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4WD whining noise at slow speeds

sounds like the whine when the power steering fluid is low

4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby admiller316 [OP] » Dec 10 2010, 7:58pm

It snowed about an inch overnight and I used the 4WD high on my truck for the first time this morning. I turned in on when I got off the freeway, where the roads we still a little slick, so everything was all warmed up to operating temp. When I started slowing down to turn into the driveway at work, I heard a nasty whining sound coming from the front of the truck. :evil: It sounds a lot like the whine a power steering pump makes when it's low on fluid. I guess it could be described as a grinding or howling noise as well. I drove around the parking lot a little and it only happens at slow speed when decelerating. Once I slow down to very slow speeds, the noise starts to oscillate a little bit and then stops when I'm just crawling. This happens when all the time in 4WD and stops when in 2WD. I just double-checked again at lunch and it's more of the same.

I like to think that I'm fairly mechanically inclined but since I've never worked as a mechanic, all of my knowledge is limited to the vehicles that I've owned and I've never owned anything with 4WD before. I get the concept of the system, just never had to work on them before. So I can take some highly technical questions, if you have them. 8-)

I just bought this truck on Monday and it didn't make this noise last week when I test drove it. I will be taking it back to the dealer for them to assess it but I just want to make sure I know what I'm talking about. I'm not used to these trucks yet and all of the noises they make but this one is too loud for me to consider "normal". Oh, and it only has 70k miles on it.

Thanks for the help!
Tony
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Related Topics  Small whining noise   Engine making a whining noise   Clunk/pop noise from front end when turning at low speeds   14 GMC 2500 4wd Noise   2014 Silverado and Sierra 4WD Noise   Anyone know why my truck is whining?   serv 4wd light on wont go into 4wd need help bad!   00' NBS Silverado won't come out of Auto 4WD or 4WD Hi   Grounding whining on speaker   New to forum, Bad whining   Engine is whining & other problems   no Service 4wd message & no 4wd   Engine Whining, power steering, brake and electrical problem   Why does my truck slow down so much??? 
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby BWolfE84 » Dec 10 2010, 8:02pm

maybe there is a cat stuck under the hood....

Well let me ask you this, it only makes the noise with the 4wd engaged???
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby admiller316 [OP] » Dec 10 2010, 8:05pm

Yes, the noise only happens when 4WD is engaged. Could it be normal?

Damn cat... always making trouble...
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby BWolfE84 » Dec 10 2010, 8:16pm

i had a problem with an old Ford Bronco i had. The only difference is that my problew was the exact opposite. My whining was only after i got out of 4wd. What i didn't know at the time was that you have to reverse once you disengage your 4wd for about 10 feet. I didn't do that so i had that bad whinning. I just threw it in reverse, drove back about 15 feet. Never happened again.
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby Portmanblaze91 » Dec 10 2010, 11:49pm

Sounds like the front differential bearings are going bad. An indicator would be leaking seals on the out-put shafts of the dif and side to side play. I think what is happening to your's is as you slow down the failing bearings are causing an imballance in the safts creating a whining humming noise. It seems like the drivers side fails first. You also want to look at the pinion shaft seal. Good idea to check your front drive shat for bad u joints as well. The front diff has two large roller bearings for the carrier and another large one for the pinion shaft and if I remember correctly, three needle bearings for the axles.

You can get a complete Timkin rebuild kit for $138.00 online (complete with seals and all bearings). The factory bearings are much less inferior than the Timkins.

I have 140k on my 99' with a nice a high pitched hum with leaking seals (I'm keeping a close eye on it until I can rebuild the diff). Also, my buddies 01' Suburban did the same thing and once we rebuilt it in 8 hours, the problem was solved.

Now without even looking at your truck this would be my first assumption.
Good luck and I hope your dealer comes through for you! :D
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby bubbasparks » Dec 11 2010, 1:11am

First thing I would do is check the level of fluid in the front diff. or even have them pull the old fluid out and put in new diff. fluid.
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby admiller316 [OP] » Dec 11 2010, 9:37pm

Jon - thanks for the tip, I didn't see any side-to-side play when I looked at the output shafts this morning but I will definitely keep an eye on them.

I had the dealer put the truck up on the hoist check the front and rear diff fluid as well as the transfer case and they said they were all at the proper level and still pretty clean. The salesman I bought the truck from (someone I trust) said he put one of the mechanics there that he trusts so I didn't feel the need to make them physically show me. After a test drive, this mechanic knew what it was right away: the front tires are worn more than the rear tires. Not a lot, but enough to notice just by looking at them. This causes the tires to spin at different speeds and puts a heavier-than-normal load on the front drivetrain when decelerating. I'm kind of ashamed that I didn't think of this myself because I've spent more years than I care to admit working in tire stores part-time while I go to school. But oh well, I'm a new 4x4 owner...

I want to get another set of wheels with all new tires on them and switch them out just to confirm but I don't know when I will get the change to do that. The mechanic said there is nothing wrong with driving it like this, I just wouldn't want to have two different size tires on it. I don't know, it makes sense to me... I guess I'll just keep the meatier tires on the rear for a while to wear them down and keep up on my rotations after that.
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby Portmanblaze91 » Dec 12 2010, 1:17am

Well I'll admit, when I first read your reply my tought was BS, the salesman is blowing smoke. Before I responded, I did some research on TireRack.com and it talks about what the mechanic told you. :o So I'm chaulking this one up as a learning experience.
Thanks for the info! You still want to keep an eye on those seals when you change the oil.
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Re: 4WD whining noise at slow speeds

Postby bwibbeler » Jan 23 2011, 11:37pm

Man if I'd only read your post sooner. I have an 03 that I started having the same problems with about 3 weeks ago. I brought it to my local dealer and he origianlly diagnosed it as the front diff. They went through and rebuilt the front but it did not fix the problem. They then went and rebuilt the back and it still did not clear it up. On to the transfer case they went and once again still no solution.. WTF. Fortunately my bill has not started yet so I pretty much have a new truck under the body. I didn't put two and two together about the tread depth. I know the dealer checked size and inflation but everything looked ok. I did just return from a round trip out to Montana and wasn't planning on putting on new rubber until this coming fall but I think I am going to call them tomorrow to get my truck back so I can see if that is the problem. Hopefully it works....
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