Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Orange County, California
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Differential (?) Noise
Last June I had a bunch of front suspension work done on my 2006 V-8 Touareg. Upper, lower A-arms (bushings were bad), a tie-rod end, shocks, and so on.
Since then I have had a distinct low-speed loud "popping" sound coming from the front. It sounds like something binding, then releasing with a "pop". It'll happen when I'm just starting to move out of a parking place, turning at low speed, etc.
The mechanic who did the work is a VERY highly regarded VW, Audi, Porsche mechanic in this area (So Cal). After getting the car back I did let him know about the noise and said I'd be bringing the car back by to see what that was about. I initially came by briefly and he had one of his guys go through everything checking for any play, checking the torque, etc. (I watched) and said it "was probably the differential" and that he could evaluate more if he had the car longer.
So we did that. I dropped it off for a day and he came to the same conclusion: Differential. He said it's "probably the carrier (side?) bearings wearing out and the 'pop' is the drive axles moving laterally (side-to-side) and binding due to the play".
My question is this: Has anyone reading this ever had this symptom ("popping") as a result of a differential issue? I've read numerous threads on numerous websites - here and others - on differential issues and the most common symptom is loud whining at highway speeds.
I have absolutely NO whining sounds coming from the vehicle at highway speeds. Of course the popping could still be happening at higher speeds and I'm just not hearing it, but it's pretty loud and distinct at slow speeds. You'd think the binding would exhibit itself at any speed and make some sort of feeling or feedback through the car and/or noise. So, no humming or whining, no apparent sense of binding or driveline "chatter", etc.
No apparent major leaks of differential oil - enough to leak sufficiently to get around/past the plastic shield underneath at least. And you'd think if the side bearings were *that* worn that oil would be leaking past them and the seal. And if that were the case, wouldn't the diff have self-destructed and/or run dry by now?
I have had both front and read diffs, transfer case, and transmission serviced every ~60K miles. No such thing as "forever" gear oil or tranny oil, LOL.
Does this sound like a differential issue to any of you?
Anything any of you have encountered before?
2006 Treg V8, Reflex Silver