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Differential Failure - Advice

Old 04-12-2018, 05:09 AM
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Default Differential Failure - Advice

04 has 148k miles on it & on my way to work today it started vibrating from the back. Felt & sounded like I had something wrong with a wheel(there wasn't). As I drove it turned into a clunking noise from the rear that changed frequency based on how fast I was going. Over the last few miles to work the noise & vibration got worse & more apparent at low speed then it was initially. I'm fairly certain the diff is failing based on some research. I may have to get the car towed to a shop as I'm not sure if the car will make it somewhere driving. Looks like I could get a used diff, parts & labor for $1000 - $1500. Thing is, this is a rebuilt title S that I've had for 10 years. Tthe value of the car is probably not much more than $4k. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:41 PM
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DIY, its not that difficult to swap a diff.

Make sure its not something really simple like loose lug nuts!
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Car Analogy View Post
DIY, its not that difficult to swap a diff.

Make sure its not something really simple like loose lug nuts!
Definitely not loose lug nuts. I am wondering if it is something else tho...when I move the car at lower speeds I don't hear any noise or feel any shaking. I can't see anything noticeable tho.

I am considering DIY. First I need it diagnosed.
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:10 AM
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let us know what you find out.
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:13 AM
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Embarrassingly enough, it was the lug nuts of the driver side rear. Pure facepalm moment if there ever was one. Thankfully I checked this before making arrangements to take it somewhere. Minimize the embarrassment to this forum. When I originally parked the car I figured it couldn't be a wheel bc it would have to be coming off the hub a bit to make that noise. Apparently, I was wrong.

Thanks for the replies guys. & Car Analogy, thanks for the suggestion. Sorry for dismissing it. I'm an idiot.
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Old 04-15-2018, 06:41 PM
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You might want to check the studs and nuts carefully to be sure they are not damaged.
Don't feel bad. I once looked at a noisy wheel for a friend. I told him it was fine. Next day his wheel fell off and he went down an embankment and put his tooth through his lip. Ugh. Talk about embarrassing.

Last edited by rpg51; 04-15-2018 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by project2k4 View Post
Thing is, this is a rebuilt title S that I've had for 10 years. Tthe value of the car is probably not much more than $4k. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Don't undervalue the car so much, depending on overall condition it's worth much more than 4k even with those miles and a rebuilt title.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rbtz View Post
Don't undervalue the car so much, depending on overall condition it's worth much more than 4k even with those miles and a rebuilt title.

I hear you. Don't get me wrong, I love the car & it definitely beats a car payment. I did put a brand new soft top on her last year. Problem is, there are some dents here & there, one that is substantial on the passenger door sill. Some of them have started to rust a bit. Not that it matters but these were from the previous owner who caused the title to be rebuilt.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rpg51 View Post
You might want to check the studs and nuts carefully to be sure they are not damaged.
Don't feel bad. I once looked at a noisy wheel for a friend. I told him it was fine. Next day his wheel fell off and he went down an embankment and put his tooth through his lip. Ugh. Talk about embarrassing.
Wow that is terrible. I always wondered how hard the car would be to control if a wheel fell off lol...I don't want to find out. The studs are new. Actually broke one a whole back when changing rims when the car was hot. Have to replace the wheel bearing when changing the rear studs so just did them all. I believe that the way the power is put down from the diff, the driver's side rear lugs could loosen over time...depending on how much they were tightened. I may be completely wrong with this.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:19 AM
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The torque specification for the wheel lug nuts is 80 lbf-ft. What torque are you using.? Guessing doesn't count.

In olden days there was a "left hand" thread pattern for the lug nuts on the left side of the car to keep them from self-loosening from vibration and rotational forces. This practice ended 60 years ago on passenger cars but I believe many (some? all?) big trucks still use the "left on the left" threads on that side as do some trailers. For the rest of us it's "Righty Tighty."

-- Chuck
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