rear axle removal on 99 passport - advice needed

Looking for some advice on removing my rear axel to repair/replace bearing and seal. I've got the pinion retaining pin removed but can't seem to get
the clearance needed to slide the pinion shaft out far enough in order to push the axle in to remove the clip. The pinion shaft hits the side of the outer gear ring.
Any advice on what I need to do or what I'm doing wrong is much appreciated.
Thanks, Ron
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