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I've read here that the differential cover can't be removed without dropping the entire differential down a little bit. If I were in your shoes, I would remove the drain plug at the bottom (looks like a square hole that a ratchet fits into). Once the fluid is drained out, I'd loosen all the bolts holding the cover on and completely remove the one with the damage around it and squeeze a butt-load of permatex all around that area and tighten up all the bolts, fill the fluid and hit the road.
 

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I've pulled a few folks out of mud. I love pulling full size F-150's out of a mud pit with my little 5 cylinder truck!! I met my boys out in the woods at a little .22 firing range we've put together on a friends property. The path leading to it was really swamped out. After pulling my son in his crew cab F-150 out of a few puddles he got out to unhood the tow strap and I told him to just leave it on and I pulled him a couple of miles down the trail until we reached pavement!! It was a blast!!
 
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