Front Differential

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by Morpheus, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Morpheus

    Morpheus New Member

    Hey guys, I have a problem. It looks like the driver's side axle shaft bearing and seal have gone out in the front differential on my 2000 Sierra 1500. I've pulled the differential out of the truck so that I can have easy access to the thing and my problem is the axle itself not coming out of the differential. The instructions I have read tell me to take a hammer and a brass drift and hammer it out until the C clamp inside lets go of the axle. Well, easier said than done but I've all but given up on getting that thing to let loose. Anybody have any advice to how to get that axle shaft out so that I can pull the bearing and seal?

    Thanks!
  2. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    I have seen guys rig up a bracket across the flange and attach a large slide hammer to it.
  3. j cat

    j cat Active Member

    the axle should pop out . use a flat blade on each side of axle and pry out.
  4. Morpheus

    Morpheus New Member

    Thanks yall. On the last differential I had, (yea, I know) I tried just replacing that stuff and turns out the whole diff was bad so I replaced it with what I have now. This past snowstorm somehow made it spring a leak and I have noticed the front end making a howling noise. When I pulled the skid plates and wiped everything down, I figured I'd give it time so that if there is a small leak I'll know where from and so I greased my ball joints and checked out some other things. 15 minutes later I took a look at it and bam! There ya go. I pulled the drain plug last night to take out the diff and drained all of the oil out of it and the plug had a lot of shavings on it so I figured that there's a bearing in there that got all janky along with the seal.

    When I tried to do it last time I used a slide hammer and a chain to go around the flange but I just had a weird feeling that I went about it all wrong but it came out. I was hoping there would be a way with a little more finesse about it, but if not there ya go. But, another question I have has to do with getting all of the little shavings out of that diff. We all know what a little metal like that can do to the ring and pinion, other seals and bearings and I was needing an idea on how to possibly flush that dude out. Any suggestions?
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    When I flushed mine I just filled it with some cheap 5w-30 oil and turned the diff by hand to try to knock anything off of the gears. I filled it and drained 3 or 4 times before I did not see any metal shaving coming out. Then I filled it with the specified oil.
  6. Morpheus

    Morpheus New Member

    Sweet, that's a good idea. Wish me luck man. I have never had any luck with an IFS system. My Bronco I owned had a crap IFS, my Nissan had a crap IFS, and I figured with this IFS from chevy looking way nicer than those I'd have better luck. NOPE! I'm a really frustrated dude right now with this truck that I have a love/hate relationship with. I know that they ride so much smoother, but if they can't make one reliable then why even use it?

    A few things that baffle me with this truck is the 10 bolt in the rear, a 4L60E tranny, and an IFS with a 8.25" ring gear. Let's throw parts I wouldn't put behind a V6 behind a 300 HP V8. I just shake my damn head at this thing.
  7. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    I know what you are saying. My 1995 ran 38.5's and spent 85% of it's time in 4x4, I never had an issue with that diff. I bought an 2003 yukon xl and had a bad driverside bearing in the front diff. I had the diff rebuilt ($525) then a few months later a young girl pulled in front of me and totaled the truck. I bought a 2005 yukon xl. Same issue bad bearing on the driverside of the front diff. Luckily, I bought a warranty with the truck and they put a used diff in it from a truck with 55k miles. The guy that does all of my gear work says that the GM IFS front diff is what keeps him in business! He said he sees them more than any other front diff. Most of the trucks that come in with issues are between 100,000 and 130,000 miles. It is either the driverside axle bearing or one of the tabs inside that hold the adjuster screws breaks off allowing for the gear lash to move and letting a piece of metal move around the inside of the case.
  8. bazar01

    bazar01 New Member

    Since you already had it pulled out, why don't you just go ahead and open it up and inspect the differential case bearings and internals?
    2000 Silverado front diff - 3.jpg
  9. Morpheus

    Morpheus New Member

    Yea Bazar01, I know what you're saying. Part #60 on your diagram of the differential is a vacuum plug that you can pull out and take a good look at internals. That hole is actually large enough for me to get most of my hand inside and feel the ring gear, spider gears, feel if there is any roughness to the rotation. It all looked great inside. I also took some paste to mark the pattern of the gear and it looked great as well.

    An update, I was able to get that shaft to let loose. Replaced all three bearings (2 internal and 1 outer) and both seals. Got it all put back together and filled up with fluid. Walla, wouldn't you know it, no more leaks. lol. I posted on another thread of the vehicle pulling left and right when in 4 wheel drive and not pulling straight. Having knocked out everything in the differential, I'm convinced that it has to be either the driver side CV axle (pass side is now brand new as of yesterday as well), the passenger side hub bearing (as the driver side is only 2 years old), or it's even possible that the rotors are warped. It almost feels as if something is binding one side up causing it to do this and those are the trouble areas I can think of. What do you guys think? Any ideas on it?
  10. j cat

    j cat Active Member

    any hub must be checked many have hub failures with the use of the chinese hubs [like me] after 5,ooomiles.

    when you did your diff work surprised you did not see/check these hubs for condition.
  11. Morpheus

    Morpheus New Member


    Yea, I'm thinking you hit the nail right on the head there Jcat. I've gotta check the one hub I didn't replace back about 20,000 miles ago.
  12. j cat

    j cat Active Member

    my hubs failed 1 year apart . first right then left then right again so now its all timken. good thing I had the 2 yr warranty on those chinese hubs.
  13. Morpheus

    Morpheus New Member

    So do I have a hell of a story for you guys regarding this. Well, I pulled the front diff out and put in new seals and outer bearing and the 2 inner bearings. Put the diff back in (partially tearing my rotator in the process) and get the thing back together. Like I said in my previous posts, the front wheels were binding up in 2wd and I had no idea what could cause it. I replaced both CV Axles and the thing still bound up. Well, I called it a day yesterday because the fiance wanted to do wedding crap and it gave me time to think. I decided today when I got off of work to pull the actuator from the front axle and having her engage 4wd to see if it extended or not. When I pulled it out, the actuator was already engaged and her pushing 4wd didn't change a thing. When I asked her to put it into 2wd it didn't move. Walla, bad actuator. Luckily, I had the old actuator from my old axle and it works still. Now the front wheels are disengaged and it doesn't bind up. So, if any of you guys have that kind of problem, there is the diagnostic and the solution. Thought I would share my story with you guys.

    Happy St. Patty's day. I drank a 6 pack while doing all of that. I think I'm about ready to call it a night! :sign0011:
  14. j cat

    j cat Active Member

    with the front diff actuator locked on this is a good reason for your front diff problems. I know when in locked 4wd turning the steering wheel on dry solid pavement sure causes lots of binding stress on the drive train
  15. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, it stinks that you did all that work and it ended up being the actuator. But, there is a bright side, you have new bearings in your front diff!
  16. Morpheus

    Morpheus New Member

    Well, it was all work that actually needed to be done. My front diff sprung a leak in my driveway (which really makes me angry) and it was from the front diff. If I'm gettin that deep into it I'm gonna do all the work so it's a long time until I have to do it again. But, when I put it back together and I tested 4wd, it wouldn't come out of 4wd and that's when I went to checking other things like cv axles and such. Turns out it was the actuator. Wild wild weekend man. I felt like I had defeated the power of fear as I crusaded across the universe in a glowing green suit and a cool ring.

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