Broken Differential Shaft Lock in '89 Chevy Van

Old 10-08-01, 02:49 PM
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I desperately need to replace the rear axle bearings and grease seals, but the shaft lock bolt is broken off so the axles cannot be removed. The threaded part came out but the rest seems to be frozen in the pinion shaft. Any suggestions as to how to remove this, short of breaking the carrier housing or replacing the entire rear end because a $2 part failed? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Old 10-09-01, 01:38 AM
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You're better off swapping in another used housing or having it rebuilt by someone and doing the R&R of the axle assembly (the whole carrier) yourself.

This involves good machine/precision measurement work, and not many people can do it well. I wouldn't recommend doing it yourself. You'll be doing it twice without the proper tools, equipment and training.

A coworker blew his rear on his 88 Suburban. He rightly decided to swap in another carrier.

It's more than a 2 dollar part that has blown up in there .
Old 10-09-01, 02:48 PM
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1)try sticking a small magnetic screwdriver or a pick in the hole where the lock screw came out ,nad see if u can wiggle it out
2)if available mig or arc (welder)insert it in the hole until it touches the remainder of the lock, and have someone quickly switch the machine on and off , it may attatch itself to the rod or wire and then be able to remove it
3)using a die grinder , carefully grind a slot in the end of the lock pin to expose the remainder of the lock screw and replace lock pin and screw

just a few ideas thats got me out of similar situations

Old 10-30-02, 01:24 PM
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removing broken retainer bolt


Before I had to retire I got a reputation for removing almost anything that was broken.
The problem with those retainers is that when they break they almost always (never had one not) leave a little piece of the last thread on the pin end that keeps it from just being pulled out with a magnet.
I developed a procedure that has never failed me.
Start by using an aerosol degreaser (brake clean) and compressed air to get all the gear oil out of the bolt hole (wear eye protection). Next take a 3 in. piece of 1/8 in. vacuum hose (it fits easily into the bolt hole) and put a 1/4 in long piece of 1/8 in. "o"ring half way into one end of the vacuum hose (secure it with crazy glue and let dry). Put one drop of crazy glue onto tip of "o"ring piece that is sticking out of the vac hose and carefully shake most of it off. Carefully feed the vac hose into the bolt hole until you feel it contact the pin and hold it in place for several seconds to let the crazy glue set. Slowly and carefully pull the vac hose out of the hole while rotating it counterclockwise and the tip will walk itself out of the housing. If you don’t feel the tip move freely right away you may have to “wiggle” the cross shaft to eliminate any binding. Use a strong magnet to wiggle the shaft in or out to free up the pin.

I have also used just the vacuum hose (24 in.) with an aspirator supplying vacuum to get the pin started and then a shorter section in a drill in reverse to walk the tip out. Keep the drill running and tap the hose repeatedly against the tip until it backs itself out of the threaded hole.

Good luck

Last edited by james19501967; 02-02-04 at 08:07 PM.
Old 06-08-07, 10:41 PM
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Same problem, found solution

There's a kit for removing broken differential pinion shaft bolts. I've used it and it works. Made by Fabbri Assoc. I forget the web address, but u can get one on ebay.

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