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Hi guys,
been trolling around here a while, but decided to post. 2015 MDX is the first AWD vehicle I've ever owned, so first time I have ever had to change a rear differential fluid. Just to consolidate some knowledge that I researched on various posts and put it all in one place, I hope I will save someone some time and energy. I will try to make the actual post as free of commercial bias as possible, but if you are interested in weblinks, I will put them at the end.

Here is what I used for tools:
Oil change:
17mm socket wrench for drain plug
65mm 14 Flutes End Cap Oil Filter Wrench, the one I got has a 1/2" drive internally and a hex outer drive that I use a monkey wrench on
long-neck funnel to fill back the oil from the top

Rear differential fluid change:
3/8" drive socket wrench (+ a pipe I used as a cheater bar)...so don't think a 1/2" breaker bar is going to work! It is just the 3/8" square hole that you plug the socket wrench into (no outer hex). Though I didn't use it, a 6" extension may be helpful for the fill plug.
Differential fluid pump (about $7.50 online)

Here is what I used for parts:
Oil change:
Honda 15400-PLM-A01PE Oil (Filtech Toyo Roki) Filter
Mobil 1 0W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil - 5 Quart
14mm crush washer

Rear diff fluid change:
Acura DFSW (need 3 qts, since the case holds ~2.75 quarts...and there is some mess to getting it all in)
18mm and 20mm crush washers for the drain and fill plugs respectively

********************
How to do it:
Oil change:
Drain plug for engine oil is under the engine on the passenger side, about as far in as the wheel, nut faces rear (and there is actual etching on the oil reservoir telling you to use 0w20). 17mm socket wrench to remove the drain plug nut. It is tight, but I can fit underneath and do the oil change without jacking up the car. I put the drain plug right back on as soon as it's done draining, so I don't forget to put it back on before I pour the new oil in. Use the 14mm crush washer. I don't use a torque wrench (most people say about 25ft-lbs), I've always just snugged it up by hand using a standard socket wrench, as I figure the crush washer should take care of the "if I am overzealous" scenario. But to each their own on whether to use a torque wrench to tighten the drain plug bolt.

The oil filter is also in that vicinity, just higher up and closer to the wheel. To get best access to the oil filter, I come in from the wheel well (still laying in the same spot as to loosen the drain plug, but reaching around from the outside->in) to first loosen the filter with the wrench (65mm, 14 flute oil filter wrench, plus my adjustable monkey wrench), then finish the removal by hand. I try to leave a towel of sorts on top of the metal bar in your way to try and keep it as clean as possible, but that is optional (and obscures your visualization of what you are doing). Smear a bit of the old oil on the rubber gasket of your new oil filter and put it back on. Also I just tighten by hand "by feel" (figure that is what the gasket is there for). Again, if you want to use a torque wrench to 8.7 ft-lbs, be my guest. You might need to take the wheel off to get that fancy torque wrench on there though (I don't take the wheel off for my oil filter change).

Don't forget to fill the oil up! 5 qts. Tip on keeping it neat...I stab my funnel through a paper towel before putting the funnel into the fill reservoir (which is located somewhat deeply right in the front center of the engine compartment). I don't like smoking oil from spillage, and admittedly I have spilled some oil from the big 5 qt jug outside the funnel (usually I am fairly neat, but not always). Don't forget to cap the fill reservoir. Congratulations, that's it.

*******
Rear differential fluid change:
Again, don't need to jack up the vehicle. And there is a bit more space to work back here in the back.
1) Remove the spare tire. The lower you go, the easier it is to put it back later. (Lift up the back compartment in the trunk, and the liner. Take off the rubber plug and use the long end of the crowbar to turn the bolt to lower the wheel. Remove the suspension cable from the middle of the tire, and put the tire off to the side)
2) Rear differential fluid case is right in the middle. Fill plug is up higher, right in-line with a large cutout hole, and drain plug is below. Both have a central 3/8" square drive with no outer hex. You will know you are in the right place especially if you see the letters "DPSF" etched on the case.
3) 3/8" breaker bar might be helpful (I just used a standard socket wrench with a pipe "cheater bar", since I don't like working too hard). I would loosen the fill plug first to make sure you can get that open. Last thing you want to do is drain it all out, and then realize you can't fill it back up.
4) Remove both plugs (I usually do 1 at a time, so I don't mix things up.) Drain plug has a long smooth extension, in case you do get the 2 mixed up. Drain oil. Put plug back with a new 18mm crush washer.
5) Use a fluid pump to pump new fluid back in. I used about 2.75L (so get 3 bottles!) before it started to overflow out the fill plug hole. Put plug back in with a new 20mm crush washer.
6) Put back the spare tire. Ironically, this is what I struggled with the most. The DPSF is so slippery (thankfully I was using a plastic drape on the ground where I had made some mess), and where I was tilting the tire from could not get a grip to stay put, until I REALLY loosened the suspension cable to make it so I could get the tire back onto the cable. Congratulations on getting your Rear Diff Fluid changed.

****************
Here are some weblinks for some of the things I bought to help me with this project:
(I had a socket wrench set with 17mm socket already, and just picked up a long neck oil funnel at Walmart)
**oil filter wrench ($6.88) -
**Genuine Honda 15400-PLM-A01PE Oil (Filtech Toyo Roki) Filter $9.35 (but cheaper in larger quantities) -
**Mobil 1 0W20 synthetic oil (5qts) $23.88 -
**14mm oil drain plug crush washer(I bought like 10) - 94109-14000 | Acura Drain Plug Washer (14MM) - Bernardi Parts

**Differential fluid pump (fits on quart bottles) $7.26 -
**Acura DPSF (get 3 quarts/bottles!) - 08200-9007A | Acura All-Wheel Drive Fluid (DPSF) - Bernardi Parts
**20mm crush washer (also used for transfer case plug, so I bought like 15) - 94109-20000 | Acura WASHER, DRAIN PLUG (20MM) - Bernardi Parts
**18mm crush washer (bought 7, since they were more expensive) - 90471-PX4-000 | Acura WASHER, DRAIN PLUG (18MM) - Bernardi Parts

Hope it is helpful to someone out there to have it all in one place and know that it is info specific to 3rd gen MDX's.

-bd
 

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Thanks for the write-up! :29:

Just a few things to ask/add:
1. Does it make it easier to turn the steering wheel full lock to the right to access the oil filter? I know on older models it did, but I'm not sure about the third gen.

2. Does the drain plug on the rear diff still have a magnet on it? If so how dirty was it?

3. I haven't gone underneath my MDX yet to take a look, but I thought I saw a small piece of metal protruding down from the rear diff. What does it look like? Is there a little flat spot on the bottom of it to help it sit on the saddle of a floor jack?

4. Just wanted to note that one of the best times to check the spare tire pressure is when you do the rear diff fluid change. For those cars that still come with a spare, that's one of the things that's most easily neglected.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Just going to interject my responses...

>>>1. Does it make it easier to turn the steering wheel full lock to the right to access the oil filter? I know on older models it did, but I'm not sure about the third gen.

I have no idea if it makes it easier. I didn't need to turn the wheels to get the job done.


>>>2. Does the drain plug on the rear diff still have a magnet on it? If so how dirty was it?

Not sure about the magnet. Was that the long extension thing on the end of the bolt? It wasn't dirty at all. (either that or I instinctively wiped it off with a rag that I had handy)


>>>3. I haven't gone underneath my MDX yet to take a look, but I thought I saw a small piece of metal protruding down from the rear diff. What does it look like? Is there a little flat spot on the bottom of it to help it sit on the saddle of a floor jack?

I didn't notice any of that, perhaps because I didn't look. I don't like doing under-car work with a floor jack. Makes me nervous.


>>>4. Just wanted to note that one of the best times to check the spare tire pressure is when you do the rear diff fluid change. For those cars that still come with a spare, that's one of the things that's most easily neglected.

good point. I have a tire pump in the back, so I will likely be checking pressure when changing the tire...But that's a good idea! Contemplating getting a full-size spare. The mere idea of the donut tire infuriates me, and this being a potentially heavy duty SUV at that. I'm embarassed to be driving around with a donut tire strapped to the underbelly of that car. Oh well.
 

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Just going to interject my responses...

>>>1. Does it make it easier to turn the steering wheel full lock to the right to access the oil filter? I know on older models it did, but I'm not sure about the third gen.

I have no idea if it makes it easier. I didn't need to turn the wheels to get the job done.


>>>2. Does the drain plug on the rear diff still have a magnet on it? If so how dirty was it?

Not sure about the magnet. Was that the long extension thing on the end of the bolt? It wasn't dirty at all. (either that or I instinctively wiped it off with a rag that I had handy)


>>>3. I haven't gone underneath my MDX yet to take a look, but I thought I saw a small piece of metal protruding down from the rear diff. What does it look like? Is there a little flat spot on the bottom of it to help it sit on the saddle of a floor jack?

I didn't notice any of that, perhaps because I didn't look. I don't like doing under-car work with a floor jack. Makes me nervous.


>>>4. Just wanted to note that one of the best times to check the spare tire pressure is when you do the rear diff fluid change. For those cars that still come with a spare, that's one of the things that's most easily neglected.

good point. I have a tire pump in the back, so I will likely be checking pressure when changing the tire...But that's a good idea! Contemplating getting a full-size spare. The mere idea of the donut tire infuriates me, and this being a potentially heavy duty SUV at that. I'm embarassed to be driving around with a donut tire strapped to the underbelly of that car. Oh well.
1. I guess since you may have been under the vehicle, you probably attacked the oil filter from the bottom. On older models, I believe one would be able to reach the oil filter through the wheel well without even getting under the vehicle. I know I had done that a couple of times on my old Pilot, but it may have been up on jack stands and I don't recall if I already had the wheels off for a tire rotation or if the wheel was just turned to the right.

2. Yes, the dark gray extension on the drain plug is a magnet. Nice to hear that it wasn't dirty at all.

3. I just wanted to know how well it would accommodate a floor jack there as a lifting point. I personally wouldn't stay under the vehicle supported by the jack alone. If you didn't make note of it, that's okay, I'll just end up crawling under there one of these days to look for myself.

4. I too may eventually upgrade my donut to a full size spare. At least your model came with a spare; spare tires are one of those things that are starting to disappear from newer car models. Look at the FWD MDXs of this generation.
 

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I don't like doing under-car work with a floor jack. Makes me nervous.
It should make you nervous. One should never put a body part under a vehicle supported only by a jack. Jack stands (not cinder blocks!) should always be used. Also, the wheels s/b blocked so the vehicle can't roll away. I always use a jack stand 'in addition' to the jack so I have redundant methods of support.

On the oil filter - I replaced mine from underneath but it's quite visible from the right wheel well and s/b able to be removed from there if one wants. The advantage to being underneath - I was already under there for the oil drain and I also wanted to do what I could to catch the inevitable oil spillage from the oil filter - it's guaranteed to spill from the way the filter's mounted.

Thanks for the write-up. I also posted a thread on a self-done oil change but not the differential change.
 

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You want to have your vehicle level when doing diff service. Otherwise the fluid level will not be correct.
 

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Can you use floor jack and not have to remove the spare tire for changing the rear diff fluid?
The spare tire kinda gets in the way of the wrench when trying to loosen and tighten the drain and fill plugs. Removing the spare makes access to those plugs much easier. Besides, removing and re-installing the spare probably only adds about 2 minutes to the job. Like I mentioned before, I'd also take an extra minute to check and top off the spare's tire pressure.
 

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Thanks for the links to amazon. I have to do my first oil change and didn't want to go to the dealership to pickup oil filters / crush washers / oil wrench.

Thanks again! I'm glad I can do this without jacking up the car.
 

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I just had my 2012 MDX rear Diff fluid changed but they did not lower the spare tire. I was at a quick lube shop so I sat in the car while they did it. My question is, is it possible to change the rear differential fluid without lowering the spare tire or did I pay for something and not get it??
 

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I just had my 2012 MDX rear Diff fluid changed but they did not lower the spare tire. I was at a quick lube shop so I sat in the car while they did it. My question is, is it possible to change the rear differential fluid without lowering the spare tire or did I pay for something and not get it??
This is the way i do it
 

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Hi guys,
been trolling around here a while, but decided to post. 2015 MDX is the first AWD vehicle I've ever owned, so first time I have ever had to change a rear differential fluid. Just to consolidate some knowledge that I researched on various posts and put it all in one place, I hope I will save someone some time and energy. I will try to make the actual post as free of commercial bias as possible, but if you are interested in weblinks, I will put them at the end.

Here is what I used for tools:
Oil change:
17mm socket wrench for drain plug
65mm 14 Flutes End Cap Oil Filter Wrench, the one I got has a 1/2" drive internally and a hex outer drive that I use a monkey wrench on
long-neck funnel to fill back the oil from the top

Rear differential fluid change:
3/8" drive socket wrench (+ a pipe I used as a cheater bar)...so don't think a 1/2" breaker bar is going to work! It is just the 3/8" square hole that you plug the socket wrench into (no outer hex). Though I didn't use it, a 6" extension may be helpful for the fill plug.
Differential fluid pump (about $7.50 online)

Here is what I used for parts:
Oil change:
Honda 15400-PLM-A01PE Oil (Filtech Toyo Roki) Filter
Mobil 1 0W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil - 5 Quart
14mm crush washer

Rear diff fluid change:
Acura DFSW (need 3 qts, since the case holds ~2.75 quarts...and there is some mess to getting it all in)
18mm and 20mm crush washers for the drain and fill plugs respectively

********************
How to do it:
Oil change:
Drain plug for engine oil is under the engine on the passenger side, about as far in as the wheel, nut faces rear (and there is actual etching on the oil reservoir telling you to use 0w20). 17mm socket wrench to remove the drain plug nut. It is tight, but I can fit underneath and do the oil change without jacking up the car. I put the drain plug right back on as soon as it's done draining, so I don't forget to put it back on before I pour the new oil in. Use the 14mm crush washer. I don't use a torque wrench (most people say about 25ft-lbs), I've always just snugged it up by hand using a standard socket wrench, as I figure the crush washer should take care of the "if I am overzealous" scenario. But to each their own on whether to use a torque wrench to tighten the drain plug bolt.

The oil filter is also in that vicinity, just higher up and closer to the wheel. To get best access to the oil filter, I come in from the wheel well (still laying in the same spot as to loosen the drain plug, but reaching around from the outside->in) to first loosen the filter with the wrench (65mm, 14 flute oil filter wrench, plus my adjustable monkey wrench), then finish the removal by hand. I try to leave a towel of sorts on top of the metal bar in your way to try and keep it as clean as possible, but that is optional (and obscures your visualization of what you are doing). Smear a bit of the old oil on the rubber gasket of your new oil filter and put it back on. Also I just tighten by hand "by feel" (figure that is what the gasket is there for). Again, if you want to use a torque wrench to 8.7 ft-lbs, be my guest. You might need to take the wheel off to get that fancy torque wrench on there though (I don't take the wheel off for my oil filter change).

Don't forget to fill the oil up! 5 qts. Tip on keeping it neat...I stab my funnel through a paper towel before putting the funnel into the fill reservoir (which is located somewhat deeply right in the front center of the engine compartment). I don't like smoking oil from spillage, and admittedly I have spilled some oil from the big 5 qt jug outside the funnel (usually I am fairly neat, but not always). Don't forget to cap the fill reservoir. Congratulations, that's it.

*******
Rear differential fluid change:
Again, don't need to jack up the vehicle. And there is a bit more space to work back here in the back.
1) Remove the spare tire. The lower you go, the easier it is to put it back later. (Lift up the back compartment in the trunk, and the liner. Take off the rubber plug and use the long end of the crowbar to turn the bolt to lower the wheel. Remove the suspension cable from the middle of the tire, and put the tire off to the side)
2) Rear differential fluid case is right in the middle. Fill plug is up higher, right in-line with a large cutout hole, and drain plug is below. Both have a central 3/8" square drive with no outer hex. You will know you are in the right place especially if you see the letters "DPSF" etched on the case.
3) 3/8" breaker bar might be helpful (I just used a standard socket wrench with a pipe "cheater bar", since I don't like working too hard). I would loosen the fill plug first to make sure you can get that open. Last thing you want to do is drain it all out, and then realize you can't fill it back up.
4) Remove both plugs (I usually do 1 at a time, so I don't mix things up.) Drain plug has a long smooth extension, in case you do get the 2 mixed up. Drain oil. Put plug back with a new 18mm crush washer.
5) Use a fluid pump to pump new fluid back in. I used about 2.75L (so get 3 bottles!) before it started to overflow out the fill plug hole. Put plug back in with a new 20mm crush washer.
6) Put back the spare tire. Ironically, this is what I struggled with the most. The DPSF is so slippery (thankfully I was using a plastic drape on the ground where I had made some mess), and where I was tilting the tire from could not get a grip to stay put, until I REALLY loosened the suspension cable to make it so I could get the tire back onto the cable. Congratulations on getting your Rear Diff Fluid changed.

****************
Here are some weblinks for some of the things I bought to help me with this project:
(I had a socket wrench set with 17mm socket already, and just picked up a long neck oil funnel at Walmart)
**oil filter wrench ($6.88) - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BLZA7GK?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00
**Genuine Honda 15400-PLM-A01PE Oil (Filtech Toyo Roki) Filter $9.35 (but cheaper in larger quantities) - Amazon.com: Genuine Honda 15400-PLM-A01PE Oil (Filtech Toyo Roki) Filter: Automotive
**Mobil 1 0W20 synthetic oil (5qts) $23.88 - Amazon.com: Mobil 1 (120844) Advanced Fuel Economy 0W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil - 5 Quart: Automotive
**14mm oil drain plug crush washer(I bought like 10) - 94109-14000 | Acura Drain Plug Washer (14MM) - Bernardi Parts

**Differential fluid pump (fits on quart bottles) $7.26 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BQW5LK?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00
**Acura DPSF (get 3 quarts/bottles!) - 08200-9007A | Acura All-Wheel Drive Fluid (DPSF) - Bernardi Parts
**20mm crush washer (also used for transfer case plug, so I bought like 15) - 94109-20000 | Acura WASHER, DRAIN PLUG (20MM) - Bernardi Parts
**18mm crush washer (bought 7, since they were more expensive) - 90471-PX4-000 | Acura WASHER, DRAIN PLUG (18MM) - Bernardi Parts

Hope it is helpful to someone out there to have it all in one place and know that it is info specific to 3rd gen MDX's.

-bd
Thanks for the write up. I have a few questions to ask before i start DIY on my 2016 MDX/Tech with B16.

According to the Manual on Page 147. (engine oil) Its said the car take 5.7qt with filter. (you said only 5qt?)

Rear Differential Fluid: Take only 1.92qt NOT 3qt?

Just to make it clear before i proceed!
 

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According to the Manual on Page 147. (engine oil) Its said the car take 5.7qt with filter. (you said only 5qt?)
The manual states that but the 5 quart jug of Mobile 1 0W-20 (I purchased at Walmart - didn't find it anywhere else) fills it perfectly including with the filter change. I was prepared to put in more oil but it wasn't necessary to go beyond the jug. I don't know if the jug contains slightly more than 5 quarts (doubtful) or it's simply that the last .7 of a quart or so didn't drain out. Not every drop of oil drains out.

When you change the oil, check the level on the dipstick before and after so you can be certain of the level. Check it again after driving it for a few miles.
 

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The manual states that but the 5 quart jug of Mobile 1 0W-20 (I purchased at Walmart - didn't find it anywhere else) fills it perfectly including with the filter change. I was prepared to put in more oil but it wasn't necessary to go beyond the jug. I don't know if the jug contains slightly more than 5 quarts (doubtful) or it's simply that the last .7 of a quart or so didn't drain out. Not every drop of oil drains out.

When you change the oil, check the level on the dipstick before and after so you can be certain of the level. Check it again after driving it for a few miles.
Thank you mdxstang!

What about the Rear Differential Fluid? should i fill in all 3qts? According to the manual the car only take 1.92qt

Thanks
 

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^^ I haven't done the rear diffy oil yet but I think generally it's a matter of filling until it can't take any more - i.e. it's overflowing out the plug hole. If the manual says it'll only take 1.92 qts I wouldn't think it'd be possible to put 3 qts in.
 

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Which Windshield Washer Fluid do you guys recommended? I prefer 50/50 mix and have to be -20 Anti-Freeze.

Please share some brand names.
Thanks

2016 Acura MDX/Tech
 

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Just completed the diff oil change on my 15 advance at 20K miles, I know I'm a little late on it. Only took 30 minutes thanks to this diy. I was happy to see how easy it was. The oil was not dirty at all, but I will continue to replace it every 30K going forward. :)
 
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