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Differential?

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04 Sep 2010, 06:38 pm
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Default Differential?

My wife's 04 PT Cruiser Turbo was making a growling/grinding noise; it sounded to me like there was a wheel bearing going out, so I took it to a semi-local shop (Goodyear in Capitola, CA.. great guys, great service). All of the mechanics agreed that it sounded like the bearings were going, but after replacing the bearings three separate times, the noise still hadn't abated. They checked the brakes and pulled the axle, as well, trying to determine the cause of the sound and finally figured out that it was coming from the general vicinity of the transmission. As they don't do transmissions in that shop, I took the car over to the local Aamco, where after a lengthy test drive, they informed me that my differential was the source of the noise and that it would take over 17 hours of labor to replace it; ie, $1700+ before parts.

I'm going to take the car somewhere else for a second opinion, but I also wanted to solicit some opinions from members of this forum. As I know next to nothing about this particular part of the car, any wisdom that you can share with me will be much appreciated.

btw.. the car has an automatic transmission.

Thanks,
Joe
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Old 04 Sep 2010, 08:03 pm
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Default Re: Differential?

Joe,

What kind of mileage we talking about? Has the transaxle been serviced regularly? Was the fluid ever changed? Was ONLY ATF+4 used when serviced?
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Old 05 Sep 2010, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Differential?

Thanks for responding, CREWZIN!

The car is high mileage.. well over 150k. It has been serviced regularly and I was told that fluid levels and the fluid itself both look good.
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Old 06 Sep 2010, 04:58 am
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Default Re: Differential?

Your doing the best thing with getting a second opinion. Also see if you can get it up on rack with someone (you) in the drivers seat so an experienced mechanic can get underneath and listen for the grinding sound.
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Old 20 Nov 2010, 06:07 pm
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Default Re: Differential?

I am going thru the same ordeal.The car now has 100,000 on it and I have replaced the ground straps and wheel bearings.They were all bad.I noticed wheel bearing type noise under load,(when accelerator is depressed) coming from the center of the car,accompanied by a whrring sound consistent with road speed???I checked the passenger side drive axle and there is movement at the base where it connects to the differential housing.The inner cv joint checked ok.I suspect that worn differential bearings are the culprit,because there is up and down movement at this connection point.Here is the thing.I will explain why it makes noise, and why it is important to stop driving until it is repaired.The actual parts (bearings)were purchased for $7.49 at AutoZone.
Ok here goes.The bearings are fitted to the tubular ends of the differential housing wich holds the ring gear.(transmits power from the pinion gear to the road wheels)The differential is placed in the housing,and two caps with bolts ,bolt over the bearings to hold the assembly in place.When these bearings wear, they create excessive clearance between the race and needle rollers of the bearing.When you depress the gas creating torque on the pinion,the loose bearings cause the differential to actually shift away from the torque,causing misalignment of the gears.This causes the whirring noise.The wheel bearing type noise is caused by the actual needle roller bearings giving out.Fortunately, my passenger side is the only bad one.I will replace both of them while the diff is out of the car.Now you shouldn't drive with this condition because,the gear misalignment will cause the ring and pinion gears to wear out.Those are spendy.If you catch it early enough you may save them.I will need to inspect mine when I tear it apart.I have since bought a second car for my wife to drive as a backup while I repair hers.I will keep you all posted on the progress.
Wish me luck.
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Old 21 Nov 2010, 02:49 pm
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Default Re: Differential?

I have something similar, on the passenger's side.
When standing still (or driving very slow) and turning, the passenger's wheel makes a lot of noise. I have a 2003PT with just under 100k miles on it, dropsprings and 17" wheelies with thin tires!

It does not make a sound when driving, only when going very slow or standing still. (or, ESPECIALLY when going over bumps).

I saw the previous owner put clamps on the springs, to either make the car lower or higher.

At times it feels that the car is misaligned. The right wheel pulls a bit while driving.
But not always.
It could be because of the thin tires getting stuck into a trail of a worn out road;I have no experience with other cars and thin tires, so I can't comment on how it should act.
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