Front Differential Catastrophic Failure

ArizonaBasc

Member
Jun 21, 2020
23
3
Phoenix, Arizona
Hello, I have a quick question about my front diff. It blew up on the freeway going about 65, locking up the front wheels, pretty much welding itself together. The tow home was no fun, had to push the car by the steel bumper. My question is, what do I need to replace exactly? Is it just the diff gears like this one or will I need to replace the other side of the assembly as well? I appreciate any info.
 

mearstrae

Well-known member
Mar 15, 2017
118
11
Pennsylvania
Well, you're screwed... You probably lost the pin out of the spider gears. (just a guess) Jack the thing up and support the frame with jack stands. Remove the Wheels, calipers and brake discs. Unbolt the hub bearing and remove axle and all, after removing the sensor lead. No need to remove the axle center nut for this. Then pull the front drive shaft and the gear set. Only then will you know how bad things are, and how much metal you may have to clean out of the axle housing. Check for damage on the housing itself. But, don't panic it may be a 'Relatively' easy fix, and only needs a gear set (like the one on Ebay).
 
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ArizonaBasc

Member
Jun 21, 2020
23
3
Phoenix, Arizona
Well damn alright, I guess I should get to it then. The only problem left is that it is on my inclined driveway with the front two wheels locked up... Any recommendations on how to safely complete the work on an incline like this or move the car at all? Am I just hosed and need to get it towed to a shop?
 

jastutte

Well-known member
Nov 10, 2009
346
32
you have a D2, right?

there's a good chance your hand/emergency brake doesn't work.

personally, i wouldn't do an axle swap on an incline. even with the wheels chocked there are too many things that can go wrong, slip, tip over, slide, fall over and crush you.

find some flat ground to work on or pay someone else to do it.
 
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Aug 20, 2007
2,693
30
Nashville TN
if you're replacing the whole axle housing, then just disconnect the front driveshaft and drag it with another car and a tow rope to a flat spot on the property if you have one. you can also check online for local pick-and-pull junkyard to see if they have discovery 2's ins tock. I would open it up and reseal things prior to install. ball joints, seals, etc..
 

ukoffroad

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2010
1,904
91
Lynchburg, Va
I would think a diff and new axles and you should be good. A whole axle assembly is the easiest but heaviest option. I would suggest calling Will as well.
 

discostew

Well-known member
Sep 14, 2010
6,409
494
Northern Illinois
I would think a diff and new axles and you should be good. A whole axle assembly is the easiest but heaviest option. I would suggest calling Will as well.
I'm just figuring the axle housing got destroyed when the pin came out of the spider gears. Technically your right about how it could just be a diff assy and an axle or two. But without tearing it down it's impossible to say how bad the damage is. The rotor to rotor assembly is a sure bet.
 

DiscoHasBeen

Well-known member
Aug 7, 2016
822
174
Indy
Depends on what the rig means to you and your financial situation. If the truck is in your long-term plans and you can afford it rebuild. If it's just a ride that you might sell or if money is an issue replace used.
 

discostew

Well-known member
Sep 14, 2010
6,409
494
Northern Illinois
To me it’s about what got broken. If the ring and pinion got dinked, but mostly I figure the pin could have gone thru the housing.
If there’s oil all over the front of the truck it probably did.
Lots of worse things could have happened to this truck. This should be fixable.
 

ArizonaBasc

Member
Jun 21, 2020
23
3
Phoenix, Arizona
So the front wheels are completely locked up because of the diff, so I am hosed when it comes to disconnecting the driveshaft and dragging it. DiscoHasBeen, this car isn't going anywhere anytime soon so that's out of the question. Im guessing out of safety concerns I should just get it towed to a shop to be looked at? I don't really want to be crushed in my driveway. Its a shame, the garage that I built the truck in is 10 feet behind it, I just have no way of getting it in there.
 

ArizonaBasc

Member
Jun 21, 2020
23
3
Phoenix, Arizona
Damn, that is a good idea. I am thinking if I use the tire dollies, install a center lock, and disconnect the driveshaft I can basically drive it straight back into the garage? seems like my only option if I'm sticking with doing it DIY (sorta have to pretty low budget)
 

Flyfish

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2004
1,075
87
49
St. Louis
I can basically drive it straight back into the garage?
I just did something very similar. But you can skip the transfer case/center lock. Just get the wheel dollies for the front tires, unhook front shaft and make a pole that fits in your hitch receiver and someone else’s and they can push you up.

I just did that except I wanted it backed in so I put a cup on one end to push on the front axle housing…..

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Last edited:

1of40

Well-known member
Oct 23, 2017
81
17
Va
I’ve got a diff and front axle shafts if you have trouble find parts locally.
 

Flyfish

Well-known member
Oct 29, 2004
1,075
87
49
St. Louis
I think towing it to a shop might be a good idea.
if he’s capable of doing the work himself, it’s a much better labor rate. A shop could get expensive pretty quickly. It can always go to a shop later if needed.

And depending on the damage, if he’s able to find the whole assembly for a good price, it will be an easy job.