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Old 06-14-2009, 12:31 AM   #1
quantumech
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Sad Diff pin?

So, here's the story. In addition to the intermittent misfires at idle that have been mostly solved by replacing the manifold gasket (the very subtle ones that are still there are likely from the plugs, or wires, or cleaning the ICM/towers...I think, from reading other threads), I'm now ready to tackle the grinding/metallic rubbing sound when accelerating. It also doesn't shift as smoothly as it probably should

It only happens when I'm in gear (most noticeable in 2 and 3) and seems to last between 1500 and 2000 RPM. If I get off the throttle it goes away, same with pushing in the clutch. I'm pretty sure it's not the timing chain, otherwise I would imagine I would notice it while in neutral. From reading threads about this, two things seem to come up: wheel bearing and the diff pin. I think it might be the diff pin, since it did dissappear shortly after having the passenger axle seal replaced (someone overfilled the transmission by >1 qt (Firestone probably...along with an extra qt of oil ). When Goodyear replaced the seal, they said the fluid was dirty, and replaced it, and all was good for a bit...a couple weeks. Then it started up again, and didn't shift as smoothly, just like before the change.

I've looked at Richpin's video, and it doesn't look bad, but I just wanted to know if I can see into the speed sensor from the top of the transmission, or if I'll need to get a small mirror to look at it? Or, do you think it could be something else? I've also thought about the clutch.

On another note, I've decided to do as much work as I can myself like I used to...tired of the shops f-ing stuff up. Anyone in the Seattle area who wouldn't mind giving a hand now and then?

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Old 06-14-2009, 11:24 AM   #2
MikeNW
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Default Re: Diff pin?

You need a small mirror to see into the tranny, through the VSS.

Jack up or otherwise raise the front of the car
Drain about a quart of tranny fluid or use a small vac. Otherwise, the fluid will drain out the VSS hole while the car is tilted.

remove the VSS- it unscrews- unclip its connector first.

use a bright light and a small mirror, look into the VSS hole, slowly rotate the tire so you can see the diff carrier turning, watch carefully for the pin, look for both ends (one full rotation). Pin should not stick out of either end of the carrier. If the diff pin has already started to grenade the case, you will see fluid leaking out of the diff IF it has eaten through the case

"Anyone in the Seattle area who wouldn't mind giving a hand now and then?"
This is a great idea, a network of people who can help each other.
Of course, richpin's videos are great if you have to do stuff yourself!

"grinding/metallic rubbing sound when accelerating. It also doesn't shift as smoothly as it probably should"
Uh-oh. I am thinking clutch problem.

...
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:18 PM   #3
quantumech
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Default Re: Diff pin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
You need a small mirror to see into the tranny, through the VSS.

Jack up or otherwise raise the front of the car
Drain about a quart of tranny fluid or use a small vac. Otherwise, the fluid will drain out the VSS hole while the car is tilted.

remove the VSS- it unscrews- unclip its connector first.

use a bright light and a small mirror, look into the VSS hole, slowly rotate the tire so you can see the diff carrier turning, watch carefully for the pin, look for both ends (one full rotation). Pin should not stick out of either end of the carrier. If the diff pin has already started to grenade the case, you will see fluid leaking out of the diff IF it has eaten through the case

"Anyone in the Seattle area who wouldn't mind giving a hand now and then?"
This is a great idea, a network of people who can help each other.
Of course, richpin's videos are great if you have to do stuff yourself!

"grinding/metallic rubbing sound when accelerating. It also doesn't shift as smoothly as it probably should"
Uh-oh. I am thinking clutch problem.
Thanks Mike, time to find a mirror then.

Luckily, it hasn't started to wreak too much havoc yet...she doesn't leak any fluid of any type (fingers crossed, knocking on wood). I was also thinking clutch, but another thread with similar symptoms and dirty fluid was pointing towards the pin...

Well, if it ends up being the pin, I can always do the clutch at the same time, right? Or, if it's the clutch, get that pin welded in place before it has a chance to do anything.

I'll still need a hand with those though, anyone?

...
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Diff pin?

well i wish i could help you but your on the wrong side of the country, sorry

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Old 06-14-2009, 10:04 PM   #5
MikeNW
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Default Re: Diff pin?

FIRST, you have to determine the problem.

I have posted (last year) how to do a clutch job, it is almost easier to just remove the tranny. You do this by dropping the subframe a few inches on the left side. Don't have to touch the right axle and suspension. Tranny comes out through the wheel well.
Some people take out the engine and tranny as a unit- that's OK if you have an engine lift.

There is a procedure on removing the guts of the tranny, to get at the diff pin. Didn't seem to be too difficult IIRC.

If the diff pin is loose, you risk it failing at any time. You will have to take out the tranny, so yes, you can inspect the clutch then. (If it's marginal, or of suspicious quality, you might as well replace it.)
If the pin is OK, give thanks.
If the clutch is shot, I would recommend Clutch City (on line) and get a Luk clutch kit. It is original equipment. Do not mess with other off-brands.

Best of luck, if I was closer, I would help you, god knows I would like to escape this miserable Lower Alabama heat for a while!

Look up posts by LowSaturn, he races Saturns, and welds diff pins.
Also BarnOwl, on testing the clutch system.

...
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:33 PM   #6
quantumech
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Default Re: Diff pin?

I'm leaning towards clutch. I read a post last night about how to shift properly, and it turns out I've been riding the clutch at stops and in stop & go without realizing it. I was taught that as long as the clutch pushed in all the way, you were in neutral. I also have been one of those guys with my hand on the shifter...so I have 13 years of driving to change (I've always driven stick...except for the first 2 or 3 weeks when I started driving). I took riding the clutch as having it pushed in part of the way. Anyway, I just took the dog to the dog park across town driving with it the real neutral, and my hand off the shifter (well, most of the time...old habits die hard), and it got better...as well as the ease of shifting. Granted, I never had to jam it in there.

I'm still going to check the pin on Tuesday after I get some jack stands, and my parking garage neighbors are gone (gets kinda cramped with them there) and check the pin, as well as the hydro's. I'll let you know what I find.

...
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Old 06-14-2009, 11:35 PM   #7
quantumech
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Default Re: Diff pin?

Oh, I keep seeing it alot, but can't figure out what IIRC stands for. It seems to be a popular FLA.

...
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Diff pin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by quantumech View Post
Oh, I keep seeing it alot, but can't figure out what IIRC stands for. It seems to be a popular FLA.

IIRC... it means "If I Recall Correctly". (No Reagan 'recall' jokes, please; the man's dead!)

Back OT, sorta. Does this diff pin nonsense happen in the automatic trannies also, all the 5-speeds, or just certain models of 5-speeds? TIA

...
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Old 06-18-2009, 12:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Diff pin?

It can happen in automatics as well as 5-speeds, since the differential is the same in both of them. It's also a possibility on all model years; no S-Series are immune.

To reduce your chances, drive gently and try not to lose traction and spin your wheels a lot. Some people do this and have diff pin problems anyway. Other people drive like the Duke Boys yet never have a problem.

But then again, my grandmother used anecdotal evidence all the time and she lived to be 100...

...
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:31 PM   #10
quantumech
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Happy Re: Diff pin?

So, I thought I would make an update. What should have been a 5-10 minute job between jacking, draining, etc. ended up taking a couple hours. I didn't have the 24 mm wrench, so I took an adjustable wrench from the lab. It didn't open up enough, and with traffic snarled due to the solstice festival in the neighborhood downtown, walked back in to get the larger one...sigh.

Anyway, the diff pin is exactly where it should be, so phew. They don't have a smilie to express my happiness about that, but this comes close

I did manage to check the hydraulics, and they are fine (pedal movement ~6", fork movement ~0.5"), so it's time to relax a bit, get a little sleep, and think about getting a new clutch. Probably killed the pressure plate due to my ignorance detailed in an earlier post

Oh, and the clutch engages/disengages near the steering wheel...I guess that's another sign of a mechanical clutch problem. Learn something new every time I log in (well, almost).

So, I'm just going to continue killing the clutch by driving it this way, the rest of the transmission, more or less, should still be OK, right?

...
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:12 AM   #11
quantumech
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Default Re: Diff pin?

so, through my rejoicing, I just had a thought. From what I can tell, there aren't gear teeth where the diff pin holding pin that likes to snap is. Rather then welding it, could someone drill out the passage way a little larger, and insert a bolt? Just a thought I had, not actually planning on doing it.

...
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