Heavy Duty Differential Cover Installation Write-Up

Installing a set of heavy duty replacement differential covers is one of the cheapest modifications you can do to your Jeep that’ll help it look cool and give it some extra protection. They are also of the easiest to install and can be done in about 15-30 minutes an axle. This write-up outlines what you’ll need to install most aftermarket differential covers as well as show you how to do it. While this write-up is written in regards to a front Dana 44 axle, the process is exactly the same for the rear and even for a Dana 30 or Dana 35. The only thing that is different is the cover being used.

Heavy Duty Differential Cover Installation Write-Up


  1. I just changed my diff covers out and called two dealers to make shure I got the correct fluid capacities for both 44 diffs on a 2007 Rubicon. The Front takes 2.7 pints=1.35 quarts and the rear takes 4.75 pints=2.375 quarts.

    I do not know if the front diff in this write up has the
    e-lokcker, or not, and maybe it does take 2 full quarts…But when I changed my front cover it looked EXACTLY like the diff in the pictures here.

    Over filling can cause the seals to blow out sometimes and cause worse lubricating of bearings and gears because of airation/foaming of the oil.

  2. Is it simply a matter of preference to use RTV?
    Or is something such as the LubeLocker just as good?

    Great Writeup!!!
    These comprehensive wirteups take a lot of the guesswork and mystery out of seemingly daunting tasks.

    Thanks WayOfLife!!!!

  3. Paul,
    I agree that over-filling your diff can be a problem but in my experience, only to the extent that it’ll make a stinking mess as your gear oil pumps out of the breather tube. Above and beyond that, I have never heard of any seals blowing or bearing damage being caused by it. Either way, I guess I should clairify that approximately 4-bottles for both axles is what you want to fill your diffs up to – the fronts will need slightly less and the rear slightly more. 🙂

    I have used RTV for as long as I can remember and have always had great no-leak results with it. While I’m sure that the Lubelocker works great, I just haven’t seen the need to use it.


  4. “tighten them to 25-30 ft. lbs. of torque using a 1/4″ allen bit.”

    I understand how to apply the indicated torque with a torque wrench, but it appears that you are using just a ratchet. How do you ensure the proper torque? Sorry if this has an obvious answer–it’s all new to me. Thanks, and superb job on the various write-ups!

  5. I just used a ratchet to get them on and then came back with a torque wrench afterwards. Either way, pretty tight by hand and a simple ratchet will get you to 25-30 ft. lbs.


  6. Depends on how deep the water is and if you have any openings that might allow water to get in. So long as everything is sealed up good (no leaks), you should be fine. Other wise, a quick visual check of the fluid should tell you if it’s been compromised with water (looks like milk).


  7. Eddie-

    Where did you get your H14 hex bit? I’ve gone to Sears and Pep Boys and can’t find anything that large. The largest that I’ve seen in only 10mm.


  8. Also, I’ve read some recent posts about problems with the rear trackbar rubbing the Solid dif cover. I’m running a teraflex 2.5″ BB. Do you think that I will have rubbing isssues?

  9. Frank, I got mine as part of a set from Autozone.

    Regarding SOLID diff covers, I am running one now and do not have any problems in the rear with rubbing but I do have a Full Traction track bar. I’m not 100% sure if it will make contact with a factory one.


  10. Did everyone else have axles that were over-filled by the factory? When I removed the fill plug on my stock cover lube poured out. I never had a problem with lube venting out the tube with the over-filled axles. I am worried about my new levels because I filled them to the right (Front 1.35 qt or 1278 ml) & (2.375 qt or 2247 ml) amounts which is less than what the factory put in. Any suggestions?

  11. I think it should be noted that in case you break one of the included screws, they are 5/16″ 18×3/4″ socket head cap screws.

  12. I just bought a set of these and plan on putting them on this weekend. The instructions say you have to do some grinding to make room for the lockers on the Rubicon. Have you had any experience with that?

  13. i have not but have hear of some people having issues with the switch which sits directly in front of the fill hole. if you do a test fit and look through the hole with a flashlight, you can see what i am refering to.

  14. I am about to replace my stock diff covers with a set of Riddler Diff Covers, and was wondering if I could re-use my old diff oil. I just had it changed about a month ago and don’t want to spend another $60 on new oil. Thanks for the writeup and the help!

  15. i suppose it is possible to reuse your oil but i would prefer not to. just be careful when draining it and make sure you don’t get any contaminants in the oil.

  16. Great write up, helped out quite a bit being that it didnt come with installation instructions. WOL rocks!

  17. I’ve got an 07 JK with a limited slip differential.
    Just wondering about the excess RTV on the inside of the diff cover. If there is too much, will it cause any issues with the functioning of the fluid or cause any problems at all.
    (I had the cover slide around a bit before I got the first bolt in)

  18. Just a tip on making it easier to put the diff covers back on… once you put the bead of RTV on the cover, it can be tricky to “one hand” it back onto the axle without smearing the bead while trying to start the first screw. Here’s what I do:

    Get two longer bolts (2 to 4 inches, your preference or whatever is available) with the same thread as the regular bolts. Put the bead of RTV on the cover, then put the two long bolts through and screw them in enough to hold your cover steady while not yet making surface contact with the bead of RTV onto the axle.

    Now that the diff cover is suspended in place by the two bolts, you can gingerly slide it forward to make contain with the axle and then start putting in your regular bolts. Then remove the two long bolts and replace them with the remaining two regular bolts.

    Voila! A nice neat beaded seal with no fuss and no smear.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Cars » Jeep JK Wrangler SOLID Differential Cover Installation
  2. Project-JK.com - Jeep JK Wrangler Resource » Jeep JK Wrangler Maintenance Differential Fluid Change Write-Up

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