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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently had the rear differential self destruct on my 98 Rav4. It has the all wheel drive/automatic trans/4cyl setup. I have acquired a replacement along with new mounts and getting ready to make the change. I have looked all over the internet as well as this forum for any help for this upcoming repair. I am wondering if I need to pull the rear axles or if I can just disconnect the mounts and the axle on the pumpkin and get It out without pulling the hubs etc. looks like if I pull it straight back it might disconnect from the axles without taking anthing else loose. If anyone has done this repair in the past, I would love to hear from you and hear your comments. thank you.
 

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Just disconnect the propshaft (driveshaft in U.S.) and the driveshafts (axles in U.S.) and the diff mounting bolts and it will drop out, literally, so make sure you support it.
Consider how you raise the car, if you use ramps it will be easier than if you support it on stands as the wheels will drop down and push the axles against the diff, making it harder to separate. Make sure you support the propshaft/driveshaft too to avoid damaging the centre bearing.
Good luck, it's quite an easy job, as long as everything comes undone okay you'll do it inside two or three hours max.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
differential remove and replace

given that I won't be disturbing the hubs/wheels, will a 4 wheel alignment be necessary after the install? Thank You for responding.
 

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No need for any alignment since the suspension isn't disturbed.
I've done it on a 1998 where the diff just decided to lock up solid one day. I agree with Ken it's pretty a straightforward job. I did have friend help me with handling the heavy parts and because sometimes you need three hands!
 

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This helps me out alot, Im about to have to get into this and have had no clue as to where to start. Now I need a replacement diff..
 

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This helps me out alot, Im about to have to get into this and have had no clue as to where to start. Now I need a replacement diff..
How are you doing so far? I have the growling problem on my ´06. Rear diff, front bearing gone bad.
Dealership said swap the sub assy. E for $2600, but as a student with a bad bearing i would rather swap the bearing. Without tools I am looking to swap the Viscous Coupler (easier than to press the bearing itself.. part time bike mechanic job has showed me how messy press fit bearings can be without proper tools.) or the entire diff.
Would like to buy the VC itself and just swap it instead. But at junkyards (looking for new, low milage wreaks to salvage the VC from) i can only get a hold of the entire diff. So if it is easy i might as well swap the entire thing? At the same time as I am thinking that as a rookie i should really not try to mend something that is working,
 

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Simen, since yours is an '06 whose 4WD system has virtually nothing in common with a gen 1 model I'd suggest you repost in the 4.3 mechanical section. You'll certainly get better responses there. After you do I'll delete this one if you can't.
 
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I just did the diff R&R today, to do my seals. I put my Rav up on 4 x 8" high ramps. With the Rav securely blocked on the ramps, and in neutral with e-brake off, I lift the back wheels (while on the ramps) one at a time to turn the wheel to turn the axles and the pinion to get the shaft-holding bolts on the flanges to the bottom where I can get to them. There are 4 bolts holding each shaft to the diff, and when the weight of the vehicle is on the wheels, nothing turns so you can apply needed long-wrench to the bolts. Get all the bolts loosened first. Then take the 8 nuts off that hold the axles to the diff flanges. At this point, you can pry and struggle to get the axles off the diff, or leave them until the diff is loose when they just fall off. Then take the driveshaft off the pinion, and gently let the driveshaft hang down, don't drop it hard it might break the rubber on the center joint. Then take out the two 17mm head bolts holding the front of the diff to the mount - they take like 150 ft-lbs to crack loose, I used a double wrench cheater snipe to crack them loose. Then take the two bolts holding the back mount to the rear cover of the diff. Once the diff is loose from its mounts, move it side to side and the axles drop off without struggling. Then take the diff out, its like 100 lbs so be ready for it.

This is my diff out. Those boxes are the replacement seals, those are the National Seal part numbers. You can clearly see the right side flange has been leaking.
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Then I took the rear cover off, no evil pile of metal cuttings on the drain plug magnet, no chunks missing out of gears, everything inside in good order. I pulled the snap rings off the axle stubs using a pick. I know this will cause a flood of comments both ways, but this Snap-on Tools pick for that snap ring is one application where the best tool money can buy is worth it:
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That $40 tool made those snap rings a piece of cake. Once the axle stub is out, pull out the old seal and drive in the new seal. I had turned out a seal drift for a previous project, happens that it fits the axle seals perfectly. The outer rubber lip-guard fits snug inside the heavy wall seal drift tube, and a couple taps and the seal is home.
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Pinion seal is similar. To remove pinion nut, I held the pinion flange in the vise real tight, and rattled on it for a second with the M18 heavy duty, the socket is a 15/16" six point, and it popped right off. Slide the pinion flange off, pull the seal, tap in the new one, and tighten the nut up to exactly where it was, and stake it back into the groove in the pinion shaft.

If your diff is puking its oil out the axle seal(s), first clean the vent. Mine was plugged solid with road mud/crud, after removing the vent from the diff, I could not blow or suck through the vent no how. Bathing the vent in varsol, shaking, poking, and blowing with compressed air, once cleaned out I could blow and suck - with some resistance - through the vent. My Rav started leaking diff fluid a couple hours into a recent 600 mile road trip, I looked underneath every few hours of the trip, and there was oil dripping off the right side axle flange. Given the rate of drip, I was very worried the diff was going to run dry and grind itself to dust. Every odd noise I heard for the 12 hours sounded like the diff piling up. I was kinda stuck trying to complete the trip, rather than bail out and tow home. Not to have worried, even with the oil puking out, I made it home with no ill effect. Ordered new seals. Checked the diff oil, it was down. Pumped in 1/2 quart, and with my filler snug in the fill port, I got it a smidgen overfilled. Then I drove it for short trips and errands for another few thousand miles, watching for further leaking but no leaking or puking observed. The seals came in, so I swapped the seals. Hard to know if I needed to swap seals, maybe cleaning and unclogging the vent would have solved the occasional puking seal issue. Bottom line, if you have puking seals, check/clean/unclog the vent, top up the oil, and see what happens.

Heres a pic of my diff vent, no oily residue as one would expect from a "breather", just alot of road crud.
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