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Old 09-10-2008, 09:06 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Posts: 68
It's out...

Gentlemen (and any ladies that tune in), thank you for your help and indulgence.

I have the differential (with the blasted driver's side 1/2 shaft still in) out, the driveshaft out, and both flex discs off. Here is what I will add to what others have suggested above/what I learned:

(1) I only had success after the clamping nut was completely unthreaded; not just loose and still on the threads, but completely "unscrewed". Now, it was after this that I also got more aggressive with the pry-bar, but when the driveshaft came away from the differential, the clamping nut was "off". I guess I was stuck on the terminology. Others had referred to "loosening" the clamping nut, which I took to mean just "backing it off", but not unscrewing it all the way. I didn't have success until it was unscrewed. I will also say that I was able to completely unscrew that clamping nut, as well as remove the driveshaft from beneath the car, without having the driveshaft separate in my hands. I marked the 2 halves like others suggested, but I was initially anxious that by unclamping that nut I was doomed to having the driveshaft come flying apart (like that snake in the can of peanut brittle); it stayed together.

(2) Separating the driveshaft from the flex discs is not necessarily a quick job. In my thread searches, I read some posters stating that if you couldn't get a flex disc changed in 10 minutes, then you were doing something wrong. My front one went faster than the rear (30 minutes vs. 2-3 days!), but alot of that was due to knowing how much force to apply and where. The suggestions above by Billybob about tapping/(banging) on the flex-disc flange as it extends past the driveshaft lobe were right on. Chrarmalu's advice about pry-bar, rotate shaft, pry-bar, rotate shaft, ... were also key. I was "wailing on it" with the pry-bar, and it finally began to separate.

I didn't take many pictures of the job in progress, as I was too embarassed by my flailing around! However, there were a couple of threads by tobybul in 4/2007 with almost the same problem, and he was smart enough to take some pictures. The DIY wiki article about "W123 differential removal" also has pictures, though not of the stumbling blocks I encountered.

Before I pat myself on the back too much, I still have a differential with a 1/2 shaft stuck in it, which was what started all of this madness. Does anyone know if CVJ in Denver deals in differentials too?! I'm thinking my current diff is not going to be usable, and I'm dreading trying to find a diff from one place only to find that the reman axles I get won't fit in the replacement diff. What a hobby!

Thanks. Ross.

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