96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal - S-10 Forum
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96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

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Old 01-14-2011, 11:35 AM   #1
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96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

Hi, first post here. 1996 S-10 Blazer 4 door
275,000 miles on the original 4.3 engine!
It's our cabin/off-road vehicle which is still in great shape/leather interior
O.K. all 4 mounting bolts removed
cable disconnected
cv.shafts disconnected and the differential just dangles there, it only came down about an inch. At first i thought cv shafts are holding it but I dont think so any more, did I not see something on the top that's still holding it in there?
The diff leaks like crazy so it has to come out to get fixed up, seems to be leaking around the cable actuator. Oh and the oil pan needs a new gasket, I'll post that in the right section thanks tigger
Old 01-14-2011, 06:23 PM   #2
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

You have to disconnect the pitman arm and the idler arm and push the drag link as far forward as possible. You have to twist the differential around so that it will come over the lower mount. It's not an easy job. I've done a few of them and each time I have to figure out the right combination of moves to get it out.
Old 01-15-2011, 09:30 AM   #3
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

O.K. I'll tackle this tomorrow, I bought a pitman arm puller along with a tie rod end fork. Is there a way to get the cv shafts out of the way? wire them back a little or should I remove a lower ball joint and move the spindle out of the way for a little extra clearence?
thanks for the info..
Old 01-15-2011, 12:52 PM   #4
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

Most of them that I have removed had the axles with the 6 bolt flange and I didn't have the problem with the axles being in the way. I'm guessing that you have the axles that don't come apart. Maybe you can wire them out of the way.
Old 01-15-2011, 06:22 PM   #5
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

The axles will compress to some degree but they always push back against the diff tube. The 6 bolts are out and I can get a large screwdriver in between but they always push back like there is a spring inside the cv shaft.
I know there isn't but it sure seems that way.
Do you have any suggestions on what could be leaking around the actuator cable? Is there a gasket or O-ring that went bad? The previous owner had it all siliconed up. thanks for all the info.
Old 01-15-2011, 06:56 PM   #6
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

There is a seal that goes inside the plastic cover. I've replaced a few of these, but it's been a while. I don't remember exactly how it goes together. The seal is available through GM. If you remove the right axle tube be carefull when putting it back together. There are 3 thrust washers in ther that must be in position before the axle will go back in.
Old 01-18-2011, 04:41 PM   #7
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

After about 3 hours of wrenchin, the diff is still in the Blazer. Pitman disconnected, tie rod link moved out of the way and still it wont come out. I then tried lowering the axle tube (pass. side) first and that didn't work out either, the diff case hits the oil pan.
I have enough room to repair the leak now though. It is the seal around the actuator shaft that is leaking. I have the actuator cable housing removed, now, 2 more bolts and the axle tube pulls right out??? Anything to keep my eye on (like the thrust washers) or any falling parts into the case? or is it basically straight forward? I really appreciate all the advise so far.
I looked for a differential drain plug on the front diff to no avail. Did I overlook it? if there isn't one, how would one change the gear lube on this model? Thanks again, you have been very helpful...........tigger
Old 01-18-2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

The later ones had a drain plug, but the early ones didn't have one. You have to suck the oil out through the fill hole.

If you remove the right axle tube the thrust washers might fall out. Noting can fall into the case because the spanner is in the way. There is a shift fork in the axle tube and a spring that also might come out. I have removed the axle tube before to get the diff out. It's a little harder to put everything back together under the truck but you might have to do it that way.
Old 01-18-2011, 08:36 PM   #9
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

I too had a tough time getting the diff to drop out after everything was undone. It CAN be done, but after having to pull it out a second time to re-gear it, I cut the lower mount tab off the frame. I then welded a piece of metal over the piece I cut and it now bolts under the lower control arm bolt just to the left in the pic. I don't have a pic of the finished mod. The diff now simply drops out when unbolted and the oil pan is not an issue.

Old 01-21-2011, 02:12 PM   #10
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

The new seal arrived from the GM dealer and I got looking at it. Can I pull the old seal out with a wire and needle nose pliers from the outside of the case and insert the new seal from the outside (plastic cover side) Another option was to just push old seal in and have it remain on the shaft?? I haven't been in the garage lately ( 10 degrees in the garage/outside) or should I just pull the axle tube and hopefully get everything back together correctly? The seal goes in from the inside doesn't it???????
Gonna get the garage heated up on Sunday to finish this project, hopefully.
Old 01-21-2011, 05:14 PM   #11
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

I would remove the axle tube and do it right. It's been a while so I don't remember exactly how it's done, but the seal is pretty small and might be east to mess up. The axle tube doesn't have a gasket on it. It just has sealant on it. It's a good idea to inspect the thrust washers too. I've seen them go bad a few times.
Old 01-26-2011, 10:48 PM   #12
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

Finally got the diff out and the seal replaced. Used some sort of anabolic machined parts sealer on the cover and no leaks.
Tomorrow the diff goes back in. I hope it goes easy, because I have no idea how I got the diff out. even with the axle tube removed it didnt want to come out easily then all of a sudden it was out.
Old 01-27-2011, 12:25 AM   #13
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

Been there, done that. I hate to break it to you, but they usually go in harder than they come out. At least that's the way it goes for me. I hope it goes easier for you.
Old 01-28-2011, 11:21 AM   #14
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

Up and running again. We did a slight mod to the lower a-arms, we used a grinder/cut off wheel and gained about 1/2 inch clearance on each side. The a-arms look plenty strong enough.
Still it fought us for about 45 minutes, then magically it went in.
4 wheel drive didn't work right away and found that the cable spring retainer under the battery tray needed a little tweak to engage the cable.
Old 01-28-2011, 11:31 AM   #15
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

Great. Glad you got it all back in and working.
Old 02-16-2011, 12:32 PM   #16
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Re: 96 S-10 Blazer front differential removal

Update; 1000 miles later and still no differential leaks.
Next project-- repair the rusted rocker panels..
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