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I just bought a 77 vette and the rear diff cover has an ear broke were a spring bolt goes. I've removed the spring and the spindle bracket, but wasn't sure if I could just drop the crossmember the diff is bolted to and tip it enough to get the cover off to put a new one on. Has anyone tried this without removing the whole diff?
 

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Technically you can but I wouldn't. The diff weights 100 lbs and has almost 2 qts of smelly dirty gear oil in it both which could endup on you.
The diff is supported in the front by a bracket and snubber bushing. The rear is held up ony by the rear cover. You are better served to remove the whole thing and mount it on an engine stand. I will posting a new thread soon on rebuilding these that will help you.
Check the endplay in the yokes as the 74-79's had poor yokes that wore out fast. If you have endplay more then .040" you should replace them if you drop out the diff. You can also beef up the diff by installing cap screws in place of the hex heads.
The ear break if you have a hard impact like a pot hole or from improper spring loading during installation. You're better off with a Muskegon HD cover.
 

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77 diff cover

Thanks for the reply. I'm new at corvette's. I think I will just remove the whole thing like you said, but how do you get to the top bolts holding the diff to the crossmember? Or should the crossmember just drop out?
 

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Thanks for the reply. I'm new at corvette's. I think I will just remove the whole thing like you said, but how do you get to the top bolts holding the diff to the crossmember? Or should the crossmember just drop out?

either you`re cutting a hole in the floor above the rear cover or your dropping the crossmember......personally I would cut the hole but the purist guys would string me up....
...redvetracr
 

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As Red said it was/is common to find the rear deck in the compartment cut out. I don't know if I would be considered a purist but I remove the diff and the crossmember as one.
I use a sissors jack under the diff and have it about 1/2" under the diff. Then I unbolt the 2 crossmember bolts and use a 5' bar to pop them off the tapered seat.



 
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