This is the first time I've heard about any noises coming from the diff on the AWD...
To be sure - if you are comfortable on working on your car, get it up on stands and place it in drive and if you have a stephoscope you will be able to tell if the noise is in the diff or not sometimes just placing your hand on the diff while it's spinning you will feel the gears not meshing or bearing issue.. good luck and keep us posted on your results..
Not sure if you know the ISD of your vehicle and most likely it's done but in Canada all Vibes of that year came with a 5yr/100,000km PTO from the Manufacturer...
Keep us posted,
At least now you know and your wallet shouldn't hurt as much....make sure you put synthetic gear oil in that rear diff while you are there... mine gets it's as often as I get in there... and don't forget the t/case also, a bit harder to get the oil in there but it's worth it so these noises don't eventually start,,,
But dude, $130 is a heck of a lot less than $240. That is unless Autozone is selling them as a pair...
Thanks for the heads up.
At 70,000 miles my AWD vibe was making a terrible grinding sound. The sound was coming from the rear of the vehicle when in motion. I replaced the rear hub assemblies and it only partially corrected the noise. Having no experience with rear differentials, I took it to a mechanic friend. While I was there, he lifted the vehicle, started it, and put it in drive so that all wheels were spinning. Immediately you could tell the sound was coming from the differential. My mechanic then grabbed a long screwdriver, put the handle to his ear, and touched the metal to various spots on the differential. He said the problem was most likely a bearing at the front of the diff where the propeller shaft connects to it. He gave me the screwdriver and sure enough, the terrible noise was coming right from where he said. I looked up the parts and ordered them through our local Toyota dealership (75% cheaper than going through the GM dealer). $350 later, the noise was GONE. The bearing that was worn out was the "transmission coupling radial ball bearing No.1" as noted in Toyota's Matrix Service Manual. I opted to replace both No. 1 and 2 bearings, the dust cover, spacers, and seals.
It sounds like your dealership is using the scorched earth method to fix your diff problem. One thing is for sure, the rear diff on AWD vibes are it's Achilles heal.
I tried to get those four bolts off from the back side with the control arm while still on the car. I could get to the two rear, but gave up on the front two. Did you get all yours off while on the vehicle, or did you take the control arm off to get the better chance?
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