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How to: removing front diff on a 95+

I figure that since I've done this twice (once to regear and once to install a locker) and figured out a faster [than the book] way to do this, that I should share my info. It took me about 1.5 hrs to drop and the same time to reinstall the second time.

1) Jack up passenger side; remove tire; remove center cap on tire; remount tire with two or three lug nuts; set back down and remove axle nut that is now accessible; (Its at 200+ ft/lbs so you need a good long breaker bar) jack up again; remove tire; set jack stand under A arm; remove brake caliper; remove shock; remove ABS wire from clips


2) Unhook front driveshaft


3) Start up engine and carefully turn wheels to the right to near full lock


4) mark alignment cams (on upper A arm bolts) with current rotation so that you don’t screw up your alignment when reinstalled; remove upper A arm bolts (note: in any book it will say to separate the upper A arm from the spindle but I could never get this joint apart on either side the first time I did this); spindle will now fall out allowing you to remove half axle from hub assembly (if it doesn't come out like shown it the picture, jack the truck up from the cross-member allowing the passenger A arm to droop more)

EDIT: Like it mentions later in this thread, it is easier to remove the upper ball joint, rather than the A-arm. You just need to remove the pinch bolt completely to get it loose, which I never tried. :eek:




5) using a pry-bar or large screwdriver between the axle housing and inner CV, being careful not to damage the seal, pry the two apart (you’ll feel it click and move ½”); remove half axle being careful not to damage bearings in housing (Warning: Gear oil will start leaking out this opening now)

6) pry driver side half axle just like passenger side; place jack under diff and remove three bolts holding diff; carefully lower diff while moving it to the passenger side until you’re able to remove driver side half axle from housing; as soon as breather tube is accessible remove it from housing

7) install locker, etc




Reinstall by reversing procedure
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cool. I just asked about this procedure in another thread. BTW, how is the front powertrax?? I know you dont have *auto* 4wd anymore but how is it??

Great writeup

Now I'm not so afraid to try it myself. Thanks!

Here I was all ready to see someone take the torch to the front end! :)

Great write up Jefe, thanks, that will come in handy in the future. I'm assuming that if you can get the pinch bolt out that is hold the upper ball joint in, then you won't need to remove the control arm from the frame? Makes sense anyways.

Yeah, how is the front power trax? Might be my next modification if you like it.

Happy trails!!

Great write up Jefe I hope you like the locker as much as I do.


Thanks guys. I knew this would help, since the first time I did it I was overwhelmed. . .and its not easy to do that to me. ;)

I haven't gotten to typing up my reactions to the locker yet. . .soon. But for now: :) :cool: :eek: :chug: :bounce: :D :bounce:

Originally posted by Jot017
Great write up Jefe, thanks, that will come in handy in the future. I'm assuming that if you can get the pinch bolt out that is hold the upper ball joint in, then you won't need to remove the control arm from the frame? Makes sense anyways. . .
You are correct. Just know that I probably spent 45 mins prying and :hammer: and :shoot: per side before I gave up and unmounted the upper A arms.

A couple things I do and it takes about the same amount of time, maybe less:

1) Don't remount the tire. You can either use an impact wrench or large breaker bar to get the nut off. To hold the assembly from spinning either engage the 4x4 or use another breaker bar between two of the wheel studs putting pressure the other way.

2) instead of going through the hassle of removing the upper control arm, just un-bolt the upper ball joint from the knuckle and that will give you the same amount of play.


Have you tested it out yet??? I am anxious to find out. I ordered mine a couple weeks ago, so I am just waiting for it to show up on my doorstep...


My writeup is here:
Dead Link Removed

Jefe.. you are the man! Thanks for this write up. Just changed out my CV axle in less then an hour. :chug:

I just did this on my Ranger, but now I have some probs.

Lets start with what I didn't do. I didn't take the CV out of the spindle. I took the nut off the, but did not take it out of the spindle. Could this pose a problem? NOTE: I didn't have any trouble with it this way.

I did take both sides apart, cause I didn't pay attention to the RIGHT side directions, I thought they went for both sides. While they both were taken apart, I turned the steering wheel several times. After I got it all back together and start driving down the road I start having problems.

Here it is: I can turn but it is not easy. Its like I'm fighting 4lo w/o power steering, but I'm in 2wd. I'm wondering if my alignment got off somehow. It drives down the road straight, but when I try to turn, either way, its very hard doing so.

Anybody got any ideas?!??!?!

wow.. still giving ya problems josh?

did you take it back apart and make sure the locker was in there right? i remember you saying one side wouldn't turn before. something about the half shaft being different? i don't see how not removing the cv's would cause it unless they are not seated in there properly now or something. it kinda sounded like the locker wasn't in there completely right and causing it to be locked even in 2wd.

Did you do the locker check (in the locker install manual)? That way you know if the locker is locking and unlocking properly.
Are you sure the half axles are fully seated in the axle housing?
I'm not sure how you managed to get the housing out without removing at least one CV from a spindle, but that should not be your problem. Did you happen to check your CVs while everything was apart? Rotate them around, etc to see if they bind anywhere.
did you grease the locker on install, like mentioned in the instructions?
And lastly, the stupid question. . did you fill the diff back up?

Yes, I filled the diff back up. I greased the locker as well. But the problem jason is talking about is that one side of the locker did not free spin at all, so the locker does not free spin inside the carrier, or at least it didn't when I put it in, but with the weight of the truck it might be doing so now, I don't know for sure.

The CVs could be the problem, being that they might not be fully seated to the hub(s). I can't remember if I bumped them while working on it or not. I didn't check the CVs to see if they are bound up anywhere.

I just don't want it to be the locker, cause that might cause more problems, or at least I'm thinking it might cause more problems.

You answered all the questions except the first:
Have you tested the locker by following the instructions that came with the locker to see if it is working correctly?

Here are the instructions so you know what I'm talking about:

1. put front end on jackstands, so wheels are off the ground.
2. put transmission in gear (park), put vehicle in 4x4 (vehicle must be running if you have the 4405 t-case)
3. have on person turn the driver side wheel forward and hold agains driveline (shouldn't spin after it locks in)
4. another person should check to see that the passenger side wheel will not spin the same direction as the drivers side is being held, but should freely 'ratchet' the other direction.
5. repeat steps 3 and 4, spinning the drivers side the other direction
6. repeat for passenger side checking both directions.

I did not test it when I got through with it. I was very tired and didn't even think about it. However, I did check it at work to see if both tires turned, while in 2wd while jacked up, and they both turned the same direction and you couldn't get it to ratchet. Should I still try it 4wd to make sure, or should I take it all back out and get that one side to free spin inside the carrier?

I'd do the complete test first.

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You don't thnk that the locker not free spooling inside the carrier is a problem? Cause the only thing that is spinning is the carrier assembly.