Differential Rebuild

Rebuilt Differential

Differential Rebuilds are an essential part of vehicle ownership. It is inevitable that at some point in the lifetime of a vehicle, it will need a differential rebuild. The differential is considered a consumable component of the drivetrain. There is a lot of wear on the component in the differential. The friction generated from the rotational motion causes this wear. This is even if there is enough lubrication. It is even worse when the vehicle is under load. So driving style, vehicle payload and vehicle function (e.g. race car) all contribute to the lifespan of the differential.differential being rebuilt

How much does a differential rebuild cost?

A differential is a combination of a large variety of components. The cost of a differential rebuild will depend on the extent of the rebuild. It also depends on the type of differential being rebuilt. A differential rebuild is a general term. It means replacing components to get a differential operational again. But, differential rebuild kits vary. Master rebuilds replace about every component of the center section of your differential. There are also basic rebuild kits which only contain certain components such as bearings, seals, o-rings, crush sleeves etc.

Master Differential Rebuild Kits

The master rebuild kits come with every component you will need for your differential rebuild. Although the content will depend on the type of differential, a master rebuild kit would often include:

Pinion & Carrier Bearings O-Rings
Pinion Seal Gear Marking Compound
Pinion Shims Loctite
Pinion Nut Cover Gaskets/Silicone
Crush Sleeve Carrier/Super Shims
Depth Shims Slingers & Baffle
Ring Gear Bolts


Mini Differential Rebuild Kits

Mini rebuild kits include fewer components than the master rebuild kit. They are used on vehicles with lower mileage as some of their components may not need replacing.

Pinion Bearings Depth Shims
Pinion Seal O-Rings
Pinion Shims Gear Marking Compound
Crush Sleeve

Chevrolet Differential Clutch

Basic Differential Rebuild Kits

The basic kit includes components to do a basic differential rebuild.  In some cases, this may be enough and with fewer components, it will reduce the cost of the rebuild.

Pinion & Carrier Bearings Pinion Nut
Pinion Seal Crush Sleeve

Pinion Differential Rebuild Kits

If you need only pinion bearings for the differential rebuild, a pinion differential rebuild kit has the necessary parts.

Pinion Bearings Depth Shims
Pinion Seal O-Rings
Pinion Shims Gear Marking Compound
Crush Sleeve

Differential Spider Gear Rebuild Kits

Spider gear rebuild kits are used for rebuilding these internal differential components.

cross section of a differential


Side Gears Cross Pin Shaft
Pinion Gears Cross Pin Bolt
S & P Gear Thrust Washers

Bearings & Seals Kits

Although replacing the bearings and seals is not exactly a differential rebuild, it still is rebuilding part of the rear end may be a part of a differential repair.

From the above variety of available kits and the components included, it is clear that the rebuild cost will depend on the kit. The kit reflects the extent of the differential rebuild. Also, the labour costs will depend on the time required to do the rebuild. Which will be higher for more extensive rebuilds and less for more basic rebuilds.

Wheel Bearing

Choosing which kit to use requires expertise in differential rebuilding. This is because evaluation of the differential damage is required. Also, the installation of the components is important. Improper installation can result in leaking seals, premature bearing wear, premature ring and gear wear, lubrication issues and more. These will then lead to another differential failure.

Another important factor is ensuring you are replacing the components that need replacing. This can result in early failure of the replaced components. In our opinion, this is a waste of time and money. It makes more sense to spend some extra money on replacing more of the consumable components. Risking damage to the new components will result in another rebuild which costs more in the long run.

Is it worth rebuilding a differential?

If it is worthwhile for you to repair your vehicle and keep it on the road instead of replacing it, then it is worthwhile doing a differential rebuild. A professional differential rebuild will make sure that you do not have to worry about it for a long time. This is a great advantage for peace of mind.

Also, consider whether differential rebuilding is better than complete component replacement. A complete component replacement might not be available as well. There is no doubt that rebuilding a differential is cheaper than replacing it with a new component. The reason is it reuses many of the bulky components which adds to the cost of the new replacement component.

The rebuild cost depends on the rebuild kit. More extensive rebuild kits cost more than basic ones. Also, the amount of labour time required for the rebuild increases. Once a vehicle gets a few years old, a differential rebuild is your only option. This is because new replacement parts often go out of production.

Axles on a crate for shipping

The professionals at Houston Rebuilt Axles are differential rebuild specialists. We serve customers across the country with door-to-door shipping. Also, we rebuild your differential and ship it to you ready to install and with a warranty so you can have peace of mind in your differential. Contact us if you need assistance with your differential and we can arrange everything.