Replacing the rear differential fluid in the 2004 Ford Ranger is a commonly overlooked maintenance project. The Ford factory service manual recommends replacing the fluid every 150,000 miles under normal operating conditions, and more often if you use the truck to tow heavy loads. Draining the fluid without making a huge mess can be difficult and no one likes to smell like gear oil. This maintenance project can be completed by the average home mechanic in about an hour, using basic hand tools.
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Things you need
- Socket set
- Drain pan
Secure the front wheels with wheel chocks to prevent movement of the truck while you are working under it. Raise the rear wheels off the ground using a floor jack placed under the differential. Position jack stands under the rear axle tubes. Lower the truck onto the jack stands and remove the jack.
Position the drain pan under the rear differential to catch the draining gear oil. Loosen, but do not remove, the 13-mm bolts that attach the rear differential cover to the differential.
Use a screwdriver to carefully pry the differential cover away from the differential. Allow the fluid to drain into the drain pan. This may take several minutes since the gear oil is very thick. Once the oil is drained remove the 13-mm attaching bolts and the differential cover. Clean the gasket surface thoroughly before reinstalling the cover.
Refill the differential with the approved gear oil. The information on the type and quantity required for your Ranger will be in the owner's manual.