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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I recently installed a 2002 front differential into my 1995 Safari, because it had a more desirable ratio. I had to get CV's for a 2002, as the inner CV end is different from 1995-2002. I replaced the output (CV axle) seals on the differential as well.

The main point of the thread is I'm having a lot of issues getting the differential to stop leaking from the seal where the CV comes out. At a glance it would look like the CV isnt seating all the way into the differential, but this is as far as i can get it in. I've assembled it on the bench and verified that the stub shaft is bottoming out in the CV, so there is absolutely no way it goes any farther.

Does this look right to you guys though? Am I working with defective parts here? Please let me know what/if im doing wrong. I would really appreciate some photos of this on other vans, as I cannot find much by searching.

Thanks in advance. At my wit's end with this issue.

PS in my photos everything looks dry but thats only because ive wiped it from dissassembling and reassembling it so many times. the driver's side was begining to coat the whole underisde of the van in diff oil, driving along like this.
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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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If you apply a little outward pull or leverage to the axle, does it move?
Can't tell exactly from photos but the axle may not be fully seated?
They look like they're out a little to me.
It takes quite a bit of effort to get them fully seated over the internal c-clip.
They should not move at all.

There is a c-clip on each end of the mini-splined shaft.
It doesn't matter which end is seated first when you re-assemble, but both ends must snap firmly into place. I had to pound mine in with a fairly large sledge-hammer.

I assume you have installed new seals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, new seals are installed.

I'm pretty sure I have hammered these in as far as they can go. Have bench assembled them, and sledge-hammered them until the outer threads of the CV started mushrooming out. At that point I stopped wailing on them.

Its not easy, but I can get them to move outward with a long prybar, which makes me believe the C-clip is engaging. I'm glad you agree that they still don't look all the way seated! So I'm not going crazy?
 

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2000 Lifted 4x4 Astro 92 V8-350 Shorty
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If they are moving outward, then I believe they are not seated.
They snap firmly into place.

I don't think you can set these up on a bench, not sure.
Also if you've moved them outward (testing them) then they again are no longer seated.

Again, both ends of the mini-spline shaft have c-clips, including end that connects to cv-axle.
None the less.. most of us hammer the entire shaft inward during reassembly.
I don't know what else it could be unless seal is damaged.
Driver side is tricky (regarding seal) because of the differential plate.

Note: put the old nut on the threads and whack that, rather than the threaded shaft directly. You should also be driving it in as straight as possible. I held my shaft in place with straps when hammering with sledge hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry, I think there's some misunderstanding.

I meant: Prying it outward with a long prybar (with some difficulty) would suggest that the C-clip is engaging. As opposed to being able to move it out by hand (which I cannot do), which would suggest it is not engaging. And of course I'm hammering it back in prior to test driving, after trying this.

Nevertheless .... I will try again with more sledge hammer. You're right, its annoying to keep it in an effective position, so I will try rigging it up with straps and partially threading on an old axle nut to protect the threads.

One last note, I'm noticing the 2003 CV's are 1" longer according to Rockauto. And I'm about 1" off to fully seating. So I gotta wonder if 2003 axles would be best for this application ....
 

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Common Sense + Critical Thinking
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Looks can be deceiving esp with aftermarket shafts, IIRC the directions say you should measure the old ones and mark the new ones, but they should snap firmly into place which it seems likely in your case.
Always put the nut on until it's flush and I use a block between the beater and the beaten so you don't mess up the threads ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Looks can be deceiving esp with aftermarket shafts, IIRC the directions say you should measure the old ones and mark the new ones, but they should snap firmly into place which it seems likely in your case.
Always put the nut on until it's flush and I use a block between the beater and the beaten so you don't mess up the threads ;)
Still at work, so I haven't had a chance to get back to the project. I appreciate the responses to this issue, the resolution of which means a great deal to me. Need to get this rig back on the road, as it is a workhorse for us.

After hammering and taking it apart and putting it back together and more hammering, I believe the CV's are seating into the C-clips. I will admit that I may be wrong on that, since its definitely clear that they're sticking out too far, and they're leaking a lot. That's when I created this thread.

So I will continue with further inspection/measurements and precise sledgehammering to get the CV's seated. Will update as I can.

Thanks Gents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
After continued sledgehammering and comparing NoQuarter's 2003 CV dimensions with my CV's last night, here's what I found:

Mine are definitely seating into their C-Clips, without a shadow of a doubt, and they're still sticking out too far. They're just the wrong ones. According to NoQuarter's dimensions posted, 2003+ CVs have a shorter end stub by about a half an inch compared with 1997-2002 designs. The current plan is I need to test a 2003 CV, and so I'm working on getting one today.

Something to note: Autozone CV's are all the same for 1997 - 2005. Ask me how I found out. I'd say to avoid buying from Autozone, as their parts line is not comprehensive enough to cover design changes over model years.

Both O'reilly and Rockauto show a different part for 1997-2002 and 2003-2005. So that's where I'll be shopping.

I hope this thread is helpful for others because I couldn't find this information anywhere. Learning the hard way has sucked, a lot, this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Followup: I'm still in the midst of this disaster of a project. I've sourced original OEM non-reproduction CVs from the junkyard, and they are seating better than any new ones I've bought and tried, hands down. To anybody finding this in the future, I just want to wrap it up with few things that I've learned, before closing this thread:

1) You're better off rebuilding the original CV axles, not buying new ones. Why do I think this?
a. New reproduction CV's (like what you'd get at any parts house) are dimensionally slightly different. They'll technically "fit" and "work", but they'll leak at the diff seals. I've tried 4 or 5 axles all from different house brands and for different model year vans. With all of them, the location of the internal C-clip groove is consistently 1/8" out of spec compared to OEM axles (which is also proof that no matter where you buy, you're getting the same junk ... but I digress)​
-What does this mean? Even when fully seated into their C-clips, these CV's appear to not seat into the diff., as pictured in my first post. This results in end play, and leaking. I'm sure will also lead to premature seal failure.​
b. After scrounging junkyards over the weekend, I've noticed that nearly all Astros/Safaris/S10s/Blazers (they're worth mentioning b.c they use the same inner CV assembly) with new CVs leak at the diff. seal. However, a solid portion of Astros/Safaris/S10s/Blazers with original CVs are still bone dry at the diff. seal. This is just my observation, take it however you will...​

2) When installing CVs, take GREAT CARE not to damage the diff. seals. I'm now replacing mine again after ruining brand new ones from testing, fitting and re-fitting above mentioned problematic new CVs.

3) Don't waste your time ... if you're removing/reinstalling CVs (weather it be to replace or rebuild), check out Mmusicman's thread!
 
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