This was probably the most physically demanding part of repairing the Envoy. After checking the rear wheels, I determined that the passenger side axle bearing was bad and needed to be replaced. Since I was going to go through all the trouble to get the one bearing out, I decided to replace both of them. I ordered Timken Wheel Bearingand Seals, when they arrived, I went to work.
The first thing that needs to be done is to get the Envoy in the air so that you can do the repair. I found the lug wrench for the vehicle under the passenger side rear seat inside the plastic housing that holds it. I initially attempted to lower the spare tire but it was giving me a problem so I skipped it and just decided to raise the vehicle and not remove the spare tire. I still had plenty of room to access the rear differential bolts so the removal of the spare tire in not necessary.
Jack and Lug Wrench Location
Remove the lug caps and loosen the lug nuts on the truck. Once they are loose, you will want to raise the truck up and place jack stands underneath the frame rails so that it does not fall on you. I usually put the jack stands under the truck and let all the weight of the truck rest on them. Then I put the hydraulic jack at one of the sides for that extra insurance.
Wheel Cap Removed, Lug Nuts Loosened
Truck On Jack Stands with The Extra Insurance
At this point you will remove the wheels and move on to the repair. I decided to do both sides since I was going through the trouble of removing the rear differential cover and messing with the gears inside.
Now the fun begins, place an oil catch can underneath the rear differential and start to remove the 13mm bolts that hold the cover on. I started at the top and moved my way down. I did not completely remove the top 3 bolts so that the cover would stay on when I removed the bottom bolts and started to let the oil out. This keeps the job a little less messy.
Remove the 13mm Bolts
Leave The Top Bolts In and Let The Oil Drain Out
Once the oil has stopped dripping out of the differential, you can remove the cover completely and expose the rear gears. In the picture you can see the bolt that holds the pin in place and the pin that needs to be removed to perform this job. I had to rotate the drive shaft with the truck in neutral to get the pin and retaining screw to be in the position that I wanted them in. I wanted the retaining screw easily accessible with the spider gears facing at an angle upwards. In this position, I thought there would be less chance of the spider gears falling out of the differential and causing me more work than I wanted.
The Chrome Pin Is Between the Spider Gears, The Retaining Bolt is That Small Bolt To The Right Of The Bottom Of The Pin
Now you will want to remove the brake calipers and rotors. There are two 18mm bolts that hold the caliper in place and once removed, the rotor will slide right off. To see more detail on how to remove these parts, check this post. It is from a 2007 GMC Envoy but it is exactly the same.
Once the brake parts are removed you will want to move back to the differential and actually loosen the retaining bolt. Once it is sufficiently loosened, you will be able to slide the pin out that holds the spider gears in place. Be careful not to let the gears come out when you remove the pin! It’s not a complete catastrophe if it happens but it will make the job that much more difficult. If it happens, the gears kind of slide together like a puzzle.
Remove The Retaining Bolt
And Slide The Pin Out
Now that the pin is removed, you will be able to slide the axle in and remove the metal C clip that holds the axles in place. The first side that I did, the clip fell out and I needed to use a magnet to remove the clip from the bottom of the differential. The second side went much easier and the clip just popped out. With the clip removed, you will be able to slide the axle completely out of the axle tube and out of the car. This will expose the parts that you are trying to replace.
Axle In Normal Position
You Will Be Able To Push The Axle In Once The Pin In The Differential Is Removed
The bearing seal will need to be removed first. I used a flathead screwdriver to punch a dent in the seal. I slowly moved around the seal until it came out, exposing the bearing.
Take A Flathead Screwdriver To The Seal
Once You Get The Seal Folded In, It Will Come Out Easily
In order to replace the bearing, you will need a way to get it out. I don’t recommend using anything but a slide hammer and a set of axle bearing pullers. Just connect the axle puller to the slide hammer and set the attachment inside of the bearing. Once it is touching the ring of the bearing, you will be able to use the slide hammer and the bearing will pretty much pop right out. I hit the hammer 3 times and out it came.
This Is The Axle Bearing Puller That I Used
Slide The Swivel End Into The Bearing
Tighten The Washer To The Bearing
Attached The Slide Hammer To The Axle Puller
And Pull! The Weight Slides On The Bar And Hits The “T” At The End
Installation of the bearing was a little difficult. You need to hit the bearing into place with something that will not damage the new bearing that you are installing. I used a block of wood to start the bearing into its location. Once it was in far enough, I used the old seal to punch it in a little more. After that, I used the old bearing and hit that with the block of wood until the new bearing was all the way in and seated properly. You will know that it is seated properly because when you hit the bearing it will feel more solid than it has been while punching it in.
I Used A Block Of Wood To Hit The Bearing Into Place
Fully Installed Wheel Bearing
Once the bearing is seated properly, you will need to install the new wheel bearing seal. This keeps the gear oil that lubricates the bearing inside the axle tube. This is really easy to put on; you just place it in the bore and tap it with a soft hammer to get it in place.
Use A Soft Hammer To Install The New Seal
Installed Wheel Bearing Seal
When the seal is in place, you can slide the axle back in. Be careful not to push out the spider gears in the differential while reinstalling the axles. When the axles are pushed all the way in you can put on the C clips that keep the axles from sliding out on and get them in place. At this point, installation is the reverse of the removal process.
The C Clips Go In The Groove
Slide The Axles Back In
Push The Axles In All The Way
This Is The C Clip
Attach The C Clip To The Groove On The Axle
Push The Axle Back Out Making Sure That The C Clip Remains In Place
Reinstall Pin And Retaining Bolt
I Cleaned All The Gunk Off The Rear Differential Cover Before Reinstalling
The Rear Differential Cover Reinstalled
Once this is all back together properly, you will need to fill the rear differential with the proper gear oil. The proper weight is 75W-90 full synthetic gear oil. The fill hole is near the top of the differential and can be removed with just the end of a ratchet. You will need to fill the differential until the gear oil starts to drip out of the fill hole. Replace the fill hole plug, put the wheels back on and take it for a test drive! Hopefully, the car will be nice and quiet with the new bearings in place!
The Rear Differential Fill Hole Is Towards The Drive shaft End Of The Differential Towards The Top