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hello all.


I love this forum, and have posted a good amount, and received so much help and knowledge here, I just wanted to share some thoughts on the infamous Front Differential issue many of us have had.

I have a 2004 V8, 155k.

I love the car, I got it for a steal and it has been relatively low maintenance over the year and a half I have owned it. I did the timing service, a fuel pump, some electrical gremlins etc. But overall it has never left me stranded and I plan to run it into the ground.

in regards to my front diff. Bought the car in june of 2015 and it was making some noise, mostly on decel... off the gas. Checked and found there was some metallic flakes in fluid, but Nothing too concerning. Since then I have changed the fluid two times, to "clean it out" and I am still driving it as is, a year and a half later with really no major changes in noise. Slightly louder, and it does it a bit between 55-65mph now when on gas as well, much more noticeable when coasting.

I have a spare diff from a 2006 v8 4.2 so I will most likely just swap it this winter. Had two indy shops here in Vt check it out, both said the same.. If its not broken completely, don't fix it. They both claim, when noise gets too loud, ill know its time to swap and since I have the spare handy, just drive it.

So I just wanted to post as I see so many people in a panic when they hear the dreaded sound. I got my diff from a friend for about 350$. And the labor at my awesome shop here is so cheap I'm not too concerned about having it done.

I am by no means saying, hey! Ignore it and drive! But I just thought it should be noted, that I am not sure what can actually happen if the fluid is kept full and the car is not beat to death. My car drives 100% minus the sound, which is somewhat annoying but you can't even hear it with the radio on.

For the price people have paid to be robbed at the dealer etc, I just wanted to give some insight that maybe its not an emergency item?

From what I have seen in the past with other vehicles, my own and ones i Have worked on, some metallic slick is to be expected in any diff. It is metal on metal correct? Lubricated by oil, yes.... but after 150k I was not surprised or worried by what I saw in mine. Rear diff had the same amount, no noise, no issues with that one at all.

Anyways just thought I would share, hope it can help someone else.
 

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I have 130000 miles on mine.
Oil full of metal and loud.
I have a replacement diff unknown miles that had metal in the oil.
I opened he case and found that the left carrier bearing badly pitted on the inner race, Somewhat pitted on the outer.
Replaced both bearings and seals.
Gears all look great.
Same problem that many others have noted.
Changing it out this weekend before the snow flies.
I plan on opening the original after the swap and expect the same damage.
 

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Thank you for the reply. Yes I'm going to inspect my used one as well seemed ok to me on initial inspection.

At the very least I would like to reseal mine as well. Anyway that you could PM me or comment as to where to get the bearings and seals etc? I'd be very interested in even rebuilding the used one prior to installing it. Let me know!
 

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Seals from eBay:
VOLKSWAGENAUDI 0AA409189A GENUINE OEM STUB SHAFT SEAL | eBay

Bearings from Rockauto:
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1118190&jsn=1
https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1116651&jsn=2

Oil from amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QL31M3O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

These are for the carrier bearings and seals for the output shafts.
Very easy to change. Make sure you get all the metal out especially from between the pinion shaft bearing.

Anything else you nead to know please ask.

Thank you for the reply. Yes I'm going to inspect my used one as well seemed ok to me on initial inspection.

At the very least I would like to reseal mine as well. Anyway that you could PM me or comment as to where to get the bearings and seals etc? I'd be very interested in even rebuilding the used one prior to installing it. Let me know!
 

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Wow this is fantastic! Thank you very much... stupid question but how many of each of those would I need... besides fluid I know that. :)

How long have you driven yours as is?
 

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One other thing too, anyone that has done this job. Im looking into doing it with my shop soon here, do you need to drop the subframe? I've read all different things, looking for the least enavasive route. Can you remove the output shaft arm in driver side from the diff then get the rest of the unit out?
 

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When the shop changed the diff on our 04 V10 the subframe had to come down. As far as I know it's required.

-J
 

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Wow this is fantastic! Thank you very much... stupid question but how many of each of those would I need... besides fluid I know that. :)
Go ahead and tell us how much fluid, too.
Mine is ready for a rebuild - it's load when accelerating or decelerating, but silent when coasting or when I have it in neutral.


Take pictures when you do yours, please.
 

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Wow this is fantastic! Thank you very much... stupid question but how many of each of those would I need... besides fluid I know that.
Go ahead and tell us how much fluid, too.
Mine is ready for a rebuild - it's load when accelerating or decelerating, but silent when coasting or when I have it in neutral.


Take pictures when you do yours, please.
Will do.

Probably won't do mine for a little while but good to have some info and parts lined up. I've been putting it off because it's on an easy commute right now and not seeing much stress. It's annoying, but that's about it.

Both times I've changed the fluid the front takes about exactly 1qt to fill.

Mine makes noise on deceleration mostly or while coasting but basically it's only noticeable between say 50mph and 65 mph unless you really listen at lower speeds, on the highway etc above 65mph things are silent and no issues.

Mine makes noise in neutral while coasting too, from what I understand that is what points to the diff among other things. Sure yours is not something else?
 

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Hi guys ! I think I have the bad front diff symptoms (but at lower speed, around 25-35mph, humming, vibration plus clicking sound) and was thinking of buying a used one (800$) if the diff is the problem.

But just to make sure I understand, you are saying I can just buy those 2 bearings, seal and oil, bring my car to an diff specialist and my T would by fine? or it will still make that noise ? Are you also saying that I dont have to stress myself and repair this right now ? ( I just spent 2300$ on it last week :/ )

thanks
 

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Hi guys ! I think I have the bad front diff symptoms (but at lower speed, around 25-35mph, humming, vibration plus clicking sound) and was thinking of buying a used one (800$) if the diff is the problem.

But just to make sure I understand, you are saying I can just buy those 2 bearings, seal and oil, bring my car to an diff specialist and my T would by fine? or it will still make that noise ? Are you also saying that I dont have to stress myself and repair this right now ? ( I just spent 2300$ on it last week :/ )

thanks
Hi!

Well I won't give you the advice to keep driving... because I don't want to be responsible if something happens.

I will say, as I did above, we have been driving mine for 1.5 years as is. Maybe the noise is slightly louder but that's it. I will probably do mine over the winter when I have some down time as I have the spare diff laying in the garage. And another vehicles to drive if it's off the road for a day or two.

I wouldn't panic, just don't want you to 100% listen to me :) but in my experience it has not caused anything worse.

As far as the replacement of those mentioned parts I am interested as well. Don't understand exactly what typically goes wrong in these and might do those cheap parts in my used one just in case, or toss in the used one and rebuild this one.

My used one was a few hundred through a friend, I know new they are thousands so yes a used one is the way to go, or rebuild.
 

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If you have any doubt if it's the differential just do a oil change.
Any metal in the oil it's the differential.
Put in new oil and a magnetic drain plug m16x1.5 and plan your rebuild.
The sooner the better. You don't want more damage.
 

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I changed the carrier bearings in my spare differential and had it installed for about $200.
Nice no noise.
Next is to open and repair the original differential.
I also had the timing belt with all the parts changed, the belt still looked new, 130,000 miles Total for everything $715.
 

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Next is to open and repair the original differential.
I'm in similar boat as my front diff started making noise at 138K. I'm looking to source repairable diff for 04 V8 that I can rebuild prior and then do a swap over a weekend. My Treg is a DD for my wife and I'd like to minimize the downtime. I sent you a PM to see if you'd be willing to part with yours. Please message me offline . .
 

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I think it would be best to have someone repair the one in your touareg.
You need a puller for the bearing removal and a press for the new bearings.
Any shop that can do the replacement should be able to do that all in less than a day. Check transmission shops.
I was charged about 3 hour time for the replacement and I spent about 3 hours cleaning the metal out and replacing the bearings and seals.

Buy the bearings and seals ahead to save time.

I'm in similar boat as my front diff started making noise at 138K. I'm looking to source repairable diff for 04 V8 that I can rebuild prior and then do a swap over a weekend. My Treg is a DD for my wife and I'd like to minimize the downtime. I sent you a PM to see if you'd be willing to part with yours. Please message me offline . .
 

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One of joys for me is working on my cars. There isn't much left that I haven't done yet and rebuilding the diff falls into that category. I _do_ have the tools, including various size pullers, so no issues there. There's no need for a press to get the bearing and races properly set. The rebuild procedure is well documented at this point and is not that complicated. I already have Timken bearings and races in my shop and awaiting delivery of pair of oem seals. I was hoping to find lister willing to swap his rebuildable front diff with mine and considering you are only about an hour from me that seems like reasonable bet. No biggie, I'll keep looking for diff core, if I can't locate one within reasonable distance, I'll just pull and rebuild mine . . .
 

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I think it would be best to have someone repair the one in your touareg.
You need a puller for the bearing removal and a press for the new bearings.
Any shop that can do the replacement should be able to do that all in less than a day. Check transmission shops.
I was charged about 3 hour time for the replacement and I spent about 3 hours cleaning the metal out and replacing the bearings and seals.

Buy the bearings and seals ahead to save time.

Just as a comment i know your rebuild worked out fine for you and probably in most cases just replacing the bearings will fix the noise.
Having rebuilt 3 Touareg diffs and over the years other brands some other rebuild questions are relevant.
You would have noticed the shimming under the pinion shaft gear and inner bearing also the collapsible spacer in there. How did you set the pinion depth and bearing preload ? Just replacing the bearings with like for like in no way guarantees the pinion or for that matter the crown wheel carrier are in the same exact position or contact relationship setup at the factory.


Just pointing out to the unsure people out there that while bearing replacement is needed and good it is not also the complete picture.


To assist with my rebuilds in the plan to offer Aussies a rebuilt diff I made some bearing caps to hold the crown wheel in place and a small stub shaft to preload the carrier bearings so I can simulate install position of the gears for contact checks. I have also got a magnetic chuck and a tool post grinder to make my own shims to allow me to adjust the mesh/preload as required. A non collapsible spacer is then made to suit the pinion bearings to achieve a preload of 13" to 16" inch pounds.


Not in any way putting down anyone's method and hope all members re-race go well.


Anyway I am sure you get the picture of my journey and i understand this is method not available to everyone but for those who are paying someone to do it there is a difference and also in price too as this costs a bit more than the $200 in parts for the diff.


regards
Drag
 

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Is this the noise for a bad diff ???
Thanks for your help

https://youtu.be/QSGkF9M1O4k

Just as a comment i know your rebuild worked out fine for you and probably in most cases just replacing the bearings will fix the noise.
Having rebuilt 3 Touareg diffs and over the years other brands some other rebuild questions are relevant.
You would have noticed the shimming under the pinion shaft gear and inner bearing also the collapsible spacer in there. How did you set the pinion depth and bearing preload ? Just replacing the bearings with like for like in no way guarantees the pinion or for that matter the crown wheel carrier are in the same exact position or contact relationship setup at the factory.


Just pointing out to the unsure people out there that while bearing replacement is needed and good it is not also the complete picture.


To assist with my rebuilds in the plan to offer Aussies a rebuilt diff I made some bearing caps to hold the crown wheel in place and a small stub shaft to preload the carrier bearings so I can simulate install position of the gears for contact checks. I have also got a magnetic chuck and a tool post grinder to make my own shims to allow me to adjust the mesh/preload as required. A non collapsible spacer is then made to suit the pinion bearings to achieve a preload of 13" to 16" inch pounds.


Not in any way putting down anyone's method and hope all members re-race go well.


Anyway I am sure you get the picture of my journey and i understand this is method not available to everyone but for those who are paying someone to do it there is a difference and also in price too as this costs a bit more than the $200 in parts for the diff.


regards
Drag
 
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