Rear End Noise - Worn Tires?

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by Tom Evans, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Tom Evans

    Tom Evans Rockstar 100 Posts

    I have a 2002 1500 2WD Suburban with 126,000 miles. Recently it has developed a noise in the rear end. I hesitate to say differential noise, because I am not convinced that is the souce of the noise. I checked the lubricant level and it was correct. I went ahead and changed the lubricant as recommended in the owner's manual as well as added a bottle of GM's Limited Slip Axle Lubricant Additive (PN 1052358). The noise appears to be about the same.

    What I am leaning toward are the tires. They are Dunlop AT21 tires. They have about 4/32" tread left with fairly uniform wear. The noise is definitely not a growl (bad bearings) and is not resonant between 40-50 (bad ring gear and pinion).

    Are there any tests I can do to determine if the tires are at fault, other than try another set?

  2. Crispyt

    Crispyt Rockstar 100 Posts

    try rotating ur tires or putting your front in the back and the back ones in the front and see if you notice a difference.
  3. Tom Evans

    Tom Evans Rockstar 100 Posts

    I tried rotating the tires about a week ago and didn't notice any difference. All of the tire are worn equally with slightly more wear on the outer edges. I put the truck on jack stands on Saturday and had my wife to accelerate up to about 50 MPH while I used a mechanic's stethoscope to listen to wheel bearings and the bearings in the differential. I realize this test didn't put a full load on the components, but I didn't hear anything unusual. I wish I could find someone with another set of wheels to make a test with.
  4. sstoner911

    sstoner911 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    You may want to see if a tire shop has 4 used tires they can mount up for you....maybe see if they would charge a nominal mounting fee - maybe they wont charge if they know you might be purchasing new tires if that ends up being your issue.

    I have heard new ring and pinion setups make noise due to bad setup, so i wouldnt rule that out completely. Do you do alot of towing?
  5. Tom Evans

    Tom Evans Rockstar 100 Posts

    I've never towed with this vehicle, but no telling what the PO did. The vehicle came from central Florida so boat towing would not be out of the question. There is a factory hitch receptacle - but no hitch. I've owned the vehicle about 30K miles now. I have a friend with a 2001 Suburban with the same wheels, but different tires. Maybe I can "borrow" those wheels for a brief while.
  6. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Sounds like a reasonable path to take, since it's available to you. Just don't destroy his tires or rims :lol:
  7. Tom Evans

    Tom Evans Rockstar 100 Posts

    I tried reducing the tire pressure by 10 PSI last night and the noise was greatly reduced. Pumped then back up to normal and the sound was back. So, I'm going to get a new set of tires, different brand this time!

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