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All Wheel Drive Noise


OSUCowboy27
09-19-2009, 08:46 AM
2004 Chevy Suburban 78000 miles all wheel drive

Just bought this vehicle and there is a whine from the front end. Didn't hear it on the test drive. The whine goes away when I let off the gas. It sounds like ring and pinion. Is this normal awd sounds? I have never owned an awd vehicle and do not know what to expect. Thanks

j cAT
09-19-2009, 09:40 AM
2004 Chevy Suburban 78000 miles all wheel drive

Just bought this vehicle and there is a whine from the front end. Didn't hear it on the test drive. The whine goes away when I let off the gas. It sounds like ring and pinion. Is this normal awd sounds? I have never owned an awd vehicle and do not know what to expect. Thanks

these vehicles must not be used in ANY 4WD operation on dry solid pavement...the noise is common when the front axle is locked together in any 4WD position...IF the noise is in 2WD then it appears that the front wheel bearings are bad,,,normally this will cause the abs to activate and stopping will be a problem, as the abs with start pulsing, causing a longer stoping distance.


the front wheel bearings are a common failure item...

whenever you have a 4WD/ALL wheel drive vehicle you must keep the tires rotated and the tire wear needs to be equal on all tires,,if not the drivetrain gets damaged...

OSUCowboy27
09-19-2009, 12:32 PM
My vehicle does not have a 2 wheel drive button. I only have AWD and Low 4WD buttons.

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs260.snc1/10734_135202782204_502197204_2723095_926334_n.jpg

j cAT
09-19-2009, 07:29 PM
My vehicle does not have a 2 wheel drive button. I only have AWD and Low 4WD buttons.

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs260.snc1/10734_135202782204_502197204_2723095_926334_n.jpg

the button above neutral looks like it is 2WD..the button below is 4wd HI,,,the bottom button looks like 4wd lo..

the button your missing would be "auto" 4WD...this would be above the 2wd button which on your controller is missing..

OSUCowboy27
09-20-2009, 12:20 AM
I have All Wheel Drive!

The top button IS the stabilitrak on/off button.

The middle button is All Wheel Drive. It stays in this mode unless I engage Low 4WD (bottom button).

Now, I still have my original question pending. Is the whine sound normal for AWD vehicles with stabilitrak or is it something to be concerned about like ring and pinion?

j cAT
09-20-2009, 09:04 AM
the button above neutral looks like it is 2WD..the button below is 4wd HI,,,the bottom button looks like 4wd lo..

the button your missing would be "auto" 4WD...this would be above the 2wd button which on your controller is missing..

if the wheels are all locked together all the time the drive train wears rapidly with tires of different wear..

your fluids need more attention with this drive train..the wheel bearings are a common problem...

are the tires equally worn? how does the front diff gear oil look ?

lift vehicle off the ground how do the front wheels feel ? noises ?

tire pressures need close monitoring,,,as well

j cAT
09-20-2009, 09:24 AM
My vehicle does not have a 2 wheel drive button. I only have AWD and Low 4WD buttons.

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs260.snc1/10734_135202782204_502197204_2723095_926334_n.jpg

that is correct that the stabiltrac button is above the neutral ...all that does is control engine power and wheel braking when the wheels rotate at different speeds..

jdmccright
09-23-2009, 11:30 AM
Sounds like a problem with the front differential. Check and see if fluid is leaking out. If so, remove the drain plug, drain, and remove cover and inspect the gears for wear and the plug for shavings.

If by chance you or a previous owner had replaced only 1 or 2 tires, then this is possibly the cause as the different tire diameters can cause increased binding in the drivetrain. Swap the tires from to back and see if there is a difference in the noise.

laxman21
09-23-2009, 12:48 PM
Is the front differential pinion seal leaking?

OSUCowboy27
09-27-2009, 04:20 PM
All the tires are same size and pressure. No seal leaks. I bought 2 quarts of full synthetic Mobile 1 75W-90 and plan to change the front diff soon. I also bought 3 quarts of full syn Mobile 1 ATF for use in the transfer case. The whine is certainly from the front end and not wheel bearings. It kind of reminds me of an old '65 mustang that I had that had a rear wnd whine. Hopefully, some new fluid will help.

OSUCowboy27
09-27-2009, 04:27 PM
Sounds like a problem with the front differential. Check and see if fluid is leaking out. If so, remove the drain plug, drain, and remove cover and inspect the gears for wear and the plug for shavings.

If by chance you or a previous owner had replaced only 1 or 2 tires, then this is possibly the cause as the different tire diameters can cause increased binding in the drivetrain. Swap the tires from to back and see if there is a difference in the noise.

I have 265/70R17's on the vehicle and the spare is 265/70R16 which is exactly 1 " shorter. How far does one have to drive with this spare before problems occur?

http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs280.snc1/10734_140313617204_502197204_2779189_3807638_n.jpg

j cAT
09-28-2009, 08:26 AM
All the tires are same size and pressure. No seal leaks. I bought 2 quarts of full synthetic Mobile 1 75W-90 and plan to change the front diff soon. I also bought 3 quarts of full syn Mobile 1 ATF for use in the transfer case. The whine is certainly from the front end and not wheel bearings. It kind of reminds me of an old '65 mustang that I had that had a rear wnd whine. Hopefully, some new fluid will help.


I would recheck the fluids you plan to use in your front diff and transfercase with the dealer as to the correct type...

the spare being smaller is for me a problem,,,I would rather the spare be the same size, rather then making repairs to the correct tire an immediate issue...


with this type of drive train any tire of a different size or tires of different wear will stress out the drive train...

tire rotation every 15,ooo mi, will help keep them worn even and get the most life..

OSUCowboy27
10-03-2009, 08:19 PM
Changed the front diff. oil with Mobile 1 full syn. 75W-90. The old oil was very, very dark and had a hint of grape smell. I know the original GM gear oil had a grape smell, so either the oil had been changed at some point or this oil was wore out. There was a little bit of small metal filings on the drain plug magnet but not excessive. It took about 1.75 quarts of oil.

Drove it today and whine is gone!

Now, going to change the transfer case fluid with dex III equivalent (Mobile 1 full syn. ATF). Dealer says to use manual oil because it originally took dex III and that is not made anymore because GM let the license expire for that name. GM does now make dex VI to replace dex III but not recommended for anything but automatic transmissions.

j cAT
10-04-2009, 09:25 AM
Changed the front diff. oil with Mobile 1 full syn. 75W-90. The old oil was very, very dark and had a hint of grape smell. I know the original GM gear oil had a grape smell, so either the oil had been changed at some point or this oil was wore out. There was a little bit of small metal filings on the drain plug magnet but not excessive. It took about 1.75 quarts of oil.

Drove it today and whine is gone!

Now, going to change the transfer case fluid with dex III equivalent (Mobile 1 full syn. ATF). Dealer says to use manual oil because it originally took dex III and that is not made anymore because GM let the license expire for that name. GM does now make dex VI to replace dex III but not recommended for anything but automatic transmissions.

the front diff oil should be a yellow color,the darker it gets this is metal in the oil...up north the oil is changed when warm out and the vehicle has just been operated....you may want to repeat this again in a couple of thousand miles///the drain plug magnet holding metal debris of small size [ dust ] is normal ....usually as the vehicle breaks in this should reduce...when new my front diff had a good amount at the 10,000mi ,,then like now 125,000 it is very small..[replace every 30,000 ]

the dexron III fluid replacement is synchromesh fluid..this fluid is used now in manual transmissions...like a 1994 s10 5speed...which had the dexron III requirement....

the use of mobil 1 synthetic is basicly the same as the new dexron VI..this is for automatic transmissions..

I would recheck that use for your vehicle before you install it...the reason would be metals used in the transfercase may get damaged if the wrong fluid is used...in the 5speed manual this synthetic does not protect the bronze bushings from wear..

good luck,,you normally will have fewer issues with regular replacement of your fluids/filters///

OSUCowboy27
06-11-2010, 09:52 PM
Talked to local mechanic and he said that a worn ring and pinion will cause the relatively new gear oil to become very dark. He also said that worn bearing was the cause of the growl between 35 & 60 mph and caused the R&P to wear so I had them rebuild it. Replace R&P and all bearing. Took him 6.5 hours. Now it is so quiet that I think I am driving a new vehicle. Looked at the old bearing and they were pitted. the races looked OK but who know. Cost was a little over $1000 for everything. Hope this helps someone out there.

j cAT
06-13-2010, 09:17 AM
Talked to local mechanic and he said that a worn ring and pinion will cause the relatively new gear oil to become very dark. He also said that worn bearing was the cause of the growl between 35 & 60 mph and caused the R&P to wear so I had them rebuild it. Replace R&P and all bearing. Took him 6.5 hours. Now it is so quiet that I think I am driving a new vehicle. Looked at the old bearing and they were pitted. the races looked OK but who know. Cost was a little over $1000 for everything. Hope this helps someone out there.

I guess the smell of the fluid was the indicator that there was a damaged/worn part..

on other equiptment I have worked on , the gear boxes when worn would have a very particular odor ..

thanks for your repair info...

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