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How-to » Transmissions & Drivetrains » Drive Axles & Differentials » How to Replace a Rear Differential
 Note: This is a general guide for all vehicles.

How to Replace a Rear Differential

PARTS
  • Differential Cover Gasket
  • Differential
  • 1 more part
TOOLS
  • Screwdriver
  • Chisel
  • 6 more tools
STEPS
Edit
Hard
Safety Tip:
Always wear safety glasses when working on your vehicle. Wear other personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary, for example latex gloves or closed toe shoes.

1
Secure the vehicle on a level surface, making sure your vehicle will not roll or lean when jacked up.
2
Break the rear wheel lug nuts loose but do not remove. Using a floor jack, lift up the rear of your vehicle.
3
Secure the vehicle with jack stands on both sides for safety before starting any work. The pinch welds or the frame rails are the two best locations. Do not rely on the jack to hold the vehicle up while working.
7110
4
Remove the lug nuts. Remove the rear wheels.
5
Locate and place an oil pan under the rear differential. Remove the differential cover and drain the gear oil. Inspect for any metal flakes and damage in the differential.
6
Remove the brake drums.
7
Unbolt the retaining flange that is holding the axle seal, bearing, and collar in the axle.
8
Slide the axle out of the axle tube. Repeat for the other side.
9
Remove the differential carrier. Be careful not to damage the gasket sealing surface when removing the unit. Place both R and L bearing assemblies and shims in sets with the marked differential bearing caps so they can be reinstalled in their original positions.
10
Inspect the differential carrier housing for foreign material. Check the ring and pinion for chipped teeth, excessive wear and scoring. Check the carrier bearings visually and by feel. Clean the differential housing and replace, as necessary.
11
Install the differential carrier. Check the carrier bearing preload and ring and pinion backlash, and adjust as necessary. Tighten the differential bearing cap bolts to manufacturer's specified torque.
12
Reinstall axle into the axle tube.
13
Spin the axle until the splines match up with the gears in the differential; the axle should slide all to way into position.
14
Tighten axle retaining flange. Repeat for the other side.
15
Install the carrier cover using a new gasket. Tighten the carrier bolts to the specified torque. Add the proper type and amount of gear oil to axle assembly.
16
Reinstall the brake drums.
17
Reinstall the wheel.
18
Torque lug nuts to manufacturer's specifications.
19
Road test the vehicle and look for leaks to verify the rear differential repair.
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