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ahh yes the tried and true "it looked bad so it must have been time to change it". I've used the same method on changing my TDI oil, frigging thing only goes 200 miles before oil change now :mad: but it's cheap insurance and I sleep better.
it's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison...

yeah, color isn't much of an indicator on motor oil, since you have the darkening from combustion byproducts; that's not the case with gear oil, where a change in color is a pretty good indicator of oil degradation and/or contamination.

There's also no oil filter, so you have one way to remove contaminants: change the oil.
 

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But we can both agree sight and smell are a bit different than a UOA?

I understand that people are conservative with maintenance but with synth gear oil used today on a light duty application, i'm not going to be losing any sleep for quite some time.
of course. That said, 1) I've seen a fair number of UOA's on factory fill gear oil, and they always show the same thing: there's a fair bit of contamination in the factory fill. 2) the cost of UOA is roughly the same as the cost of changing the fluid. So, while a UOA could provide some insight, I'm ok looking at the fluid and making a determination.

I've had 3 different Haldex-equipped vehicles (all different manufacturers), and in every case I've seen the exact same thing: the front bevel gear fluid looks black and has a fair bit of visible contamination in the drain pan after 30-40K miles, and the rear differential fluid looks brand new regardless of when you change it. Based on that, my plan is to do an initial change at 10K, then 30K on the bevel year and 100K on the rear differential.
 
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