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Axle Trouble Shooting Guide


CONDITION
POSSIBLE CAUSES
Noise in all driving modes
Road and tires, wheel bearings
Noise changes with type of road surface
Road and tires
Noise tone lowers with vehicle speed
Tires
Noise louder on turns
Differential pinion and side gears, axle wheel bearings
Noise in one or more driving modes
Ring and pinion gears
Clunk on change of speed or direction of power flow
Worn differential shaft or thrust washers; worn U-joints
Wheel noise
Wheel loose, faulty or bad wheel bearing
Vibration
Damaged drive shaft, missing drive shaft balance weight, worn or out-of-balance tires, loose wheel lug nuts, worn U-joints, loose spring U-bolts, loose/broken spring, damaged axle shaft bearings, loose pinion gear nut, excessive pinion yoke run-out, bent axle shaft
Differential gears scored
Insufficient lubrication, improper grade of lubricant, lubricant contamination, excessive spinning of tires
Loss of lubricant
Lubricant level too high, worn axle shaft seals, cracked differential housing, worn drive pinion gear shaft seal, scored and worn yoke, axle cover not properly sealed, plugged vent or vent tube
Axle overheating
Lubricant level too low, incorrect grade of lubricant, contaminated lubricant, bearing preload too high, excessive gear wear, insufficient ring gear backlash
Gear teeth broken
Overloading, erratic clutch operation, wheel spinning, improper adjustment
Axle gear noise
Insufficient lubricant, incorrect backlash, improper tooth contact, worn/damaged gears
Axle noise
Insufficient lubricant, improper ring gear and drive pinion gear adjustment, unmatched ring gear and drive pinion gear, worn teeth on ring gear or drive pinion gear, loose drive pinion gear shaft bearings, loose differential bearings, misaligned ring and pinion gear, loose differential bearing cap screws, worn bearings
Limited slip differential
The most common problem is a "chatter" noise when turning corners. The probable cause is incorrect or contaminated lubricant or lack of friction modifier additive in the lubricant, worn or damaged plates and discs, plates and discs improperly assembled

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