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How do I remove the actual Differential?

I am trying to figure out how to remove the actual differential, not the whole rear end of a 1999 Chevy Tahoe Posi-Trac. I have removed the differential cover, removed the axles by removal of the C-clips (horseshoe clips), I then removed the two main bearing caps from the differential. But I cannot get the differential itself out, no matter what I try. Need to remove this to get to the pinion as I need to replace the pinion bearing. Any other differential that I have removed from a Chevy literally pops out with the smack of a hammer on the housing. This one is simply not doing that. What am I missing? Or could it be that it is in there so tight?

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I have a question I got my rear differential out of a 2000 chevy suburban but now I have my casing out to change the spider gears I have two pin thing on the side with round thing ans a catch on it how do I take that off and then the gears out


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Russell, here is what i got from the manual:



1. Remove axle housing. See REAR AXLE HOUSING ASSEMBLY under REMOVAL & INSTALLATION. Remove differential cover bolts and cover. Remove axle shafts. See AXLE SHAFTS under REMOVAL & INSTALLATION.

2. Note letters on bearing caps and drive axle housing for reassembly reference. Remove differential bearing caps. See Fig. 4 . Mount dial indicator onto differential housing. See Fig. 3 . Preload dial indicator to .020" (.51 mm), then return dial to zero.

3. Mount Axle Housing Spreader (J-24385-01) to differential housing. See Fig. 3 . Spread drive axle housing to maximum of .015" (.38 mm). Using 2 pry bars, pry differential case out of axle housing.

Block Image

4. Remove axle housing spreader. Using Differential Bearing Remover (J-29721), Adapters (J-29721-70) and Removal Plug (J-8107-03), remove differential case side bearings and shims. Mark bearing, race, and shims left or right side for reassembly reference.

5. Using shop towels, place differential case in soft-jaw vise. Remove ring gear bolts. Ring gear bolts are right-hand thread. Using a soft-face hammer, tap ring gear off differential case.

6. Using hammer and punch, remove pinion shaft roll pin and pinion shaft. See Fig. 4 . Remove pinion gears and thrust washers. Remove differential side gears and thrust washers. Mark all gears and washers for reassembly reference.

7. Using Pinion Flange Holder/Remover (J-8614-01), remove drive pinion nut. See Fig. 2 . Using Pinion Flange Remover (J-8614-1, -2 and -3), remove pinion flange.

8. Install differential cover with 2 bolts (to prevent drive pinion from falling out of housing). Tap out drive pinion. Remove cover, drive pinion and small diameter pinion preload shims. Save shims for reassembly.

9. Pry out drive pinion oil seal. Remove outer drive pinion bearing and oil slinger. Remove drive pinion bearing races from drive axle housing.

10. Remove drive pinion adjustment shims and baffle (if equipped). Keep shims and baffle together for reassembly. Using Differential Side Bearing Remover (J-29721) and 4 Adapters (J-29721-70), remove inner drive pinion bearing.

Hope this helps, good luck.


Differential Case Reassembly

1. Apply lubricant. Assemble side gear thrust washers with side gears. Install side gear assembly in differential case. Ensure side gears are installed on same side as removed.

2. Place pinion gears onto side gears. Rotate pinion gears and ensure pinion gears line up with pinion shaft holes.

3. Slide pinion thrust washers into place. Align pinion shaft with roll pin hole in case. Install pinion shaft.

Drive in roll pin.

4. Position ring gear on differential case. Align bolt holes. Install 2 studs, 180 degrees apart, into differential case. Press ring gear onto differential case. Install and tighten NEW ring gear bolts in a crisscross pattern to specification. See TORQUE SPECIFICATIONS table.

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I believe you have to take the shafts that connect the wheels to the differential. Those shafts are what takes the power from the differential and transmit it too the wheel.

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Skippy, I think that was already done "removed the axles by removal of the C-clips ", of course I could have read it wrong.


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You need to get a rear-end spreader or you'll never get it out. You literally stretch the case just a little then you can pry it out.

The Axle Housing Spreader (J-24385-01) will run you $300 to $400 but maybe your local rental yard has one. Setting up backlash and pinion depth is critical and can be kind of tricky. For good info:

Randy's Ring and Pinion


Richmond Gear

Have you considered getting a complete used rear-end from a reputable salvage yard? Check out

The same rear end was used in Escalades, Suburbans, Yukons, and Chevy/GM trucks so there is a buttload of rear-ends (pun intended) with low miles out there.

I just did a search for a "rear axle assembly" for your vehicle on using my area code.

I recently replaced the rear-end on a 1998 Ford Ranger. I found a used one at a local salvage yard via that had 76,000 miles and was in "A" condition. It took about an hour and a half to bolt it in, install the cover, connect and bleed the brakes and add some GL5 oil. Oh yeah..the rear brake shoes and drums looked nearly new.. like the guy just had the brakes done before he wrecked it so I got a free brake job too.

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Thanks everyone. I think the spreader is the answer to try first. I dont recall ever having to use a spreader before, but those were on much older vehicles so I guess they were not loaded in as tight as these ones. I shall give it a go.

As for replacing the whole rear end. I dont have the funds for that.

The pinion bearing alone is expensive enough.

I'm sure I'll find an expander out there somewhere to rent.

Only question is ???? Do I need the expander for re-installation ??


Russ, the crazy Canuck..

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Just added the reassembly, from a former Canuck to a crazy Canuck ;)


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(Oops-double post-my bad)

Here's a couple of guys who got the carrier out without using a spreader

How to Proffesionally Remove A Dana 60 Carrier << not my spelling

1994 Ford Bronco - IFS Dana 44 Carrier Removal

Lucky no one got killed in that first vid. One guy's comment "Wow that cable is really tight". Priceless.

I wanna see the video when that cable snaps or the carrier cannonballs toward that dudes truck. I kinda get the feeling that those guys were gonna keep increasing the tension until SOMETHING happened. They do have a kickass garage though.

So yes you should use the spreader to reinstall the carrier. Getting the carrier out is easier than getting it back in. Think about it...

Spreading the case .010" - .015" is also how the bearing preload is set correctly and don't forget that you have to put the shims/spacers back in and that ain't gonna happen without spreading the case.

With this rear-end if the carrier can be driven in without using the spreader then the case is already effed up and will be noisy, sloppy and will end up failing prematurely.

I thinks that the rear end for your vehicle was manufactured by Dana but can't be sure without seeing it.

Dana Spicer service manual

Build your own spreader like this guy.

Good luck

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I have no answer but I have a problem maybe someone can help me my wife noticed her truck was wabling like a knot was on a tire so my son says its the barrings are going out so he took the rear pan off an we pulled the driver axel took out small bolt an another round piece put axel back in an put new tire now all the new does is spin realy fast did we put the axel in wrong somebody please help-3191 before my son realy f-ck up this rear end call 850-305-3191 ask for sean or sandy ty

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Russell sarà eternamente grato.
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