Front differential leaking - Thanks Honey!!!

Guenther

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
65
So my wife calls me the other day and says, "The Envoy won't move when I turn the wheel hard and back up. It just stops" to which my reply was, "Do you have the damn 4WD drive on???" Her response was yes, of course, and though my son had switched it by mistake. It had only been driven about 2 miles that way and backed up a couple times. So I look under the Envoy last night and see drip spots on the floor from the front diff driver's side. I assume it's a bad seal and will need to be replaced but wondering if there might be more damage inside. Still plenty of fluid, doesn't grind or make noise but it definitely locks up when in reverse and the wheel is locked in a turn. Our Tahoe will move some but this doesn't want to hardly at all. I'm wondering if I should just replace the bearing while I'm in there too. I sure hope she didn't cause this and it's just a coincidence but there were no drips before this happened. I took some pictures and also have a question on how to get the axle out. I've read up on taking everything apart but having a hard time picturing how I'm supposed to get it out. I know you use a BFH and drift but I can't figure out where I'm supposed to place the drift against to hit it so the circlip releases. If someone could even draw on one of the pictures that would be very helpful. Any help is appreciated.
 

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Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
I doubt having it in 4WD did that. It looks like a simple axle seal leak.

It is normal for the drivetrain to bind up on a dry surface when cranking the wheels and trying to move in 4x4. As long as it doesn't bind and lock up when in 2WD and runs normally when in 4x4 going straight then you should be fine.

Not sure exactly where you bang on the tripot either... I used a prybar and popped mine out that way. It took a couple tries but it came out OK. One recommendation I have is to remove the shock/spring assembly when working on it - It gives you a ton more room to work, and it is only a couple bolts to remove the assembly.

When I replaced my seal I left my bearing alone. It looked good so I didn't want to mess with yanking it out of there.

The seal and bearing can only be gotten at the dealer. Autozone, Advance Auto, O'Reilly's, etc don't have it. The seal is part number 19257296 and the bearing is 26053326.

I would have some gear oil to top off the differential as you'll lose some when you pull the axle and seal out. Or if it hasn't been changed for a while go ahead and plan on changing the oil.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Short running in 4HI won't kill things. Our platform binds up pretty well in turns because the transfer case is a good fore/aft locker. The reason is because of the different turning circles of the front and the rear diffs, even if both have open diffs. Tahoes must have a more slippery transfer case. Are you current on the 50K interval for transfer fluid changes?

The leaking seal is unrelated to accidental driver goofs.

Hit the tripot joint from behind at an angle, or try a prybar or pickle fork at the junction.

View attachment 20694

Here's the math behind the binding in 4HI mode.

envoyturning.jpg
 

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kardain

Member
Dec 16, 2011
557
Or some auto parts stores will have a cv axle puller for rent. It is basically a slide hammer (dent puller) with a large u shaped hook on the end.... The hook goes behind the tripot. This pulls the cv out straight, reducing damage to the splines and clip.

The pry bar and/or pickle fork work too as well if you have one on hand.
 

Guenther

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
65
Thanks Sparky. When you used the pry bar did you hit it or just force it out? I changed the diff oil about 3,000 miles ago right after we got it for my son and it had 100,000 on it. I don't think it had ever been changed eihter. I didn't notice any leaks then and it didn't start showing up on the floor until after my wife had it in 4wd. Maybe it was just a coincidence but I won't let her know that :rotfl:


Sparky said:
I doubt having it in 4WD did that. It looks like a simple axle seal leak.

It is normal for the drivetrain to bind up on a dry surface when cranking the wheels and trying to move in 4x4. As long as it doesn't bind and lock up when in 2WD and runs normally when in 4x4 going straight then you should be fine.

Not sure exactly where you bang on the tripot either... I used a prybar and popped mine out that way. It took a couple tries but it came out OK. One recommendation I have is to remove the shock/spring assembly when working on it - It gives you a ton more room to work, and it is only a couple bolts to remove the assembly.

When I replaced my seal I left my bearing alone. It looked good so I didn't want to mess with yanking it out of there.

The seal and bearing can only be gotten at the dealer. Autozone, Advance Auto, O'Reilly's, etc don't have it. The seal is part number 19257296 and the bearing is 26053326.

I would have some gear oil to top off the differential as you'll lose some when you pull the axle and seal out. Or if it hasn't been changed for a while go ahead and plan on changing the oil.

Dang Roadie, you broke out the geometry and everything :smile: Just pop the axle out with a pry bar then as an option? I changed the fluid about 3,000 miles ago when I got the truck with 100,000 miles on it. I doubt it had ever been changed. Thanks for the help.

the roadie said:
Short running in 4HI won't kill things. Our platform binds up pretty well in turns because the transfer case is a good fore/aft locker. The reason is because of the different turning circles of the front and the rear diffs, even if both have open diffs. Tahoes must have a more slippery transfer case. Are you current on the 50K interval for transfer fluid changes?

The leaking seal is unrelated to accidental driver goofs.

Hit the tripot joint from behind at an angle, or try a prybar or pickle fork at the junction.

View attachment 6516

Here's the math behind the binding in 4HI mode.

envoyturning.jpg
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Yeah, I wedged it good behind the tripot against the front diff housing and gave it a good thwack with a larger hammer. A few hits and it popped free.
 

Wyle

Member
Dec 4, 2011
200
I used a 4-way lug wrench and a hammer to pop out the drivers axle. Worked well to have the cross arms of the lug wrench against the underframe and just pivot it to line up with the back of the tripot.

I'd yank on the tripot and check the play in the bearing before you dig in to it. Easy to replace bearing and axle if needed while you're in there.
 

Spyw

Member
Apr 23, 2012
45
I had very good luck with a slide hammer. I took off the caliper and rotor, pulled out the hub, disconnected the upper ball joint, and pulled out the shock assembly. A couple hits with the slide hammer and my original passenger axle with 124k miles popped right out. The worst part was trying to figure out the least number of parts that needed to be pulled to give me enough clearance for the hub-side spindle, but I have had all of those parts off before so even that wasn't too bad.

I need to get around to replacing my driver side. It's a lot worse than my passenger side was and I need to replace the diff seal. You know how a bad CV joint makes a ticking sound? Is it bad if it starts making a squealing sound? :raspberry:
 

Guenther

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
65
Picked up seal at dealer today for $12 (guy always gives me a discount) along with seal puller and race/seal driver set from Harbor freight for a total of $30 (had a couple coupons). I've needed the race/seal driver set in the past so decided now was as good of time as any to just by it. With both my boys' baseball and track every night and on weekends I just have to find time to do it. :eyebrowhuh:
 

navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
I tried the axle puller tool and a pickle fork and couldn't get mine out.
I removed my oil pan skid and used a 2X2 about 2ft long where one end was angled, it is the kind that you use for porch railings.
I hit it a few times and mine came right out.
I did use the slide hammer to get the seal out.
My bearing was fine.
 

Guenther

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
65
Well I finally got around to putting in the new seal. I was trying to take apart the least amount of parts but ended up taking off the rotor & caliper together, upper & lower ball joints as well as the hub. I didn't have a big enough socket to get the nut off the end of the axle so I borrowed one from Advance Auto. It took me about 3 hours to do it taking my time and finally with a long piece of rebar I was able to get the axle popped out. Everything went back together fine, I changed the oil while I was down under there and degreased everything so if I see a leak I'll know immediately. So far so good though on a 15 mile road test putting it in 4wd a few times. Thanks for the help fellas.
 

Guenther

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
65
gmac310 said:
Don't forget to treat the wife if it turns out not to be her fault!

Are you kidding? I've got something to hold over her whether she really did anything or not as she has no clue. Let me have this one man :thumbsup:
 

gmac310

Member
Dec 4, 2011
174
Guenther said:
Are you kidding? I've got something to hold over her whether she really did anything or not as she has no clue. Let me have this one man :thumbsup:

Good luck with that! :biggrin:
 

rachyLTZ

Member
Sep 11, 2012
5
hello to all i know this thread is a bit old but its all ive found.
so is this seal replacing to difficult does anyone have a how to with picks this is somethig i have to do too thanks
 

rgoldberg

Member
Dec 13, 2011
35
just did my seal tonight. Took about an hour to break every thing down and get the seal out.

Pulled in this order:
Wheel
Strut
Brake Calpier
Disc
Axel Nut
Upper Ball joint
Busted Axel loosed with a long screw driver and a hammer, 2 taps
Pulled the seal
Drained the Diff

Drove the new seal in
Pushed the Axel in by hand until it clicked and would not come back out
reassembled everything

Super easy

Took about 30 seconds to set the new seal, and then a bout 5 minutes to make sure the axel was locked back in place.

Right now its all back to ether except the wheel is off and the diff has no fluid.
I'm gonna put the wheel on, lower the car, make sure all the old crud has drained and then refill the diff.


Thanks for all the goodness in this forum, I'd be lost with out all your help!

-Ryan
 

Guenther

Original poster
Member
Dec 7, 2011
65
Nice job and that's pretty much how I did it but I didn't need to remove the strut. I came at the tripot from the under side of the bumper with a 3ft piece of rebar (rounded off tip) and a hammer. I changed my diff fluid about 10,000 miles ago so I just needed to top it off. Not a bad job at all but a little time consuming the first time.
 

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