Rear carrier swap from 3.69 ratio to 3.29 possible?
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Author Topic: Rear carrier swap from 3.69 ratio to 3.29 possible?  (Read 1560 times)
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ekeppel
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« on: May 05, 2016, 07:22:58 AM »

Hi Folks!

First post here, and I hope someone here might be able to help me out.  I have an 04 AWD Aztek myself, but the car in question here is actually my wife's 04 AWD Rendezvous (same car underneath as far as I can see working on them both).

Anyway, the rear carrier is dying on the Rendezvous.  It rumbles like a train at slow speeds <25mph and then starts to smooth out around 30-35mph.  Above that it just turns into a fairly loud hum / roar that varies in pitch with the speed of the car.

It's loud enough that I need to do something about it, and I'm pretty sure its the carrier.  The previous owner said they had work done on it in the past due to leaks at both rear axle seals and when I changed the carrier fluid the other day, I found the seals leaking badly again with a lot of lateral play on both sides where the axle splines enter the carrier.   There was also only about a quart of versatrak fluid in it when I drained it. 

I wonder if it is possible to put a 3.29 (Option FR9) carrier in instead of the 3.69 (Option FR3).  Will it bolt right up and work or is it going to just cause more problems?  Has anyone done this with their Tek / Rendezvous / etc... and found success?

I can find plenty of 3.29 carriers from Azteks and other similar cars around here in local junkyards for around $250, but very few 3.69 ones are around and the ones that do exist are over twice the price ($550-$650).

Any advice would be great. :-)

Thanks!
Eric
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Pontiac6KSTEAWD
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 12:38:48 PM »

You can do the swap, but it's allot more involved. You also have to replace the transmission since it also houses the front differential. I'm in the process of replacing my FR9 differential right now, and I posed this exact question to the dealer.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 12:39:55 PM by Pontiac6KSTEAWD » Logged

Brian - Carpe Diem

01 Pontiac Aztek GT OPT AWD 110k - 04 GMC Envoy XUV 150k

ekeppel
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2017, 01:35:51 PM »

Hi Brian,

Though the thread is pretty old, I appreciate your reply.  I'm sure it will be of help to someone else Googling around to find the answer as I did when I was doing this repair. :-)

I ended up buying an '04 Aztek parts car and pulled the rear carrier out of it for the Rendezvous.  It works great, and wasn't too difficult to do. 

Just in case anyone is thinking, as I initially did, that they can save time and just pull the rear carrier (along with the short section of attached prop shaft) out of an Aztek in one piece and swap it as a unit into a Rendezvous:

  • It's worth noting that the rear prop shaft lengths are different between the Aztek and Rendezvous, so it will have to come off.  Some junkyards sell the rear carrier on its own, and others include the rear portion of the prop shaft bolted to the carrier, so I thought I would mention it.  I had everything nearly installed, and was trying to bolt it up when I realized that the rear prop shaft mounting bracket from the Aztek was off by a couple of inches compared to bolt holes on the Rendezvous, so I had to remove the rear shaft piece from the carrier and put the correct one from the Rendezvous in.  After that minor mixup, the mounting bracket found it's correct position, lol.

Not a big deal, but it's another step that I didn't expect.  Even so, it ended up only being an afternoon's work to complete the entire changeover.

Eric
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Pontiac6KSTEAWD
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« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 02:04:27 PM »

I'm curious what all I have to take out to put in the diff. I bought one from a salvage yard, so some of the work was already done. Do you have to disassemble the hubs?
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Brian - Carpe Diem

01 Pontiac Aztek GT OPT AWD 110k - 04 GMC Envoy XUV 150k

ekeppel
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 04:25:50 PM »

My memory is a little bit fuzzy about the exact procedure since I did this last summer, but as I recall I did something like this:

Starting up front, I removed the front half of the prop shaft by removing the bolts and torque balancers from both ends.  It needed to be cajoled a bit with a hammer to unseat from its socket where it mates to the transmission.

Next, I pulled both rear wheels, removed the axle nuts, and freed up the hubs by removing a few of the bolts holding them to the rest of the suspension.  This gives some needed movement and slack to get the axles out of each hub.  I had to fight with it because the CV boots didn't want to compress quite enough and with the whole joint flopping around it's a pain to get it out of the hub.  It's also a pain to get it back *into* the hub upon reassembly!  Maybe I was doing it wrong, but I found it a little frustrating, lol.  Perhaps I should have just made it easier and removed ball joint too, but the shop manual didn't seem to indicate that was necessary.

Once the axles are free of the hubs, they can be removed from the differential and set aside.

When I did this job, I removed the diff along with the torque tube as one piece, but if I was to do it again, I'd remove the torque tube from the diff first to make it lighter and easier to maneuver.  The torque tube is attached to the front of the diff with a bunch of bolts in a circle pattern, and then there are 4 bolts at the bracket holding the front end of it to the body of the car.

Before removing the diff, also be sure to disconnect the electrical connector and vent tube on top of it.

To get the diff out, remove the 4 big mounting bolts that hold it to the rear subframe.  There are some big metal washers and rubber vibration dampeners along with the mounting bolts, so keep an eye on their location and the way they are stacked so that they can go back in the same order.  :-)

I think at this point the carrier should be free floating and ready to remove. 

----

When you are replacing the diff, I highly recommend installing new axle seals in it.  I neglected to do this and found that the joint leaked just as it had with the old diff.  That sort of leak is probably what caused its demise in the first place.  The seal to shaft clearance is a bit tight, so you will need a seal puller to get the old ones out, but it's well worth replacing them rather than getting it all back together and then discovering a leak as I did! :-D

I think that's about it.  Hopefully this info is helpful.  I'm not sure, but I think there was a thread here that outlined the procedure much better than my little summary does.

Eric











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