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Did you find an odd noise while accelerating, decelerating, but don’t know how to quiet differential whine? Don’t worry, today we will broadly discuss this topic and deliver you
- The reason to cause odd noise on differential
- How to fix it step by step guide
- And much more!
What Are the Causes of Differential Noise?
Naturally, the entire vehicle makes noise while driving and they include at least one differential. It’s thinly tuned mechanisms that rarely need repair. But once you repair it will last for hundreds of thousands of miles.
However, if you notice grinding, whining, clunking, or another bad differential sound while accelerating, decelerating, then it means something going wrong with the differential.
Because of the overload while towing, lack of differential fluid to lubricate or dissipate heat, differentials may fail. Besides you may experience several sounds including, Humming Noise, Clicking, and Knocking Noise. These all indicate failure differentials.
Quieting differential whine is possible to do yourself, especially if you are previously mechanical skilled, have the following tools, and have enough time
- Jack stand
- Blocks for back wheels
- Can brake cleaner
- Limited-slip additive
- Socket set and ratchet
- Replacement rear end oil
- Screwdriver(s) flat and Phillips’s head
- Torque wrench
- Replacement differential output seal
- Clean shop rags
- Drip pan
- Plastic gasket scraper
- Oil pump
- Seal removal tool; installation tool
- Differential oil
How To Quiet Differential Whine? Step By Step Process
Step 1: Diagnose the Noise
Finding the source of noise is the initial step as it may come from a differential or a wheel bearing. To diagnose the sound let’s drive for a while on an empty road and try to find out the noise while accelerating and turning the wheel left and right.
If you find louder howling while turning left or right, then the wheel bearing is responsible for the noise. But if you don’t find any differences when turning in either direction, then be sure that differential is causing the issue. Together with the assistant you can put a jack stand on to the differential and test it to confirm the reason.
Before starting the test let’s make the drive wheels are off the ground and then set a block on the back wheel. Besides shift the car to neutral and turn the engine off. If you can spin one of the drive wheels since the other is still held then everything is ok. But if you can, then pay attention to the differential.
Now find out the reason for failing differentials as it is for accelerating or decelerating. If you find the worse howling while decelerating, then you possibly have a bad opinion. Conversely, howling accelerating can happen because of overloading or lubricant levels.
However, low lubricant levels are much easier and cheaper to fix. If it causes other issues like bad pinion, it will cost you more money and need experience and skill to fix.
Step 2: Replace the Differential Fluid
Once finding the reason it is better to fix it quickly, otherwise, it can cost more if you wait. Replacing the differential fluid is the easiest way to quiet a whining differential. It does don’t need any special skills and lasts a long time.
Check the vehicle user manual to find out the specific differential fluid that is suitable for your car. Usually, differential fluid lasts 30,000 to 60,000 miles in the front differentials and 30,000 to 50,000 miles in the rear.
Let’s place the vehicle on a jack stand or ramp. Then remove the differential drain bolt to allow the oil to drain entirely. To make sure the differential parts are still unharmed and the automobile just needs more fluid you have to drain the remaining fluid. It will help fix several howling issues.
If you want to replace the oil first remove the gear oil fill bolt. Then apply a pump to put the gear oil into the differential. Add the amount of oil that is recommended for your vehicle and tighten the fill hole bolt and finally remove excess oil.
Step 3: Replace the Seal
If you notice any small pieces of metal inside the drained oil then before replacing the differential fluid you have to go a step further. Remove the cover plate, make it clean and then check it.
If the whining is used for a while and produces excessively loud noise then it should replace. After replacing the seal, you can change differential fluid following the above method described in the earlier step.
At the same time, you will need to replace the seal if you find any leaks. Finding gray, black, or brown fluid on the driveway or garage is the safest way to discover the differential leak.
Remember it will take up to five hours and need to apply a hydraulic lift to replace the differential output shaft seal. Besides the car have to be on a jack stand to remove the seal.
Step 4: Test the Automobile
Generally replacing the fluid or the seal makes the differential wine noise quiet. To ensure that drive the automobile following step one. if you don’t find any issue then it’s great, your car is ready. But somehow still you hear a noise then you will need to fix the parts of the differential. It’s a quite difficult task and expensive.
Step 5: look over the Differential parts
Typically two parts often cause whining. One is the rear differential gasket and the other is the pinion seal or side seals. First of then is relatively easy to check to compare with other ones.
To check the rear differential, firstly you have to drain the oil. Check the parts if it is broken. Conversely, remove the axle shafts to find any leaky seals.
You will need to consult with the cars user’s manual about the following components to remove the axle:
- Brake calliper
- Shock mounts
- Wheel bearings
- Spindle nut
- Tie rod ends
- Emergency brake
Before starting the process let’s use a clean rag to stuff the differential. Then use a seal removal tool to move the seal from the housing. Do it carefully and don’t damage the inside of the differential in the method.
Step 6: Clean the Housing
To prevent the noise completely clean the housing properly after fixing the differential. Take a clean rag and clean the inside parts of the differential. If you find any excess materials or broken parts, then remove them. At the same time clean the axle male fitting.
Then spray lots of brake cleaner to axle gear and the male fitting. Finally, Clean off all grease and waste to ensure a perfect fit.
Step 7: Get the Needed Parts and Repair
After inspecting all the parts, still, if you don’t find any result then probably it’s time to order new seals, replacement fluid, and gear. Replacing any damaged bearings will need you to dismantle the differential as well as replace pinion seals. It may need up to five of us to complete the process.
If you find any worn teeth on the gear then you should replace gears, bearings, or broken pieces. Keep in mind whatever parts you order have to be compatible with the automobile.
Step 8: Lubricate and Add Differential Fluid
After following the above process, add the fluids to the parts. In short, use fresh gear oil to lubricate the axle ends. It will let the gears join with the inner gears of the differential.
To ensure the accurate line up while reinstalling the axle into the differential you can mark the location when removing.
After fixing it in line, tighten the bolts and attachments. Then Add differential fluid. As the different vehicle needs different preparation, parts, and oil, so it is recommended to check the service manual to know about compatibility.
Step 9: Assemble
Now reassemble everything. At this time, you have to put back the differential and the wheel and tire. After attaching everything, recheck the differentials bolt are tightened perfectly. It will ensure the safest and enjoyable riding experience. Finally, take the vehicle off the jack.
Step 10: Test It Out
After repairing the differential, it’s time to test out the vehicle to ensure that the issue has been solved. It is recommended to drive at least 15 miles and at this time you shouldn’t find any noise from the differential.
After finishing the drive, check the housing to ensure everything is sealed accurately. Besides, look under the vehicle to observe if you find any leakage. If you still find any issue then you should call a certified mechanic to deal with this problem.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to quiet differential whine. At the same time knowing the reason will help you prevent experiencing this frustrating situation.
However we have offered vast information so you can effectively deal with the issue, but sometimes experience goes over the knowledge.
So if you can’t fix the issue by yourself let’s leave it to the skilled mechanic. It may cost a bi8t more, but you will have a proper differential wine that will offer smooth riding without producing noise.