Differential Cover/Transmission Pan Buyers Guide

May 31st, 2011

By Matt Emery

One of the easiest and best upgrades that can be made to a truck is to replace the stock differential cover and transmission pan with an aftermarket unit. The stock units are usually made from pressed/formed sheet metal, so they don’t really absorb damage well; and they are suited to meet the specs layed down by the OEM engineers––which means they only hold the bare minimum of fluid deemed necessary to do the job.

But with the performance upgrades that most diesel owners add to their rigs, having additional fluid capacity can possibly make or break an engine or trans, especially during hard towing applications. The increased fluid capabilities of these covers/pans ensure that there is plenty of life-giving fluid available for your rig, even under the most arduous times. That’s why we have put together a sampling of manufacturers that offer aftermarket differential covers and transmission pans.

All the units offered are made from thick aluminum and have been carefully machined to fit exactly with the application. Although none of the manufacturers actually states that you can use its products in place of a skid plate, we’d rather have one of these units in place when hopping through the rocks.

It’s the details that keep a truck running long after others are by the side of the track, and increasing the fluid capacity of your differential and transmission can only lead to cooler running and longer life. In addition, the units shown here are much stronger than the stock pieces, which will give you peace of mind when off road––not to mention that one of the best parts about all these products is that they sure look a lot better than the stock units.

The majority of the companies listed make units for a variety of applications, so peruse this list and see which unit is best for you and your rig.

AFE

Advanced FLOW engineering (aFe Power), an industry leader in performance intakes, filters, manifolds and exhaust systems, is pleased to announce the release of its new rear differential cover for the popular 03-10 Dodge Ram Cummins and 01-10 GM Duramax trucks (part number 46-70011––black fins; and 46-70012––machined fins). aFe Power’s new rear differential cover brings performance engineering to the protection of your trucks rear end. The new aFe Power differential cover has a 5-quart lube capacity (factory cover holds 4 quarts), a magnetic drain plug and magnetic-tipped fill plug for maximum rear end protection. Exclusive internal and external fins transfer heat from the fluid to the outside air for maximum cooling. aFe has also designed a large oil level site glass with calibration plug set to the factory fluid level to eliminate overfilling. This differential cover is constructed of durable die-cast A380-T6 aluminum with a wrinkle black powder coating for maximum strength and style. Part numbers 46-70011 and 46-70012 retail for around $288.

AFE

951.493.7155

www.afepower.com

ATS

ATS differential covers are designed to increase fluid capacity while providing ultimate strength. ATS Protector differential covers are cast and machined in the USA to be the strongest cover available for Dodge/Ford/GM trucks and providing both form and function. Fluid capacity for the differential gear assembly is increased at least 2.5 quarts, and heat reduction is provided via the integrated heat sink. Powder coating locks out moisture and keeps these covers looking great. The Protector Line features large magnetic drain plugs and easy fill points for simple servicing and peace of mind (as well as a temperature probe port, depending on the model). This quick bolt-on part is a great way to give a truck a distinctive look while upgrading performance and reliability, as well as increasing rear axle rigidity and protecting against impacts.

ATS Diesel Performance

866.230.4089

www.atsdiesel.com/DieselWorld

MAG-HYTEC

Mag-Hytec’s heavy-duty differential covers provide increased lubricant and cooling capacity for hardworking recreational and service vehicles. Mag-Hytec covers set your vehicle apart in both aesthetics and function. They are cast in A356-T6 aluminum and texture powder-coated black with machined cooling fins. Magnetic drain plugs trap worn gear material, promoting fluid integrity. Each unit is fitted with ARP 568 O-rings for superior sealing. All supplied hardware is 303 stainless steel and, in most applications, no gasket or sealant is required. All Mag-Hytec products are covered by a lifetime-limited warranty to the original owner against defects in parts and workmanship. O-rings are covered for five years. Mag-Hytec has applications for all major manufactures and models.

MAG-HYTEC

818.786.8325

www.mag-hytec.com

OUTLAW

ODC uses a low-pressure casting method to produce a high-quality yet lightweight aluminum product. Each ODC cover features heavy-duty construction that allows for superior heat-dissipation and increased lubrication. As a result, Outlaw is able to create new styles of durable and efficient differential covers. Each Outlaw Differential Cover includes all stainless steel hardware, a magnetic drain plug for oil changes (without removing the cover) and is available in three finishes: painted black, sand-blasted or polished.

Outlaw Differential Covers

714.533.3286

www.outlawdifferentialcovers.com

PML

Since 1986, PML has manufactured sand-cast aluminum differential covers for Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Jeep and Hummer diesel trucks and SUVs––and proudly, all of them are made in USA. The top-quality sand-cast aluminum construction features raised-pattern cooling fins and increased lubricant capacity for optimal cooling. Its thick wall-and-flange design provides increased strength, and the machined mating surface is a non-O-ring for easy and quick installation and leak-proof sealing. It’s also possible to do routine fluid maintenance without removing the cover or pan, and the magnetic drain plug helps to keep filings out of the fluid. All mounting hardware is provided. PML offers a large selection and choice of finish.

PML

310.671.4345

www.yourcovers.com

PPE

PPE’s latest item is its Front Differential Cover for 2011+ Chevy and GMC 2500HD/3500HD GM 9.25 IFS. It is also compatible with factory suspension systems and most aftermarket anti-sway bars. Cast from A356-T6 aluminum alloy, the increased surface area consists of external cooling fins (1/4-inch) and features an internal heatsink (5/8-inch). The increased surface area lends itself to greater heat-dissipation while working with the increased capacity of .75 quarts over stock. PPE’s cover showcases a 1-inch fill plug that houses a powerful Neodymium magnet to attract and hold harmful ferrous metal––all this while retaining the use of the original high-quality gasket. Available finishes include raw, brushed, black and polished.

Pacific Performance Engineering (PPE)

714.985.4825

www.pacificp.com

STRICTLY DIESEL

Strictly Diesel offers custom differential covers featuring its popular longhorn bull logo. These high-quality covers are cast in A356 aluminum and heat-treated to T6 (aircraft quality) standards. Strictly Diesel differential covers are available for popular Ford, GM and Dodge applications and feature higher fluid capacity than stock, as well as a magnetic drain plug. All the necessary installation hardware comes with each cover, making installation an easy proposition.

Strictly Diesel

623.582.4404

www.strictlydiesel.com

TRANNY PANS

ATS

ATS High Capacity Aluminum Transmission Pans are cast and machined in the USA to be the strongest covers available for Dodge/Ford/GM trucks. These pans provide both form and function. Fluid capacity is increased by 5 quarts over the stock pan, and heat reduction is provided via the integrated heat sink. Powder coating locks out moisture and keeps these covers looking great. The pans feature a large, 1-inch magnetic drain plug. This quick bolt-on part is a great way to give a truck a distinctive look while upgrading performance and reliability and providing a measure of protection against impacts. ATS supplies everything needed to quickly install the pan onto the truck.

ATS Diesel Performance

866.230.4089

www.atsdiesel.com/DieselWorld

BD DIESEL

For BD Diesel, it’s all about high volumes of cool oil equating to long transmission life. Based in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, BD’s transmission pans offer a much needed increase oil capacity, while their aluminum construction and heat-dissipating fins keep temperature down. As an added bonus, the pan’s increased rigidity prevents case-twisting. The kit includes a magnetic drain plug and temperature-sending unit port. Available for Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet diesel pick-ups.

BD Diesel Performance

800.887.5030

www.dieselperformance.com

MAG-HYTEC

Mag-Hytec’s heavy-duty differential covers provide increased lubricant and cooling capacity for hardworking recreational and service vehicles. Mag-Hytec covers set your vehicle apart in both aesthetics and function; they are cast in A356-T6 aluminum and texture powder-coated black with machined cooling fins. Magnetic drain plugs trap worn gear material, promoting fluid integrity. Each unit is fitted with ARP 568 O-rings for superior sealing. All hardware is 303 stainless steel, and in most applications, no gasket or sealant is required. All Mag-Hytec products are covered by a lifetime-limited warranty to the original owner against defects in parts and workmanship. O-rings are covered for five years. Mag-Hytec has applications for all major manufactures and models.

Mag-Hytec

818.786.8325

www.mag-hytec.com

PML

PML manufactures sand-cast aluminum transmission pans for Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Jeep and Hummer diesel trucks and SUVs, all of them are made in USA. According to PML, customers have reported a 20-to-30-degree drop in fluid temperatures. They then add that a 2003 Dodge 3500 HD Cummins with PML’s 48RE transmission pan pulled a 38-foot fifth- wheel RV from Iowa to Florida; their transmission fluid temperature read an average of 170F at 65-70 mph. The top-quality sand-cast aluminum construction features raised-pattern cooling fins and increased lubricant capacity for optimal cooling. Its thick wall-and-flange design provides increase strength. The machined mating surface is a non-O-ring for easy, quick installation and leak-proof sealing. It’s also possible to do routine fluid maintenance without removing the cover or pan, and the magnetic drain plug helps keep filings out of the fluid. All mounting hardware is provided. PML offers a large selection and choice of finish.

PML

310.671.4345

www.yourcovers.com

PPE

Designed for 2001-2011 Allison 1000 series transmissions. Cast with aluminum alloy, this pan has deep (¾-inch) external cooling fins with flow-through channels, which dissipate heat into passing airflow. Robust side ribs provide additional strength. Drilled and tapped for ¼-inch NPT and 1/8-inch NPT temperature gauge probe access ports. The kit includes a PPE Low Profile Pan, filter adapter, installation hardware, gauge sensor port plugs and 1-inch-diameter stainless steel drain plug. The drain plug features large 17mm hex head, powerful Neodymium magnet (which attracts and holds harmful ferrous metals) and a re-usable VITON O-ring. Also included are 12 new Allen head bolts and washers to make installation easy. Available finishes include raw, brushed, black and polished.

Pacific Performance Engineering (PPE)

714.985.4825

www.pacificp.com

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