How-To: Remove Front Differential


Original poster
Nov 21, 2011
Here is the procedure I used to remove the front differential from my truck. I apologize for it being light on pictures. I moved it over from one of my threads on the other site for the benefit of folks here.

Post up if you need clarification on anything.

1. Jack front of truck up and support by the frame with jackstands placed approximately at the seam of the fenders/doors.
2. Remove front wheels.
2a. Remove driver's side wheel well liner if still installed.
3. Drain front diff fluid.
4. Drain cooling system.
5. Disconnect both outer tie rods from the steering knuckles.
6. Disconnect ABS and brake lines from holddowns.
7. Disconnect upper control arms from upper balljoints. Allow steering knuckles to hang on lower ball joints. Make sure you aren't stressing ABS or brake lines.
8. Pop axle tripod joints out of diff and splined disconnect. (Letting the hubs hang first puts a little outward pressure on the CVs and makes this SO EASY).
9. Remove splined disconnect.
10. Remove intermediate shaft. I bought a slide hammer for this purpose and expected a fight. I didn't need it. I screwed one of the bolts that holds the PCM into the hole in the shaft and pulled. The shaft came right out.
11. Disconnect the front driveshaft from the front differential yoke. Tie up and out of the way.
12. Remove driver side strut assembly. (Makes a lot of room to work.)
13. Unbolt radiator shroud support brackets.
14. Remove accessory belt.
15. Loosen PCM bolts.
16. Remove alternator and engine lift bracket. Also remove bolt from wiring harness tiedown nearby.
17. Disconnect battery and remove battery and tray.
18. Loosen top nut of passenger side motor mount. Remove top nut of driver's side motor mount.
19. Place jack and block of wood under oil pan. Jack up motor until driver side mount is free.
20. Unbolt driver side motor mount bracket. These are the 3 large bolts on the outside of the frame. Remove mount and bracket.
21. Use jack to move motor up and down to get at hard to reach bolts for next steps.
22. Remove driver's side coolant hose.
23. Remove idler pulley.
24. Remove thermostat.
25. Disconnect wiring plugs (2) from AC compressor.
26. Unbolt AC compressor. Pull up to top of engine through hole you've made. Leave lines connected (they'll flex).
27. Unbolt differential from oil pan. (2 bolts in front, 1 on bottom, 1 in rear near driveshaft yoke).
28. Lightly pry differential away from oil pan.
29. Pull differential up through top of engine bay.
30. Drink a beer, you deserve it.

A pic of the diff coming out the top, so you get an idea of what it will look like.


If you found this post helpful, please click the LIKE button and rate this thread. Thanks! :biggrin:
  • Like
Reactions: RiverGuy


Nov 20, 2011
North Las Vegas
Nice write-up, maybe if someone uses this they can get more pics to add to this.


Jan 17, 2012
It is a great set of directions and will look into soon. I was wondering if you could help me out with this issue I have been dealing with on my 03 GMC Envoy, 4.2 front carrier assy.
I cannot find detailed images of the difference between a 2 hole version (03-09) and the 1 hole (02). I recently had a part sent to me from a salvage yard and I am not sure I received the proper part. I dont want to wait until it is on the lift and being taken apart to find out. I am laid up after knee surgery and cannot get under the vehicle to investigate further myself. The salvage yard swears it is out of a 04 Envoy with the 3.73 gears but I am not sure it is the 2 hole version I need.
Looking for some advice or help on this matter. If you know or know someone who does please pass this reply on .


Forum Statistics

Latest member

Members Online