In the working assembly of a truck or car, the rear differential plays a critical role in creating the torque within the crankshaft. Specifically, it transmits the engine power to the wheels as well as allowing them to have varying rotation speeds. As a matter of fact, the name differential originated from the operation where the rear differential distributes different types of speeds to the wheels particularly during a turn. As a vehicle owner, you probably do not have a detailed understanding of the mode of operation of the differential, but you would want to know what causes the rear differential noise and how it can be diagnosed and fixed.
Rear Differential Noise The rear differential system comprises many gears with intertwined teeth whose arrangement and orientation determines the effectiveness of the rear differential. For instance, where lubrication runs low on the differential mechanism or one of the gears goes out of place, you will likely hear some rear differential noise. Some of the common noises include clunking and gear whines.
Diagnosing the Various Rear Differential Noises Based on the type of noise produced by the rear differential, you can almost tell the cause behind it. For instance, howling noise which occurs during deceleration may indicate a loosened pinion-bearing pre-load. On the other hand, when the hauling noise is produced under acceleration, it may indicate worn out gears or gears out of alignment with each other. Whirring and rumbling noises at speeds of more 20 miles per hour usually result from worn out carrier bearings. In cases where pinion bearings are the issue, the degree of whirring noise is higher than that of rumbling. The reason behind this is the pinion bearings turn several times faster compared to the carrier assembly. Banging and clunking noises may point towards insufficient posi-traction lubrication, limited-slip clutches or broken spider gears. If unattended, the broken spider gears can immobilise the entire differential system causing a loud crunching sound. When a gear tooth is missing or chipped, the resulting noise is similar to that of a broken gear with the exception that the rear differential noise is only produced during deceleration or acceleration.
How to Fix Rear Differential Noise When ignored, rear differential noise can cause major problems or even permanent damage both on the ring and pinion. Due to the complexity of the rear differential system, it is recommended that its repair is left to the professionals. The only thing you can do is to ensure the differential is well lubricated to lessen friction and heat as well as make the movement of gears smoother and quieter.