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Author Topic: Noisy differential?  (Read 1772 times)

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terry paget

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Noisy differential?
« on: 27 July 2017, 13:59:55 »

2.5 manual petrol estate GTX
My son Jonny had this car for the last five months, in which he has covered 6000 miles. He returned it yesterday, told me going perfectly apart from message about high dipped beam.
He did not mention the howling noise from the rear of the car, varying with road speed, and not varying with turning left and right - weaving along the road, test for worn wheel bearing. Noise is a whine, not a rumble. I have checked diff oil level, it's OK. Previous owner, ajsphead forum member, has changed the diff before, had it done by Swiss Valley garage, I jhave the invoice. I went for a drive with the wife sitting in the back seat, she comfirmed noise was 'central' and did not vary with turning. It was a 'sweet' noise, could be air leaking in or out, she said.
I reckon it's worn diff, but would like to be sure before I change it. Are there any more tests I can perform?
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #1 on: 27 July 2017, 14:29:00 »

In my experience its rare for a Diff to whine, Wheel Bearings seem to go before then, more common on Estates.  :-\
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #2 on: 27 July 2017, 15:51:11 »

If the oil is low it can make a droning sound
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #3 on: 27 July 2017, 16:35:11 »

Sadly oil was not low.
The n/s rear wheel bearing was droning on my earlier 2.5 estate, this noise is higher pitched. I had diffs whining on my Senators, changed 2 of them. Mileage is 175707, sort of mileage when the Senators became noisy. On my previous wheel bearing Omega, when I drove down the road weaving left and right, the drone would come and go as the worn wheel bearing was loaded and unloaded, thta is why I suspect it is not wheel bearing.

But I am uncertain. Could it be prop shaft bearing? In the past I have had them banging with broken rubber mounts. Could it be gearbox? If so should it not be silent in 4th gear?
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Doctor Gollum

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #4 on: 27 July 2017, 16:52:51 »

Are the diff mounts still intact?
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #5 on: 27 July 2017, 16:57:56 »

Generally a diff will vary its noise dependent on engine load, does it go quieter when lifting off?
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #6 on: 27 July 2017, 17:25:31 »

Generally a diff will vary its noise dependent on engine load, does it go quieter when lifting off?
No.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #7 on: 27 July 2017, 17:29:49 »

Are the diff mounts still intact?
Good point. Are you referring to the actual diff mounts, or the rear sub frame mounts that we refer to as diff mounts?
I will have a look.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #8 on: 27 July 2017, 17:31:07 »

Are the diff mounts still intact?
Good point. Are you referring to the actual diff mounts, or the rear sub frame mounts that we refer to as diff mounts?
I will have a look.
Anything other than the donut bushes ;)
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #9 on: 27 July 2017, 17:34:17 »

Has your son put new tyres on the back, since he's had it...

Ive had a couple of sets of cheap tyres that gave a god awful whine....was glad to get rid of them....just an idea  :-\
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #10 on: 27 July 2017, 18:55:27 »

Wheel bearing.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #11 on: 27 July 2017, 19:15:47 »

The only way we diagnosed my faulty diff - a few years back now - after already changing a rear bearing that didn't solve the problem ... was to jack the rear of the car up and support on sturdy axle stands, then, with the wheels off, jack each rear suspension up on the bottom "knuckle" until the drive shafts looked level   ie .. in the "normal" driving position relative to the diff...... then to run the car in gear. As soon as I got under it was very obvious that it was the diff, both by the location of the noise and the vibration that could be felt when placing a hand on the diff.

Replacement used diff from RobG and all was, and still is, good .. :)
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #12 on: 27 July 2017, 19:27:07 »

Are the diff mounts still intact?
Good point. Are you referring to the actual diff mounts, or the rear sub frame mounts that we refer to as diff mounts?
I will have a look.
Anything other than the donut bushes ;)
Pics follow of bushes. Thye look normal





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Doctor Gollum

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #13 on: 27 July 2017, 19:37:30 »

OSR subframe mount looks out of place...

Diff supported, do the drop if the two vertical mounting bolts are removed?
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #14 on: 27 July 2017, 19:41:36 »

Apologies for lack of labelling. They were, in order: LH mount, Front mount, RH mount, all mounts, Front mount again. I omitted rear sub frame mount, here it is

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #15 on: 27 July 2017, 19:45:06 »

Ok, third picture down. Looks goosed.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #16 on: 27 July 2017, 19:51:59 »

The only way we diagnosed my faulty diff - a few years back now - after already changing a rear bearing that didn't solve the problem ... was to jack the rear of the car up and support on sturdy axle stands, then, with the wheels off, jack each rear suspension up on the bottom "knuckle" until the drive shafts looked level   ie .. in the "normal" driving position relative to the diff...... then to run the car in gear. As soon as I got under it was very obvious that it was the diff, both by the location of the noise and the vibration that could be felt when placing a hand on the diff.

Replacement used diff from RobG and all was, and still is, good .. :)
Thanks Entwood, and, indeed, thanks to all. I would like to avoid chnaging a rear wheel bearing unnecessarily. That seems like a good way to prove it is the diff.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #17 on: 27 July 2017, 20:32:14 »

OSR subframe mount looks out of place...

Diff supported, do the drop if the two vertical mounting bolts are removed?
I see what you mean Doc. However, I have shot them again, and they both look the same.
Left hand sub frame mount

Right hand sub frame mount

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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #18 on: 27 July 2017, 20:35:46 »

Has your son put new tyres on the back, since he's had it...

Ive had a couple of sets of cheap tyres that gave a god awful whine....was glad to get rid of them....just an idea  :-\
Oh no, my sons don't buy tyres. Good idea, and I have known noisy tyres, but never this noisy.
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Doctor Gollum

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #19 on: 27 July 2017, 21:47:58 »

I would check both then, to rule them out.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #20 on: 27 July 2017, 22:53:03 »

I would check both then, to rule them out.
Do you suspect that the rubber sound insulation is breached in the collapsed bushes, hence the cabin noise? Is this a recognised Omega problem?
I am out all tomorrow, so shall do Entwood's test Saturday. If that fails, how do I check out the sub frame bushes?
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #21 on: 27 July 2017, 23:48:59 »

I would check both then, to rule them out.
Do you suspect that the rubber sound insulation is breached in the collapsed bushes, hence the cabin noise? Is this a recognised Omega problem?
I am out all tomorrow, so shall do Entwood's test Saturday. If that fails, how do I check out the sub frame bushes?


mine got considerably quieter when I repaired a broken diff mount.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #22 on: 27 July 2017, 23:54:55 »

Can I suggest the centre propshaft bearing?

I had a noise that I thought was the diff going, but it didn't change with different loads as such.

If I remember correctly it was a 'hissing/whine'.

Ended up being the centre bearing, changed that. Sorted. Easy and cheap fix too, compared to the diff.
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Doctor Gollum

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #23 on: 28 July 2017, 00:09:05 »

Diff supported but not lifted, do they (the U shaped casings) drop if the two vertical mounting bolts are removed?
Expanded for clarity.

Check one side at the time so that the diff doesn't land on your head ;)
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #24 on: 28 July 2017, 01:37:45 »

Are there any more tests I can perform?
Unlikely with yours as you have a whine but i had a rumble which was variously thought by rear passengers to be diff or wheel bearing but turned out to be hole in the top of the rear exhaust box.  easy to test, while moving switch the engine off and see if the noise stays on. with care obviously - danger of reduced braking and steering ::)
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #25 on: 28 July 2017, 08:45:44 »

Can I suggest the centre propshaft bearing?

I had a noise that I thought was the diff going, but it didn't change with different loads as such.

If I remember correctly it was a 'hissing/whine'.

Ended up being the centre bearing, changed that. Sorted. Easy and cheap fix too, compared to the diff.
Thanks, good suggestion. It had occured to me too, mentioned in my second post. My only experience of central bearing trouble is the rubber mounting failing and the bearing banging about. But I appreciate it is a ball bearing that can fail, and become noisy. The noise I am hearing is new to me, and I have had diffs fail before. Also the location is not so clearly rear of car, the wife placed it more central, where the prop shaft bearing is.

Hissing whine is how she described it.

Another reason to perform the Entwood location test
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #26 on: 28 July 2017, 08:51:41 »

Diff supported but not lifted, do they (the U shaped casings) drop if the two vertical mounting bolts are removed?
Expanded for clarity.

Check one side at the time so that the diff doesn't land on your head ;)
You recommend I support the diff, then detach one rear sub frame mount at a tinme and inspect, correct? If the mountings are loose I have a problem.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #27 on: 28 July 2017, 09:30:57 »

As simple as that. No need to touch the horizontal bolt through the mounting. The U cage will either fall off or not... ;)

Don't lift the diff... If using your pit, use a stout piece of timber across it with filler blocks to make up the difference to the diff casing.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #28 on: 28 July 2017, 10:56:48 »

Source of noise was the differential. I performed the Entwood test and from below the car it was obvious.
One interesting complication occurred. I set the car up over the pit, rear suspension supported as in pic, asked son Dan to sit in the car and raise speedo reading to 35mph, and he failed. 'It won't rev Dad, even with foot hard on the floor', he said. I tried, he was right. Then I saw the TC light flashing. I unplugged an ABS sensor, then it revved all right.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #29 on: 28 July 2017, 11:11:03 »

As simple as that. No need to touch the horizontal bolt through the mounting. The U cage will either fall off or not... ;)

Don't lift the diff... If using your pit, use a stout piece of timber across it with filler blocks to make up the difference to the diff casing.
Thanks Doc, now I get it. As posted above, next job is to change the diff. Don't see a guide for that. I suppose it's exhaust off, drive shafts off, prop shaft rear end unbolt and lever out, then unbolt diff and lower. Replacement is the reverse of removal. At some stage I will check the rear suspension mounts, and pray they they do not drop down.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #30 on: 28 July 2017, 12:17:41 »

Out of interest how many miles on this example?
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #31 on: 28 July 2017, 12:28:22 »

Pretty much every noisy diff I have seen has been as a result of the pinion oil seal being changed incorrectly and the bearing pre-load being wrong.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #32 on: 28 July 2017, 13:14:33 »

Out of interest how many miles on this example?
175707, but the diff is not original, it was changed in July2011 by previous owner forum member ajsphead. This car seems to get throught differentials quite briskly.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #33 on: 28 July 2017, 13:39:54 »

Out of interest how many miles on this example?
175707, but the diff is not original, it was changed in July2011 by previous owner forum member ajsphead. This car seems to get throught differentials quite briskly.

Yeah it does!

160k on 3.2 no signs of diff noise.
190k on 2.2 when I let that go, no issues there.
~140k on father T's 2.2 again no issues there
~130k I think on our old 3.0 Estate, again no issues.

Pretty much every noisy diff I have seen has been as a result of the pinion oil seal being changed incorrectly and the bearing pre-load being wrong.

I won't look at changing the seal then on mine  :)
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #34 on: 28 July 2017, 13:49:09 »

Jack car and support as per your last post.

Exhaust can stay, 6 female hex bolts on each hub, undo compress the drive shaft towards the diff and swing away from the hub... Then pull out of diff. Undo the driveshaft flange and then finally diff supported, undo the two rear mount and the front one and lower away.

Refit is the reverse. An hours work with your pit.

Today's top tip, drain the diff first...

And don't forget to refill the new one :D
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #35 on: 28 July 2017, 13:56:38 »

Jack car and support as per your last post.

Exhaust can stay, 6 female hex bolts on each hub, undo compress the drive shaft towards the diff and swing away from the hub... Then pull out of diff. Undo the driveshaft flange and then finally diff supported, undo the two rear mount and the front one and lower away.


Refit is the reverse. An hours work with your pit.

Today's top tip, drain the diff first...

And don't forget to refill the new one :D

Point to note... the six hex bolts that connect the drive shafts to the hubs are "stretch bolts" and, in theory, should be used only once. .. so 12 needed :(

I've no idea if the re-use of the bolts when I changed the diff was the cause of my problems with a drive shaft coming loose last year, but I would not wish that on anyone if it happened at speed - I was lucky it happened at less than walking pace but still wrecked the drive shaft.

"Pulling out" the drive shafts was not as easy as it sounds .. I had to get a tyre lever in behind the ABS Reductor wheel and very carefully prise the shaft outwards to overcome the spring clip thingy, once it started to move then it pulled out OK.

There was a "small" problem with the diff bolts, the ones needed for the replacement were different to the ones I took off with the old diff. Shackeng took us all around little places in swidnod until we found some that worked !!

The diff , even when empty, is reasonably heavy and cannot be supported one handed ...   don't ask me how I know .. :)  (don't have the luxury of a pit so mine was done on axle stands with very limited space .... you can probably guess what happened .....  :)   )

Fitting the replacement with the help of RobG and Shackeng was far easier and less painful ....   :)
« Last Edit: 28 July 2017, 14:01:20 by Entwood »
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #36 on: 28 July 2017, 19:25:22 »

I supported diff with my cheek when I replaced mine laying on the floor under the jacked car. It kind of slipped when I was lowering it :y
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #37 on: 31 July 2017, 19:21:16 »

Job is done, now I have to reill with oil. Haynes says fill with special Vx diff oil, but top up with any old SAE90 axle oil. In the past I have had garages change my diffs, and they have charged me for any old SAE90. I find i have on the shalf half a litre of GM rear axle oil, and 500mls of Duckhams SAE90DL hypoid gear oil. That will do, won't it?
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #38 on: 31 July 2017, 20:34:48 »

I've sold a couple of diffs lately, both had somehow locked up and knackered the driveshafts , diff and driveshafts weigh 62 kg packed together by the way  :o
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #39 on: 31 July 2017, 21:21:26 »

I've sold a couple of diffs lately, both had somehow locked up and knackered the driveshafts , diff and driveshafts weigh 62 kg packed together by the way  :o
My diff weighed 35kilos, or 63 lbs. I take my hat off to guys who fit them single handed, without a pit.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #40 on: 02 August 2017, 13:39:36 »

Rejoice, rejoice! The job is done, and after a short test drive all seems well. It took me longer then I expected, but never mind. Thanks to all for advice, for diagnosis, execution, and correction of silly errors. The hardest bit was manoeuvring the new diff into place single handed. I see why Entwood was glad of help from Shackeng and RobG. I did it with the diff strapped to the saddle of a trolley jack.

I take a foolish pride that I did the job at no cost to myself. All the bits were from my parts heap, local Halfords had no SAE90 oil so I made do with what I had. I suffered no major injuries, just numerous minor ones.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #41 on: 02 August 2017, 13:49:31 »

As simple as that. No need to touch the horizontal bolt through the mounting. The U cage will either fall off or not... ;)

Don't lift the diff... If using your pit, use a stout piece of timber across it with filler blocks to make up the difference to the diff casing.
I did check, both were OK, much to my relief, as I gather they are now unobtainable. Worth checking though, thanks for the tip.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #42 on: 02 August 2017, 14:07:14 »

Jack car and support as per your last post.

Exhaust can stay, 6 female hex bolts on each hub, undo compress the drive shaft towards the diff and swing away from the hub... Then pull out of diff. Undo the driveshaft flange and then finally diff supported, undo the two rear mount and the front one and lower away.


Refit is the reverse. An hours work with your pit.

Today's top tip, drain the diff first...

And don't forget to refill the new one :D

Point to note... the six hex bolts that connect the drive shafts to the hubs are "stretch bolts" and, in theory, should be used only once. .. so 12 needed :(

I've no idea if the re-use of the bolts when I changed the diff was the cause of my problems with a drive shaft coming loose last year, but I would not wish that on anyone if it happened at speed - I was lucky it happened at less than walking pace but still wrecked the drive shaft.

"Pulling out" the drive shafts was not as easy as it sounds .. I had to get a tyre lever in behind the ABS Reductor wheel and very carefully prise the shaft outwards to overcome the spring clip thingy, once it started to move then it pulled out OK.

There was a "small" problem with the diff bolts, the ones needed for the replacement were different to the ones I took off with the old diff. Shackeng took us all around little places in swidnod until we found some that worked !!

The diff , even when empty, is reasonably heavy and cannot be supported one handed ...   don't ask me how I know .. :)  (don't have the luxury of a pit so mine was done on axle stands with very limited space .... you can probably guess what happened .....  :)   )

Fitting the replacement with the help of RobG and Shackeng was far easier and less painful ....   :)
Curiously Haynes does not tell me to replace the drive shaft bolts, though they are angle tightened so they presumably are stretch bolts. I found it quite tricky to torque them up to 50Nm with those internal hexagons, without further angle tightening. though I appreciate engine power is conveyed to the wheels by friction between drive shaft end and hub. I have changed drive shafts before and didn't give it a thought, but now I am worried. Presumably I can angle tighten on re-used bolts.
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #43 on: 06 August 2017, 08:31:40 »

Postscript: after 40 miles I checked the drive shaft to hub bolts, and torqued them up to 56Nm. None were loose. I did not angle tighten them, I was nervous of breaking one off. I will check again after 1000 miles.

I discovered that drive shafts are best unbolted and re-bolted with the car suspended uner the suspension, but drive shafts more easily removed and replaced with car suspended under the body (hubs hanging down).
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Doctor Gollum

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #44 on: 06 August 2017, 09:32:25 »

Always support the body using the jacking points and jack the suspension as required ;)
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terry paget

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #45 on: 06 August 2017, 12:11:23 »

Always support the body using the jacking points and jack the suspension as required ;)
Thank you, clearly safer practice. Will do henceforth.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #46 on: 06 August 2017, 15:43:14 »

My diff is leaking quite well. i wonder how long before it seizes and i end up in a ditch with the car resting on its roof..
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #47 on: 06 August 2017, 18:37:39 »

My diff is leaking quite well. i wonder how long before it seizes and i end up in a ditch with the car resting on its roof..
If it's leaking well you know where the leak is, presumably one of the 3 seals. Why not top it up as a temporary measure, then when you have time change the faulty seal.
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #48 on: 08 August 2017, 10:11:13 »

Reading Haynes again on which bolts should be replaced on this job, I appear to have failed to replace 9 bolts, but I was right not to replace the drive shaft to hub bolts. Some bolts should be replaced if they have torx heads, but not if they have hexagon heads.
I suppose Haynes is based upon GM instructions to dealers, who have all these items in stores so it's not a problem. I'll wager independent garages do not bother, nor do some private owners with 17 year old cars, even if parts are still available.

25 years ago I had the diff changed on my Peugeot 505 GTI family estate by a Bath main dealer. It cost me over 1000, and was returned with a wobbly rear wheel. I complained, and after many phone calls I learned they had used a slide hammer to remove the drive shafts, and had bent one. Instead of replacing it, they machined the hub to correct for it.
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Shackeng

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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #49 on: 08 August 2017, 12:32:21 »

Reading Haynes again on which bolts should be replaced on this job, I appear to have failed to replace 9 bolts, but I was right not to replace the drive shaft to hub bolts. Some bolts should be replaced if they have torx heads, but not if they have hexagon heads.
I suppose Haynes is based upon GM instructions to dealers, who have all these items in stores so it's not a problem. I'll wager independent garages do not bother, nor do some private owners with 17 year old cars, even if parts are still available.

25 years ago I had the diff changed on my Peugeot 505 GTI family estate by a Bath main dealer. It cost me over 1000, and was returned with a wobbly rear wheel. I complained, and after many phone calls I learned they had used a slide hammer to remove the drive shafts, and had bent one. Instead of replacing it, they machined the hub to correct for it.

Brilliant, and then they wonder why people don't trust garages. :-X :y
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #50 on: 21 June 2018, 08:26:32 »

How to remove this noise?
Oil change didn't fix it, all tooth surfaces are smooth and no big particles found from magnet.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/w7rt17n7A44
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #51 on: 21 June 2018, 09:35:30 »

Some play should be expected, to allow for fluid and heat. Flange nut is tightened for tension rather than torque but not sure if that would cause rotational play :-\

Two choices... Obtain and fit a new pinion and crown... Either brand new or a matched used pair.

Just as easy to throw another diff in  :y
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Re: Noisy differential?
« Reply #52 on: 21 June 2018, 09:42:39 »

Some play should be expected, to allow for fluid and heat. Flange nut is tightened for tension rather than torque but not sure if that would cause rotational play :-\

Two choices... Obtain and fit a new pinion and crown... Either brand new or a matched used pair.

Just as easy Much easier to throw another diff in  :y

FTFY. :y
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