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Old 09-26-2007, 07:20 PM   #1
JimJohn1213
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Default Changing RDM Fluid

My 03 AWD is starting to make the dread whaa-whaa sound again in tight turns. The dealer serviced the RDM at 46K. Now have 70K.

I got the Versatrak Fluid from the dealer and was going to change myself but the only fill hole I can see is on the rear of differental. I checked that but fluid was up to the top of the fill hole. Is there another fill/drain hole on the RDM?

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Old 09-27-2007, 11:58 AM   #2
Bill Murray
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

from the FSM
Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle .
Place a drain pan below the rear drive module.
Remove the drain plug from the front of the rear drive module, below the input flange.
Drain the fluid.

AND THE FILL PROCEDURE:

Fill initially with 750 ml (25.4 oz) of fluid. Saturn P/N 12378514.
Install fill plug.


Prime the rear drive module in the service stall:
1.1. Raise and support the vehicle so that all wheels are off of the ground. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle .

1.2. Start the engine and place transmission in a forward gear.

1.3. Slowly apply the park brake until the rear wheels stop rotating.

1.4. Carefully accelerate the engine until the rear wheels begin to rotate.


Important: Do not exceed 5 seconds of park brake apply while vehicle is in gear and the engine is running to avoid overheating of the rear drive module.


1.5. Continue allowing the rear wheels to rotate for 5 seconds.

1.6. Release the accelerator and apply the brakes.

1.7. Place transmission in park or neutral and turn off the engine.

1.8. Release the park brake.

1.9. Raise the vehicle fully.

Alternatively, prime the rear drive module by driving the vehicle on a flat, paved surface in a tight, 360 degree circle for 3 consecutive revolutions at 8 km/h (5 mph).
Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle .



Clean the area around the fluid fill plug.
Remove the fluid fill plug.



Using a length of heavy mechanics wire or equivalent, position a 90 degree bend approximately 25 mm (1 in) from the end of the wire.
Place the angled end of the wire into the fluid fill plug hole.
Rest the wire squarely on the threads of the fill plug hole.
Remove the wire and measure the distance between the bend and the fluid level as indicated by the witness mark.
Specification
The distance from the bend to the witness mark should be 8-17 mm (0.32-0.68 in).

Adjust the fluid level as required by adding or removing fluid Saturn P/N 12378514.
Thoroughly clean the fill plug threads and apply sealer Saturn P/N 21485278 to the threads.
Install the rear drive module fill plug.
Tighten
Tighten the fill plug to 35 Nm (26 lb ft).

Lower the vehicle.

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Old 09-27-2007, 06:28 PM   #3
JimJohn1213
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Murray View Post
from the FSM
Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle .
Place a drain pan below the rear drive module.
Remove the drain plug from the front of the rear drive module, below the input flange.
Drain the fluid.

AND THE FILL PROCEDURE:

Fill initially with 750 ml (25.4 oz) of fluid. Saturn P/N 12378514.
Install fill plug.


Prime the rear drive module in the service stall:
1.1. Raise and support the vehicle so that all wheels are off of the ground. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle .

1.2. Start the engine and place transmission in a forward gear.

1.3. Slowly apply the park brake until the rear wheels stop rotating.

1.4. Carefully accelerate the engine until the rear wheels begin to rotate.


Important: Do not exceed 5 seconds of park brake apply while vehicle is in gear and the engine is running to avoid overheating of the rear drive module.


1.5. Continue allowing the rear wheels to rotate for 5 seconds.

1.6. Release the accelerator and apply the brakes.

1.7. Place transmission in park or neutral and turn off the engine.

1.8. Release the park brake.

1.9. Raise the vehicle fully.

Alternatively, prime the rear drive module by driving the vehicle on a flat, paved surface in a tight, 360 degree circle for 3 consecutive revolutions at 8 km/h (5 mph).
Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle .



Clean the area around the fluid fill plug.
Remove the fluid fill plug.



Using a length of heavy mechanics wire or equivalent, position a 90 degree bend approximately 25 mm (1 in) from the end of the wire.
Place the angled end of the wire into the fluid fill plug hole.
Rest the wire squarely on the threads of the fill plug hole.
Remove the wire and measure the distance between the bend and the fluid level as indicated by the witness mark.
Specification
The distance from the bend to the witness mark should be 8-17 mm (0.32-0.68 in).

Adjust the fluid level as required by adding or removing fluid Saturn P/N 12378514.
Thoroughly clean the fill plug threads and apply sealer Saturn P/N 21485278 to the threads.
Install the rear drive module fill plug.
Tighten
Tighten the fill plug to 35 Nm (26 lb ft).

Lower the vehicle.
Bill many many thanks!

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Old 09-29-2007, 05:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Did the fluid change yesterday and noise is gone,

Bill, thanks again for posting the FSM instructions. Changing the RDM fluid is easier than changing the engine oil.

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Old 09-29-2007, 09:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Bill; Thanks a ton for posting this procedure - this is one of the many preservation jobs I intend to do on our 5-yr old VUEs this Fall.

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Old 09-30-2007, 11:29 PM   #6
Dante
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2004 VUE Red Line
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Wrench Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
Bill; Thanks a ton for posting this procedure - this is one of the many preservation jobs I intend to do on our 5-yr old VUEs this Fall.
Yeah Bill thanks for posting this. This procedure probably needs to be done about every 15K to 20K, judging from my experience. My RDM started the wah-wahs initially at about 12k to 15k. The dealer replaced the fluid (this was before they were swapping them out) and it went away for 12K to 15K miles, then it came back and I changed the fluid. Again, the RDM went silent (works better after a fluid change too). Now after another 15K it's wah-wah'ing harder than ever! Time for another change! That Versatrak fluid isn't cheap, but it's the only thing keeping my ORIGINAL '04 AWD RDM working, I think! This time I think I'm going to send a sample in to Blackstone labs to see how much of the gears and clutch plates is grinding off into the fluid. My clutch plates are probably shot.

...
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Old 10-01-2007, 12:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Wow... never heard of this service procedure or info before. I guess I was away from the forums for way too long.

THANK YOU to both Bill for detailing the procedure, and Dante for the info on the service frequency!!

I still have the original RDM in my '04 RL as I refused the recall exchange, but at 36,419mi. I have also never had the fluid changed. (Did not know it could be done...) I hope it's not too late. I'd like to preserve the original RDM as long as possible.

Thanks again to you both for the info you've provided. (and to JimJohn1213 for posting the question!)


...
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'07 VUE AWD V6

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Old 10-01-2007, 08:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

After successfully changing out my RDM fluid, I ended up with one final thought. Does the power take off from the transmission also require fluid/oil changes? Anyone know?

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Old 10-01-2007, 03:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimJohn1213 View Post
After successfully changing out my RDM fluid, I ended up with one final thought. Does the power take off from the transmission also require fluid/oil changes? Anyone know?
You're right, there has to be a PTO with a 90-degree change of axis to power the rear drive shaft. According to everything I found when I looked into this last year, it is permanently lubed and there is no provision for changing the lube. If a leak becomes obvious at the front end of the driveshaft a cover can be removed and the unit serviced. I don't like 'permanently lubed' anything in a vehicle, especially considering this PTO is spinning that driveshaft all the time whether the RDM is engaged or not.

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Old 10-04-2007, 06:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

I have a couple questions for those of you who have already done this at least once.

1. Since I can't get the truck up in the air right now, what size wrench is needed to remove the RDM fluid plugs?

2. My dealer only sells 16oz. bottles of the Versatrak fluid, so any suggestions on measuring out the proper 25.4 oz.?

3. Space looks pretty tight under there, can the Versatrak be poured straight from the bottle, or is there a special trick to accomplish this?

I appreciate the assistance!


...
'04 VUE RedLine AWD V6
'07 VUE AWD V6

'03 Chevy T-Blaser EXT V8
'67 Ply. Fury III Convert. # matching 383, all original!
'83 Firebird SE w/Hi-perf. SBC

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Old 10-05-2007, 02:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Lime4U View Post
I have a couple questions for those of you who have already done this at least once.

1. Since I can't get the truck up in the air right now, what size wrench is needed to remove the RDM fluid plugs?

2. My dealer only sells 16oz. bottles of the Versatrak fluid, so any suggestions on measuring out the proper 25.4 oz.?

3. Space looks pretty tight under there, can the Versatrak be poured straight from the bottle, or is there a special trick to accomplish this?

I appreciate the assistance!

2Lime,

I would have to recheck tonight but I believe the drain plug is a 6mm allen and the filler plug was a 9mm allen.

I ended up buying two 16.9 oz bottles of the Versatrak fluid. The bottles I got had a white transparent stripe on the side with ml makings. Each 16.9 oz bottle is 500 ml. So for the initial re-fill I put 1.5 bottles did the drive check and then top off.

I did mine without even jacking up the car. There is enough space to slide under it. The Saturn dealer I got the Versatrak fluid from gave me a plastic cap with a plastic hose I could bend to fit in the filler hole. That worked OK but you really need to get the bottle above the filler hole. There is space but it is tight. When I do it next time I will probably get a small funnel with a plastic hose and just pour the fluid in.

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Old 10-07-2007, 10:12 PM   #12
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimJohn1213 View Post
2Lime,

I would have to recheck tonight but I believe the drain plug is a 6mm allen and the filler plug was a 9mm allen.

I ended up buying two 16.9 oz bottles of the Versatrak fluid. The bottles I got had a white transparent stripe on the side with ml makings. Each 16.9 oz bottle is 500 ml. So for the initial re-fill I put 1.5 bottles did the drive check and then top off.

I did mine without even jacking up the car. There is enough space to slide under it. The Saturn dealer I got the Versatrak fluid from gave me a plastic cap with a plastic hose I could bend to fit in the filler hole. That worked OK but you really need to get the bottle above the filler hole. There is space but it is tight. When I do it next time I will probably get a small funnel with a plastic hose and just pour the fluid in.

Thanks for the info.

I had my wife pick up the fluid & the parts man gave her 2 32oz. bottles, although he told me they were 16oz. Total was $43. w/tax which is pretty reasonable.
I'm doing this on my RL and don't have enough space for my skinny-self to crawl under and look, so the allen wrench info is extremely helpful. I'll have to run out to buy those 'cuz I don't have any mm sizes, just standards.
Thanks for the hose tip too. I've got some extra fish tank hose that should be good enough to do the job.

...
'04 VUE RedLine AWD V6
'07 VUE AWD V6

'03 Chevy T-Blaser EXT V8
'67 Ply. Fury III Convert. # matching 383, all original!
'83 Firebird SE w/Hi-perf. SBC

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Old 10-12-2007, 09:54 PM   #13
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

Royal Purple Synchromax is better, at NAPA, and much cheaper. I drain and refill with 1 quart once a year. I'm on my 3rd year.

I also got this procedure from the Saturn tech. They don't measure like the manual. Once the RDM is drained the pump is dry. They fill to the top of the fill hole which is about one quart to include the waste in the hose / funnel you need to get the fluid in there. Done.

Last edited by Jldet5; 10-12-2007 at 10:01 PM..

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Old 10-14-2007, 11:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Changing RDM Fluid

You can get a simple hand pump with a tube at the auto parts store to put fluid in and push it into inaccessable fill holes. You might consider backing the car onto some low ramps. Since the drain plug is at the front of the RDM this will facilitate draining. On filling it would give you that slight over fill which should be taken up by priming the pump. After driving the car, find a dead level place to check the level. Remove fill plug and check fliud level according to procedure.

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