Installation Guide for Aftermarket Differential Covers and Their Importance

Off-roading is a blast whether you’re tackling rocky trails, navigating through mud pits, or conquering steep inclines. Having the right vehicle and equipment makes for a safe and fun experience. However, cutting your adventure short or having to fork out a hefty sum to repair a broken differential can ruin things. That’s where aftermarket differential covers come in.

Upgrading your rig’s differential cover may not be the first modification that comes to mind when designing your custom-built 4×4 but it can make all the difference in your off-roading experience.

The Importance of Aftermarket Differential Covers

Before delving into the installation process, it’s essential to understand why aftermarket differential covers are worth considering. Stock differential covers are typically made of thin, stamped steel that may not provide adequate protection against impact, debris, and heat. Aftermarket differential covers, on the other hand, are constructed from durable materials such as cast aluminum or high-strength steel and are therefore stronger and more durable.

Additionally, aftermarket covers often feature increased fluid capacity and enhanced cooling fins which help dissipate heat more effectively, leading to prolonged differential life and improved performance.

Upgrading to an aftermarket differential cover can also provide much-needed peace of mind when tackling challenging terrain or towing heavy loads, knowing that your differential is well-protected against damage and overheating.

Installation Guide

Now that we know how important they are, let’s walk through how to install an aftermarket differential cover on your 4×4:

Gather materials

Before getting started, ensure you gather all the tools and materials you’ll need including:

  • Aftermarket differential cover kit
  • Oil drain pan
  • New differential cover gasket or RTV silicone gasket maker
  • Socket wrench set
  • Torque wrench
  • Brake cleaner or solvent
  • Shop towels or rags

Prepare the vehicle

Park your vehicle on a stable, level surface and engage the parking brake. If necessary, raise the vehicle using a jack and jack stands to provide access to the differential.

Drain the fluid

Take the oil drain pan and put it under the differential. Locate the differential drain plug and carefully remove it to start draining the oil into the pan. Allow it to drain completely before proceeding.

Remove the stock cover

Using a socket wrench, loosen and remove the bolts securing the stock differential cover to the differential housing. Once all the bolts are removed, carefully pry the stock cover away from the housing using a pry bar. A flat-head screwdriver can also work. Be prepared for some residual oil to leak out.

Clean the housing

Thoroughly clean the differential housing mating surface using brake cleaner or solvent and a shop towel or rag. Take care to remove any dirt, debris, or old gasket material to ensure a clean and smooth surface for the new cover to seal properly.

Install the new cover

Position the new aftermarket differential cover over the housing, checking that it aligns properly with the bolt holes. If necessary, apply a thin bead of RTV silicone gasket maker or install a new differential cover gasket to the mating surface of the cover.

Secure the cover

Insert the bolts provided with the aftermarket cover and hand-tighten them to hold the cover in place. Then using a torque wrench, tighten the bolts to the manufacturer’s specified torque rating in a crisscross pattern to ensure even pressure and proper sealing.

Refill with oil

Using a funnel, carefully refill the differential with the appropriate type and quantity of gear oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific fluid recommendations and capacity.

Check for leaks

Once the new cover is securely in place and filled with fluid, start the vehicle and check for any signs of leakage around the cover. If there are any leaks, tighten the bolts further or apply an additional RTV silicone gasket maker as needed.

Test drive

Take your vehicle for a test drive to make sure that the differential is functioning properly and that there are no unusual noises or vibrations. Also, monitor the differential fluid level and check for any signs of overheating during the test drive.

Upgrading to an aftermarket differential cover is a relatively simple and cost-effective way to enhance the durability of your vehicle’s differential.

If you want to make this upgrade or other modifications to your Jeep or truck, contact Dixie 4 Wheel Drive. We also offer different service and maintenance packages for vehicles to enhance their off-roading performance. Visit us or call us to find out what else we offer.

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