Front Diff ?'s

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by Snotrocket, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Snotrocket

    Snotrocket New Member

    I bought a 2002 Suburban in May 07' with 96,000 miles. The dealer did their inspection - I'm guessing check fluids, ect. Before I bought I did a visual inspection and found the front axle seals were leaking. I talked with the dealer before I bought it and they agreed to replace the seals. All winter I used full time 4 twice, both times ice fishing, and have used auto only when streets were icy. The last time I went ice fishing (2 weeks ago) I put it full time 4 before I hit the ice and noticed a howling sound. I crawled underneith and noticed one of the seals was leaking again. I called the dealer and they said it would be covered under 12,000 mile warranty (now has 103,000 miles). I took it there yesterday and told them about the 4 wheel drive and they said they would look for problems while changing the seal. I got a call later and they said the front diff. needed an overhaul for $1200. My question is, shouldn't they have noticed anything the first time they changed the seals or when they did their used car inspection. What made them notice something now, they didn't even change the seal yet. What do you guys think.
  2. MrShorty

    MrShorty Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    That's bad luck.

    One thought I have whenever I see a diff leaking is how well did the previous owner/dealer do at keeping the diff filled. A differential is easy to neglect and get run dry, and a dry diff won't last long. As part of your pre-purchase visual inspections, did you check the diff fluid level? After you bought it, did you check the diff fluid level occasionally? Does the warranty expect you to pay for a diff rebuild, or will that be covered, too?
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    How low was the diff fluid when you took it in this time?
    Contrary to popular belief the front diff spins when in two wheel drive, you dont have locking hubs or axle shaft disconnects on this truck, it has no load on it when in two wheel drive so you wont usually hear the gear howl but the wear on parts is still happening. I'm sure they'll tell you the diff has excellerated wear due to low gear oil levels. This wont be a warranty item because fluid levels are your responsability.
  4. Snotrocket

    Snotrocket New Member

    After I saw the drivers side seal leaking again I checked the level and it was right below the fill hole. Is it possible for anything to loosen up when they replaced the seals? Also thanks for the info. I wasn't sure if the front diff. turned when out of 4-wheel or not.
  5. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Not really possible for anything to loosen when the half shafts are removed. The half shafts slide into the seal'diff and are held by a "C" clip on the inside, you dont have to align anything when putting them in, just stab at the center of the seal.
    $1200 is steep for a front diff overhaul, find a local shop that does 4x4's and have them give an estimate. Gears, Seals, and bearings should run about $400 at most, and thats if you need new gears (you'll need bearings and seals regardless). That leaves $800 for labor, kinda high.
    You may also want to look for a low mileage take out diff from a wrecked truck.
  6. Snotrocket

    Snotrocket New Member

    Thanks Tim for the info. I'll have to start looking around.

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