1997 Chevrolet Blazer

Drive Train Axles Bearings problem
1997 Chevy Blazer 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 150000 miles

I have a huge problem with my differential. My truck jerked to a complete halt one day-luckily at low speed. I took off the differential cover to reveal many of the teeth on the ring gear had been sheared completely off. The fluid was ruined completely and probably all the bearings-I plan to replace everything. The Question is: it is a 4 door, originally a 4 by 4 (the transfer case does not work) and I want to know what size/type is my differential as the ID tag was not there on the differential. Is there a way to tell from the VIN number? There are many ID numbers in the glove box but that is almost worn away and unreadable. What can I do with only the most basic tools to measure and get a new differential as there are several different differential sizes when I call about parts. Also the pinion shaft bolt has welded to one of the internal gears and I cannot get the pinion shaft bolt out. I spent a full day hammering on it and it only budges a few millimeters. I have given up and will bring it to a differential shop-however they have all told me I need to obtain the replacement differential and I don't know which one it is. Help would be greatly appreciated.
Ryan South
October 17, 2010.

Axle ID stamped on front of axle housing tube need to wire brush. Fist 3 digts are axle ratio next is axle assembly build last 3 are date manufactured.
Could be 7 5/8 or 8 5/8 ring gear
Hope this helps
Thanks for donate

Oct 18, 2010.
Thank you for the help. All the part places are asking me if the ring gear is 7 5/8 or 8 5/8. How do I check which one it is? It is a 5 bolt axle, with an open differential, and the VIN number for the vehicle is: 1GNDT13W9V2196408 If that helps? It would really help if I can find out what size it is or how to measure it with basic tools?
Thank you very much,

Ryan South
Oct 19, 2010.
Hello Doc Fixit,
Thank you. So how do I determine if it is 7 5/8 or 8 5/8? Is that in the number on the axle housing tubing?

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Ryan South
Oct 19, 2010.
Yes on housing first 3 digits are axle ratio. You could measure ring gear to get size

Oct 20, 2010.