Hard to Remove Front Disconnect Assembly, 2005 Envoy

Camdo

Well-Known Member
Hard to Remove Front Disconnect Assembly, 2005 Envoy, Part 1

This is the story of how I fixed my 4WD. I have included mistakes, durations, true costs and suggest improved procedures for future jobs. We learn from everything, and I hope you may gain from my mistakes.

My 2005 GMC Envoy SLT, 4.2L inline 6 cyl. (10 years old at the time of this writing) had dysfunctional 4 wheel drive. I purchased the car in this condition, and so did not know all the history. There were no symptoms such as grinding, whirring, chatter etc, other than it did not work. All lights were normal on the dash, no service lights.

I jumped to the conclusion that the transfer case was bad. I impulsively purchased online the factory transmission repair manual and contemplated rebuilding the transfer case. I later discovered that I could buy a used transfer case for less than the manual, so I bought that too. I then read the vehicle repair manual to see how the transfer case is removed when I discovered there is a thing called the "intermediate shaft disconnect assembly". A eureka moment.

I jacked the right front wheel and engaged the 4WD. It was obvious that the right axle was not connecting to the differential side as it should when in 4WD. I removed the electric actuator of the disconnect assembly and actioned it in my hand with a Tech2. Its plunger worked okay. I placed a drift in the actuator hole to mimic the electric actuator and rotated the right tire. The axle would not engage no matter how hard I pressed on the drift. I could feel the sliding fork move smoothly within, everything felt okay, the grease looked clean, no metal shards could be seen. It was a mystery why the disconnect assembly was not working, but removing it was the next thing to do.

The Intermediate Shaft Disconnect Assembly is also called: Front Disconnect Assembly , Splined Disconnect, Intermediate Shaft Bearing Assembly, and Clutch Fork Housing Assembly to name a few. I will here after call it "assy", short for assembly and not for the PITA it was to remove.

I had the official GM service manual for this vehicle, so I thought the job would go smoothly. I would follow the procedure to the letter.

I purchased a new assy from USPowerTrain.com for $213 S&H included. I saw it on eBay, but purchased it directly from them on the telephone, as the return policy is more favorable when buying direct. I wanted to return the unit in case it was not needed. They claim their unit is engineered better than OEM. I got it in 4 days and was completely satisfied.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Trailblazer-Envoy-Rainer-Bravada-4WD-front-axle-disconnect-assembly-/161509948512?hash=item259abe3c60&vxp=mtr
Tel: 888-759-0814 ask for online sales. Tell them you saw it on eBay for $213.


I made two attempts to remove the old assy. On the first. I could not remove the right CV axle assembly without separating the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle. Although the manual says this is not necessary, In my case, it was. I did not have the proper tools to do this, and the car is my one and only daily driver. I reassembled the car. 9 hours work, but next time would be a snap to get back where I left off.

I purchased online two tools called out in the manual, which I now consider a must for this job.
1. J43631 Lower ball Joint Separator. used $128 on eBay.
2. J24319-B Puller. Substituted OTC 7503 Outer Tie Rod Remover. ToolSource.com new $55 plus $10 S&H.
http://www.toolsource.com/outer-tire-remover-p-62094.html
pic 12
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I would caution against buying China imports, as these are high stress tools. I looked at a look alike HFT puller and saw the jaws were thin, not aligned, could not tell if forged or cast, and the screw threads were not smooth. OTC7503 can be anyone's part number. Be wary buying online. You want to see the "OTC an SPX Brand" logo. Ottawa Tool Company is the best.

Now for my second attempt:
  1. Loosen wheel hub axle bolt, wheel lugs, jack car, remove tire.
  2. Disconnect speed sensor wire at the plug on the chassis back to the steering knuckle. To disconnect the electric plug: first pull it straight perpendicular from the chassis frame, then remove the grey safety lock by depressing the middle barb with a small screw driver while pulling, then disconnect the plug by squeezing the locking tab on the neck while pulling apart the plug assy. Disconnect the speed sensor cable clamps with a small screw driver prying up in the hood pocket.
  3. Disconnect the brake line clamp on the back side of the steering knuckle.
  4. Disconnect brake line mounting block on frame.
  5. Separate outer tie rod from steering arm.
  6. Separate stabilizer link from lower control arm. You will need a 7mm Allen wrench.
  7. Separate strut yoke from lower control arm.
  8. Unbolt 2 upper strut bolts from chassis mount. Remove strut from car.
  9. Separate upper ball joint from upper control arm.
  10. Separate lower ball joint from lower control arm.
  11. Pull wheel hub steering knuckle assembly from front axle. Set aside on blocks under wheel well with brake line still attached.
  12. Remove right front CV axle using a brass drift and 2 lb mason hammer against tripot housing.
  13. Now you have clear access to the front axle disconnect.
pic 11
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  1. Disconnect the electric plug from the disconnect assy. Remove the actuator.
  2. Remove 4 bolts holding assy to oil pan.
  3. Pry assy from oil pan. This may take some effort, and may be impossible to do so. It should pop off. If the assy doesn't budge, you have a corroded fused assy. If so, some serious press action is required, and the assy casting is probably going to be damaged in the removal process. Assess your options at this point.
a. Remove the outer case half of the assy and take a look at what is wrong with it. You may be able to repair the unit without removing it from the oil pan. In my case I could see the shifting fork was severely worn, and I could have replaced just that part. But all that worn aluminum was in the grease and there are many small needle bearings in the assy. Will you have peace of mind.
b. Continue to remove the assy and possibly crack the oil pan or damage the bore. Leading to a huge repair project.

I chose to replace the assy despite the risks.

To remove the stuck assy from the oil pan:
Use 3 jack screws, 3/8-18 x 2.5 full thread, with square nuts on the backside of the assy. Distribute the point load of the jack screws on the oil pan with thick metal backer pads. Jack screws are the socket head cap screws in pic 8 . Square nuts are not as likely to spin without a wrench. The steel pads are about 2 x 2 x .25, 2 x 3 x .38, and .75 x 2.5 x .50 and small filler block .50 x 1 x .31 Just scraps I had lying around.
pic 8

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pic 9
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I applied quite a bit of torque to the jack screws until the assy popped. The oil pan is remarkably strong. What popped was the casting of the assy. This was a nerve racking operation, but I would do it again. The oil pan is strong. The force required to break the casting is substantial and highlights how fused together these parts were.
Here is the assy. You can see where the casting broke.
pic 2

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and the oil pan with the broken piece stuck in the oil pan. The assy oil seal prevents removal of the intermediate shaft.
pic 1

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Continued in Part 2
http://gmtnation.com/forums/topic/13749-hard-to-remove-front-disconnect-assembly-2005-envoy-part-2/
 
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Camdo

Well-Known Member
Hard to Remove Front Disconnect Assembly, 2005 Envoy, Part 2


I did not have an internal bearing puller that could remove the needle race, so I drilled a .201 inch hole on the its circumference and collapsed the bearing with a diamond point chisel wedged into the hole. I could then hook it with a makeshift tool I had to remove it. I did a little grinding on the chisel to start it in the hole.
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It is worth noting the wall thickness so as not to damage the bore of the oil pan. The oil pan bore is 2.774 inch dia., and the bore the needle race fits into is 1.850, so the wall thickness is .462 inch. In the picture the o.d. of the second step counter bore from the center corresponds to the oil pan bore. So you never want a drill hole to exceed that point or you will damage the oil pan bore.
pic 17

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Fortunately the cast aluminum is soft, brittle and cracks easily.
Drill two .281 (9/32) holes .62 apart using the center of the casting spot face as a drill center. These holes are approximate. There is plenty of clearance to the oil pan bore. You will feel the drill pop out the back and hit the assy seal which will be discarded later. Use a small drill (.089) to make a line of holes to be the crack path to the edge of the casting. Now take a .50 wide cold chisel and strike the edge of the broken casting to collapse it radially towards the center. Break what remains in the bore by striking axially into the bore on top of the remains. It will crack off into the depths of the bore.
See 3 waste pieces: 1 radial and 2 axial.
Pic 18

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Pic 19
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Pic19a
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pic 20
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pic 22
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Once the circumference is breached, the rest of the casting is easy to hammer loose and pry out.
Drill a small hole in the seal and insert a sheet metal screw to pull it out.
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These are the tools I used. The drill bits are .089, .159, .201, .281. The size of the power drill is critical. The electric drill I had was just small enough to fit between the frame components. A long drill chuck extension, 18-24 inch, or an air drill would be required otherwise. I don't think a battery drill will fit.
pic 21

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Continued in Part 3
http://gmtnation.com/forums/topic/13750-hard-to-remove-front-disconnect-assembly-2005-envoy-part-3/
 
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Camdo

Well-Known Member
Hard to Remove Front Disconnect Assembly, 2005 Envoy, Part 3


Here is the oil pan bore. Not a scratch on it.
pic 34

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pic 35
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I cleaned up some of the corrosion with a light hone lubricated with WD-40. Although I did this, I don't think it was necessary, because the new unit has a relief.
pic 36

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Note the relief in the nose of the new assy. It should not seize again in the oil pan bore. I installed the new unit with never seize just for insurance.
pic 37

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pic 39
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Tested unit with Tech2 while turning axle by hand. It works. Nice.
pic 42

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Reassembled everything and drove away.

Elapsed time of second attempt was 18 hr over two days.

Job After thoughts:
I saw in other forum posts that a pneumatic saw was used to remove the broken disconnect. I too was going to try the method, but decided not to. The disconnect projects into the bore of the oil pan about 1.00 inch. The oil pan bore depth is about 1.25 - 1.38 deep (by memory, I did not measure). The stroke of my electric sawzall is 1.00 inch, and so I needed to hold the saw within .25 inch of mid stroke to prevent the blade bouncing out of the work area or hitting the bottom of the oil pan bore. There was also possible damage to the bore and cross tube by over cutting. And skinned knuckles from the bouncing sawzall. I deemed the method too risky and opted out. I had a small .50 stroke saber saw but it was too large to fit in the space. The work space is very restricted, and even a small tool will seem large and cumbersome. There is also a visual problem with sawing. You are working in a narrow hole and cannot see to the side of the saw, so the cutting action will be done blind.


I tried to pull the assy with the adapter foot of my slide hammer. This can be attached with three 4 inch long bolts in the threaded holes used to join the 2 halves of the disconnect case. The slide hammer impacts were completely ineffective. I then made a jury rig of a levered bar attached to the adapter foot with a hoisting ring, and a machinery jack pressing against the lower control arm chassis mount. I had about .75 inch of press travel and stretched the engine motor mounts by that amount running out of travel. I did not think to counter jack the engine against the chassis frame. So this may be an option for the future.

If I had to do this again I would use the jack bolts and drill method. It was simple and the results were excellent, but the risk to the oil pan cracking under the strain of the jack bolts was bothersome. You do not know what margin of safety exists before the pan does crack. Weakening the case prior to jacking, will give you peace of mind. Here are a few possible ways to do that:
a. Drill a circular ring of small holes along the outside of the oil pan bore.
b. Use a 2-7/8 hole saw with the assy slider ring (2.720 dia) as a pilot on the splined gear. Wrap the slider ring with tape to get a good fit inside the hole saw. 2-7/8 hole saws are available but uncommon.
c. Use a 3 in dia hole saw with a 2-1/8 bore guide plug, piloted on the splined gear (2.122 dia.). To make this tool, apply 3 in. hole saw partially thru 1-1/2 thick piece of hardwood. Use another hole saw 2-1/8 dia to bore thru the center of the partially cut 3 in piece. Remove the guide bit from the arbor of the 3 in. hole saw and complete the 3 in bore. You now have a 3 in hole saw with a 2-1/8 bore wooden plug in it. Hole saws, 3 and 2-1/8, are commonly available at Home Depot, and so are long extension bits to fit them.
The casting is .225 inch thick, so penetrate about 3/16 inch into the assy casting to weaken it. You could saw all the way thru but, hole saws can be aggressive. Don't saw into the oil pan.


Job Statistics:

Total time spent:
First attempt..................9 hr
2nd attempt..................18 hr
Total garage time .........27 hr
Hours spent planning and thinking about this - probably days

Money spent:
Direct costs:
Disconnect assembly.............$ 213.......USPowertrain
Indirect costs:
Deep 6pt metric socket set........24........HFT
Std 6pt metric socket set...........12........HFT
35mm wheel nut socket............20........AutoZone
Ball joint tool..........................128........ebay.com
Tie Rod Puller...........................65........ToolSource.com
misc.........................................56

Wasted costs:
Transfer case...........................106........local salvage yard
Transmission manual...............149........DiyRepairManuals.com


TOTAL $...................................773


Although I had substantial indirect and wasted cost, to my benefit, I became acquainted with my car and better understand its condition and how it works. I had forgotten how satisfying it is to work on your own vehicle. It was an enjoyable experience I will not forget.
 
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linneje

Well-Known Member
Well done! Yours was a tough scenerio. If the disconnect comes off easily (I was fortunate mine did) then it is much less work and cost.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Excellent write up on a difficult job. Not the first one reported to have a broken disconnect. I remember a while back someone took it to a dealer and they destroyed the pan in the process (they covered the costs). You just showed that it can be done!
 

BrianF

Well-Known Member
A few years ago I was able to pop the CV out no problem to throw a bit of grease on the bearings of the CAD. A year later or so when it came time to pull it for inspection and such I could not for the life of me pop it out. I unbolted the thing in half and removed it that way. The section that was left was stuck in the pan and again for the life of me could not get it out. I tried hitting it and prying at various angles with no luck. I then used a small hammer and hit it and forced it to rotate, which broke all the corrosion free. It then popped out like a crack baby. Mine was in far greater shape than expected, but it still got new bearings and seals. I used the red Mobil 1 synthetic NLGI #2 grease as most on this site do. I was worried about how it would shift during the extreme cold as I know first hand how #2 grease turns to plastic in the cold. But no it works great all seasons.
 

linneje

Well-Known Member
I used lithium grease for my rebuild which stays fluid in really cold temperatures. Five years using that and no problems. But I should note that I only use the 4WD in the winter. I think the lithium grease is very watery in the summer.
BrianF said:
I used the red Mobil 1 synthetic NLGI #2 grease as most on this site do. I was worried about how it would shift during the extreme cold as I know first hand how #2 grease turns to plastic in the cold. But no it works great all seasons.
 

Sparky

Moderator
Nicely written up!

I ran into the exact same issue with the stuck disconnect. When that happened I was so frustrated enough with the whole project and having had some other issues I was done and just had my local shop do the extraction for me. They coated the surfaces with some anti-seize to help prevent it from happening again if I ever had to take it back apart. Haven't had to yet so I don't know if it has helped or not.
 

dkmcco

New Member
Thank you, this was very helpful. I had the same problem, and would have done a dumb thing had I not seen your post. I was thinking of just putting the old disconnect back together with new grease inside, thinking that the broken casting would be held together by the four bolts, and didn't need to seal tight. But I was ignoring the fact that I had wrecked the shaft seal when I pulled the intermediate shaft through it, and it really needs a new seal. So I ordered the new disconnect from the source you gave and finished extracting the broken casting from the oil pan today. My original problem was a failed carrier bearing in the differential, not the disconnect. I am waiting for my bearing rebuild kit from Drivetrain.com
 

trail1960

Member
This is a god send for my current situation on my disconnect. I am right on the step of chiseling out the inner seal. I am glad to know that I can break the seal or needle bearing to give me more room to break the rest free. I used a drill stop on my electric 1/4 drill so I did not drill through. What causes such a tight molecular fit on this aluminum?
 

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trail1960

Member
Just good 'ol corrosion. Clean out the bore and use some anti-seize on the new one.
Well after tackling it this morning, I was able to get the needle bearing out like the post shows. But, I think mine is more corroded than what the authors has. I chiseled, as much as I could without too much damage. I even tried to grind it out with a dremel tool that has sander attachments. No luck there. This is going to be my next option. I am going to replace the drill bits with a dull blank. Then set the depth on each cut lower and lower until I make it thin enough to pry out the rest of the way. All I could find in a carbide hole saw was this harbor freight kit. 2 1/2 is pushing the safety limit I am comfortable with. I would prefer a 2 1/4 diamond or carbide instead. If this does now work I am at a loss as to what to do. The car has 250,000 miles and is in pristine condition. Any thoughts? I think I am very close to a solution. What would it take to have a garage tow it in and fix it. If I admit defeat.
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Camdo

Well-Known Member
Well after tackling it this morning, I was able to get the needle bearing out like the post shows........
Trails1960, you are almost finished. Take a 1/2 or 3/4 inch cold chisel and place it on the area shown in the picture below (the yellow rectangle) and pound directly into the depth of the bore (parallel to the intermediate shaft, that is the axial direction). The aluminum of the disconnect assembly is soft and brittle. The cold chisel will fracture the casting, break it's circumference and free it up. Remember you pound on the broken edge into the depth of the bore and not against the bore. There is some air space between the oil pan bore bottom and the nose of the disconnect assembly, so you will not be pounding against a solid bottom. The fracture pieces will also push the seal into the bore. It is okay, there is plenty of extra depth in that oil pan bore. The cold chisel is not cutting the metal it is being used as a punch. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
disconnect.jpg
 

trail1960

Member
Do you mean position the chisel like this and beat toward the rubber seal in the bottom of the bowl? Would you think trying that carbide drill would be dangerous?
The shaft to the hole saw is 3/8" I was going to grind down the shaft to make it blunt then slowly using the 2 1/2" carbide bit drill the aluminum. Once I get about 1/8" into the casing. I would readjust the pilot bit and then drill a little deeper. Mine is really really fused in there. Using the pilot bit pressed against the shaft. Please advise.
The picture is done is ps. It is really tight in there to get a hammer to even strike a blow isn't it. :smile:
 

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trail1960

Member
Had an after thought. What about an air hammer with a modified chisel on it? I am finding it more and more difficult to get a hammer in there to strike the chisel.
Just an afterthought. HF has em for 13 bucks at 90 psi.
 
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Camdo

Well-Known Member
Do you mean position the chisel like this and beat toward the rubber seal in the bottom of the bowl? Would you think trying that carbide drill would be dangerous?
The shaft to the hole saw is 3/8" I was going to grind down the shaft to make it blunt then slowly using the 2 1/2" carbide bit drill the aluminum. Once I get about 1/8" into the casing. I would readjust the pilot bit and then drill a little deeper. Mine is really really fused in there. Using the pilot bit pressed against the shaft. Please advise.
The picture is done is ps. It is really tight in there to get a hammer to even strike a blow isn't it. :smile:
Use a square end chisel and not an angled chisel that you have shown. Rotate the chisel 90 degrees from what you show in your picture. You are placing the chisel end bluntly on the top of the fractured exposed land.

The space is tight for a hammer swing. If need be, make a makeshift extension for your chisel from pipe or socket and extension (which might get ruined) so you can get a good hammer strike. Use a 2 lb mason hammer especially when using extensions so you don't dilute the momentum of the hammer blows to the casting.

Study pic 22 in the article and look at the 2 chips labeled "axial". That is what you are trying to achieve. Angle your chisel slightly towards the bore wall (like you would to score or damage it) so that you do not chip off the edge of the land and destroy your working surface. You want to keep the nice square edge top land so you have something to pound on. You are trying to punch in the cylindrical wall, (the long way) of the disconnect assembly nose, into the bore of the oil pan. It sounds counter-intuitive but the aluminum casting is brittle and relatively weak. A few good blows will cave it in.

Remember you are striking in the axial direction. Make sure you understand what this means as I think you are confused on this term. Imagine a bicycle wheel. The spokes are in the radial direction. The axle is in the axial direction. Axial is perpendicular to radial. On your truck, the intermediate shaft is the axle. Position your chisel end on top of the land with the body of the chisel in the axial direction (ie. parallel to the the intermediate shaft).

The carbide hole saw is definitely not the way to go. You are not trying to drill out the disconnect assembly nose from the oil pan. You are just going to punch in a small portion of the nose to break its circumference. Once you do that the rest of the nose will loosen up.

If you cannot pound in the land, try adding two holes in the location shown to further weaken the nose and then try again with the chisel located between the holes. You can tweek by enlarging those holes. The side wall will break at some point.

Don't get discouraged, you have done well up to now and just a few minutes away from successful completion.

disconnect2.jpg
 

triz

Well-Known Member
I guess I was not the only one doing this today. Took me about 3 hours. Anyway to upload right from the PC? Mine was falling to pieces.IMG_20160306_1646343_rewind.jpg IMG_20160306_1646450_rewind.jpg
 

trail1960

Member
Use a square end chisel and not an angled chisel that you have shown. Rotate the chisel 90 degrees from what you show in your picture. You are placing the chisel end bluntly on the top of the fractured exposed land.

The space is tight for a hammer swing. If need be, make a makeshift extension for your chisel from pipe or socket and extension (which might get ruined) so you can get a good hammer strike. Use a 2 lb mason hammer especially when using extensions so you don't dilute the momentum of the hammer blows to the casting.

Study pic 22 in the article and look at the 2 chips labeled "axial". That is what you are trying to achieve. Angle your chisel slightly towards the bore wall (like you would to score or damage it) so that you do not chip off the edge of the land and destroy your working surface. You want to keep the nice square edge top land so you have something to pound on. You are trying to punch in the cylindrical wall, (the long way) of the disconnect assembly nose, into the bore of the oil pan. It sounds counter-intuitive but the aluminum casting is brittle and relatively weak. A few good blows will cave it in.

Remember you are striking in the axial direction. Make sure you understand what this means as I think you are confused on this term. Imagine a bicycle wheel. The spokes are in the radial direction. The axle is in the axial direction. Axial is perpendicular to radial. On your truck, the intermediate shaft is the axle. Position your chisel end on top of the land with the body of the chisel in the axial direction (ie. parallel to the the intermediate shaft).

The carbide hole saw is definitely not the way to go. You are not trying to drill out the disconnect assembly nose from the oil pan. You are just going to punch in a small portion of the nose to break its circumference. Once you do that the rest of the nose will loosen up.

If you cannot pound in the land, try adding two holes in the location shown to further weaken the nose and then try again with the chisel located between the holes. You can tweek by enlarging those holes. The side wall will break at some point.

Don't get discouraged, you have done well up to now and just a few minutes away from successful completion.

View attachment 74668
I see now you mean a wood chisel. I have some I can use and resharpen if I have too. do you mean drill out where I put the green circles?
 

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Camdo

Well-Known Member
I see now you mean a wood chisel. I have some I can use and resharpen if I have too. do you mean drill out where I put the green circles?
Yes, drill two holes where you have the green dots. Use an 3/32 inch drill or smaller to start, and then enlarge them to as large as possible without damaging the oil pan bore. Drill all the way thru the casting nose (about 1 inch deep), you will feel it when you break thru the other side.
No, do not use a wood chisel. Use a metal chisel like the one you had in your last picture but with a square end instead of the angled end.
After you drill the holes, use your chisel like a punch and push the area between the two holes into the depth of the bore. The casting will break in the thin area around the two holes. To clarify, you are pounding the material in the axial direction.
 
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trail1960

Member
Ok got it out after about 4 hours of chiseling. Now this happened and I don't know if I screw something up or not. I got it down to the seal, it was mentioned to remove the seal with some screws drilled into it.
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This came out pretty easy, BUT the shaft also came out about an inch with the seals. I immediately pushed it back in hoping I didn't mess some alignment on the drivers side.
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I will post a bunch of pictures for you to see what I am talking about. I called my local mechanic shops around here and most of them told me I'm on my own and they won't offer any advice.
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I looked at my before and after pictures and I don't really see any major protrusions that would make too much of a difference. In one of the pictures you can see that I lined up the bolt hole pattern to make sure I had the right part.

The disconnect is not going on like the videos show. Do I have to tap it? Did I mess something up on the drivers side. The shaft will come out easily about an inch to let it be rotated. Is the shaft broken? Should the shaft be solid and not move at all? Maybe the pictures will explain. I am stuck as to what to do now after feeling like a champ beating up this ring.
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Camdo

Well-Known Member
... the shaft also came out about an inch with the seals. I immediately pushed it back in hoping I didn't mess some alignment on the drivers side...................
........ The disconnect is not going on like the videos show. Do I have to tap it? Did I mess something up on the drivers side. The shaft will come out easily about an inch to let it be rotated. Is the shaft broken? Should the shaft be solid and not move at all? Maybe the pictures will explain. I am stuck as to what to do now after feeling like a champ beating up this ring.
The intermediate shaft is held in the differential with a retaining ring similar to the CV shaft. Push the shaft into the differential so the splines line up, then knock it in to overcome the retaining ring.
 

trail1960

Member
I do want to say your my only source of help at this point and appreciate all your doing. Even it doesn't get fixed.
 

trail1960

Member
Kind of figured it out. I think they sent me the wrong disconnect. Reason I say this is because I fitted it on the cv axle shaft (wheel side) and it fit fine. I put the old gears on the shaft and they slip right in. On the part I bought if you look at this picture this is the exact room behind the bolts that shows inside of the shaft. It is not the shaft that is the problem it is the needle bearings or gear size that won't let it come the distance. I contacted the company by phone and will hope to resolve this soon.
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I measured the distance to the center of that bearing and it is the same distance from the bolt to the body of the disconnect from behind.
 

trail1960

Member
2003 Trailblazer ext 4 wd LT. engine is a 6 cylinder 4.2. Going to call powertrain tomorrow and see what my options are. Did a bunch of reading on this and not one had an issue with it lining up and fitting the intermediate shaft. Now some did say that the shaft can go bad if it is dry and mine is dry. I don't even know where to put in the liquid. The only reason this whole thing started was because the cv axle was rolling around inside of the disconnect and the needle bearings where completely gone. Anything this old something is bound to give eventually. 250k and counting.
 
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Camdo

Well-Known Member
There is a seal on the nose of the disconnect housing that the intermediate shaft has to slip into. Maybe there is resistance there and you are not pushing hard enough to overcome the seal slipping over the intermediate shaft. You have to apply some grease to the seal to aid the slip on.

Did you remove the old seal?

It would be helpful to see some pictures of the oil pan bore, and a measurement of the intermediate shaft projection from the bottom of the oil pan bore.
 

trail1960

Member
Removed the old seal, as it shows in one of the pictures. The old gear fits on the shaft I took out. I spoke with powertrain and they going to send out a replacement. Their concern was the intermediate shaft being dinged up or scored. I can send the old one back once it I get the new one on. When I went to clean up the grease and the anti seize I put on there, I did notice that at the beginning of the gear where the shaft is to go on was chamfered some. The old gear was not. Maybe its a bad gear inside of the new one?
20160307_122244 (Small).jpg 20160307_122800 (Small).jpg
 
OP
OP
C

Camdo

Well-Known Member
Kind of figured it out. I think they sent me the wrong disconnect. Reason I say this is because I fitted it on the cv axle shaft (wheel side) and it fit fine. I put the old gears on the shaft and they slip right in. On the part I bought if you look at this picture this is the exact room behind the bolts that shows inside of the shaft. It is not the shaft that is the problem it is the needle bearings or gear size that won't let it come the distance. I contacted the company by phone and will hope to resolve this soon.
View attachment 74686
I measured the distance to the center of that bearing and it is the same distance from the bolt to the body of the disconnect from behind.
I do not think you have a wrong or bad replacement part.

Looking at this picture, The exposed splines are correct. The splined area of the disconnect assembly is composed of two splined hubs adjacent to each other that grip the intermediate shaft and CV shaft. I cannot see the parting line in the picture so I assume that the intermediate shaft end (shown) is fully and slightly over inserted, so the parting line is not visible. That leads me to conclude that the intermediate shaft is not fully seated into the differential assembly.

If you can pull out the intermediate shaft with just your fingers, then it is not seated.
 

trail1960

Member
Success. You may not believe this or not. But the pictures will dictate what is working. I called up powertrain and spoke with their ebay guy. I asked him if the intermediate shaft was connected somehow on the drivers side. He looked it up and said it is not. No alignment ring or retainer ring on my model. It is a 32 spline he said on both sides. So I figured it can't hurt to pull out the shaft and insert into the part on my work table. It slide in like butter. I then went one step further and tried to fit the entire unit back in with the shaft still inside the passenger side. The same distance and stuck thing happened just like before. I thought why not try it without the shaft and see what happens. Well this did the trick for me, taking some calipers inside and outside I measure the hub on the engine and the part on the table. There was a 1mm difference. Taking a harbor freight wire disc I cleaned out the inside while blocking the part off with a rag where the intermediate shaft went. Did this a couple of times and it was slowly getting in there. I then took some 80 grit belt sander paper and sanded down a ridge on the back of my unit. Taking off a 1mm thickness did it for me. After gooping a ton of anti seize on the part, I put it all back together and it slide in like butter or a greased monkey. It is now assembled and waiting for me to torque the nuts and bolts except for the brake pads. I learned that aluminum will shrink under high heat. The aluminum to aluminum was a bad idea to begin with. That corrosion will stick at the molecular level to itself. I hope if anyone else reads this it might help them with their part as well. Mine is about to get back on the road. Thank you again for taking your time and posting on this forum your setbacks and victories on your disconnect and thank you for
saving me a ton of money.
Bill
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BrianF

Well-Known Member
Just to bump what I said for the next guy trying this:

Once the CAD is unbolted, tap it with a hammer to force rotation into the unit. Then try to pry it off. The rotation will cause the corrosion to break its hold.

My CAD would not budge until I did this. Then it popped free without any drama.
 
I have to say that this is the best write up on this topic I have found. My bearing housing broke off and is seized in the oil pan. I'm going to get out the drill bits and punch tonight after reading this. Also, I just got off the phone with Kenny at U.S. Powertrain and they have the best prices for a new bearing housing I could find. They were $100 dollars cheaper than anything on Rock Auto or Amazon. There's not a one left in any salvage yard in northern Minnesota. Great write up and very informative. Best on the net. Thanks!
 

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