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Old 03-23-2017, 03:01 PM   #1
macantley
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Default new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engaged

the vehicle is nice and quiet during normal driving, When the AWD is kicked in it sounds as if the rear wheels are dragging the rear bumper or a fender liner, the AWD is working, maybe slipping alittle bit though but all 4 wheels do seem to be spinning. I've never seen or heard anything this crazy when AWD kicks in.

I did a search and it seems there's several people with this noise and there's a youtube video of a guy driving his saturn vue in the snow and its making the same noise as mine. I'm guessing im going to have to replace the rear differential but was curious if there's any simpler fix. as loud as this problem is i dont see a simple fluid change being the solution. just curious if anyone has any recommendations.

any and all help is appreciated.
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Old 03-23-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Quote:
Originally Posted by macantley View Post
the vehicle is nice and quiet during normal driving, When the AWD is kicked in it sounds as if the rear wheels are dragging the rear bumper or a fender liner, the AWD is working, maybe slipping alittle bit though but all 4 wheels do seem to be spinning. I've never seen or heard anything this crazy when AWD kicks in.

I did a search and it seems there's several people with this noise and there's a youtube video of a guy driving his saturn vue in the snow and its making the same noise as mine. I'm guessing im going to have to replace the rear differential but was curious if there's any simpler fix. as loud as this problem is i dont see a simple fluid change being the solution. just curious if anyone has any recommendations.

any and all help is appreciated.
Check the carrier bearing and/or change the lubricant.. More experienced SF's will chime in.
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

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Originally Posted by JefferyC View Post
Check the carrier bearing and/or change the lubricant.. More experienced SF's will chime in.
Carrier bearing looks great, no play in the driveshaft anywhere, however i can grab either axle in the rear and shake it up and down quite a bit at the rear differential, more play there than any vehicle i've ever seen, I've had alot of AWD vehicles and rear wheel with independent suspension vehicles and never have i seen so much play up and down where the axle stubs go into the differential.

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Old 03-23-2017, 09:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

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Originally Posted by macantley View Post
never have i seen so much play up and down where the axle stubs go into the differential.

matthew
THat sounds like your problem right there. SOunds like the RDU needs serious service/RnR/replacement or just remove the driveshaft and make it FWD.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

I had a groan in my RDM when the AWD was engaged when I bought my Vue. Doing the fluid change solved the noise. Before you go throwing parts or deleting parts, you may want to have that fluid serviced.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Change the fluid.... with the Versatrak fluid.... and could your rear C/V joints be bad on the inside of the axle?

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Old 03-24-2017, 09:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Umm, you didn't put it in AWD during the test drive?
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

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Umm, you didn't put it in AWD during the test drive?
I never drove an AWD Vue, but I thought it was just an "on demand" system... meaning that it "kicks on" ,automatically, when it senses front wheels slipping- . I believe the clutches in the RDU lock up electronically when the computer senses the slip, and rear wheels, then, take up some slack- but only while things are slippery between the front and rear.

NO more slip, no more AWD( and back to FWD).
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

my actual axle stubs move up and down inside the rear differential the entire tripod with the splines and all, probably 1/4" or more movement up/down, maybe even 1/2", i guess i could video it when i put it back on the lift, and its not a groan noise its making, its full on grinding type sound but it souonds more like a rubber wheel grinding away at the rear bumper, kinda like if a tire got caught on the inner fender liner, goes away as soon as the rear axle is disengaged. I tested the AWD out by driving it into the very waterlogged field beside my house, its a pretty steep angle so i gave it gas to go up the angle from a stop and the front wheels started slipping and the rear would engage but anytime the rear was engaged it sounded horrible, it was so loud that my neighbor about 125-150 yards away came out to see what all the noise was. so figure that the noise is loud enough that on a quiet day someone could hear it a complete city block away.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

I will also point out that with the vehicle on the lift and in gear it doesnt make the noise, it has a very slight noise but nothing anywhere near the noise it makes on the ground, its only when there is a load on the vehicle that it sounds like all hell is breaking loose in the back of the vehicle.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Seems like you need to replace the rear diff. Or maybe jack it up and put a Toyota under there LOL. Actually from your description of the play sounds like the carrier bearings are shot to hell. Honestly I think I'd go to a salvage yard and find a whole differential assembly, find a shop to fully rebuild it and install it
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

underthehood and Macantley,
I wouldn't replace the whole RDM until you drain old fluid and refill it. I would probably do this twice actually before you do anything else.... with definite drive time inbetween, where you engage the rear, like you Macantley, described. My 07 AWD system is pretty much quiet when it engages, but then I have done at least one drain and refill on it. It is due for another. Just don't blindly throw money away on a new RDM until you try the easy fix of a fluid change.

And, on a side note, I can verify that the system works in reverse also, as a day or so ago I was backing into my parking area at my house and the front tires started spinning in the mud, after a second or so, there was a slight kick and the backs grabbed and I backed in nice and smooth.

And for the folks who are saying that it is the carrier bearing.... I am kind of torn on this one.... my original carrier bearing appeared fine by multiple inspections, but it whined at me for over a year after I got the car, but made no different noises when the AWD engaged. The replacement bearing I put in has kind of rattled/ground since day one, but again, no other noise when the AWD engages.

John
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

*IF* i get a chance today ill record it and make a Youtube video of the souond, not sure if i can combine two different video's but i can put it on the lift and move the inner tripods in the differential as well, I've got a whole host of things that i have to do today so it may not get done today as i just got my wife back from the hospital last night from a surgery on a broken leg. From what i've seen the fluid is about 60 bucks to replace/refill, a used complete rear diff with 60 day warranty is $185 delivered to my house from a local salvage yard, granted id have to put new fluid in the rear diff that i buy if i go that route.

I'd hold off on anymore comments till i can post up some video's for you guys, I do appreciate all the help, I'll probably drain the fluid from the rear as well just to check for any metal fragments.
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Mac,
Follow instructions in this thread.....

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=106726

and it should only take 1 1/2 bottles of Versatrak fluid to do a drain and fill.. and the fluid is $17.50 a bottle on Amazon right now.... so for $35.00 you can get the new fluid... And I will be ordering two bottles shortly to do my RDM....again.....

John
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

It appears you are receiving lots of good advice and I'll add my two cents.

Vue AWD system has no computer controlled electronic circuits ... its all mechanical. (See attached pdf description).

There is a center support bearing for the prop-shaft ... the center support bearing is at times referred to a carrier bearing which can create confusion when you're thinking of differential carrier axle bearings.

See attached thumbnails depicting RDM innards.

Same AWD components were used in 04-07 Vue's. However, early 2004 RDMs were supposedly carry-overs from 02-03 model years and were reworked (some say neutered) to handle 3.5 engine. IIRC the 2006 Equinox RDM is same item.

I replaced Versatrak fluid in my 2005 Vue AWD with Royal Purple Synchromax and didn't notice any RDM operating differences. I eventually went back to Versatrak when I found several bottles on eBay at near theft prices.

You've isolated your problem to RDM and I hope you get that squared away with minimal cost and effort. Be sure to check and/or replace transfer case fluid while you're working underneath. I recall one member reporting a loud grinding noise when moving and found the TC was dry and gears were destroyed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RDM 1 of 3.jpg (61.9 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg RDM 2 of 3.jpg (97.4 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg RDM 3 of 3.jpg (168.8 KB, 11 views)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 04 Vue - RDM Description.pdf (56.6 KB, 12 views)
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Old 03-25-2017, 04:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

LV with his axles bouncing up and down it's a sure sign the carrier bearings are gone. I saw enough of this happen on early front drive Mopar transaxles. (basically the same as the RDM). People would indicate they had trans fluid leak, and you think bam simple seal replacement. Wrong. When you got under there and felt that axle(s) wobbling and saw the metal in the pan it was obvious what happened. The dead giveaway here is he can move the axles. No amount of replacement fluid will rebuild those bearings. Which is why IMO the cheapest and most efficient things to do (other than getting rid of it) is to replace the RDM and call it a day. Probably a few hundred $$$ but IMO better than chasing your tail thinking new fluid will "fix" a worn out differential
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Underthehood and F2G,
I hate it when I brain fart!!! I did get the carrier bearing confused with the center support bearing.... which is where my issue is.... so you got me on that one... That being said.... I stand by my price on the cost of the fluid, and the directions on how to change it. But, rethinking this, I would seriously consider getting a used RDM from a junkyard, especially an 05-07 version if they will give you any kind of warrenty on it. Then do the fluid change and fill as soon as you get it home...

Of course, depending on where you live, you can also just pull the prop shaft for the next several months and drive the car in full FWD mode while you are working on the RDM. And do definitely change the gear oil in the transfer case on the back of the transmission, I used Lucas Hypoid 80w90 I believe. Finally, seeing as you just got the car.... do two drain and fills on the trans itself, using ONLY Honda DW-1 full synthetic trans fluid. By the HONDA book it should have been done 3-4 times so far.... and it is REAL easy to do all things considered.

John
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:53 PM   #18
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Apparently i have to have 15 posts or more before i can post URL's to other sites, so im gonna go troll around the site and get my #'s up then post my youtube video's of the sounds in a few minutes.
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Old 03-26-2017, 09:17 PM   #19
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Ok, first video is of the noise when the rear wheels are active, i've got the vehicle spinning all 4 wheels in this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRCew7jT4dw

and here's a link to the rear axle play

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vmLO_dVfHs
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Old 03-27-2017, 08:04 AM   #20
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Default Re: new to me, 2006 saturn vue 102k miles horrible grinding in rear when AWD is engag

Yep no amount of fluid changing is gonna "fix" that. My money is on the carrier bearings. Your axles should not be so loose. I'd lay odds if the drain for that rear axle is on the bottom of the housing you'll get metal coming out if your drain it
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