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Gear Oil Fill


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It's the differential fluid.

I found the drain plug with a 10 mm hex

head. It's not far from the frame, thus

limiting access. I can't see getting this

thing off without a wrench adapted to a

hex socket.

Haven't located the fill plug, which

apparently is a regular 6 point bolt

head (not hex).

New Rod - 150K Miles

The transmission and differential both use ATF. Not sure where the fill plug is, sorry. Looked through my FSM and could not find a good refrence.

ETA: Here is info I found on a different forum relating to a Solara V6...use at your own risk!

the fill port is a small bolt (12mm) on the back side of the differential, about 6-inches above the drain plug. The bolt faces to the rear of the car, unlike the other hold down bolts. You know you have the right one because when you remove it you will find that it has a small rubber o-ring to keep it from leaking. I drained exactly 52 oz. (which is about 1.4 qts) from my V-6 solara but it was a !Removed! to refill (I think the manual says 1.7 qts, but thats dry). Had to temporarily use silicone to "glue" the small diameter tubing in the bolt hole overnight so that I could refill it using pressure the next day.(the fluid wanted to come out of the hole, rather than in when I first tried to fill without sealing the tubing). The fill hole is very small. There is no way they are connected like the dealer says, since my tranny still read full on the dipstick after draining the 52 oz. from the differential. I will say that it was a real pain to fill, and unless you really need to do the job because you drive the car hard, forget it. Just drain and refill the tranny which, by the way, only takes about 2.75 qts. of fluid to fill after you drain it (not even close to the 5.0 qts the owners manual says it takes).

Hope this helps.

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There is no differential on an ES. The ES has a transaxel (front wheel drive) Heavy gear oil is used in differentials on rear wheel drive cars.

The FSM for my 97 does indeed make refrence to a differential. However, it's not a common style of differential you would find on a traditional RWD or 4x4 vehicle. That said, a google search uncovered the information I posted above and also information that there does appear to be a seperate differential unit, if you will. It only holds around 1.7 quarts when drained, and is a pain in the behind to fill as the hole appears to be small. However I have also read that the way to fill it is from the transmission dipstick tube, but there is much conflicted information about it, as the information above says that there is indeed a fill hole. Perhaps someone who knows for sure can chime in and tell us about this supposed differential and how it's drained and filled, and maybe what it does exaclty, in relation to the actual transmission?

Also the service history of my 97 ES300 on does have a differential fluid change listed as as being done to the car seperately from a transmission fluid service, so I can only surmise that there is indeed a differential, though not in the traditional sense, and does not use heavy hypoid gear oil, but ATF like in the transmission. I am hoping someone can chime in and figure this out for us.

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Yes that plug drains the differential of all tranny fluid...That area shares the transmission fluid and when you add to the tranny you are also adding to that part of the transaxle.

look at post number 3 on this thread, there is a hex screw behind the tranny drain pan that what you are referring to? if so it fills when you add tranny fluid to the transmission.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello. I also have a 98 ES300. There is an automatic transaxle differential that is to be filled separate from the automatic transaxle. The diagram I have shows the drain plug facing the ground (as it should). The bolt you have to unscrew (and use a syringe or gear oil pump to add ATF) is several inches up to the side facing the driver's side door. After draining, you add the ATF until it just starts to seep out of that fill hole- then tighten the plug. The recommendation is that this differential lubricant is changed every 15K, whereas the automatic transaxle lubricant (both ATF) is changed every 30K.

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