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Front differential rebuild help

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by Boiler74, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Boiler74

    Boiler74 New Member

    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.

    Thanks,
    Josh
  2. MrShorty

    MrShorty Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    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.
  3. collinsperformance

    collinsperformance Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    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
  4. tbplus10

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

    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. Boiler74

    Boiler74 New Member

    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.

    Thanks,
    Josh
  6. Gmcsuvguy

    Gmcsuvguy Rockstar 100 Posts

    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.
  7. JOKERC156

    JOKERC156 New Member

    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. Gmcsuvguy

    Gmcsuvguy Rockstar 100 Posts

    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. JOKERC156

    JOKERC156 New Member

    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. Dj Friction

    Dj Friction Rockstar 100 Posts

    Josh.....

    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

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