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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2014 Tundra and am about to change my transfer case and differential gear oils. The owners manual calls for the following:

Transfer Case Gear Oil LF SAE 75W
Differential Gear Oil LT 75W-85 GL-5

Couple questions about these specs. What does the LF and LT stand for? My local dealers have no answer. I would like to use Mobil1 Synthetic gear lubricant 75W-90 if possible. Can I do this? Any feedback is appreciated.
 

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I have a 2008 and have been using the Mobil 1 75W-90 for 85,000 miles . No problems.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 

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I would guess that LF and LT are Toyota terms. They aren't SAE terms.
Putting 75W90 in would be fine. The only thing I'd recommend is to check if your diff is an LSD. If so, it will probably need an LSD additive. Check with your dealer, shop, or owners manual.
 

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The Mobil synthetic gear lube will be just fine. I use Royal Purple and just have to keep Toyota Service from touching my gear boxes.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would guess that LF and LT are Toyota terms. They aren't SAE terms.
Putting 75W90 in would be fine. The only thing I'd recommend is to check if your diff is an LSD. If so, it will probably need an LSD additive. Check with your dealer, shop, or owners manual.
It does have LSD. I thought the Mobil1 has the additive already in it. Is there any harm in adding more?
 

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The additive modifies the friction properties of the gear oil. If you use oil without the additive the diff may become too tight and chirp your tires going slow around corners. Adding too much modifier, then, would likely reduce the function of the limited slip.
If the bottle says that it has the additive, good. If the diff needs additive, Toyota additive would be best, but a lot of manufacturers make the stuff, and it all works pretty much the same.
 

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I have done some research into gear oils, particularly on the "75W" requirement for the transfer case. I am about to acquire my third Tundra, a 2017 4WD. On my previous Tundras, a 2006 and a 2011, I used Amsoil 75W-90 in all three gear compartments (front and rear diff, as well as transfer case). The 2011 actually spec'd a 75W-85 in the rear diff, but I checked with Amsoil - they still recommend their 75W-90. Redline makes a 75W-85, so naturally they recommend it for the rear diff.


When I saw the 75W requirement for the transfer case, I had some concerns about simply using 75W-90 as I have been before. This requirement became effective with the 2014 model year, the year Toyota did a "refresh" on the Tundra. Prior to that, the recommendation was for 75W-90.


I contacted BOTH Amsoil and Redline for their recommendation for a 75W transfer case oil. Both have NO recommendation for this compartment. Amsoil still recommends their 75W-90, stating it will offer a bit more protection than a 75W-85. I actually spoke to Redline's technical support line. They stated the reason they have no recommendation for the transfer case is that Toyota has not released the specifications for this 75W oil. He also stated that transfer cases have been known to have parts in them that require very specific frictional characteristics of its lubricant. Since they (Redline) doesn't know what those characteristics might be, they cannot formulate an oil, or determine if an existing product they have would be suitable. I suspect this is the case with Amsoil as well.


I also checked the viscosity ratings. Take a look at the following chart:



As you can see, the minimum viscosity of a 75W at 100 degrees Centigrade (Operating temperature, or perhaps a bit above) is only 4.1 cSt. But the minimum viscosity of a 90 weight oil at the same temperature is 13.5 cSt.


This means if you put a 75W-90 in your transfer case, its viscosity will be over 3 times as thick as what is recommended. And we still do not know whether a regular 75W-90 gear oil has the proper frictional characteristics, as the person at Redline pointed out.


Now, here is an image of the product Toyota recommends for the Transfer Case:



Note that the image states the product is specifically for the Transfer Case - not for manual transmissions or differentials, but for transfer cases. It is also VERY expensive - the cheapest I have heard for this product is over $31 per quart. So this could be a very special oil - it is certainly much thinner than regular 75W-90 at operating temperature.


Now, here is my SPECULATION: I doubt the design of the transfer case changed in the 2014 model year and beyond. I suspect they reduced the viscosity to improve and/or maintain the Tundra's miles per gallon rating. Thus I suspect, but cannot prove (or find an authoritative statement from Toyota) that 75W-90 is OK for the transfer case. So, put 75W-90 in the transfer case at your own risk. I have heard anecdotal comments on this and other forums that dealers are still using 75W-90.


As for me, I still haven't decided what to use. I like to change fluids earlier on new vehicles. I will be taking delivery of my 2017 Tundra in early March (it's on order) so I have about 6-8 weeks to make up my mind.


What are others using in their transfer cases in their 2014 and newer Tundras? Have you experienced any issues using 75W-90?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I live in the New England area, and none of the dealers around here stock or can order the Toyota brand transfer case oil as shown in your pic. BTW, great write up. They all say the same thing that they A)use the same 75W-90 that comes in a 50-gallon drum for both the differentials and the transfer case, or B)have a local NAPA deliver the quart size bottles of "Mag1" brand 75W-90 Synthetic to the dealership. I've called Toyota's 800 number about this and they have no answer other than they trust what the dealership technicians are using as an alternative. They also told me that I could google the straight 75W and find it. Yes, I could do that and have it shipped to me, $$$, but if I can order it from somewhere in the states, why can't the dealerships obtain it in the same fashion. I would assume there would have to be some written authorization from Toyota, that the alternative 75W-90 synthetics may also be used. Local dealerships can't let technicians decide on what they feel is an equivalent alternative. That's just not right. I was also told that if a local Toyota dealer "recommends" it outside of what is stated in the owners manual, and they do the service, they would be held accountable if something were to go wrong. BUT, if they still recommend it and I do the service myself, they would not be accountable if something went wrong. What difference should that make of WHO actually performs the service? It was still recommended by them. Not really sure what to do at this point.
 

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After digging further, I have discovered that the supplier for the transfer case in the 4WD Tundra, beginning with the 2014 model year, changed from a Japanese supplier to Borg-Warner. So, this means the change in the required lubricant coincided with the change in the supplier of the transfer case. Here is where I found this information:
BorgWarner Increases Toyota Tundra Transfer Case Production | Tundra Headquarters Blog
 

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After digging further, I have discovered that the supplier for the transfer case in the 4WD Tundra, beginning with the 2014 model year, changed from a Japanese supplier to Borg-Warner. So, this means the change in the required lubricant coincided with the change in the supplier of the transfer case. Here is where I found this information:

BorgWarner Increases Toyota Tundra Transfer Case Production | Tundra Headquarters Blog


You didn't research that. Someone else did on tundra talk
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I actually spoke with an Engineer at BorgWarner today. They recommended to use the straight 75W oil called for in the owners manual. That is what they fill it with from their (BorgWarner) manufacturing facility prior to shipping to Toyota for assembly. I informed him of what my local dealers are doing and refilling with 75W-90. He strongly advised against it. He would have no interest either way in which brand of oil I buy as they don't make it themselves. They have a 800-gallon tanker truck come fill their barrels. He wasn't sure of the brand/manufacturer, but made it clear that the transfer case for 2014-up made by BorgWarner REQUIRES the 75W specifically.
 

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I actually spoke with an Engineer at BorgWarner today. They recommended to use the straight 75W oil called for in the owners manual. That is what they fill it with from their (BorgWarner) manufacturing facility prior to shipping to Toyota for assembly. I informed him of what my local dealers are doing and refilling with 75W-90. He strongly advised against it. He would have no interest either way in which brand of oil I buy as they don't make it themselves. They have a 800-gallon tanker truck come fill their barrels. He wasn't sure of the brand/manufacturer, but made it clear that the transfer case for 2014-up made by BorgWarner REQUIRES the 75W specifically.
GREAT information abrams57! I would love to know what's in the design of the transfer case that requires such a light viscosity. On another forum, someone familiar with the new transfer case tells me the part of the design of the new transfer case involves how the shift forks are activated, that no clutches are involved, and that the part of the design that is different isn't in contact with the gear lube anyway. So, I still feel we don't have the exact story, but I have made the decision to use only the OEM fluid in this unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Below is an email response received from an engineer at BorgWarner.

"The factory fill is straight 75w. The previous 2013 service fill of 75-85w may have been based on what was available in the Toyota service system at the time. Since it is a part-time transfer case (no clutches), it really should matter if they use 75w, 75-85w or 75-90w as long as the first number is 75. This controls the viscosity of the oils cold performance. As far as mixing oils and weights, that normally is not an issue, but it can be in rare cases, since different oil manufacturers us different add packages and we can’t guarantee the interaction between different add packs. However minor amounts, of different oils, such as top off, shouldn’t cause problems. The BorgWarner recommendation is to use the vehicle manufactures recommended fluid. If that is not possible, use the recommended weight oil from a good name brand supplier. Bottom-line, follow the service manual recommendations if possible."
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The engineer I spoke with also inquired with the Chief Engineer at BW. He agreed with the previous response and added this:

"I do not recommend using synthetic lubes in our transfer cases because the seals and sealants have not been validated with synthetic fluids. There are chemicals in the synthetics can degrade parts that are not formulated to work with them. I do not know if our seals and sealant is compatible or not."
 

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abrams57,


OK, this is where I have to disagree with what you were told - although admittedly your information comes from a very authoritative source, I still disagree with it.


First, the 75W fluid is a synthetic. It must be, in order to be so thin and still be stable enough to ensure the temperatures and pressures the transfer case experiences.


Second, today's synthetics are no more likely to harm seals and sealants than regular oils. 40 years ago, this was a concern; today it is not.


I know I am disputing what you were told by the Chief Engineer, but I believe you were given an opinion based on old, obsolete information.


Then again, this is my opinion too. If I were in your shows, I would believe the Chief Engineer, but I do not. Believe me, the 75W is already a synthetic, and it is the OEM fluid.
 

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All,
For those that are curious, I just posted a Virgin/Unused oil analysis of this 75W Transfer Case Oil. There is no doubt, this additive package is VERY different from every normal 75W-90 Gear Lube I have seen. I have committed to using only this OEM fluid in my 2017 Tundra. See the analysis and subsequent discussion here.
 

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The equivalent of the Toyota LF transfer case oil and readily available in U.S is Ravenol MTF-3 75W (Amazon). The Toyota part # 08885-81081 is listed on the front of the Ravenol bottle. Toyota sells the OEM LF type oil in U.S under part # 08885-81080 which is same as 08885-81081 in Europe.
 

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I recently drained my transfer case in my 2014 of the factory oil and filled it with 75w90. The 4wd engagement is no longer almost seamless but noisy, clunky and very noticeable. I would suggest to those considering changing out the fluids to stick to the factory recommended fluid. I will be draining the 75w90 and getting the ravenol.
 
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