Had a shop do a drain/fill on my Pathfinder's transfer case


Aug 14, 2003
Buffalo, NY
With tax, supplies, labor he charged me about $65. I'll pay that all day long for this particular job! This is not a fun job laying on your back under the vehicle with 3 feet of extensions, wobble adapters, etc. I used a pump garden sprayer with a piece of tubing over the wand to sneak gear oil back into the little bugger. Last time I did it my arms looked like I ran though barbed wire.

Being OCD, knowing how expensive these little T-cases are and how little gear oil they hold, I changed it myself at 25K miles and 35K. This vehicle was an ex-rental I bought with ~24K miles on it. At 25K the factory 80w90 was black and glittery with metal. It was marginally better at 35K. My shop guy said it was dark when he changed it for me the other day at 75K miles. I'll probably not touch it or have it touched again.

Just throwing this out there for my fellow Nissan 4x4 / AWD owners. If you have a shop you like, have them do it. I'd imagine dealers would charge quite a bit more.
My old Rav4 had a leak in the transfer case and I had to top it off every 10k miles. A shop wanted about $1000 to repair/replace it. Topping it off wasn't fun but after a few times it wasn't too bad. It was quite the puzzle figuring it out the first time where to put the ratchet and how many extensions were needed. I had an old sweatshirt that I wore so I only piece of clothing was ruined with gear oil stink.

I used an oil or gear oil pump like this:

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My old Rav4 had a leak in the transfer case and I had to top it off every 10k miles. A shop wanted about $1000 to repair/replace it...

The silly cantaloupe sized T-case on 2013+ (FWD based) Pathfinders is a $3000 part and a lot of labor to R/R. Last I checked, this is more expensive than a replacement CVT!

Nissan does offer a replacement seal kit should you have a leak that doesn't ruin the unit. They hold so little oil, once you discover a leak, it's usually too late.
That is a really good price for not having to get it done by you! I'm due for a trans pan drop and filter on my 15 F150 and I have my buddy do the transfer case at the same time since it's up on the lift. Now I'm 50 and at a reasonable cost, worth every $$.
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My 2019 Infiniti QX60 - sister car to Pathfinder- is a nuisance for Transfer Case, I use a special syringe with 3 feet of clear tubing to get the oil inside. Yes, it's not a fun task.
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did you consider using the valvoline gear oil that comes in the bags, that may have been simpler than a garden sprayer.

I sure have.

You'd still have to attach a foot or more of tubing to the tip on the squeeze bag of gear oil. The refill/level check port is really in a rough spot to reach on these vehicles. It's up high, aimed towards the rear of the vehicle and has exhaust and other stuff in the way.

Thankfully the rear differential is so much easier to DIY. It also holds nearly 2qts of gear oil and doesn't seem to beat up the oil at all like the T-case.