2001 Dodge Dakota rear differential

  • 4.7L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • 235,000 MILES

The pinion shaft fell out and broke everything inside the rear diff and locked up the back of the truck and left me sitting in the middle of the traffic. I'm trying to take out the center portion to see if that is all I need to replace. I got the axles out, the bearing caps off but I can't figure out now how to get the center portion to come out It looks like there is still something inside the bearing shaft that runs into the axle tubes that won't let the center portion to drop out. PLEAE HELP I need to get this back on the road it's my only vehicle!

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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 AT 11:44 AM

1 Reply


The pinion shaft is part of the pinion gear. Those are real beefy so if it broke on the shaft, I'd suspect a lot of abuse or the bearing went out first and allowed the shaft to get chewed up. That would be compounded by the gear lube leaking out and all the other bearings and gear teeth would have substantial wear. You might be better off just getting the whole axle assembly from a salvage yard. Problems with them are not real common so your chances of getting a bad one are very small. Just be sure to get one with the same gear ratio.

Depending on which axle you have, you may need a housing spreader to get the center section out. Look for a round hole, about 3/4" in diameter, as I recall, on each side of the rear cover plate, and inline with the two axle tubes. That's where the pins hook in for the spreader. That tool spreads the center of the housing to remove the pressure on the carrier bearings, then that assembly can be slid out.

Be aware too that there's a lot of very critical and precise adjustments for pinion depth and ring gear position to set the amount of backlash and tooth contact pattern. There's an art to setting axles up correctly. That's why you're better off with a complete assembly from a salvage yard.

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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 AT 12:24 PM

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