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Water in front differential…

120 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  cactus
So, I got this viking from auction a couple years ago and it had some front end damage and I had a hard time getting parts due to pandemic. I finally got everything together AND the time to start working on it and I was working on replacing the passenger front suspension, steering, and drive shaft (it got rocked pretty hard). As I slid out the drive shaft I saw the chocolate brown fluid coming out of the diff… I removed the drain and out came a ton of water then gloopy diff fluid…

So, in my mind I need to pull the diff apart and see how bad it is. I pulled it out of the Viking to get it on the bench. It spins fine. From what I can see inside the axle holes the gears that I can see have some slight rust on them but they don’t look terrible… However I’m worried about bearings and things I can’t see.

So, I want to tear into it… But looking at the shop manual I see this warning:

The ring gear and differential gear are assembled into a proper unit at the factory by means of specialized equipment. Do not attempt to disassemble this unit. Disassembly will result in the malfunction of the unit.
I’m not a professional mechanic, but also not a total dummy… Which is why I’m here, am I asking for it opening this up or what? Is it just talking about setting backlash and being dramatic about it?

Oh as to why there’s water in it, I noticed no tube on the breather, it was just the open nipple there that would easily pickup any water from a crossing.

2016 Viking VI Ranch Edition EPS
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I wouldn’t take it apart unless your willing to buy a new one if the warning proves to be true.
I would clean it out as best you can with mineral spirits then blow it out with compressed air then fill it with a good synthetic gear oil and you will probably be fine.
Another option would be to look for a good used one on Powersports Nation.
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The front diff is an actual differential unlike the rear. If the teeth have rust spots on them then the bearings will too, you could re-install it as above however you'll probably find that after six months the bearings will start growling and you'll have to pull it all apart again. Seeing as you've got it out already take it to your dealer and get the bearings replaced. That way they can wash it all out properly which you'll have trouble doing with it whole on the bench.
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