Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby smokinjoe [OP] » December 6th 2011, 6:21pm

OK so want to sort this sound out. It only happens when I am on the gas and over 60mph. I think the differential. Just changed the diff fluid which may have helped slightly. Also just changed both u-joints. Thought it may be the bearings but cant see why it would only be on the gas.

Info please.. Got a trip coming up & dont want to have to push...
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby Chevymankevin » December 6th 2011, 9:06pm

My 95 had a rear end noise since my father bought it in 96 with less than 60K on it. The dealership wouldent do anything about it and said it was normal for these 10 bolt rears. If its just the howling noise I wouldent be too concerned. But if its making the rear end wobble or making a binding noise or clunking when it downshifts I would reccomend inspection and if needed replacement of the pinion and carrier bearings. With the RWD vans just lift the rear end off the ground with the tires in the air and check for play in the pinion yoke and wheel bearings while its in the air. Then start the van and place it in drive and let the wheels spin freely in the air. While doing this you can walk to the back and listen for noises. Usually you can hear if its coming from the wheel bearings or the pinion/carrier bearings. On my van your could hear it from inside a grumbling from the center of the axel even at low speeds in the air. But on pavement while driving mine didnt make the grumbling noise just the howling. My friends van does the same thing.

My cousin is rebuilding my rear end right now and told me my pinion bearings were toasted! Ill get to see them when I get the van back tomorrow hopefully.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby Shad0wXCalibur » December 6th 2011, 9:15pm

Chevymankevin wrote: The dealership wouldent do anything about it and said it was normal for these 10 bolt rears.


It bugs me big time when dealerships say that kind of crap. I don't think it's normal for a vehicle to sound like a POS. How is it "normal" when almost every other rear wheel driven vehicle out there with that low of mileage is noise free at the rear end?
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby RECox286 » December 6th 2011, 11:12pm

Service writers are for the most part not mechanics, but sales persons. If they don't know what the problem is, then it is easy to fool mother public and

say, "what do you want for 20 grand ? They all sound that way." Most stealership customers aren't mechanics either, and can be fooled most of the time.

Sorry state of affairs and not the way we do business, but it happens out there all the time.

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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby smokinjoe [OP] » December 7th 2011, 3:22am

Yes it does sound like a howling. When I jack the rear can I just grab the wheels and feel for bearing play like I could on the front?
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby paintdrying » December 7th 2011, 3:57am

sounds like a pinion bearing. Is the seal leaking, even a very small amount. My last rear end made that same noise for 35 k then the seal went all the fluid drained and it locked up solid. Threw a junkyard one in it made the same noise for a long long time. It is considered normal for the 10 bolts to clunk and howl.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby smokinjoe [OP] » December 7th 2011, 4:43am

Ok cool thanks guys. I sorta remember my old astro doing it for the whole time I owned it until it was stolen. I just opened the dif and it looked perfect inside.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby Chevymankevin » December 7th 2011, 5:09am

When you check for play at the wheels check for up/down side to side. In and out is common to have a little play due to the axle being held by C-clips. :banghead:

My noise for the most part started at about 40MPH when the TCC locked and slowly got quieter up to about 50MPH Then after about 60-75 it had a coming and going vibration/wobble with noise which didint change if I was on the gas or off the pedal.

My pinion seal started leaking VERY badly all the sudden with no extra noise. It was leaking so bad my rear barn doors were getting very small grease spots after driving on the freeway. Which smeared allover when I tried to clean it off. The underbody was getting the grease pretty good also. When my father owned it it did leak a little but noting compared to what it did after i got it. (I did all the PM on the vehicle) Grease leaking from the pinion seal is a good indicator that the pinion bearings are getting sloppy. Or, the seal could be dried and cracked and possibly just have had dirt/mud/road debris caught in it which caused it to leak. However, I kept the fluid topped off until I brought it to my cousin to have it rebuilt.

Some noise while spinning wheels off the ground is normal, But, it shouldent be any type of grinding,clanging or grumbling.
Just do your best to try and pin point which area of the axle its coming from and more than likley thats your issue.

My cost of rebuilding the rear axle is as follows.

$129+ shipping for a full Richmond gear mega bearing and seal kit.
$18 for 2 bottles of Lucas 80W-90 gear oil.
$32 for a set of Duralast gold U-joints.
$120 labor to have my cousin which attended WYO tech to install it all. :D
New rear brake lines are coming soon judging by the rust.

If you know somebody who has gone to school and has rebuilt a rear axle or have a friend at a shop its the cheapest and most effective way to go. :2: But to each his own. If you can find a JY axle with gears you would find practical its always a gamble. They charge $125 here per unit. Depends on how much you have to spend and how much you like your van.

As for the stealership. I spoke with my father and looked at the service sheet from when he took it in to have the rear inspected. My father said they just put a heavier gear oil in. They lied. They put 80w-90 which is what its supposed to have. And said they "could not duplicate" the noise. Fixed the ciggarette lighter and charged him $78.00 Under the extended warranty... :shrug:
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby Chevymankevin » December 7th 2011, 5:15am

smokinjoe wrote:Ok cool thanks guys. I sorta remember my old astro doing it for the whole time I owned it until it was stolen. I just opened the dif and it looked perfect inside.


Just by looking at the carrier and spider gears wont tell you how badly worn the pinion and carrier bearings are. Unless you can see excessive wear on the ring and pinion gears. Or find excessive metal shavings.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby smokinjoe [OP] » December 7th 2011, 8:03am

Thanks Kevin, there was no shavings. So the pinion gear is seperate from the differential gears I was looking at? It was the dif fluid that leaked on yours right? Sorry I guess I am not familiar with the difference between the two. I guess I thought the solution was a jy low miliage axle.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby chevymaherchevymaher is online! » December 7th 2011, 2:23pm

Red arrows and line are carrier bearings and location.Yellow is pinion bearing locations.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby Chevymankevin » December 9th 2011, 6:02am

Well I just got my van back from the rear end rebuild. It howls at above 60 now. Before it was only about 40-50 MPH and more of a lower howl. Now it sounds like a distant train horn.

My best GUESS is that it must just be the way the ring and pinion gear make contact which makes the noise. Because even with bad pinion/carrier bearings before it didnt make that much of a howling noise. Its not horribly loud but its pretty noticable.

Maybe the howling means the rear end is good? 10 bolt 7.5's are quite the mystery :rofl:
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby frankstein2625 » April 16th 2014, 9:42pm

My best advice is to jack the van's rear end like one of these gents described and and have somebody slowly accelerate the gas pedal while you get under the rear with a troubleshooting stethoscope sold at either o'reillys or somewhere. with vehicle running
tap that scope at different sections of the diff. cover, both sides of the axel and/or the pumpkin section (close to where the drive
shaft is connected) and you will KNOW where that bothersome noise is coming from because you'll be listening to it face to face at its loudest point.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby Casey » April 24th 2014, 4:36pm

Chevymankevin wrote:Well I just got my van back from the rear end rebuild. It howls at above 60 now. Before it was only about 40-50 MPH and more of a lower howl. Now it sounds like a distant train horn.

My best GUESS is that it must just be the way the ring and pinion gear make contact which makes the noise. Because even with bad pinion/carrier bearings before it didnt make that much of a howling noise. Its not horribly loud but its pretty noticable.

Maybe the howling means the rear end is good? 10 bolt 7.5's are quite the mystery :rofl:


(Yes, I realize this topic was started three years ago, but bear with me, please.. ;) )

Unless both the pinion and ring gears are reinstalled at exactly the same depth and mesh with the same backlash, you'll get some noise. It's near impossible to get them exactly the same, so as long as the pinion bearings are properly seated, the pinion nut/crush sleeve properly torqued down (the most difficult part), and the backlash set correctly, it should be fine.

My pinion bearing gave out at 110k miles, and after replacing all the bearings and seals, and re-checking the backlash three times, it has a very minor howl from the rearend at highway speeds. I'm used to it, and it's not very loud, but when you're in tune with your van, you notice it. As long as everything is within spec and there's no damage to the gear teeth or bearings, it's just something you have to live with.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby chevymaherchevymaher is online! » April 24th 2014, 4:46pm

7.5 and the same thing 7.625 rear ends make noise it is the gears meshing. It is normal. They are louder when they are new and then they quiet down after they break in. Ask me how I know. Newer GTO's have the 7.5 and the dealer said this noise was normal. Vans amplify the noise as they are natural echo chambers. Lay a matress on the floor in the back and sound is gone. Again ask me how I know.All differentials make some noise.But once you notice it it drives you nuts. Growling is the bad noise.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby Ken2.7 » April 27th 2014, 7:15pm

I have followed this link with interest because my 2000 AWD Astro with 50K miles has a grumbling noise from the rear. Two mechanics listened and said it was rear axle bearings. I pulled the shafts and looked at the bearings (without removing the bearings) and they looked fine. Finally let the mechanic who works on a lot of fleet vehicles and trucks "fix it". He put two new rear bearings in and two new axle shafts along with seals and proclaimed it was tires. I have been swapping in the spare to see if one of the tires was the problem and that isn't it. The noise is more noticeable at speeds above 20 mph and it isn't a howl which they said would be pinion bearings. The gears looked new with no wear. I'm wondering now if it is the transfer case although it sure sounds like it is coming from the rear axle. I guess I may just have to drive it until something just breaks.
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Re: Rear end whining, how to tell what?

Postby chevymaherchevymaher is online! » April 27th 2014, 11:00pm

Ken2.7 wrote: I guess I may just have to drive it until something just breaks.

And after another 150 thousand when it does go out. Rebuild it and it makes the same noise. Kinda figure they just make a little noise reckon.
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