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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:29 PM   #1
WhiteX
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Default Front axle issue on Silverado. Clunking bad. With videos

First off this is my first post in this site. I've seen a ton of good threads from here so I figured I'd sign up and see what you guys thought about my issue.

First off, a preface: 2003 Silverado, Z71, 5.3, cam, heads, 4.56s, intake/headers/exhaust, built 4L60e.

I was at the sand dunes this previous weekend and was bombing up a dune when I heard a clunk and it appeared that the 4x4 stopped working. I've blown numerous rear ends and transmissions in other trucks so I knew the sound wasn't right or good. I stopped immediately and got it towed back to the camp site.

Here's a very boring video of when it happened:


You can see a bit of bump steer/tie rod flex and something let go.

So I ended up disassembling it yesterday and as I was taking it apart I tried moving the axles (with 4x4 engaged) and had this happen:


The sound I originally heard was definitely from the passenger side area. This issue supports that. I also turned the front end over using the driver side axle and everything appears to be turning smoothly (pass side spins in the opposite direction, no binding, etc).

I figure the front axle actuator isn't engaging/disengaging properly. With it in 2wd mode, there is a bit of a clunking/loose something sound when you spin the front driveshaft by hand. It sounds like the clunking sound is coming from the front axle engagement assembly area.

I took the pass side half axle off and there was a lot of excess RTV inside of there likely from the previous owners 4.56 install. With the half axle and front axle engagement assembly off the ring and pinion turn very smoothly. I unfortunately forgot to turn the front driveshaft with it back in 2wd mode to see if there was still a clunking sound.

I ended up cleaning out the housing and cleaning out the actuator with carb clean and then a generous bath of gear oil. I reinstalled it (hoping for an easy fix) and it still does the same thing, which appears to be a partial engagement of the front axle. Outside of the axle housing, the actuator moves in and out freely and smoothly.

I lastly tried removing the actuator and attempted to engage the front axle using a socket wrench handle and when pushing as hard as I could, the pass side axle still had some slop/partial engagement issues.

So I'm sort of stumped. I will likely remove the entire diff and crack the housing to see what's going on inside.

Is it normal for the axle to have that slop? And why would it have that clunky sound in 2wd? Partial front axle disengagement? And do the engagement parts in the front axle wear out?
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:35 PM   #2
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Probably CV shaft. Just had very similar symptoms on a buddies truck. Broke his 4x4 at Silver Lake. CV joint was clunking with play in it. Replaced the shaft, and all is well.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8PTBUCK View Post
Probably CV shaft. Just had very similar symptoms on a buddies truck. Broke his 4x4 at Silver Lake. CV joint was clunking with play in it. Replaced the shaft, and all is well.
Watch the second video. I wish it was the CV!
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:41 PM   #4
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pinion turn nice? id pop the actuator off and see what u can see. but it don't look good
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:47 PM   #5
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Yeah the pinion and ring gear both are smooth when you turn it from the drivers side.

I had the entire half axle assembly out on the drivers side and everything spun smoothly. No chunks or anything crazy in the oil either.

I really think the problem is with the front axle actuator not engaging all the way and sticking after it's put back into 2wd. But I can't find anyone else with the issue.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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You pretty much just gave an answer to everyone's questions lol like you said; you'll have to pull the pig apart and see if you stripped some gears in it
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Yeah if It was me I would drop the housing and open it up. Doesn't sound good at all. Ive had a 2000 and a 2006 z71.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 01:54 PM   #8
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Limited slip in the front axle?
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Old July 31st, 2013, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Limited slip in the front axle?
To my knowledge it's a standard GM open diff.

I was really hoping someone else had a similar issue.

I will update with pics if it ever stops raining.
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Old July 31st, 2013, 02:23 PM   #10
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Sorry, can't watch Youtube on my work computer. Just going by from what it sounded like. Guess it's a whole lot worse! Good luck
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Old July 31st, 2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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Open it up and see what happened.
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Old August 1st, 2013, 09:58 PM   #12
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Hello all,

Finally got the diff out tonight. Took a bit of thinking and moving around to get the fucker out. But for being on a creeper with only a jack and hand tools, it took me about 45 mins.

Here's some pics:


Impacting the cover off


Aww my little diff is getting so old! He's starting to lose his teeth!

Looks like I wiped out about 8-12 teeth on the ring gear.

SHHHIIIEEEETTTT. Worst case scenario.

So been looking at gears and master rebuild kits. Looks like USA Standard Ring & Pinion gears are actually Yukon gears, so I'll probably go with those.

Looks like this:
http://www.amazon.com/USA-Standard-P.../dp/B0078UAFSC

Plus this:
http://www.amazon.com/G2-Axle-Gear-3.../dp/B004PH78VS

is going to be on order.


Now, next piece of business.... who do I get to install this shit? I've looked over some rebuild threads and I'm seriously not into it. Anyone on here locally do these things ever? And what's a fair price to pay?
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Old August 1st, 2013, 10:01 PM   #13
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Where are you located? Lots of good shops on this site.

Jeeperz Creeperz
Unlimited Off-road
Ironman Off-road

and much more depends on your location tho
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Old August 1st, 2013, 10:11 PM   #14
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In Bay City...
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Old August 1st, 2013, 10:17 PM   #15
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Looks like Ironman is the next city over. Rock on.

Think they will work on IFS chevy stuff though? They appear to be Jeep only places...
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Old August 1st, 2013, 10:18 PM   #16
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Gears are gears
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Old August 2nd, 2013, 03:43 AM   #17
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Take it to Dale at ironman. He works on pretty much all makes/models not just jeeps.
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