Front end diff or axle shaft? Troubleshooting techniques
I've got the 6 speed stick and manual 4wd. I was using the 4wd when I heard a loud pop out my window, so 90% sure it came from driver side. Then I got stuck. So I've got 4wd that's broke somewhere. Additionally, some gear oil started leaking out of driver's side after this happened. I doubt that is coincidence.
Hubs are good, so I guess while that's one thing eliminated, it means the problem is more complicated. Front drive shaft spins when in 4wd, so problem is between differential but not as far as the hub.
My thinking is that there are then only two possibilities. 1. Broken axle shaft or 2. Gears chewed up in the pumpkin.
My question here and now is what do I do? Is there a troubleshooting pattern that can decide this? I was thinking my best bet would be to drain the gear oil and remove the differential cover to rule that out. But maybe the leaking gear oil proves a broken axle?
I kindly request advice or a link to a previous thread which I haven't been able to find. Additionally, let's say I have a driver side, broken axle shaft which I'm assuming is most likely. Can I just jack up the left side of the truck and remove/replace it all, or is this a major undertaking requiring special tools and taking down the whole front end? And if it is a broken axle, how do you get the broken part out?