Toyota RAV4 transfer case fluid.

Messages
180
Location
VA, US
I have a 2011 RAV4, V6, 4WD, bought used this year, now has 72k miles. The manual says to use for the transfer case and rear diff GL-5 SAE 80W-90 oil (0.48 qts).

I did a drain and filled with Super Tech 75W-90 Full Synthetic, just to see if it makes a difference. The light whine that I was hearing previously in front disappeared. The fluid color on rear differential was grayish and in the front transfer case was much darker. The ports where very tight, so I assume that the fluid inside was OE.

This car is without a tow hitch, so it was never used for towing, even if it is listed as having a "tow package" (for Toyota means mainly that the radiator is just a smidgen thicker and the general fuse is slightly bigger).

Now I am planning to add a tow hitch an tow with this vehicle. Tempted to switch to a brand-name fluid now (AMSOIL) now, but I am not convinced that is really needed (this is not an issue money-wise).
Also I was wondering if I should go higher on hot viscosity index like 75W-110 (AMSOIL). Summer here can be brutally hot and I really don't care if I lose some gas mileage.
Anyone knows of any negative aspects of that change (besides mileage)?

Also those Synthetic gear fluids say "compatible with LS", but my transfer cases/diff are open (no LS). I don't think that's relevant. Is it?
 
Messages
445
Location
MN
I use Supertech in our 2011 Rav4 also.

I say just shorten the OCI intervals of the gear oil if you are planning to pull things around. No real need to change brands unless it gives you the tinglies. The capacity is so little that I would drain and check more often if you are abusing it.

And "LS" fluids don't hurt where its not needed. It hurts if you need it and don't have it.
 

SoNic67

Thread starter
Messages
180
Location
VA, US
Yeah, the capacity is just 1/2 of a Qt on each, so that's why I was tempted to splurge.
About shorten OCI recommended by Toyota - that means (to me) that the OE fluid suffers transformations during towing (heating).
I thought that a "better" oil can last longer while towing, keep its specs longer.
 
Messages
16,055
Location
Upper Midwest
This car is without a tow hitch, so it was never used for towing, even if it is listed as having a "tow package" (for Toyota means mainly that the radiator is just a smidgen thicker and the general fuse is slightly bigger).
Didn't the tow package also include a higher output alternator and (most importantly) a transmission fluid cooler? That cooler is a big deal on my old Sienna, it probably had a lot to do with the longevity I've seen.
 

SoNic67

Thread starter
Messages
180
Location
VA, US
I don't know what a "extra transmission cooler" means to them.
In my V6, TO, that it's just a vertical compartment in the main coolant radiator, on passenger side. I know that the 4 cyl ones have just a water-oil heat exchanger puck, but that's for way lesser tow rating.

On my Ford Explorer, when they said it had "tow package", Ford added an auxiliary cooler, to the integral cooler (the one shared with engine coolant). Also they have added the connection for the towing lights, Toyota wants $100 extra for that.
 
Messages
16,055
Location
Upper Midwest
For my old Sienna there is an auxiliary transmission cooler in the left front fender area, it exhausts near the wheel. Later models also had an engine oil cooler but mine does not.
 
Messages
7,193
Location
California
I always default to 75W-90 synthetics for many automotive drive lines that need gear oil unless cost or OEM calls for different.

That little RAV4’s AWD system isn’t like a Subaru or Honda(Real-Time 4WD) that acts by pure mechanics but the PTO and rear diff will be a little cooler with a synthetic.
 
Messages
7,193
Location
California
Subaru is full-time AWD, while RT4WD/VTM-4 and Toyota AWD on the car-based SUVs is a part-time system.

Real-Time 4WD is a elegant system when you look into how it works - two oil pumps in the rear diff(hence why the fluid for it is called Dual Pump Fluid) with a multi-plate clutch. If the rear wheels spin at a different speed compared to the front wheels, one of the oil pumps will turn faster and apply a cam to engage a clutch to power the rear wheels. Otherwise, when the oil pumps(hence the wheels) are spinning at a similar rate of speed, the oil pressure is in equilibrium - clutches are disengaged.
 

SoNic67

Thread starter
Messages
180
Location
VA, US
Toyota does that more elegantly, electrically, with a solenoid controlled by PWD, using as speed sensors the ABS sensors. Not a big deal because the front and rear are tied together by that clutch... Is not a differential. Watch tests done on YT (or the link that I posted) and you will see, a true AWD with limited differentials is much more versatile.

But for whatever I need it is good enough.
 
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