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So I think I sheared the gears in the front diff. She locks up hard after a few feet of forward travel but I can force it through if necessary (had to load it on the trailer). Had to drive it in reverse for a quarter mile but it made some clunking.

At any rate, I've got a new diff coming but I was hoping to remove the half shafts temporarily and let the front wheels freewheel so i could continue driving in the mean time. My question is: is this a bad idea? I've looked through the service manual and searched the forum and as far as I can tell it looks like it won't be a problem. The joints are splines on both ends? I was able to pull it out if 4 wheel drive but I didn't notice a difference in the way it drove. The transfer case won't be spinning the front drive shaft so I won't need to remove that (right?).

I'm just wondering if I will be causing any additional damage to my hubs by leaving the shafts out for a few weeks.

I've never done this type of work so if I said something dumb feel free to correct me with extreme prejudice
 

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You might as well pull the front driveshaft now. It has to come out sooner or later. Doing it now will prevent any accidental engagement.

Yes, you can run without the shafts. I remember seeing one of these trucks once that had a splined 4WD hub running for who knows how long, it was a 2WD. At the time I thought it was weird that they included the splined hubs on a 2WD so all you needed to do to make it 4WD was to put the shaft in.

With the shafts out the gear oil can come out in turns. At a minimum pull the drain plug so you are not spilling gear oil on the road in the bends. Things could get exciting if that gets under the rear tires.
 

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It will work but isn't always recommended. The hub bearings are pressed in so they CAN come out. I drove from NJ to VA without half shafts in without any issues but then again, I was under the impression that the bearings couldn't fall apart lol. I won't do it anymore. If the hub came apart...your tire will fall off.

No need to undo the driveshaft....
If you pull the half shafts the front diff won't be spinning anyway. There is no need to take the driveshaft all the way out, when you replace the diff you just undo one end anyway.
Also, Early2010, you need a little more than just half shafts installed into a 2WD to make it a 4WD:) Someone just effed up and put 4WD hubs into a 2WD truck and decided to leave it....not cool. If you look at the 2WD hubs they are built differently, they have a back plate on them that does the equivalent of the shield on the CV axle. When you don't have an axle in, there is no back plate there anymore.

Don't leave the drain plug out. Drain the front diff and then put bags over each end where the CV axles were or try out the lid from a can of tennis balls, supposedly they fit perfectly over the seal.
 
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