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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took my truck to transmission shop to have CV axle leak fixed. They can't get the axle out of the front differential, it's stuck. 4WD is no longer working either (I don't care about 4wd).

He said to replace the axle/differential is a big job as they have to pull it up through the engine bay. Does this sound right?

He then said he doesn't do big jobs like this anymore, so now I have to find another shop, live with the leak, or junk the truck, which I'd like to avoid. I didn't get a price but I assume it's in the thousands.

The truck is a 2005 Envoy with 150k in good shape otherwise. Anybody ever have to have their front differential replaced and what did it cost?
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_ltz
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WHICH CV axle? Must be the left side, 'cause the right side doesn't enter the differential. The differential doesn't hold much lube, so any leak has the potential to drain it dry--which leads to damage. Did they remove the drain plug, to see how much lube was still in there?

If the left CV seal is leaking, you're in luck. That's the easiest of the three to replace.

The shop you've gone to doesn't want to work with you or your truck. No matter what, you need a different shop.

Don't scrap the truck because some moron is incompetent. MAYBE you need a replacement differential. Maybe you need to replace a seal or three, fill it with lube, and it'll be fine.
 

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'05 Chevy TB EXT
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Just did one a few months ago --- YES --- it comes out through the hood and you have a few things to remove to get it out.

I cheated and only took off the ECM,
............the thermostat
................and alternator
.....................and the alternator brackets
.............................and then use my Jamco* tool to push the engine sideways enough to just squeeze the differential up past the master cylinder ---
....................................which I chose to leave in place if I could (I did).

It took another guy underneath pushing up as I lifted it up --- and this is the absolute LAST thing that heavy that I'm ever gonna pick up again.

I'm 76 years old and I couldda died ........ mebbee I did and don't know it yet ...............

* instead of a Jamco tool, one could use a Harbor Freight copy of a Porta Power:


Font Parallel

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2003 chevy trailblazer_ltz
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HO-LEE Pussycats! I'd have never guessed it came out by coming "UP".

Mine leaked pretty bad. I had to fill the differential with lube every few hundred miles. Left seal at CV joint lost most of the fluid. I did that one myself. Not a horrible job. Cut the leak by 2/3, maybe 3/4. I was still adding fluid before every out-of-town trip, and I did that for two friggin' years. The right side seal, I chickened-out and had a shop do it. Replaced the front axle disconnect at the same time. All good now, and no differential replacement because while mine got low on lube, it never got REALLY low,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
WHICH CV axle? Must be the left side, 'cause the right side doesn't enter the differential. The differential doesn't hold much lube, so any leak has the potential to drain it dry--which leads to damage. Did they remove the drain plug, to see how much lube was still in there?

If the left CV seal is leaking, you're in luck. That's the easiest of the three to replace.

The shop you've gone to doesn't want to work with you or your truck. No matter what, you need a different shop.

Don't scrap the truck because some moron is incompetent. MAYBE you need a replacement differential. Maybe you need to replace a seal or three, fill it with lube, and it'll be fine.

Yes, it's the left side (driver side) that's leaking. Not really sure if it ran dry or not. First place mentioned they "topped it off" so I assume there was still fluid in there. I towed my boat with the truck on a 7 hour trip (one way) to upstate NY and discovered the leak when I got back after a week.

The second guy I took it to (a tranny shop) said it's too big a job and that he couldn't guarantee it so he wanted nothing to do with it.
WHICH CV axle? Must be the left side, 'cause the right side doesn't enter the differential. The differential doesn't hold much lube, so any leak has the potential to drain it dry--which leads to damage. Did they remove the drain plug, to see how much lube was still in there?

If the left CV seal is leaking, you're in luck. That's the easiest of the three to replace.

The shop you've gone to doesn't want to work with you or your truck. No matter what, you need a different shop.

Don't scrap the truck because some moron is incompetent. MAYBE you need a replacement differential. Maybe you need to replace a seal or three, fill it with lube, and it'll be fine.
Thank you for the replies so far from everyone.

Yes, it's the left CV axle. Two shops tried, but failed to get it unstuck out of the differential. I am not sure how low the fluid got. The truck got a good workout towing my boat filled with all my family's luggage going to upstate NY on a week long trip. I noticed the leak when I got home and stopped driving it immediately. The first shop said they "topped it off" and didn't mention how much fluid it took. I did not notice any noises to indicate I ran it dry. However, my 4WD is no longer working--not sure if that's related.

I am going to keep driving it only as needed, locally, until I can get it to another shop. The truck has 150k, I just put about $1000 into it between tires and a control arm, so I'd like to keep it for at least another year. I think $2500 would be the max I would want to spend, the truck is only worth 4000 on a good day. And what's going to go wrong next? The thought of truck shopping with these current prices turns my stomach though.
 

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No 4WD is almost certainly NOT related to the differential leak at the left CV axle. First guess would be the axle disconnect between the oil pan and the right-side CV axle. But it could also be a failed transfer case. I've had both on my '03, at different times. Heck, it could be a failed wire or fuse--simple and inexpensive.

I don't know how a CV shaft could be so stuck that two shops can't remove it. I guess anything is possible, but that doesn't seem likely.
 

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'05 Chevy TB EXT
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No 4WD is almost certainly NOT related to the differential leak at the left CV axle. First guess would be the axle disconnect between the oil pan and the right-side CV axle. But it could also be a failed transfer case. I've had both on my '03, at different times. Heck, it could be a failed wire or fuse--simple and inexpensive.

I don't know how a CV shaft could be so stuck that two shops can't remove it. I guess anything is possible, but that doesn't seem likely.
Makes one wonder if the "shops" were a Big Box and a Tire dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just did one a few months ago --- YES --- it comes out through the hood and you have a few things to remove to get it out.

I cheated and only took off the ECM,
............the thermostat
................and alternator
.....................and the alternator brackets
.............................and then use my Jamco* tool to push the engine sideways enough to just squeeze the differential up past the master cylinder ---
....................................which I chose to leave in place if I could (I did).

It took another guy underneath pushing up as I lifted it up --- and this is the absolute LAST thing that heavy that I'm ever gonna pick up again.

I'm 76 years old and I couldda died ........ mebbee I did and don't know it yet ...............

* instead of a Jamco tool, one could use a Harbor Freight copy of a Porta Power:


View attachment 59927
.
No 4WD is almost certainly NOT related to the differential leak at the left CV axle. First guess would be the axle disconnect between the oil pan and the right-side CV axle. But it could also be a failed transfer case. I've had both on my '03, at different times. Heck, it could be a failed wire or fuse--simple and inexpensive.

I don't know how a CV shaft could be so stuck that two shops can't remove it. I guess anything is possible, but that doesn't seem likely.
At this point I just would like to fix th
Makes one wonder if the "shops" were a Big Box and a Tire dealer.
Nah. I definitely don't go to big box shops. 1st shop is a pretty well respected local general repair shop. They had the truck for a week, tried, waited for the Snap On guy to see if he had a tool that could help, but still couldn't do it. They called apologizing they couldn't get the job done.

the other shop was a dedicated transmission shop that's been in business for 30 years and owner is close to retiring. Doesn't sound like he tried that hard to get the axle unstuck and is just not interested in any difficult jobs.
 

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'05 Chevy TB EXT
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Front differentials --- especially ones like ours --- are not in the bailiwick of most transmission shops .. hell ... they don't "do" differentials much at all anyway.

You need to talk to a Line Shop --- one that does engine overhauls and heavier things ... short of locomotives.
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_ls_ext
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Do you or any of your friends have a slide hammer kit and a welder?
In this video, in the lower left hand corner is what they refer to as a bolt adapter.

The large end threads onto the slide hammer and the threaded end replaces the adjustment screw on a pair of locking pliers (vise grips). It won't work on all locking pliers, depends on the thread size and pitch, but it will work on most larger ones. Take it with you if you need to go buy a pair.
How it works is you remove the adjustment screw on the locking pliers and thread on the adapter. Then thread it onto your slide hammer.
Do the following only if you plan to replace the axle and don't need it for a core refund. Pull the axle out of the hub and separate the inner axle tripod from the cup attached to the differential. Clean as much grease as possible out of the cup, and use the welder to lay down a nice thick bead 1 to 1-1/2" long. This give the locking pliers something to grip against. Lock the pliers firmly onto the axle, across the weld bead so they don't slip off, and use the slide hammer to pull the axle out.
Do not use this method if you need to reuse the axle.
 

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