ride.....your coin.
 

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I agree, the expense seems negligible especially considering the relatively small amount and the long interval between changes. But the horse is beyond just being beaten by now as is the topic.
 

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I'm not cheap by any means, but I'll be happy to save a buck or two if there's no reason not to. just pointing out the additional expense however minimal vs. the rewards. If you're saying that you can go double the interval (and maybe I misunderstood post #11) then your time is worth something to do the work.
 

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I change the transfer assembly gear oil every 30k miles. Whether I use conventional 80w-90 for $6/qt or 75w-90 Mobil 1 hypoid gear oil for $12/qt is not a big deal to me. I do not increase the change interval just because I use synthetic gear oil.

I have a stash of Mob 1 at the moment. I wouldn't sweat going back to conventional if I find what I like next time I need to shop for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I appreciate the advice. I'm not at all balking at the cost or even really considering it as a factor. My concern was more with the possibly ill-founded idea that switching to synthetic at a high mileage can cause leaks.
 
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