When I have time on my hands I invariably gravitate towards the bicycle, garage or garden. Like most people at the moment, time on my hands is something I have in an abundance. I’d already done a big ride the day before, the garden was looking OK so the garage was next point of call.

The recommended service interval for changing the differential and swivel oil is 6,000 miles (10,000 Kms). As the differentials and universal joints are all new to the vehicle, an earlier service is advisable.

The oil used to lubricate the differentials and universal joints (the parts inside the swivel housing) is called EP90; the EP standing for Extreme Pressure and is designed to provide a metal to metal barrier between gears. (SAE90 doesn’t provide this protection but is the same viscosity)

When new, these large mechanical components “wear in” relatively quickly, the oil fast becomes heavy with tiny metal particles and becomes less effective at providing the metal to metal barrier.

Changing the oil at the recommended frequency ensures component longevity.


It’s a lot easier to access the swivel drain and fill points with the wheels removed.

Starting with the drivers side swivel housing….

Before draining the fluid it’s good practice to make sure the filler plugs can be removed.

Once the filler plug is removed, the drain plug can be removed…

It’s quite a small hole for the oil to drain from and it takes a good 10 mins for the 750mm of run out.

Front axle filler plug is removed prior to draining the oil.
I once read an article in one off the UK Land Rover magazines where someone had drained the oil from the axle and was unable to extract the filler plug. He had to remove the axle to fill it back up again via the drain hole!

Next a cold chisel and adjustable spanner it used to loosen and remove the drain plug.

Spent oil is drained out

I didn’t take any pictures of draining the passenger swivel housing. With all of the oil drained out, its time to fill everything back up.

We’ll be needing some of this. Shiny new EP90

I use a funnel and a lengthy of 12mm garden hose for the refilling exercise.

It’s a lot easier than lying under the vehicle trying to aim the oil at the filler hole in the axle and a lot less messy… for my arms and the garage floor.

Repeat with both swivels

The axle takes 1.7 litres of EP90 and each swivel takes 0.7 litres. It’s not essential to be all that exact when filling up as these volumes equate to the oil reaching the bottom edge of the respective filler holes. Once you see it flowing back out, you’ve added enough oil. This is the same with the rear differential and both gearbox cases.

Finally, the wheels go back on the axle stands removed.


This is a bit quicker as there’s no steering swivels. The rear axle works a lot harder than the front. This is because in normal driving conditions, the Land Rover is driven in rear wheel drive only. The front differential is just idling as it’s driven around by the road wheels. There’s no load applied unless 4 wheel drive is selected.

On the Series 2 and 2a, 88” the rear axle has the filler plug on the differential housing. This is referred to as a “Rover” diff.
Same drill as last time… remove the filler plug first…
Loosen and remove the drain plug…

Drain the spent oil out.
It doesn’t show up in the photos but the oil in the rear axle was a lot dirtier than that in the front.

Refill using the tried and tested, mess free hose and funnel trick

All the drained oil is decanted into an old 20 litre jerry can ready for a trip to the recycling centre.

Last job (after washing my hands and making a cup of tea) was to fill out the service record in LGLs book and dial in the next differential and swivel service.

Job done 🙂