Is your vehicle making a weird sound while you are driving? Does the sound get loud while speeding and slowing down? Well, there is a high chance the differential has gone a bit bad. And that is the reason why you hear all the noise, clunks, grinds, howls, whines, and knocks.
But by learning how to fix a noisy differential, you can get it fixed by yourself. There will be no need to give the mechanic a visit, and most importantly, spending the labor cost for getting the differential fixed will not be a necessity. So, let us not waste anymore of your time and get right into describing the procedure.
How to Fix a Noisy Differential? – The Method
Unlike some of the other vehicle parts, it is quite easy to work with the differential. That is why most of the drivers will try to fix the noise problems by themselves instead of planning to spend money on a workshop. However, a moderate amount of skills and the right tools are necessary for this process.
As you might know by now, the clearance of the moving components inside the differential is measured in terms of thousands of an inch. So, there is not that much room for error. A broken tooth can cause a lot of damage. For that reason, if you are not experienced at all, we would recommend getting it fixed by a mechanic.
That being said, if you do have the experience, follow these methods to fix the noise coming from the differential:
Method 1: Drain the Fluid and Check the Seal
First of all, you need to drain the fluid of the differential. There will be a port, which will allow you to drain the fluid. If there are small pieces of metal or filling, remove the cover plate and inspect the inside properly. Get the inside cleaned as much as possible. Then, change the differential oil and replace the seal.
Method 2: Check for Leaks
After checking the fluid and the inside of the differential, check for any signs of leaks. The leaks can lead to noise. If there is any leak, you should notice drops of light brown, black, or gray fluid on the floor. And if there is a leak, change the seal. That should stop the fluid from leaking from the inside.
Method 3: Replace the Gasket
If there is no leak, there is a chance that the gasket has given in. And when that happens, the inside will not be able to dissipate the heat properly. Here, you need to drain the fluid first and then work with replacing the rear differential gasket. However, if the side seal and pinion seal requires replacement, it can get hard.
- Pinion Seal
The removal of the yoke is necessary in this case. First, remove the seal that is around the yoke. Pull it out and replace it with a new one. Make sure that you do not damage the new one while putting it back into place. Then, refill the inside with a good differential oil.
- Side Seal
The side seal usually prevents the oil from getting into the brakes. For removing these, first, remove the axle shaft. Then, remove the leaky seals and replace them properly. Ensure that the new one does not get damaged while carrying out the reassembly process.
Method 4: Check the Other Parts
In some cases, some of the parts of the differential might require a replacement. Here, our recommendation would be to check for the damages first. After checking the damage of the parts, make a list and order the parts online. Include new seals and replacement fluid. With those, you can reassemble the whole thing properly.
- Damaged Bearing
Sometimes, replacing the damaged bearing can fix most of the noise. However, the bearings might not be the only thing that requires replacement if there is too much noise.
- Chipped or Worn Teeth
If the gear has chipped teeth, the whole thing will require a replacement. Our recommendation would be to take the parts to a mechanic and give that person some time to look for the overall damage. It would generally take six to eight hours for the whole repair.
Why Does Differential Makes Noise?
As you know by now, the vehicle will make some noise while driving. It can be a noise from the engine or from the other moving parts. However, none of the noises are too loud. If any of the parts do make an unusual noise, they got damaged somehow and might require fixing.
When it comes to the differential, it is a finely tuned mechanism. And it requires some tuning from time to time. But the sound of the differential will vary from one condition to another. If it is in pristine condition, it will make some noise. But the noise will never be like whining, grinding, or clunking if the condition is good.
Now, if you are wondering why a differential makes a weird noise, it can be for a different reason. The most common reason is overload. During towing, the differential can have a higher amount of load than it was rated for. In that case, the parts can get damaged. As a result, it will start making noise while driving.
The other reason is that the differential might not have a good amount of fluid inside. It can be because of a leak or some other reason. And if there is lacking fluid, the inside will heat up exceptionally fast. That heat can crack the seal and make it output noise while driving.
What Type of Noise Does Differnatial Make?
Not all the types of noise from the differential are good. If the noise is unusual, the differential will require servicing. But what exactly is an unusual noise for the differential? Well, those are as follows:
The humming noise indicates that there is an excessive amount of clearance inside. And the ring gear might be too far from the other components. This scenario will make the differential create a whining or humming noise.
While slowing down, you might notice a clicking sound. This sound will indicate that there are issues with the side-gears. Sometimes, the sound might indicate that the carrier case might have been worn.
During a speed that is higher than 20 mph, the bearing might make a rumbling noise. This rumbling noise might become worse while the vehicle turns or speeds up.
The worn axle or chipped teeth of the gear usually is the reason why there might be a knocking noise. Also, those will make the rear differential make a knocking or clicking noise.
- Grinding Noise
When there is a grinding noise when the speed is around 10 mph, it is most likely because of a worn-out bearing. If the pinion gets loose, it can make the same noise as well.
As you can see, it is not really that hard to learn how to fix a noisy differential. And there is really no need to go to the mechanic for most of the cases. A simple checking and changing some pars does the trick for those cases.