I just picked up one of these with a similar problem (although mine is a bit more terminal, but I purchased a second one for parts)….
Pulling the gearbox is a pain, getting into it is even more of a pain. However, you need not take the wheels off to get it out; although the two wheels attached to the gear box will come out with the gear box. First, remove all the screws on the bottom of big trak (should be six, some of them are between the wheels) Take the two hatch covers off the front next to the “proton beam” there will be screws under them. Take the 9volt battery cover off and gently pull the forward part of the “Cab” forward and up. The light socket will still be attached so be careful. Either unplug the light from the mother board or take the screw out of the socket so you can set the “Cab”, aside. Remove the 4 screws that attach the gearbox to the body. now remove the back, top portion of the body. You will need to unplug the motors, taking note what color wires go to what pins (note, the colors are reversed from one side to another, I marked the mother board with a sharpie) next, GENTLY swing the front axle up as you pull the gearbox out from the bottom, taking note where the optical sensor is on the gearbox. You will now need to take the optical sensors screw out so you can remove it from the gearbox. It’s hard wired to the motherboard so it will need to hang below big trak. With big trak on it’s back, gently lift the front axle and gearbox (you may need to slightly twist the axle to clear)… you should be able to get the gear box out fiddling with it.
Gear box separation is another can of worms. You need to get those flat keepers off; I haven’t found a good way to get those off, other to pry and work at it. You only need to remove one from the wheels and you will need to remove them from the gearbox to separate it. When you have it apart, also clean the magnets on the output shaft of the motors. I’d use dry graphite to lubricate it.
I have a video on youtube where I tear into mine.
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