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Xtremeta38

Front diff needs rebuild

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So I just got the news my front diff needs to be rebuilt. The shop I normally use said they don't have all the tools to properly rebuild so they suggest taking it to a transmission shop. At this point am I better off just buying a new front diff and having it installed? What about getting the rear done at the same time? I've seen some threads where people have suggested getting an after market rear that is better, is there a similar option for the front? The truck is a 2003 with around 125k miles. What do you guys think?

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You probably already know that the front diff's are notorious for failing in this AWD platform. But I don't think there is much out there to make them better. Mainly you just have to make sure the preloads, backlash, gear mesh are set right. Now don't think that just because the front failed, the rear may be due to expire soon too. I believe there is no correlation between the 2 systems. The rear may go another 100K without issue (assuming your changing the fluids). I would quote a rebuild-factor in the shop repretation and compare it against the price of new when making a decision on how to proceed.

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Many rebuilt front diff's have held up just fine. Find a competent mechanic and get a quote. Look for an estimate between $1,00o to $1,400. The rebuild should be a good bit cheaper than buying a new unit and having to pay to have it installed.

 

GM recommended that these diff's got a fluid change at 500 miles. I've read many threads about front diff's over the years and most people are surprised to learn that the fluid was supposed to be changed at 500 miles. (Break in period.) In my opinion, that was a contributor in many differential failures.

 

Once you get the diff rebuilt do that 500 mile fluid change and go with Mobil 1 full synthetic diff fluid.

 

My diff needed a rebuild when I got the truck, at 40,000. The rebuild has 60,000 on it, (with Mobil 1 synthetic), and is doing fine.

 

Not saying anything against transmission shops but you shouldn't need one for the diff rebuild. A good mechanic's shop should be able to handle it. Ask about differential repair experience. (Front or rear).

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If u have any basic tools you can take it out and reinstall it yourself, that usually saves you about 400 bucks and with the tips I can provide it will literally take u 30 minutes with basic hand tools, if your interested I can tell u everything u will need and all the tricks to get it out and in without taking the tires off. Ive rebuilt mine and a buddies and both have lasted another 100k. Im about to the point where I gotta jump in it again but like said before they dont last forever even properly maintained. Just shoot a pm if interested in free knowledge.

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I bought the truck used at around 80k miles and have no records of maintenance. I'm thinking maybe the shop didn't want to fool with it because of the heavy schedule they are under at the current moment. I've never messed with rebuild or installation. But having said that, I'm all for knowledge. Even if I get a shop to do the rebuild, knowledge is definitely power. Plus, the more you know, the more they can't try to slide stuff past you. I saw a few years ago guys were buying the center sections from Jasper Motors and having good luck with them but at a premium. I think back then they were charging like $1900 for the centers. Just curious if someone made a "bulletproof" front diff.

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Front diff and bullet proof on these trucks are not in the same sentence. These are nortorious for failing like was mentioned. I had brand new trucks back in the day (Escalades) and they were noisy from day 1 and zero miles. Just the design of them plus most people never maintained them. The front diffs were one of the weak links on these trucks and why opted for a rear drive truck.....

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After a lot of research, I've found the adjusting tabs break and the bearing clearances get all wacky. Rebuild with all new races, bearings, seals will usually fix them (ring/pinions are usually reusable). I found a low mile one out of a Sierra Denali and swapped it out on the floor of my garage (about 1 hours work).

 

I have the noisy one one and a $110.00 rebuild set ready to go on the table. I'll probably have a big truck hired help with preloads and crush sleeve preload, as he is set-up for high torque settings (vs just impacting till its "close"!). I still have to procure new locking tabs and checking out "tips" for the tabs not breaking/backing-off.

 

Look at some videos, doesn't look that difficult.

Edited by FASTDIESEL

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On 7/3/2018 at 6:11 PM, Doughty08 said:

If u have any basic tools you can take it out and reinstall it yourself, that usually saves you about 400 bucks and with the tips I can provide it will literally take u 30 minutes with basic hand tools, if your interested I can tell u everything u will need and all the tricks to get it out and in without taking the tires off. Ive rebuilt mine and a buddies and both have lasted another 100k. Im about to the point where I gotta jump in it again but like said before they dont last forever even properly maintained. Just shoot a pm if interested in free knowledge.

Hey bud could u email me at [email protected] with the trick to get it out? I would really appreciate it 

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On 7/3/2018 at 6:11 PM, Doughty08 said:

If u have any basic tools you can take it out and reinstall it yourself, that usually saves you about 400 bucks and with the tips I can provide it will literally take u 30 minutes with basic hand tools, if your interested I can tell u everything u will need and all the tricks to get it out and in without taking the tires off. Ive rebuilt mine and a buddies and both have lasted another 100k. Im about to the point where I gotta jump in it again but like said before they dont last forever even properly maintained. Just shoot a pm if interested in free knowledge.

Hey bud can u email at [email protected] with the tricks to do it? I appreciate it

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