Differential R&R
by Kit Wetzler 5/16/2002

Fixed the bonking in the rear (turns out a diff bolt snapped. Lesson learned, DON'T JACK THE CAR UP BY THE DIFF). Drilled it and extracted it, after dropping the diff on Friday. No problem went back together fine. Definitely a good idea to replace ALL the bolts that go into the diff, use stock bolts or other M12x1.50, but BE SURE to use at LEAST grade 10.9 bolts. Dropping the diff is easy. I couldn't find a good set of directions on the 'net, so for further reference, I did these steps:

1. Put car on ramps.

2. Remove exhaust. (4 bolts at the cat side and 4 bolts holding the hangers on.)

3. Use a jack to support the diff.

4. remove sway bar brackets (leave it connected to the control arms) and rotate it up so you can reach the diff bolts.)

5. Undo the 3 diff bolts holding the diff to the subframe.

6. Use a funky torx socket to remove the 6 on each side axle bolts. They are torqued to 75 ft lbs, and aren't easy to get off. With the diff loose, I got to all 6 on both sides without rotating the axles.

7. Remove the 4 driveshaft nuts. Easy with a 16mm wrench and a rubber mallet, just bonk until they get free. Make sure car is in gear. You may need to put in some of the axle nuts to stop the diff from rotating. Also, make sure the jack is solidly supporting the diff at this point. Mark the two plates so you can get them back together in the same position.

8. Remove the speed sensor harness.

9. Carefully lower the diff. It's HEAVY. About 75 lbs I think... Enough to put a sizeable dent in your forehead.

10. Assembly is revese of the above. Not too hard. I had to futz a bit with the diff to get all the axle nuts back in. If they don't line up, jack up the wheel (CAREFULLY!) from the shock mount just until you can rotate it and get the axle in. You should only have to do this from one side. Put the axle bolts in after you've reconnected the driveshaft.