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  1. #1

    Default Can't remove driver's side axle shaft from front differential.

    Hey all. First post here, and I'm posting out of frustration/desperation.

    I have a 2003 Chevy 2500HD 4x4 and the front axle shaft seals are leaking. I've noticed them leaking since I've had the truck and I needed to replace the ball joints and thought, I'm already here, so I might as well replace those leaky seals.

    Long story short, I've removed the differential from the truck. No mean or method would get the driver side shaft out of the differential. I've tried a slider hammer, ball-peen, pry bars and it won't budge. Chevrolet released a TSB saying that if this issue is encountered, to remove the differential, orient the unit vertically and drive the axle shaft up and down until the c-clip at the end of the shaft centers itself which will then allow it to "release" and shaft can be removed. I'm not experiencing any release.

    I took it to a driveline specialist here in town this morning and they can't get it out either. They stated that the only way to get it out was to split the case, cut the flange from the front of the axle using a torch and then remove the gear carrier from the housing with the remainder of the shaft still attached. They mentioned that this would require a new axle shaft, probably a bearing (since it usually gets ruined), seal (which I already have) and possibly some other items. It really seems like a cut it and get it apart and assess the damage once we can see what's inside kind of situation. Just to cut the shaft they want $100. I can't imaging once you factor in other parts and labor that this will cost any less than $300. I don't have the dough to do this, but this seal leaks bad enough that it needs to be replaced.

    Do I have any other options? I'm mechanically inclined, but the issue I always have is the tools to do the job. If I could get my hands on a torch, could I do what they suggested?

    I'm not intersted in buying a junk yard differential becuase I imagine that I'll be right back where I am, and I'm not interested.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2


    Leaky shaft seals are VERY common in these trucks. I'd deal with this by reinstalling it and continuing to run on it (making sure I didn't run it dry, of course) until I could get a new differential, axle shaft, bearing, and seal. If new was out of the question then I'd go with junk yard parts (diff and axle shaft) and inspect them heavily to make sure they'd not been run dry. I'd use a new seal and bearing.

    There's no way I'd pick up a torch and try to do it, myself, if I lacked experience with one. I'm VERY mechanically-inclined ... but cutting and/or re-welding on parts that must be dependable doesn't seem like a good place to do my learning.


  3. #3


    After thinking about it, and pricing a new axle shaft @ ~$300 + labor and whatnot, I'm just going to put it back in and let it leak. I'll just check the fluid level every time I change the engine oil.

    Thanks for your response, Surreal. It helped reassure what I was already thinking.

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