I drained the oil from the differential in preparation for disassembling the rear wheel hubs and axle. Fist I propped the differential up on my jackstands, to provide better access to the plugs. Having spent an hour yesterday and another hour this afternoon cleaning it, the diff looked pretty nice at this point.
I started by removing the breather, using a 5/8″ socket.
On the right rear of the differential are a fill plug and a drain plug. It is always a good idea to ensure that the fill plug comes out prior to removing the drain plug and draining the differential. I used the drive of my 1/2″ drive socket to loosen the fill plug.
I removed the fill plug and then positioned my oil pan underneath the differential in preparation for draining.
Then I removed the drain plug: first using my 1/2″ drive breaker bar to gain some leverage and break it loose, then using the socket wrench with no socket, then spinning it off the last few turns so I could catch it in my hand.
Then the oil drained out of the differential. It smelled a little sour, but I suppose that is normal.
I lifted the axle up on each end in order to drain as much of the oil as possible. I will replenish the differential oil after I’ve done some work on the rear brakes. I don’t know what all the fuss is about–it is easy to change the differential gear oil, all you have to do is remove the rest of the car from the diff first!