What are symptoms of a differential going bad?
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Old February 27th, 2012, 06:43 PM   #1
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What are symptoms of a differential going bad?


I've been posting a bunch lately on troubleshooting noises my car makes because, well, it makes a lot of them. I've been having issues with this sorta scraping noise for a while and thought it might be the clutch or TOB or something like that, but this week I noticed a clunking/grinding sound from the center area of my car.

I couldn't really tell where exactly the clunks and grinds were coming from except that it was near the center of the car. It only made the noise for a few moments, and has continued to do so occasionally at low speeds (making it difficult to pinpoint since it is not constant). I spent a while looking on youtube for a good clip of the sound my car periodically makes and it sounds identical to a bad differential, only its not a constant sound when in gear. Could my rear diff be going bad? Or would that be a constant noise? Could it be an axle bearing? Bad U joint? I'm really at a loss here but I'm getting sick of hunting down these noises.

For reference, this is the main video I'm basing my sound analysis on:
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Old February 27th, 2012, 08:16 PM   #2
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I haven't been able to hear the noise any time I'm listening for it lately. All I know is I'm beginning to really hate all these mystery noises.

Wish my apartment complex would let me drain fluids so I could open up the differential and have a look.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 08:32 PM   #3
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my best guesses: axle bearings, clutch packs in the diff, pinion gear and any number of rear end differential problems. unfortunately this noise is not uncommon for your generation of mustang, but I dont really no what it is for sure
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Old February 27th, 2012, 10:07 PM   #4
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if its kind of a popping noise and you have stock suspension it could be your bushings. if you suspect its your differential do a short burn out on clean pavement and look at your marks, if one is lighter than the other your clutch parks are worn.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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I haven't heard the noise again since I've been trying to listen for it. I'm going to open up the differential and have a look inside, change the fluid and add some friction modifier. Beyond that all I think I can do is give it time and listen.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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I have a really good suspicion mine is gone in mine to. I was coming home on the highway, and all of a sudden I heard a loud humming noise so I pulled over. I put it in park, and checked it out no fluids leaking or anything. Just a loud howling noise.

Soon as I got back on the highway I started going, and from 30-70 it hounded, and sounded like a bloodey brake lathe going on. I've drove it a few times back, and forth between places just to get it to a shop, and back to the garage. It has fluid in it. So I'm not to sure what exactly is going on with it.

Far as I know I'm pretty sure I warped the ring, and pinion or did something under load. So I'm having it rebuilt here sometime in march after I see if gears/tuners/ etc go on sale for March.
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Old February 29th, 2012, 08:10 AM   #7
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That howling is a classic symptom. It'd be simple for me if mine were howling...

Have you added friction modifier to see if that helps? Lots of guys have good luck with that stuff.
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