Transfer case, front drive shaft, or what? Any ideas?

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by wbmartin3, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. wbmartin3

    wbmartin3 New Member

    My 2004 Chev Suburban Z71 4WD started making grinding like sounds that I couldn't really locate (my hearing isn't as good as it was when I was younger - I'm 54 now). Anyway, last year I'd replaced my front right wheel bearing assembly and the sound was similar so I replaced the left front (that didn't help, but at least I've got that done since with 190,000 miles, it was destined to go, right?).

    Ok, so I surmised it might be coming from the rear so I replaced both carrier bearings (next to the differential), both wheel beaings, and last week the rear drive shaft universal joints (I didn't have the driveshaft rebalanced due to budgetary reasons though I wanted to).

    Next, I got word from a friend that his suburban made a similar noise and it turned out just to the fluid in the transfer case. Today, I drained my own transfer case and I did notice some metalic feel to the fluid though it could have been normal wear and tear. Still, the noise remains.

    I'm contemplating changing the universal joints on the front axle, but I'm uncertain how difficult that is.

    Does anyone have a suggestion?
  2. janikphoto

    janikphoto Rockstar 3 Years 100 Posts

    Depending on the type of grinding noise, my first suggestion was going to be the u-joints... but, it sounds like you got to that already!
  3. ahm1127

    ahm1127 Rockstar 100 Posts

    Does the noise happen all the time, in 2 wheel or 4?
    Is it consistent or on & off?
    When was last time you did your brakes?
  4. tlavergne

    tlavergne New Member

    Had a bad grinding noise last year...was transfer case. Seal went bad when on trip and didn't catch leak in time...lost all fluid. But the noise I had was bad! So bad that I didn't dare drive over 20 mph. Good luck.
  5. stprovost

    stprovost New Member

    Hello, I have a chevy 2003 suburban that has all power train (engine, transmission, front axle, rear axle, and all u joints!).
    Not real happy but hope to have a burb that last forever!
    Back to the question, I had a growling noise in the back on a trip to iowa last year.
    Upon inspection by the local auto mechanic, the rear axle had to be replaced due to wear from over heating in the axle.
    I was shown the old parts and could tell the heat damage.

  6. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    The rear pinion bearing went bad in my 2003. But, it was a whining noise. Take it to a local rear end shop, they should test drive it for free and tell you what is going on. I also had a bad bearing on the driverside of my front diff.
  7. tlavergne

    tlavergne New Member

    That's my thought. I have put more money into my 1999 3/4 ton this year then it is worth. However, they don't make them like this anymore. I have 125,000 miles and no rust so I will try keeping mine running for a long time. Hopefully I am done with repairs for a while but even so it is cheaper than car payments. Just hope I can afford to keep gas in the beast.
  8. wbmartin3

    wbmartin3 New Member

    Did you do the driver side, front diff bearing yourself? Can you remove the axle flange without removing that half of the differential? I tried yesterday, but couldn't get it to budge (suspect the circlip was holding too tight) ... is there a way to get it to loosen it's grip (one person said putting the vehicle in high 4 will do it ... haven't tried yet).
  9. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    I did not do it myself. I had the rear pinion bearing and the front diff done at the same time. When i pulled the drain plug on the front diff it was covered in so much metal that I could not stick it back in, so I had all bearings replaced in it. The gear shop guy said that there are tabs that hold the adjuster screws for the gear lash in the front end, those tabs tend to break or bend out of the way and let the screws move causing the lash to be incorrect. My manual says that you should be able to remove it with a slide hammer. Same with the bearing.
  10. 92 Burban

    92 Burban New Member

    If it sounds like its coming from the trans it could be the last "C" clip at the end of the tail shaft. Mine broke and it sounded like it was trying to shift (whine and grinding noise). My burban is a lot older though 92 so it might not be it on yours.

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