Differential (?) Noise - Club Touareg Forums
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-10-2018 Thread Starter
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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
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-10-2018
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Have a talk to (PM) Dragline1570 as he has rebuild a number of front differentials and would be better placed than most to steer you in the right direction.

Stuart....

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post #3 of 9 Old 02-22-2018
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I actually have the same noise on my recently purchased 08 Treg V8. It feels like one of the CV axles binding during tight turns at slow speeds. @Drag ....do you have any ideas/opinions?
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-23-2018
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I don't believe that binding while turning is a symptom of a bad diff but hey I would stand corrected but this would clearly be a new type of failure that many have experienced with their diffs.


Fist and real check that is 99% fool proof is get the diff at operating temp from a good drive and drain the oil into a clean I say clean container and look for metal in the oil.
Let the drained oil sit for 15 mins and gently tip out all but the last 100ml or so and look for metal in the oil when swirled about in sunlight.


No metal very unlikely a diff issue.


But as a final check look at the end of LHS (as you sit in the car) extension tube and see if the seal is leaking, or you can move the flange of the shaft about indicating that the outer bearing has failed.


regards
Drag
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-23-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragline1570 View Post
Guys
I don't believe that binding while turning is a symptom of a bad diff but hey I would stand corrected but this would clearly be a new type of failure that many have experienced with their diffs.


Fist and real check that is 99% fool proof is get the diff at operating temp from a good drive and drain the oil into a clean I say clean container and look for metal in the oil.
Let the drained oil sit for 15 mins and gently tip out all but the last 100ml or so and look for metal in the oil when swirled about in sunlight.


No metal very unlikely a diff issue.


But as a final check look at the end of LHS (as you sit in the car) extension tube and see if the seal is leaking, or you can move the flange of the shaft about indicating that the outer bearing has failed.


regards
Drag
Thanks for the reply
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-28-2018
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Be sure your tires are all the same size. Uneven tires can cause the drive line to bind up and release in just the way you described. It doesnt take much difference in tire diameter to cause this. The stepper motor in the transfercase has also been a known failure point. Unlikely the front diff would ever cause the issue you are describing.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-28-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmart View Post
Be sure your tires are all the same size. Uneven tires can cause the drive line to bind up and release in just the way you described. It doesnt take much difference in tire diameter to cause this. The stepper motor in the transfercase has also been a known failure point. Unlikely the front diff would ever cause the issue you are describing.
As above but you need to be sure your tires are IDENTICAL as in same size, same make, same model, same tread pattern and same tread depth to within 2mm or 2/32ths.

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-17-2018 Thread Starter
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Hi Folks... Thanks for the replies.

Tires are identical in all those regards. Nokians WR-G3 SUV's.

Actually in my case (vs. what BlaznJoe described) I don't have a feeling of "binding". Don't get any feeling of anything like that at all. At least that I've noticed. Just the "pop" sounds, mostly at very low speed. Often before I've even hardly move. Couple days ago I was about to back out of parking space at work, put it in reverse, just took foot off brake, and "POP" from the front end.

Also my 1936 driveway dips down from the street into the gutter a bit, then back up into my driveway. It's skinny also (build for Model-T's), so from either direction I'm turning as I'm entering it as well as the vertical movement. Pops several times doing that manuever as well.

If it's doing whatever it's doing at highway speeds, I'm not hearing or feeling it.

2006 Treg V8, Reflex Silver
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-09-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaznjoe View Post
I actually have the same noise on my recently purchased 08 Treg V8. It feels like one of the CV axles binding during tight turns at slow speeds. @Drag ....do you have any ideas/opinions?
Quick update regarding my issue. I was recently reading about how specific OEM diff fluids are a must for the center and rear diff (if you have the optional locking rear diff). Plus I remembered on my old 2002 Tundra 4x4 I accidentally used the wrong rear diff fluid and hearing a shuddering noise while turning. (It had a limited slip rear diff and required specific fluid for it.) I ended up fixing the Tundra but my point here is that I actually purchased the correct OEM center diff fluid for my 2008 Touareg (part number G055515A2) and did the fluid change last week. I'm happy to report no more popping noises while turning left at slow speeds or otherwise. I assume our center diff is limited slip thus requiring the appropriate fluid for the clutch plates.

Additional details: I had all three diffs drained and refilled a couple of months after I purchased the Treg, used, in Nov 2017. Assuming the prior owner never changed the oil in the diffs, I'm certain I begin noticing the popping afterwards but did not relate it to incorrect diff oil. I plan to change the front and rear diffs very soon with OEM fluid. The rear requires specific stuff as well per my research since it is a locking diff. (G052196A2) Crazy!
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