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  1. #1

    Default Front differential rebuild help

    Hi all. I'm a long time lurker, but a problem finally prompted me to post. I have an '04 Suburban, AWD, 3.73 gears with 61K on it. It needs the front differential rebuilt. I have a grinding noise from the front drivers side. It's noticable with the application of power after the diff has had time to warm up. Took it to a trusted mecanic and he said it had to be rebuilt and that it would be expensive. I'm fairly mecanical, and think I can tackle it myself. I've looked for resources online to help, but haven't had any luck. I have a Haynes manual, and it tells me how to remove the diff but not how to rebuild it. So I was hoping for some help or a good point in the right direction. Any help would be greatly appreciated, including any company that offers a rebuild kit.


  2. #2


    Haynes doesn't go into diff rebuilds because rebuilding a diff is a more of a challenge than they want to encourage the average person to do. The big challenge is setting up the R&P. I've found that most public libraries will carry professional repair manuals. If you find the right manual for your year, they will have the rebuild procedure and the specs for setting up the gears. I would read through that before deciding if you want to DIY. Setting up gears requires patience and attention to detail.

    As for suppliers, Randy's ring and pinion is a common suggestion, or the dealership, or put differential ring and pinion into your favorite search engine.
    '98 K1500 Suburban LS 5.7 L 4L60E NV246 ARB
    '92 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 4.0 L A4LD BW13-54 Trac-loc rear
    "My toys were the greasy cogs and springs and pistons that lay around all over the place, and these, I can promise you, were far more fun to play with than most of the plastic rubbish children are given nowadays." Danny in Roald Dahl's Danny The Champion of the World

  3. #3


    i agree with above- i rebuilt many things and i still pass the R&P rebuilding to the pros if you set it wrong you might just cost yourself more money than letting them just do it the 1st ttime....mike
    Michael Collins
    1993 4X4 Suburban
    many other toys as well

  4. #4


    Have you tried looking at the price of a used diff? This may be a cheaper way to get back on the road.
    I've rebuilt many diffs and axles, with out patience, the proper tools, and an experienced helper I wouldnt recommend you try this at home.
    As posted Randy's Ring and Pinion is one of the better suppliers.

  5. #5


    Thanks for the advice. Maybe rebuilding it is over my head. Maybe I should try to talk to my mecanic, see if I couldn't pull it, have him rebuild it, and then I reinstall. Don't know if he'll do that.

    I've looked for used diffs, but the all wheel drive part makes that more difficult.


  6. #6
    Jr. Engineer Gmcsuvguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Alberta, Canada


    Gm's front diffs are alittle more involved than your run of the mill rear differential. If you have never rebuilt a differential I STRONGLY recommend you take it to a reputable tech.
    Ken Beida
    2010 GMC Sierra Crew Cab 4X4, 5.3L
    2009 GMC Sierra Denali, 6.2L = 403hp, AWD, Full load

  7. #7


    I've got the same problem with my 1997 1500 Suburban LT. It's got 186XXX miles on it and i'm wondering if it's possible to just disconnect the half shaft and do without the 4x4? I'm really cheap and I don't use the 4x4 much to begin with.

  8. #8
    Jr. Engineer Gmcsuvguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Alberta, Canada


    If it's grinding there is metal in your oil, most of the time it is from the bearings and it's only a matter of time until the bearings fail and it siezes up or does detrimental damage to the diff. If you are that hard up, remove the front diff, drive shaft and half shafts and get junker half shafts and just use the shaft through the wheel hub and you have yourself a 2wd ( sort of).

  9. #9


    Thank you for the reply. I've got lots of play where the half shaft is attached to the Differential (and terrible noises) The trucks not worth much and I just need it to pull the boat to the lake down the road.
    Thanks again.

  10. #10
    Jr. Mechanic
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Washington State, the Dry Side ( Southeastern)



    I have a 96 that needed the frt diff rebuilt.....mine has 107K on it. It cost 1075.00 from my mechanic. That's new gear set.

    Driving on dry pavement in 4wd will do in the frt diff bearings for sure!!!!

    Good Luck
    Just Another Day in Paradise...

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