Question about 1997 GMC Sierra
1. Diff cover off. Wheels and brake drums off. Driveshaft off of diff. Loosen yoke nut at front of diff pinion.
2. Rotate carrier to gain access to cross shaft retainer pin's head. This looks like a small bolt living in a divot in the carrier, in line with the cross shaft. Using a GOOD QUALITY 5/16" or 8mm closed-end wrench or socket, loosen and remove the pin. Its threads will extend about 3/4" under the head, and then there is a 2" long (or so) unthreaded smaller diameter section which extends down beyond the threads. This is what goes through the cross shaft and retains it.
3. Tap the cross shaft with a hammer and be certain it is not stuck in its bore. Not likely, but now is the time to check.
4. Rotate the carrier so that the cross shaft is tilted up at the front, down at the back with the rear/lower end being the end that was formerly retained by the pin you just removed.
5. Reach around and poke the shaft so that it slides out, diagonally down and back, and just barely misses the lower edge of the housing. You don't have to totally remove it, but no part of it may be in the middle open space between the pinion gears.
NOTE: if you turn the carrier or either of the axles now, with the shaft out of place, the pinion gears will walk to a different position and it is a PITA to get them back where they go.
6. Go to the outer ends of the axles and push them in. Each of them needs to come in maybe 1/4" to 3/8".
7. Looking back in the differential carrier, you will see the inboard ends of the axles. Remove the C-clips from them. Chances are one or both of the clips has fallen down and you must pick it up with fingers or a magnet. The C-clips look like a big flat washer with a slot in one side so that they can slide onto the ends of the axles and engage a slot.
8. Go out and pull your axles out. They don't need to come all the way out; six inches will do. However, this would be a good time to check your wheel bearings and replace your wheel seals if necessary.
9. Slide that cross shaft back in or all the way out. My recommendation is "in" so as to keep your pinion gears in order.
10. Nothing is in your way now. Remove the four bolts - two to a side - that hold the bearing caps on at either side of the carrier. Pry the carrier out with a pry bar or two, and be sure to catch the shims that live outboard of the bearings on both sides. You (or whoever is doing this) will want these shims - and want to know which side they belonged to - when it is time to reinstall and set up your diff.
11. Remove yoke nut, washer, yoke, and pinion seal from front of diff. Using some sort of non-brutal hammer (dead blow, brass, whatever,) tap the pinion gear into the housing. Again with the shims; you will need them to set up your new gears.
Posted on Nov 16, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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