Ford Full Size 4x4 Transfer Case Fluids
What Transfer Case Fluid Does My Full Size Ford 4x4 Take?
Choosing the correct Transfer Case Fluid is critical for the service life and operation of your Full Size Ford Truck or SUV 4x4 Transfer Case. Over the years, lubricant specifications and service requirements have changed which can make choosing the correct fluid for your Transfer Case difficult. This is especially true with Ford as the latest version of MerconV Fluid is NOT approved for use in 4x4 Transfer Cases. We have compiled the handy chart below to help you select the correct Transfer Case Fluid for your Ford 4x4. For later model years, the transfer case fluids are VERY specific. Do NOT USE generic fluids in these transfer cases!!!! For older transfer cases, you can upgrade to newer synthetic base fluids, but you should rebuild or at least replace the old seals as additives in synthetic fluids may not be compatible with old seals. The following Chart was compiled using OEM Factory Shop Manuals and MOTOR Specification Guides. While we have made every effort to present accurate information, the information in this chart in no way supercedes or replaces the recommendations in your Ford OEM Owners Manual, Shop Manual, or other official Ford publication or specification list.
|Year Range||Model||Transfer Case||Recommended Fluid||Capacity|
|1959-1965||F100||Dana 24||SAE 50 Engine Oil*||4.5 Pints|
|1959-1972||F250||Dana 24||SAE 50 Engine Oil*||4.5 Pints|
|1966-1974||F100||Dana 21||SAE 50 Engine Oil*||3.5 Pints|
|1966-1977||Bronco||Dana 20||SAE 50 Engine Oil*||2.75 Pints|
|1973-1977||F100, F250||NP205||SAE 50 Engine Oil*||4.0 Pints|
|1974-1977||F100, F250||NP203||See Note ** below||9.0 Pints|
|1978-1979||F-Series, Bronco||NP205||See Note *** below||4.0 Pints|
|1978-1979||F-Series, Bronco||NP203||See Note ** below||9.0 Pints|
|1980-1986||F-Series, Bronco||NP208||XL-12 ****||7.0 Pints|
|1980-1991||F-Series, Bronco||BW1345||XL-12 ****||6.5 Pints|
|1987-1997||F-Series, Bronco||BW1356||XL-12 ****||4.0 Pints|
|1996-1997||F250, F350||BW4407||XL-12 ****|
|1997-1999||F250 Light Duty||BW4406||XL-12 ****|
|1999-2016||F-Super Duty||NV271F, NV273F||XL-12 ****||4.0 Pints|
|2000-2005||Excursion||NV273F||XL-12 ****||4.0 Pints|
|2017-up||F-Super Duty||BW4464, 4465||Mercon LV ATF||3.8 Pints|
*Ford Gear Drive Transfer Case 1959-1977: Many Ford Shop Manuals will List SAE 50 Engine Oil for use in temperatures Above 10°F and SAE 30 Engine Oil for use in below 10°F. Very early manuals ALSO give the option of using SAE 90 weight mineral oil WITHOUT extreme pressure additives Above 10°F and SAE 80 Mineral Oil without EP additives for use in below 10°F. Single viscosity SAE 50 and SAE 30 motor oils are still readily available, but finding straight mineral gear oil today might be difficult. Dana 20, Dana 21, Dana 24, and NP205 gear drive transfer cases have some latitude for alternate fluids, but we recommend you stick as close as possible to the original Ford fluid requirements.
**1974-1979 NP203 Full Time Transfer Case: The NP203 Full Time, Chain Drive Transfer Case MUST have engine oil for a lubricant. For the 1974-1977 model years, Ford lists SAE 50 Engine Oil for use in temperatures Above 10°F and SAE 30 Engine Oil for use in below 10°F. For 1978 and 1979, Ford specicifies Ford D8DZ-19C547-A Standard Transmission Lube for all Bronco and F150-F250-F350 transfer cases including the NP203. Ford specification is ESP-M2C83-C. In 1992, D8DZ19C547A was replaced by F2ZZ-19C547-A SAE 80w Manual Transmission Fluid which was later replaced by XT-4-QGL 75w90 GL-4 Conventional Gear Lube (Ford Specification WSS-M2C203-A1) AND XT-M5-QS 75w90 Full Synthetic Manual Transmission Fluid (Ford Specification WSS-M2C200-C). We had a lot of experience with NP203 transfer cases in the 1970s and 1980s and our experience was any fluid other than lighter engine oils would cause bearing problems and/or chain stretch issues. Both Dodge and GM also used the NP203 Transfer Case and both specify 10w30 Engine Oil. Since Ford is not claiming the newer manual transmission fluids are backwards compatible with 1978-1979 NP203 transfer cases (and we do not think they are), we recommend you stick with Original Equipment recommended engine oils for your Ford NP203. Ford transmission fluid supersession Information is current as July 2017.
***1978-1979 NP205 Part Time Transfer Case: For 1978 and 1979, Ford specicifies Ford D8DZ-19C547-A Standard Transmission Lube for all Bronco and F150-F250-F350 transfer cases including the NP205. Ford specification is ESP-M2C83-C. In 1992, D8DZ19C547A was replaced by F2ZZ-19C547-A SAE 80w Manual Transmission Fluid which was later replaced by XT-4-QGL 75w90 GL-4 Conventional Gear Lube (Ford Specification WSS-M2C203-A1) AND XT-M5-QS 75w90 Full Synthetic Manual Transmission Fluid (Ford Specification WSS-M2C200-C). Unlike the NP203 chain drive transfer case, the NP205 gear drive transfer case is pretty tolerant of different fluids as diverse as Dexron ATF (used in GM NP205 1980-1991) and SAE 140w Gear Lube (used in Dodge NP205 above 90°F). Ford does not claim XT-4-QGL or XT-M5-QS are backwards compatible with the 1978-1979 NP205, but while we recommend you use the same SAE 50 engine oil as Ford specified for the 1973-1979 NP205, we would not be afraid to use XT-4-QGL 75w90 Gear Lube or XT-M5-QS 75w90 Full synthetic Manual Transmission Fluid in a Ford NP205 that had new seals (original seals may not be compatible with newer oil base stocks and additives).
****For 1980 to 1987 model years, Ford recommended Dexron II Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) for 4x4 Transfer Cases. Dexron II was replaced by Dexron III. For 1987-1996 (Bronco, F150 and 1988-1997 (F250, F350) model years, Ford originally specified Mercon. Mercon has now been superseded by Mercon V which is NOT recommended for use in 4x4 transfer cases. Both Dexron II/Dexron III and Mercon fluid are listed in Ford Shop Manuals as meeting the same Ford specification XT-2-QDX .Ford now specifies synthetic base Motorcraft XL-12 Transfer Case Fluid for use in chain drive transfer cases that originally used Dexron II or Mercon, however, we are not aware of any lubrication related issues with using Dexron III in NP208F, BW1345, BW1356, or BW4407 transfer cases in 1980-1997 era Ford 4x4s.
*****For 1997-2007 Model Years, most Ford Factory Shop Manuals list Mercon as the recommended transfer case fluid. Ford introduced Mercon ATF in 1987 and Mercon is the recommended fluid for most 1997 to 2007 4x4 Ford transfer cases. Mercon was superseded by Mercon V which is NOT recommended for use in transfer cases so Ford now specifies synthehtic base Motorcraft XL-12 Transfer Case Fluid for use in chain drive transfer cases that originally used Mercon.