Rear end noise 2003 AWD

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Rear end noise 2003 AWD

Postby left3field » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:50 pm

I have a 2003 Vibe AWD. It has appeared to have developed a low level "growling" noise in the rear end. The noise pitch gets louder and softer with the speed of the vehicle, NOT with the engine RPM. I have had a few people ride with me and we all agree it has the sound of metal on metal almost gear like. I have changed the differential oil and transfer case oil as recommended in a previous post. I have considered replacing the wheel-bearing assemblies, but at $250/ea. I wanted to ask you guys first. I was also looking at the manual for the car and didn't realize there is a propeller that separates the drive-shaft on it's way back to the rearend. Has anyone had any trouble with this part? Anyway, hope someone has a little insight. Thanks in advance everyone!

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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (left3field)

Postby keithvibe » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:16 pm

start saving... sounds like your going to need some expensive work done to your rear pumpkin.

there have been rear issues with the rear diffs.


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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (keithvibe)

Postby left3field » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:30 pm

OUCH!... So you are saying the rear differential could need replacing or has been known to be a problem?
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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (left3field)

Postby keithvibe » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:50 pm

yes
edit
let me say it's not a common problem BUT when people mention noises coming from the rear it's never a good sign.


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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (keithvibe)

Postby brbo » Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:20 am

Hey Left,

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,

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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (brbo)

Postby left3field » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:38 am

Thanks BRBO. I like working on my own cars, but with issues like this I am not the best at diagnosing the problem. I have considered paying a mechanic to diagnose the problem, and then fixing it myself. I am sure I am in the same boat most of your are, not a lot of money to start replacing parts and hoping it will fix the problem, nor do any of us have a lot of time either. Thanks for the help! Will keep you posted.
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Postby ou.grizzly » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:03 am

I am not sure if the rear differential can be rebuilt, thought the entire unit has to be replaced and it very pricey.
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Re: (ou.grizzly)

Postby left3field » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:50 am

Well I just had it up on jack stands and safely let it run. I had my neighbor help me and we both agree that the noise is coming from the drivers side rear wheel area. So I am thinking wheel bearing assembly, unless there is something else there that I am not aware of. I think I will see if the local mechanic will put it on the hoist briefly and confirm what I found. Let me know if you all have any other suggestions. I did NOT hear any abnormal noises coming from the diff. nor did it feel like there was a problem. The passenger rear wheel sounded complete different than the driver's side. Anyway, thanks for the help everyone. I will let you know what I find out.
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Re: (left3field)

Postby keithvibe » Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:38 am

well that sounds promising, would rather have to replace the hub than a diff.


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Postby brbo » Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:58 am

Good to hear you tried it out - I was more just suggesting you find out where the noise was coming from rather than complete diag..

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,,,

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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (left3field)

Postby majicvibe » Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:56 am

I am having the same identical problem with the same year of AWD vibe and was wondering if you got it figured out yet. The repair shop told me a new rear end for about $950.00 plus labor or possibly wheel bearing unit for about a $600.00, but they are not for sure and I do not want to spend money just to guess at it.The car has 66000 easy miles on it and sure has me puzzeled. Any help would be appreciated. I am told not to worry about driving it but it sounded last night like it was going to fly apart.
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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (majicvibe)

Postby NibCrom » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:27 am

I had a wheel bearing go bad on my wife's car. It got louder as speed increased. I replaced it with the help of my friend for under $100. Once we got the old bearing off, it was easy to tell it was bad. It squeaked really bad when you spun it quickly.
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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (NibCrom)

Postby junglejim54 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:36 am

I also have a 2003 Pontiac Vibe AWD that started making noise in the rear end about one week ago. The noise sounds like a weed eater and gets louder as the car accelerate. At 60 miles per hours, when I put the car in neutral, and bring the RPM back down, the sound remains. I was thinking it was a hole in the muffler until I read your postings. Any comments on what you think it is will be appreciated. The noise does not appear to effect the operation of the car, but I am very concern as I drive about 100 miles a day for work. junglejim54
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Postby SublimeVibe » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:32 am

hey junglejim,
I had a problem with my 03 with a sound coming from the rearend as I accelerated .I found out it was my muffler assembly .I had my wife stand outside as I reved up the engine .I would try that first.
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Re: (SublimeVibe)

Postby majicvibe » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:01 am

I got the rear end noise taken care of today by replacing the rear hub and bearing assembly on the 2003 awd . The hub was $250.00 from a gm dealer and about $200.00 labor. The repair shop thought that they could still hear a noise in the rear end but I drove it for about 70 miles after they worked on it and I do not hear the noise that it definately had before. I believe that it is okay now. I am told that there is no good way to check for bearing problem on this pressed in bearing on hub combo, so it apparently is not easily diagnosed. I went this route first, instead of the major bucks for a new rear end on it.
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Postby alex_h » Mon Mar 16, 2009 4:51 pm

i had a bad noise coming from the rear end also i took it in and $1,300.00 later i had the rear dif rebuilt that was from a friend of the familys shop the local dealer wanted $2,700.00 to rebuild
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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (left3field)

Postby left3field » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:28 pm

Sorry it took so long to get back on here. The problem ended up being a bearing gone bad. I replaced the bearing assembly and the problem went away. I did the work myself. The most difficult part was removing the bolts that hold the assembly in place. You have to get to them from the back and the "dust/dirt" shield poses problems getting to the bolts. The best method for me seemed to be using a deep-well socket. If anyone has any further questions, please let me know and I will try to answer them.
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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (left3field)

Postby keithvibe » Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:20 am

Glad to hear.


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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (NibCrom)

Postby sustainblue » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:40 am

Hey nibcrom, is your vibe an awd? $100 for the hub assembly seems really cheap. Auto Zone wants ~$230 per assembly. Am I missing something?
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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (sustainblue)

Postby keithvibe » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:04 am



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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (keithvibe)

Postby sustainblue » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:44 am

Looks like my part is the Timken HA590002. I can tell because my rear wheels actually help propel the car (AWD), hence the splines in the picture. Must be that you guys have just front wheel drive vibes.

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.

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Postby notamechanic » Thu May 12, 2011 3:20 am

2003 AWD has been at the dealers for 2 weeks. Differential nose. Quoted $2650 to repair. They have received 2 differentials sent by GM and cannot install either one. Splines (??) do not match up. Parts Department is talking to GM engineering. HELP!
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Re: (notamechanic)

Postby sustainblue » Thu May 12, 2011 9:46 pm

Dude, bummer. Have they specified what is exactly wrong with your differential? Honestly, they are composed of several components, all of which are moderately cheap and replaceable.

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.

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Re: Rear end noise 2003 AWD (keithvibe)

Postby kontinuous » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:26 am

Thanks for gettting this started left3field and to all that chimed in on the subject. I have the same disease on my 2004 AWD with ABS. Rear Driver Side. Did the analysis this weekend with a stethescope to confirm. My Rear Dif was leaking while in warranty and that got worked on years ago. So I was hoping they caught any problems then and did not cause any more. Feeling good about the $150 for the bearing/hub assembly and not a third member tear down.

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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