Novice Attempting TC & Disconnect Service, Help?

#1
Hey everyone,

Context:

I am a complete mechanic novice, barely know how to change tires and bulbs. I'm not dumb, but, there will be many things obvious to anyone with any sense of mechanics that I miss because it wouldn't occur to me. And my first work is a doozie.

I have a 2009 Envoy I got for a song, that has sat for 2 years because of TC and CV issues, apparently. The previous owner got it as an out-of-town family gift from the original owner who was unware of issues until inspection time, and neither of them know more about cars than I. I'm on my own and no one remembers anything about it at this point because it was too expensive to warrant fixing. The mechanic didn't have it on file, and I have no other info.

It drives in 2wd, and it recently sat for a year with a dead battery. Fob does't seem to work either and I swear it used to.

I'm open to any and all advice.

Symptoms:

Was told it needed new Transfer Case, and, passenger CV wobbles like a drunk on a bicycle at the high (non-wheel) end. Was told it needs new CV, but after research of my own, seems the CV Disconnect is more likely culprit of said wobble (I can shove the CV around at least 1/4" at the top).

It has 212,000km on it (127k miles).

For practice, and cheapness, I went to a junkyard to pull parts off a Trailblazer and an Envoy. It took me 6 trips because I didn't know what I was doing or didn't have a tool I needed, but I think I have all the donor parts now. Junkyard trips are easy because if you screw up, oh well, it doesn't have to go back together.

What I've pulled:



- Transfer case from a ~2004 Envoy, I think? Mine needs and NP8 but I forget if this donor was an NP5 or NP8 (I think it was NP8), and I don't know the difference. The junkyard list said they were compatible (true/false?). I didn't know what I was doing, so, laugh it up, I ended up taking the nose of the tranny off along with the TC instead of just the tail of the TC, sorry next guy who might've needed that tranny. The transfer case had already been sniped of its motor, so I pulled the motor off a different transfer case from a Trailblazer that I'm more sure was an NP5 (would that be compatible?).

- CV from the same Envoy. Someone had already sniped the disconnect, but they kindly left the CV they removed to get to it, so I just bought it as-is. Dunno if I even need a new CV but if it's been rattling around in the Disconnect, can't hurt.

- Passenger CV Disconnect from Trailblazer. And Disconnect actuator while I was at it. And I didn't own a 35mm (34?) socket so I ended up pulling apart the CV at the high boot and taking some of it with me. I'll finish ripping it out later.

What I've purchased:

- A gasket for the TC where it mates with the tranny. Tranny shop picked this for me so I presume it's right.

- A pair of Jackstands because I don't have the benefit of it being pre-lifted like it was at the junkyard. (I also own a 2 ton floor jack).

Help?:

- I am going to attempt to follow the Disconnect Rebuild tutorial: http://offroadtb.com/4wd-disconnect-rebuild/ . Apparently I need some pink synthetic grease?

- I almost didn't buy a TC gasket because it didn't occur to me. Again, not dumb, just no mechanic instincts to know that there would be such a thing between those components. Is there a gasket for the disconnect too?

- I almost didn't buy any fluids, because they pre-drain them at the junkyard and it didn't occur to me. I don't know what fluids to buy or how much. "Auto Trak II" for the Transfer Case?

- Are there any tools I will need to get this back together, that I didn't need to take it apart? I have a manual (needle?) Torque Wrench but I've never used one before. Vital? Or is "snug" good enough?

- I did not source a Front Differential because the 2-year old inspection/repair list apparently didn't say it needed one, and also because it involves lifting an engine and moving and changing enough things that it scares me off of touching anything. Hopefully it's fine. I was considering doing a fluid change on the diff anyway, while I'm down there, to give it hope. I don't know what fluid or how much. One tutorial says 75/90?

- I plan on doing the work this coming Sunday evening when stores will be closed, so, anything I might need to buy or need to figure out immediately other than fluids?

- Any other obvious-to-you advice that a novice might miss, like "Oh, every time you take apart X, you always do Y"? Anything the rear driveshaft needs? Any of the suspension components I'll be disconnecting need anything?

Buy/Give/Sell?:

- I live in the Canadian Prairies. It gets down to -20'C (-4'F) here. Does that change any fluid choices?

- Is this an okay vehicle for Canadian winters? It will never see off-road use except perhaps to pull myself out of a snowy ditch or something, so 4x4 doesn't matter much. RWD in Canada seems a touch foolish with occasionally icy and slippery roads, but I can't just leave it in 4Hi on any trip (a few minutes into any trip I'll hit clear pavement, can't just pull over and switch it back when I merge onto a plowed highway with good grip). From what I understand, Envoys do not have AWD, they are only 4x4 or RWD. The auto-4WD seems to work poorly (by other's description, I haven't tried because I want to drive it to the place I'll be working on it and 2wd seems okay for now, last time it moved it was driven 700km [450 miles] on the highway before it pulled in to be inspected) and in unexpected ways for street driving and is not dependable. I read somewhere that newer years (mine is 2009) might have something more akin to AWD than strict 4x4 that won't cause tires to skip on pavement? Some kind of traction control maybe? Is that a transfer case change? I'm quite confused about that or how to tell what I have. I don't know if I want to keep this vehicle or sell it or give it back to the friend I bought it from (who has only driven it once before it sat for 2 years).

...

I think that's it. I'm trepidatious but excited to attempt to fix a car for the first time in my life.

Any advice at all would be much appreciated.
 

m.mcmillen

Gold Supporter
#2
The axle disconnect is bad if the old one has all of that play in it. I would fix the disconnect and see if the four wheel drive works after that.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#3
This Video from RealFixesRealFast involved the lifting the Entire Body off of a Trailblazer SUV to expose the Sub-frame Engine and Transmission... necessary in this case because of an Engine Rod getting Thrown through the side of the Engine Block.

The importance of viewing this though, is that around 7:50 into the viewing at this segment of Duane's work on the vehicle... He shows all of the major problems that need to be overcome when trying to pull the Transfer Case out of the Engine Crankcase Mounts and getting out the CV Shafts. Its worth Downloading and watching this one a few times to gather up all of his Tricks of the Trade on this unique Engine/Transmission R&R:

 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#4
The axle disconnect is bad if the old one has all of that play in it. I would fix the disconnect and see if the four wheel drive works after that.
You seem to have skimmed my post (no worries, it was long).

But yes, that's why I salvaged a disconnect and a transfer case and said I would be replacing both parts.

I certainly presume (unless diff is bad) that if I replace both those two items that the 4WD will work properly.

I was more looking for all the other gotchas that might not be obvious to a beginner while I was doing this parts swap.
 
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NotAMechanic

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#5
The importance of viewing this though, is that around 7:50 into the viewing at this segment of Duane's work on the vehicle... He shows all of the major problems that need to be overcome when trying to pull the Transfer Case out of the Engine Crankcase Mounts and getting out the CV Shafts.
Maybe I understand this less than I thought I did.

I don't see him talk about the Transfer Case at all.

I see him removing the front Differential, which I have decided not to do, specifically because of how difficult it is.

<-- My problem is very similar to this. Clunky CV at the top end.

<-- This is the tutorial I'm following to remove/replace the CV Disconnect.
 

xavierny25

Well-Known Member
#6
From my personal experience because I did exactly what your about to attempt 2 yrs ago (along with pulling the trans from my brother-in-law's TBSS).

Your going to want to pick the nose of the truck up pretty high off the ground for the TC. Use the floor Jack to assist in the removal and install of the TC. It's really awkward how it has to go in and out. Your definitely going to need a second set of hands.
The gasket between the tc and trans had me going for a while. I almost thought I had the wrong part but a few turns and turning it over it finally lined up with the holes.
One thing you might want to pick up from the junkyard if you can is the intermediate shaft for disconnect( it's the splined shaft that goes through the oil pan and into the diff). Since you still haven't taken apart your envoy to see what else maybe busted.
Best of luck to you on this repair.
 
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m.mcmillen

Gold Supporter
#7
You seem to have skimmed my post (no worries, it was long).

But yes, that's why I salvaged a disconnect and a transfer case and said I would be replacing both parts.

I certainly presume (unless diff is bad) that if I replace both those two items that the 4WD will work properly.

I was more looking for all the other gotchas that might not be obvious to a beginner while I was doing this parts swap.
What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't mess with the transfer case unless you really need to. Most likely the transfer case is fine unless it was abused.
 

xavierny25

Well-Known Member
#8
What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't mess with the transfer case unless you really need to. Most likely the transfer case is fine unless it was abused.
+1 with m.mc check the fluid dump it and replace with what should be smurf blood (lol).
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#9
What I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't mess with the transfer case unless you really need to. Most likely the transfer case is fine unless it was abused.
Ahh, I see.

The mechanic two years ago said it had to be replaced. And it was a guy I trust 100%, old friend of a friend. He refused to quote, said it wasn't worth parts and labor to pay someone to fix both issues.

So, he wasn't lying, I am sure. I'm not as positive that he wasn't mistaken. I'll go through the flowchart on Driveline issues I suppose and see if it's bad.

It hadn't even crossed my mind that it might still be okay.

Is there a different procedure I should go through to investigate?
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
#10
Not saying your mechanic is wrong, but the failure rate of the transfer cases in the NON full time 4 wheel drive is ridiculously low. I would just concentrate on the known failure of that front axle disconnect, and carrier bearing within. Get that all put back together, change the transfer case fluid with the GM AutoTrak fluid (use the GM fluid only, its blueish in color), and test it out. I would say you have a very high likely hood of it being completely functional after these repairs.

Its a really easy to test for function after the repair. In 2wd, turn hard right or left, and feel for drive train binding once you start rolling forward. If no binding, then you do the test if 4WD high, and repeat with the wheels turned hard left or right, you should feel binding almost immediately after rolling foward, and if you press on the gas pedal and push thru the bind, you should feel the whole truck kinda wobble, and settle back down. This is crow hopping, as the bind in the 4WD clears itself out, until it binds again. You complete the test by turning your wheels straight, put it back into 2wd, roll forward and backwards a couple times, and then turn the wheel hard left/right. The binding should now be gone.

When switching inbetween 2wd and 4wd, with your window down, you should hear a motor making the switch. Its actually 2 motors changing, but its nearly impossible to hear them both. 1 is at the transfer case, and one is the front wheel disconnect.
 
#11
I'd have to agree. In order of checking and failures:
- Disconnect
- Transfer case encoder motor
- Wheel hubs (whirring noise)
- Axles
- Intermediate shaft
- Front diff
- U-joints
- Transfer case itself

What are the symptoms?
 

linneje

Well-Known Member
#12
Interesting. When I got my 2003 Envoy XL, I was exactly where you are. Very little mechanical experience on cars or trucks. 4WD was not working. Mooseman's list is very comprehensive, and I agree (with Tollkeeper) the chances are that the transfer case is probably OK. If anything the Transfer Case encoder motor can be faulty, and that is not a difficult replacement.

I did manage a rebuild of the disconnect, which was not as hard as I thought. because I took a lot of pictures during the teardown. I had one broken part inside the disconnect, which I replaced, and then the 4WD worked fine.

Good luck. I made it through and you can too. Unless the diff is shot........
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#13
MooseMan said:
What are the symptoms?
Don't laugh...

... I don't know. And I don't really know how to know.

I don't have paperwork from the original inspection 2 years ago, the mechanic doesn't recall, the owner doesn't recall, the original owner couple (drove it as farm/commuter car) never knew anything was wrong with it before they gave it to the current owner who only found out when it was inspected. So I don't know and I can't find out more than what I know, historically. I do know that it was driven on the highway 700km (450miles) to get to its current town and then pretty much inspected right away. I don't know if they drove it in A4WD the whole way to town (they don't know, but likely didn't know any better), I don't know if the original owners left it in A4WD for 6 years straight (they were old and are now gone or, I forget what, have no answers anyway).

What I could confirm is something I recalled offhand being described a couple years ago, about the front Passenger CV axle being all loose at the top, something I did confirm recently. And that the shop said it needed a new Transfer Case, but, didn't even feel right quoting since it wasn't worth it. They even tried to call around a few non-DIY junkyards to see if anyone had donor parts, zilch.

Beyond that, I'm a bit scared to do, well, anything, until it's time to repair, because I don't want to try to take it apart where it is (outside in fast-approaching Canadian winter), don't really have a place to do the repair indoors long term (borrow a garage for an all-nighter is about what I'm limited to), shouldn't have it in obvious non-driveable state (HOA bylaws that haven't noticed it hasn't been plated in 2 years but don't want to push my luck there with them). I have driven it around the block a few times without touching gear modes, seems just fine to me, as I presume it did when it was being driven 700km to its current purgatory.

The impression I was told from the mechanic is that it's a ticking timebomb and to take it home but not drive it again except to be fixed, and not to mess with the gear modes lest the fragile remains of the driveline's dignity be shattered and along with it have every gear looking like a hockey player's smile.

And thus it has sat, for 2 years.

I suppose (correct me if I'm wrong) that it's reasonable that someone unfamiliar with TBs/Envoys would conclude that the Transfer Case is busted based on perhaps some codes or it refusing to enter certain modes and calling it at that.

I don't want to pay for another inspection just to be told the same things, and meanwhile risk having that on some government paperwork where it will be more heavily scrutinized future inspections or whatever.

Anecdotal story that has me paranoid: I had another GMC (Safari) with a wonky driver's door latch, half-snapped. I babied it for a whole summer, used it easily 200 times until I got around to stripping parts for it. Had parts. Parked van. Went to get my screwdrivers, closed the door, thought "Wouldn't it be a bitch if the next time I go to open it, the latch breaks?", came back, went to open door.... snap. Cursed by coincidence. Snapped something inside the mechanism. Interior door handle doesn't open door either. The way you repair the door latch, is to have the door open. You can't get to the mechanism without having an open door. I've stripped everything, none of the linkages I can reach or see with an inspection camera will actuate the door. And thus... it has sat... for 1.5 years.

Bad decisions make good stories but I'd rather have a working vehicle.

So even a diagnostic process of "Put it into X mode, attempt this. Put it into Y mode, attempt that." has me paranoid that the vehicle will be trapped in said location until I have dozens of hours to swap every goddamn part of it.

Also I forgot that insurance agencies don't work on weekends, so I've missed my chance to get transit insurance to move it, so, I'm not able to move it tomorrow. Which, might be okay, if I'm just doing a Disconnect swap.

I made it through and you can too. Unless the diff is shot........
Don't jinx it!
 
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TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
#14
I understand what you are saying, but I think there could be a easier way to diagnose the problem, and be able to drive it, until completely repaired, in 2wd.

So my suggestion would be to take out the passenger side CV axle, and the drive shaft that goes from the TC to the axle itself. I know there is a way to plug the hole where the CV would be, but I dont remember exactly what it is. For the drivers side CV axle, you just put in a cap from a Gatorade bottle, and go. but I am not sure on the passenger side.

Once those 2 peices are out, you could drive the truck, literally forever, in 2wd. This would let you diagnose the rest of the truck to be sure there are no larger problems lurking. I know that doesnt help you in driving in the canadian snow, but you could drive it on good days, and even get it inspected, plated, etc.

Someone should be able to chime in to what to plug that hole with.

If I was living in your shoes (HOA, and running possible issues with plates), its what I would do.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
#15
This is an article on "How to Diagnose Problems with GM 4WD Transfer Case Encoders" that might still prove very edifying and helpful... even though the focus here is on the 2000 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD Trucks using a GM Tech2 Scanning Tool for the Diagnostics:

https://www.drivetrain.com/parts_ca...s_and_parts/gm_encoder_motor_diagnostics.html

...and to greatly assist you with this and other Mechanical and OBD2 Problems... please visit Post #173 in this related Link for information on where to obtain a Complete "GYMKO" Tech2 Clone Kit for these kinds of OBD2 Diagnostic Needs on many. many GM Vehicles at a VERY reasonable price:

https://gmtnation.com/forums/threads/new-complete-kit-gymko-gm-tech-2-scan-tool.17878/page-5


GYMKOTECH2KITSALE.jpg
 
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NotAMechanic

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#16
I know that doesnt help you in driving in the canadian snow, but you could drive it on good days, and even get it inspected, plated, etc.
It won't pass inspection without the 4wd working.

I considered too if I could somehow just downgrade it to 2wd, take out the front prop shaft or whatnot, all that crap (people do drive 2wd trucks in the winter here), but I'm not sure if that would pass either. I'll have to look into it.

I suppose it's an option, but by the point that I'm down to the disconnect, I might as well just fix the disconnect. I have all the parts to do that. It's just the Diff that has me worried.
 
#17
You could have a read of this:
4WD not working? Step inside.

I wouldn't take too much stock of the "don't touch it or it'll blow up" comments. This is basically hearsay and 2nd/3rd party info. Shops sometimes make things sound worse than they are just to scare owners into getting a job done.

From what you're saying, sounds like the disconnect is bad with the movement of the axle in it. Start with fixing/replacing that. While you have the disconnect out, inspect the splines of the intermediate shaft in the oil pan.

Then, do the tests as described in that thread. Another test you could do is put it in 2HI and make a full turn to the left and the right while moving the truck forward slowly. It should not be binding or crow hopping. Put it in 4HI and do the same test. It should bind and crow hop. Switch it back to 2HI and it shouldn't bind again.

The worst that could happen is that the front wheels don't engage or stay engaged but the rear wheels will always be engaged. You will not get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Apart from those that do serious off-roading, you will get home.

There is a whole section on the 4x4 system in the FAQ:
FAQ: Drivetrain
 

coolasice

Well-Known Member
#18
This is an article on "How to Diagnose Problems with GM 4WD Transfer Case Encoders" that might still prove very edifying and helpful... even though the focus here is on the 2000 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD Trucks using a GM Tech2 Scanning Tool for the Diagnostics:

https://www.drivetrain.com/parts_ca...s_and_parts/gm_encoder_motor_diagnostics.html

...and to greatly assist you with this and other Mechanical and OBD2 Problems... please visit Post #173 in this related Link for information on where to obtain a Complete "GYMKO" Tech2 Clone Kit for these kinds of OBD2 Diagnostic Needs on many. many GM Vehicles at a VERY reasonable price:

https://gmtnation.com/forums/threads/new-complete-kit-gymko-gm-tech-2-scan-tool.17878/page-5


View attachment 86418
I thought the clones didn't work with 2008+ due to can bus?
 
#19
Tech2 clones will work up to 2014 however can only program modules with the included Tis2000 up to 2007. Can get an ACDelco SPS subscription for anything newer for $40.
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#20
I wouldn't take too much stock of the "don't touch it or it'll blow up" comments. This is basically hearsay and 2nd/3rd party info. Shops sometimes make things sound worse than they are just to scare owners into getting a job done.
I'd agree in most situations. Except in this case the mechanic had no motivation to do so. They neglected to quote, said it wasn't worth it, and tried to help the owner find a way to do it themselves.

As I recall, the original alternative was to just drive it back to the province it came from (back 700km), thus avoiding the need for an out-of-province inspection, where it would still have been fine for the owner to decide what to fix or not. At least was insurable, licenseable, auctionable, tradein-able, etc there. Same as anyone with a sketchy vehicle they should get around to fixing but don't legally have to. But the mechanic said no, don't drive it back, not safe with the driveshaft wobbling around like that. Perhaps the mechanic was conservative based on the owner's... lack of awareness that their CV was clearly messed up for an entire 700km drive and thought it best to not trust their instincts on a trip back and just tell them not to drive it.

Or, I don't know how much it was embellished by the owner's paranoia of what they didn't understand. The way it was conveyed to me by the owner at the time was that it was FWD with optional 4WD on the rears, and that this front axle was about to come right out or snap in half and it was the powered axle. When I finally got around to looking into it a couple weeks ago, and realized it's RWD with the front optional 4wd, and that the questionable CV isn't even powered and all it would've taken to remove it was a 35mm socket and 15 minutes before hitting the road, I'm cringing at why it's been parked for 2 years.

But whatever, my problem now. In for a penny, in for a pound, I'm buying the Envoy today :tongue:.

The worst that could happen is that the front wheels don't engage or stay engaged but the rear wheels will always be engaged. You will not get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Ahh, I didn't know what the likely destructive options were on the transfer case, as to me it's just a black box filled with magic inside.

That's exactly the contextual answer I needed. Thanks.
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#21
Before just blindly replacing the Disconnect, I wanted to disassemble and check the replacement I pulled from the junkyard. This seemed like a good idea at the time.

I attempted to follow these instructions and got a bit stuck: http://offroadtb.com/4wd-disconnect-rebuild/

... Stunning Partial Success. However, I can't get it all apart. I don't know if the seals are any good, and I can't see how to get the bearings out.



The grease was semi-crusty and looked black like molybdenum disulphide, except in some unused corners it was still caramel cream... meaning it was probably just ordinary grease that'd turned black from grit? Or maybe the previous owner already did a rebuild and used moly? In any case, I picked at he grease with a chopstick and then attempted to wash the parts with soap and water.



It was moderately successful, but now that I'm a bit stuck proceeding further I'm worried about the water that got onto the bearings since I never did get them off or degreased.

I have since learned that "brake cleaner" is a good choice for demolishing grease, but I'm not sure if will damage the seals. Is brake cleaner safe for use here?

Now that I've already submerged bearings in soapy water... anything else I should do to clean them?

Should I abandon my plans at a complete rebuild, just pack some new grease in and seal it back up? Or now that I've gone half way, do I need to go all the way?

Can I mix grease types? If I buy the pink stuff recommended, will that cooperate with the existing petroleum schmoo I didn't clean out?

...

Also bought a 1 3/8" (~35mm) socket for the wheel today, hopefully that works to take the socket off. I think I've got all the tools now.
 
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#22
Brake cleaner is very aggressive and can damage seals. Use it only on non rubber parts. On seals and such, use WD40. That's what I use on my snowmobile bearings to clean them annually and doesn't damage seals. Best would be to replace them though. Follow the tutorial to inspect and replace parts as needed.
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#23
Best would be to replace them though.
Stupid question...

Where do I get new seals on antiquated parts that are no longer being made? Are seals a standard thing that you just go buy somewhere? NAPA or something?

Also how do I get them out without destroying them and the bearings?
 
#24
They should still be available from the dealer. Part numbers are in that article.

IIRC, I used a claw hammer with the housing in a vice. When I did mine, I didn't take the bearings out. I just inspected them and since they looked good, just left them in there and cleaned them.

Same as in the article, pretty normal for the grease to turn black. Apart from the wear and heat from the internal stuff, it also has to deal with the heat from the oil pan. The synthetic stuff is much better. I used Lucas red synth. Any of the good brands will work.
 
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NotAMechanic

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#25
Same as in the article, pretty normal for the grease to turn black.
Oh, I misunderstood. In the article it says: "I could see the grease was very black, signaling that there is significant wear present. " ... so I presumed that meant that black grease was bad, implying it needs replacing. Not that it was normal to turn black and okay.
 
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NotAMechanic

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#27
Partial success. But roadblock and failure. A bit discouraged, not sure what to do different.

First, the gory surgery details. Junkyard donor on the left, broken original on the right:



For anyone who can't quite tell what they're looking at...

The original is basically an empty metal icecream cone. The seal is 2/3 gone, the bearings are gone. Looks like someone drilled it out with a giant cone. No wonder the CV was wobbling around.

It actually drove fine at low and high speeds, honestly no sign from the steering wheel (to me) that it was that wallowed out.

More amateur clowning:

- NAPA Canada is completely different than NAPA US. Didn't have Mobile 1 Synth grease or AutoTrac II. The dealership parts counter was closed because it was 8pm, so I figured I'd hold off on the TC and work the disconnect. Just bought normal cheap grease and black RTV silicone.

- Bought a 1 3/8" socket for the wheel bearing nut thing, since the shop didn't have metric. (1 3/8" = 34.925mm, some people suggest 34mm, some 35mm, so, close enough).

- The threaded end of the CV extended so far past the 35mm nut that I couldn't get the 1 3/8" socket on there. I needed a deep socket. It was already 10pm when I figured that out. So, out came the angle grinder and I chopped the last 1/4" off the CV end to let the socket fit.

- Had a hell of a time pulling the CV out. There wasn't enough room to compress it. Eventually got it out, but, not a mm to spare.

- CV honestly looked fine but I'd already bought a replacement so, chopped 1/4" off of it too.

- Disconnect was hell to remove. No tutorials explain how difficult it is to separate from the oilpan. I was heaving with prybars and using screwdrivers as wedges to pull it off. This replicates my experience at the junkyard.

- Brake cleanered the crap out of everything in the donor disconnect except maybe the bearings only got a 50% effort.

- Repacked with grease. "Enough but not too much" is really hard for an amateur to guess at. No rule of thumb given. Buttered all parts but beyond that? 50% filled? 90%? 30%? I figured maybe I filled half the space with grease?

- Put a very thin bead of silicone around the disconnect halves. spread it thin with my finger, hopefully that doesn't mess up the bonding. Wasn't sure how thing to go, didn't want silicone squishing on the inside, no tutorials really show how much.

- Put the new disconnect in place. First time I was having to heave on the ratchets, almost like I was cross-threading trying to pull in the last 1/2" of the bolts. Then said no, wait, backed them all off, took it out, inspected whether I was jamming the spines. No, but I'd forgotten to wipe the jackshaft so there were a few metal flakes I picked out with a screwdriver. On attempt #2 I wiggled it around the axle until it popped into place flush. Much better.

- Could not get the new CV in. No matter what I tried. It was a few mm short. I was worried about it tearing apart the seal if it did finally yank into place. I gave up for the night.

...

So that's where I'm stuck. I can't get the new CV in. I checked, it's the same length as the old one. I suspect the old one only (barely) came out because the seal and such were stripped away, and the extra mm or 2 on the new one is too much.

However, maybe I didn't take off as many things as I was supposed to, and I was scared of disconnecting things I wasn't told to, because I don't know what I don't know, and I don't know if there's "Oh well when you do that you'll need an alignment, never touch that" type things.

Here is a video tutorial I was following, right when he pulls out the CV, that's the part that I don't have enough room to do:
. I took off everything he said to except the brake pads and rotor which he said weren't important.

The written tutorial: http://offroadtb.com/4wd-disconnect-rebuild/ - Suggests another step but it didn't seem to do anything.


I took apart:

- Upper ball joint.

- Brake line clips and sensor wire (not being constrained by them yet, so they're not the limiting factor).

- I attempted to take apart the upper strut mount, I think. (Upper Strut Mount isn't at the top of the strut, it's what connects the bottom of the strut to the the lever that lets the wheel rotate up or down, right?). I loosened the nut and bolt, which is just clamping pressure on the bottom of the strut. I tried hammering in both directions but it didn't move. I didn't want to mess up my suspension so I wasn't sure what this was supposed to do.

- No one said to, so I didn't disconnect where the Tie Rod (?) connects to the wheel, not knowing the consequences. Nor the bottom ball joint (?). Those two are the things that seemed to constrain the motion of the wheel.

- The tutorial mentions: "Remove (or cut off) end link", I don't know what that is.

- I made sure to use the wheel hub nut to suck the CV in all the way until the tripod housing was tight against the wheel.

...

What am I doing wrong? How can I get more room? Is there anything else I can take apart that would help, that I can put back together exactly the same without worrying about calibrating things afterwards?

Thanks everyone for your help so far. I'll be taking photos of what remains of the insides of the disconnect too, just for entertainment's sake.
 
#28
So you can't put the outer end shaft joint into the wheel hub? You have to undo the bottom ball joint so because of the weight of the caliper and rotor, you should take the brakes off. Trust me, it's almost impossible to hold that whole assembly with the axle to put it back with one hand and put the ball joint nut with the other. Another way that would work is to remove the wheel hub and then reinstall it after the knuckle is back on the upper ball joint. This would be the same as just replacing the hub. Undoing the outer tie-rod may give you that little bit of extra to allow the axle to slip in the hub. No alignment necessary.

You could have used Lucas #2 red synth grease available as Canadian Tire. A 36mm deep socket would have worked.

So what point are you at now? Did you get the axle in or not?
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#29
So you can't put the outer end shaft joint into the wheel hub?
The reverse. I can get it into the wheel hub, but not the the drive end into the disconnect. Well, actually neither, I tried it both ways, but the only way it worked coming out was to pull it from the disconnect first, then wheelhub second.

Another way that would work is to remove the wheel hub and then reinstall it after the knuckle is back on the upper ball joint.
Ahh, great. Thanks! That was my next question, as it was the only other thing I could see that would give me some room. I think I'll do that. I spent at least a couple hours trying different things to get the damned axle in. 7 bolts for the calipers and wheel hub are a hell of a lot easier.

A 36mm deep socket would have worked.
I had nothing above about 1", and all the sockets were shallow. So I bought the 1 3/8" from Princess but it wasn't deep enough.

So what point are you at now? Did you get the axle in or not?
Disconnect is rebuilt and mounted. Axle is not put back.

...

One other thing I noticed in one tutorial just today, the ring-gear on the disconnect, the coupling gear that's moved by the fork... has a taper on one side but not the other. At least according to that guy. I never noticed or made polarity an issue. It makes sense that the tapered edge should be the one that's approaching the other gear, so that it eases the transition. Should I pull the whole thing apart and check it's orientation?
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#30
Short story - It's back together.

Long story -

- Attempted to get extra room by removing the wheel bearing.

- Caliper came off easy. Caliper mount wouldn't budge. Shattered my (cheap, $20 for 30-piece wrench set, Princess special) 18mm box, and then the open end too. Rounded my last 18mm socket (6x 17mm, 6x 19mm, but only had one 18mm in the bin). Tried using penetrating oil and waiting a couple hours, nope. Abandon ship.

- Disconnected tie rod end. Didn't help.

- Considered if the sway bar was complicating things since I only jacked up the one side of the vehicle. Tried raising the driver's side. No effect. Tried making extreme changes, no change.

- Loosened the bolts above the upper shock tower. Didn't help. AHA, but now the you can pull on the upper ball joint and tilt the whole assembly down. And she's in.

- Tried to get the tie rod end back the way it was. Not sure if I did, but the vehicle pulls a little to the left now. Not sure all the things to change to change alignment. In the short term, it's good enough.


Didn't have time to do any fluid changes, but bought Auto Trak II from the dealership for the TC. "How much do I need?", "1 quart should do", "I'm flushing it, not topping it up", "Yeah you'll be fine with one", "Can you double check?", "*taps computer* Yep one is fine. *calls another guy over*, yep, one is fine.", "Oh okay, I'll just buy two and return one if I don't need it, since it'll be what I'm driving."

Go to Canadian Tire, have them look it up, "1.8 liters". Yeah. That's what I thought. Thanks dealership.

Differential fluid I couldn't tell the difference between the $25 stuff and the $7 stuff. Also they said 80/90 is the same as 75/90. But 80/90 is cheaper, and that's what their system says. I bought 75/90 anyway. The cheapest "blended" one. They also sold me some additive you have to put into it? One tube per diff? I haven't used it yet, dunno if that's all wrong.

When I get some time this week, I'll do an autopsy on the old Disconnect, just for humor.
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
#31
The additive is for a Posi-Traction rear end. I am pretty sure its not needed, but it also doesnt hurt.

So all back together now? Have you checked the functionality of the 4wd? Think it will pass the inspection now?
 
#32
Tried to get the tie rod end back the way it was. Not sure if I did, but the vehicle pulls a little to the left now. Not sure all the things to change to change alignment. In the short term, it's good enough.
Did you undo the stud at the knuckle or unscrew it from the inner tie-rod? If the latter, then yeah, you likely screwed up the alignment.

Like we have learned, dealers don't know squat! 75w90 full synth for the diffs, no additive required.

At least you got it all together now.
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#33
So all back together now? Have you checked the functionality of the 4wd? Think it will pass the inspection now?
Buttoned back up, yep. I don't know why it failed it's off-the-book inspection, so, who knows :tongue:.

I'll find out.

Did you undo the stud at the knuckle or unscrew it from the inner tie-rod?
Ummm...



I wasn't sure how hard to tighten the bolt though. At first it spun, then I realized you have to get a second wrench on the thread-side. Is that an adjustment, or a "tighten it down until it stops"? I tried to put it back to the same spot it was, fearing it was an adjustment. If that's wrong I'll crank it down a bit.

75w90 full synth for the diffs, no additive required.
*sigh*. That was Canadian Tire, not the dealer.

So I'm returning the additive and blend and just buying 100% synth. K.
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
#34
Then your repair likely did not effect the alignment. Not unless while you were wrenching on things you bent the tie rod, or tie rod arm, or inner tie rod (Not Likely).

Its more likely that it was out of alignment before you started the repair.
 

C-ya

Well-Known Member
#36
@NotAMechanic , congrats on getting it apart and back together. You have gone through the full gamut of emotions, much like we all do when we wrench on these old trucks.

Another way that would work is to remove the wheel hub and then reinstall it after the knuckle is back on the upper ball joint. This would be the same as just replacing the hub.
I did a version of this when I replaced my driver's side axle. I couldn't quite get the outer end out of the bearing - and it just needed a half an inch - so I loosened the three bolts holding the bearing in place and let it slide out just a bit. Popped the end out and was able to knock it out from the diff. I did the same when I put the new one in. I drove around for about a week without that axle. I used an apple juice jug cap to keep the fluid in.
 
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NotAMechanic

Active Member
#37
Update Photos & Failures:

- Put it into A4WD. Window down. Can hear whir from front. One only, nothing from rear/mid
- Put it into 4HI. Can hear whir from front. Again, only one whir, nothing from rear, I think.
- Put it into 4Lo. Silence and never settles.
- Got hit with snowstorm, so, out of time to test and, umm, skippy tires on snow weren't fun for the commute.
- Tried to reprogram FOBs by holding unlock and waiting for the beep, never happened.
- Tried to remove the air pressure warning by twisting ignition twice and then toggling lights 4 times. Nothing happened, no signaling beeps.
- Returned CV for the core charge, 2 days late, wasted gas driving there in a snowstorm, no refund.

Conclusion: Transfer case is maybe still wrecked, or motor isn't working, or wiring is off, or something. Haven't touched the TC yet but do have the spare I pulled. 4 hours on the highway tonight, 6 more tomorrow. Time to practice RWD in snow apparently.

Then your repair likely did not effect the alignment.
So that nut/bolt on the end of the tie rod where it couples to the wheel is not an adjustment? I'm just supposed to torque it solid and that's good?

...

But enough of the boring. Onto the Auto-Autopsy!

Okay, so you already saw the cone shaped axle-side of the disconnect. Here's the oilpan side. Looks like it's never been used. Seal is in way better condition than my donor. Grease looks like it's never even been spun!? Also, it has a bearing, which the other side does not.





Crackin' 'er open. First peek up 'er skirts. Diff side:



Axle side:



This is the deeper gear. Not sure if the first 3/16" of the splines are supposed to be umm, smoothed down. Also, the bearing surface looks like the guy was running the lathe on Take-Your-Child-To-Work Day.:



Here is the coupling ring gear, looks fine actually. But note that one side is beveled and the other isn't. I have no idea which way I put it back together. I don't want to do it all over again, gasket and everything, but, ugh. It's going to have trouble engaging and shred itself even quicker if I got it wrong.



Take one part, break it into 4 pieces, now you've got 4x as many parts! Bonus, you can store all those extra parts right inside the casing! Genius.



The fork was also broken. I felt like I was a medic sorting after an artillery strike. There were many more unidentifiable pieces and I'm not sure everything got put back in the right place.



So there you go. That's what was inside the grenaded disconnect.
 

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
#38
So hearing the front motor is at least a good start. Now it sounds like the motor on the TC needs to be replaced. This has been covered extensively on the board. I am sure someone can chime in with a specific good thread on how to replace the TC motor.

The nut on top of the tie rod end is just a beveled bolt. will not affect alignment at all.
 

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