Reader Question: That Noise!

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

To5 asks: Hello Eric. Longtime follower here from Australia. I have a 2000 Statesman RWD made by Holden (GM) that has a noise coming from the rear of the car. The noise is metal on metal. Rear suspension is IRS. Really loud and clunky on slow speed, largely disappearing after going at moderate or highway speeds. I have replaced all exhaust system mounts, and the right rear CV joints shaft. Also changed diff fluid, no metal present in the drained fluid. When I put in on a lift, and I spin the right rear wheel by hand, it moves smoothly. Now here is a mysterious clue. Four times I’ve put the car on a lift, and four times afterward for the next two days, the noise disappears, then returns. Yesterday I removed the driveshaft to replace the AT rear seal, and the noise disappeared. Today too no noise. My son thinks it’s a diff problem, I think the wheel bearing in the hub is the problem. But taking the load off the rear takes the pressure off of something.  I cannot see any problems with the rear suspension and diff at all when the car is on the lift. Any clues? The diff has a mount bracket at the rear of the diff, so could that be a problem? The car drives normally otherwise.

My reply: The very first thing I would check is the U joint/driveshaft yoke. Then the rear wheel bearings/races. Physically inspect them, inner and outer. It’s possible there’s some issue with the ring and pinion, which I’d check if the other stuff checks out – but  I would bet on the U joint/yoke or bearings/races first.

This stuff is process of elimination, starting with the simple/easy things to check first and then moving right along. Each possibility crossed off the list brings you one step closer to the cure!

Sometimes, a car is just “noisy” naturally. It can be tires, it can be exhaust. Swapping out the tires it has for a set that don’t sing can solve the problem. So can a quieter muffler. Another option is to add sound deadening material, such as second skin.

Hope you find the source – and get some peace!

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Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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