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Old 08-24-2005, 03:22 PM   #1
legaliztik2001
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Default Pooched rear differential --- any cases beside mine?

After discovering an annoying squeeling noise that seemed to coming from under my car during speeds over 30 km/h (the noise was especially loud during WOT) - I noticed I was leaking tranny/diff fluid - I was in fact very low. To take precaution, I took the car to a local dealer to have it diagnosed -- apparently, my rear differential is POOCHED! Has anyone else experience this on their Legacy or any other Subaru for that matter? I'm so mystified as I've never heard of ANY differential from BG Legacys going kapoot after 140,000 km's -- I'm getting the car towed as we speak to the mechanic I usually deal with to get a second opinion...
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Old 08-24-2005, 04:08 PM   #2
xcntrk75
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I second the second opinion… The Legacy rear differential is a sound open diff style setup which has been in use for many years. I could understand complications with a limited slip units found on WRX’s and the like, but an open diff failure is surprising.

What exactly did they say is wrong with it? Likely one of the carrier bearings is going out, which are replaceable you know.
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Old 08-24-2005, 04:24 PM   #3
legaliztik2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xcntrk75
I second the second opinion… The Legacy rear differential is a sound open diff style setup which has been in use for many years. I could understand complications with a limited slip units found on WRX’s and the like, but an open diff failure is surprising.
EXACTLY!
IMO, even if there was a massive loss of diff fluid - I am sure it would much more to grind out the teeth within the diff assy.
The winding/squeeling noise, honestly, sounded like a popped seal of some sort, maybe even a loss of compression - but I never expected the dealer to state that the diff had to be replaced!

Quote:
Originally Posted by xcntrk75
What exactly did they say is wrong with it? Likely one of the carrier bearings is going out, which are replaceable you know.
All they mentioned was that the rear differential had to be replaced - I have to see the diagnostic report when I get home tonight and I'll post exactly what was written. Some of these dealers are f'in crooks man!
Carrier bearings? where are those situated?
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Old 08-24-2005, 05:52 PM   #4
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There’s not much to an open-differential. There’s the main carrier (center assembly with the spider-gears) which is positioned in the casing (pumpkin) by two carrier bearings. These bearings allow the carrier to spin. Your drive axle shafts insert into the carrier through the bearings and are splined into the spider gears. The ring-gear is attached to the carrier.

The second component is the pinion shaft. There are two bearings here as well, inner and outer. The drive-shaft spins the pinion shaft which in turn spins the carrier. The ring and pinion gears are what makes up the drive-ratio for the differential. Take a Legacy with 4.44 gears, the driveshaft (pinion gear) spins 4.44 revolutions per single wheel rotation (carrier ring gear).

That about covers it and is probably more than you wanted to know…
Just don’t ask me about backlash adjustment…
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Old 08-24-2005, 05:53 PM   #5
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legaliztik2001, long time no see. Do you have any recent pics of the ride? Your car was a bit of an inspiration for my own.

ss
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Old 08-24-2005, 11:19 PM   #6
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Subaru dealer policy on failing/failed diffs (at least here in SoCal USA), is to replace the diff. They don't repair them, other than for a bad external issue, i.e., seal or CV joint on the outside of the diff.

That said, if it's internal to the diff, then it's likely that their policy is to replace rather than repair and that would be why they're telling you it has to be replaced.

If that's the case, then you'll need to find someone who works on rear diffs... IIRC, the rear LSD diffs in our BD/BGs are NISSAN products as may be the open diffs too. Either way, they aren't that hard to work on and they come out of the car very easily so R&R should not be that difficult (read costly).

Good luck and keep us informed.

Dale
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Old 08-25-2005, 12:26 AM   #7
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I got a BUNCH of open carriers, $35 each delivered. These are parts that were "left over" from converting the WRX diff to 3.90.
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Old 08-25-2005, 10:48 AM   #8
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OK. Here's the update:

Somewhere along the line, my front diff began to leak fluid. Now, how this exactly happened is still a mystery to me. As the reason could be a number of options the fact of the matter is the slow leak has caused by transmission to work double/triple time, therefore having the front diff working at the same rate. The extra work has caused the rear diff to heat up to a point where its mounting bolts have MELTED the bushings in the rear cross member! Even my mechanic was DUMBFOUNDED as to how this was done as he has never seen such breakdown in the bushings.
The fluid from the rear diff was drained - it was was pitch BLACK and stunk to high heaven! My mechanic's prognosis is this - since the rear cross-member bushings have melted, there is a lot of play in the prop shaft inbetween the front and rear diffs. The excess play from the rear is putting too much preload on the front diff, rubbing and connecting in ways its not supposed to, therefore causing an annoying whining noise coming directly from underneath my gear box!
My mechanic did advise that it takes A LOT to have a diff grenade on you - whilst it is possible, it's not probable. Hopefully after having the crossmember replaced, replace broken seals and gaskets, the extra preload on the front will be reduced. My only downside is this - since the diffs have been working so hard for this long with the same fluid, I will probably have to perfrom diff fluid changes every so often between 2 regular engine oil changes to compensate for the extra effiency I'll need now that the diffs are somewhat worn.

HMMM....this is where I need some advise:

...should I continue and fix the problem or ... is SWAP inthe equation?
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Old 08-25-2005, 10:56 AM   #9
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Pooched?
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Old 08-25-2005, 11:36 AM   #10
Corkfish
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This has happened to several Foresters which have the same diff
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Old 08-25-2005, 12:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corkfish
This has happened to several Foresters which have the same diff
Interesting... must all be Forester "L"s as all "S" variants have LSDs. The Ls are all open diffs.

Sounds like the diff was hot enough to "burn/cook" the grease if it was black and smelled very bad. Have only seen this in a vehicle that was immersed in water (ie., off roading in streams) and the water leaked past the seals and into the diff itself where it proceeded to cook the diff fluid.

I'm not sure that the bearings are going to be worth a tinker's dream if there has been that much heat and poor to no lubrication. Might be worth swapping it out for reliability/safety's sake. Besides, having so much pre-load on the pinion end and the consequent out-of-lash alignment to the ring and then the rest of the diff could only put undue pressure on the carrier bearings. I'd bet that the inside, while not grenaded, looks pretty shock worn.

Keep us appraised.

Dale
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Old 08-25-2005, 02:56 PM   #12
legaliztik2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic
Sounds like the diff was hot enough to "burn/cook" the grease if it was black and smelled very bad. Have only seen this in a vehicle that was immersed in water (ie., off roading in streams) and the water leaked past the seals and into the diff itself where it proceeded to cook the diff fluid.
Interesting that you mentioned the water part - I did in fact run through a rather DEEP puddle last week when Toronto was hit by a sick rain storm. SHHHiT.... it's all making sense now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic
I'm not sure that the bearings are going to be worth a tinker's dream if there has been that much heat and poor to no lubrication. Might be worth swapping it out for reliability/safety's sake. Besides, having so much pre-load on the pinion end and the consequent out-of-lash alignment to the ring and then the rest of the diff could only put undue pressure on the carrier bearings. I'd bet that the inside, while not grenaded, looks pretty shock worn.
Are you referring to the front or rear diff?

What damage, if any, could the out of alignment of the ring and pinion shaft cause for the front diff? The initial prognosis that was given to me was that only the rear diff be replaced although all the noise is coming from the front end. Will have to replace both diffs? Won't the entire transmission be pooched if the front diff needs replacing as well?
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Old 08-25-2005, 03:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legaliztik2001
Are you referring to the front or rear diff?

What damage, if any, could the out of alignment of the ring and pinion shaft cause for the front diff? The initial prognosis that was given to me was that only the rear diff be replaced although all the noise is coming from the front end. Will have to replace both diffs? Won't the entire transmission be pooched if the front diff needs replacing as well?
WRT the ring/pinion mis-alignment, I was referring to the rear diff as it sounds like the bushings/mounts were melted and causing the diff to squirm significantly enough to get way out of alignment. I'd think about replacing that one.

WRT the front diff, on the manual tranny, there is no "separation" if you will between the tranny itself and the differential. They operate in the same oil/lube bath (exception being the 6MT which is pressure lubed and may have some differentiation between the diff and the tranny and the auto trannies which are definitely segmented). So if you leaked fluid from your diff, you also leaked fluid from your transmission and that could be causing some premature wear on your internal tranny/front diff bearings

However, that said, it's entirely possible that your propeller shaft bearing and/or CV joint (rear-most carrier bearing supporting the shaft between the tranny and the rear diff and the associated CV joint) is worn/failing from all the propeller shaft (rear diff to carrier bearing/joint) movement caused by the poorly mounted/failing rear diff. This could cause the sound that you reference in your post above.

If that's okay, then I'd start from the rear of the transmission and work forward. Unless you have clear evidence that the transmission/front diff were run dry, then it's anybody's guess where the noise could be coming from. But I'd start with the rear shaft bearing (the rear-most bearing in the transmission that supports the splined stubby shaft that mates up to the propeller shaft).

If that bearing is bad or going bad, then you'd hear a whining noise such as you've described coming from "underneath your gear box"

HTH,

Dale
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Old 08-25-2005, 04:27 PM   #14
legaliztik2001
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Subie --- your responses are making PERFECT sense! Thanks for the insight. i do have some more question which I am sure will benifit from your response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic
WRT the ring/pinion mis-alignment, I was referring to the rear diff as it sounds like the bushings/mounts were melted and causing the diff to squirm significantly enough to get way out of alignment. I'd think about replacing that one.
Hmm ... I was trying to save some $$$ .. however I guess I'll have invest in a replacement rear diff. What are your thoughts though on retaining the current rear diff and changing fluid MORE frequently?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic
WRT the front diff, on the manual tranny, there is no "separation" if you will between the tranny itself and the differential. They operate in the same oil/lube bath (exception being the 6MT which is pressure lubed and may have some differentiation between the diff and the tranny and the auto trannies which are definitely segmented). So if you leaked fluid from your diff, you also leaked fluid from your transmission and that could be causing some premature wear on your internal tranny/front diff bearings
That was the first symptom I observed - leaking fluid from the tranny - again, however, I should, although the fluid drained from here was also dark, it was not as dark as the rear diff's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic
However, that said, it's entirely possible that your propeller shaft bearing and/or CV joint (rear-most carrier bearing supporting the shaft between the tranny and the rear diff and the associated CV joint) is worn/failing from all the propeller shaft (rear diff to carrier bearing/joint) movement caused by the poorly mounted/failing rear diff. This could cause the sound that you reference in your post above.
Hmm ... if anything, I hope it's the bearings that are worn as these can be easily replaced. The sound is mix of a both a whine and a binding noise but squeeling all the way. What parts in the front end do you think should be replaced/serviced when I get the rear end fixed?

Last edited by legaliztik2001; 08-25-2005 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 09-19-2006, 10:06 AM   #15
legaliztik2001
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Default back to the grind.

just thought i'd revive this thread...
since i shelved the problem by not driving the car regularly since this time last year.
anyhow, the diff HAS to be replaced now.
does anyone have a spare one lying around or could source a good used one?
thanks in advance.
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Old 09-19-2006, 11:33 AM   #16
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upgrade to an LSD?
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Old 09-19-2006, 12:32 PM   #17
legaliztik2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiscon_Mark View Post
upgrade to an LSD?
possible. but not feasible. just looking for OEM replacement.
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Old 09-19-2006, 12:33 PM   #18
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My WRX made a high pitched whine at 60-65 mph regardless of gear....the dealer said it was bad and replaced it from there. Apparently they went thru my drive train draining fluids until they found something with lots of metal shavings in it.
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Old 09-19-2006, 12:47 PM   #19
legaliztik2001
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sounds familiar. the only difference here is that there's nothing left to grind and the internal gears are just burining fluid now. i just don't want anything grenading.
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Old 09-19-2006, 10:11 PM   #20
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Bevan,

I got a 3.90 sitting in my garage if you need one.
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Old 09-19-2006, 11:12 PM   #21
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I have a 3.90 and a 4.11 here.
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