How to Remove Gen 3/4 Differential Stub Axles (2003-2010)

Steve M

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It is pretty well documented that Gen 4 (2008-2010) Viper differential stub axles are notoriously difficult to remove. This seems to be especially true for the 2008 cars like mine. There are two main reasons for this:

1. The groove that mates with the internal differential circlip/snap ring has a square shoulder, making it difficult to pull the stub axle outward (good for retention, but not for servicing)
2. There just isn't anything to grab on to with a slide hammer

Both points were addressed with the Gen 5 cars when they rolled off the assembly line in 2013. Both the 2008-2010 and 2013-2017 Vipers use the same GKN Visco-Lok differential, but the Gen 5 uses a totally different design for the stub axle. The Gen 5s use a 6-bolt flange to interface with the axles as opposed to the splined interface used in the Gen 4 cars. The Gen 5 design gives you plenty of surface area to grab on to with a 3-jaw puller attachment for a slide hammer. While that's interesting to note, the biggest difference would likely go unnoticed: they machined a beveled edge on the grove that goes into the differential where the inner snap ring seats. That makes it substantially easier to pull the stub axles when you need to service the differential (e.g. during a gear swap). You can see that in the picture below:

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I'm glad they fixed it and all, but that does us lowly Gen 4 guys absolutely no good if we can't get our existing stub axles out.

Thanks to another post, I found a solution to all of your Gen 3/4 stub axle pulling woes. I apologize that this information is late to need, but hopefully it will serve someone well in the future when/if they get stuck trying to get these damn things out.

What you need is Mopar tool #8420C (https://www.freedomracing.com/8420c-front-axle-shaft-remover-set-8420a-8420b.html), pictured below:

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This tool is designed to remove the front axle shaft on certain model year Dodge Rams. The tool is actually slightly too small to be used for the Viper stub axles, so it has to be modified in order to work.

The tool itself is made to fit in the outer groove of the stub shaft that holds the snap ring that retains the inboard side of the axles. You can see that here:

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The other two parts of this tool are the inner disc that has 3/8"-16 threads to accept the threaded end of a slide hammer, and the outer sleeve shown in the first picture that holds everything together. Because the tool is too small for this application, the outer sleeve will not work as intended, so you'll need something else to hold everything together. I chose to use some very basic hose clamps from my local home improvement store. My slide hammer also happened to use a much larger 5/8"-18 threaded end, so I needed the OTC 8005 threaded adapter (https://www.freedomracing.com/male-3-8-16-female-5-8-18-threaded-adapter-8005.html) to make it all work together. Here is a test fit on an already removed stub axle (this came out as a result of a stuck axle flange in one of my previous adventures when swapping to a Gen 5 differential):

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And mounted to the remaining stub axle, ready to do work (after attaching the slide hammer of course):

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Time to do work. A couple of good whacks with my 5-lb slide hammer resulted in this:

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Well shit. As it turns out, that adapter wasn't quite made for any decently sized slide hammer, so back to the drawing board. I wasn't willing to throw in the towel just yet, so I devised another plan. The threaded adapter in the tool itself looked big enough to be drilled out and tapped for a 5/8"-18 thread. I already had the required 37/64" drill bit, and I had a 5/8"-18 tap, so what did I have to lose at this point? My dignity is long gone at this point in my life, so into the vise it went. Here's what it looked like before:

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And after:

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I also decided that a 5-lb slide hammer wasn't going to cut this one, so I placed an order for its 10-lb big brother. There's a pretty big difference between the two:

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On the right is "Please come out?" On the left is "I wasn't asking."

Here's everything assembled and ready to swing for the fences:

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I didn't take any pictures of the stub axle coming out, but I can assure you, it did. Here are a couple tips:

1. Make sure you snug down the nut on the slide hammer against the tool good and tight
2. Hit it as square as you can...it seems like if you are the slightest bit off-axis, the stub won't budge. Get it just right, and it will dislodge without much effort at all.

It may not be the perfect way to do it, but the stub axle did come out, and it was undamaged (as was the differential).

I hope that helps.
 

Heysie

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I had taken my diff away for a 3.55 to a shop, specialized in differential rebuilds (mostly BMW), they couldn't get the stub axles out of the diff.
Together with my neighbour, a real handyman , we came up with the following solution.

We took a 2"x2" steel square tube with a wall thickness of 1/8 inch. 1/8 is the width of the milled edge in the shaft. The thickness of the axle there is 1 1/16 inch.
A hole of 1 1/16 and a hole of 3/4 have been drilled in the piece of square tube. The 3/4 hole is for the threaded rod 18 mm.
The whole tube was cut through and clamped over the shaft. the 2 parts of the tube are welded together and the piece of threaded rod is attached with nuts. Tapped out the shaft with a 22 lbs dumbbell weight.
Unfortunately I have 1 photo.
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Blue Vert

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Brilliant guys, thanks for these posts. I also took my 2008 to a specialty shop for a 3.55 Dana swap. They couldn't get the stub axles out with their slide hammer, said about 50% of the time it works, and 50% it doesn't. Also, they did not want to break the axles. Charged me $290 for their (lack) of effort (meaning a larger hammer). Looks like a much larger hammer is the trick, and no damage, so thank you!
 

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