Metallic screeching sound from back end for first 30 seconds of driving - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 08-10-2016
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Metallic screeching sound from back end for first 30 seconds of driving

Hi all, my truck is making a really aweful metallic screeching sound when I first drive in the morning or after sitting for an hour or more. It's not a belt or brakes I don't think because 1. It doesn't do it when stationary and 2. It only screeches for about the first 30 seconds of driving away from my house at 10-30mph. After about 30 seconds it stops which leads me to believe SOMETHING needs lubricated as it just started and got worse over the last two weeks. I will change fluids but I wanted to see if anyone could suggest a place to start... This is what I am thinking it could possibly be:
Driveshaft U joints grease
Transfer case oil
Differential oil
Rear axle grease

Also it seems to be louder when I press the gas or "engine brake" and when I shift to neutral or press the clutch it gets slightly quieter. I'm 99% sure it's coming from the rear or center of the vehicle behind the drivers seat (cab) and NOT the front.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 08-10-2016
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If the vehicle makes no noise when it's standing still, then that would mean it would almost have to be some part of the drivetrain. Brakes too could make a sound like this.

First, check all your fluids and make sure they're clean. If you find metal shavings in any fluid, kiss whatever component that is goodbye.

I doubt it's the driveshaft. I believe those generally just clunk about. Check for play with the vehicle in first gear. It should be pretty solid.

Pull off the front wheels and rotors and look at the backing plates, also known as dust shields. Look for shiny silver spots. Go ahead and tap 'em back a bit with a hammer. Sometimes these get bent and scrape against the rotor.

Pull the rear wheels and check the drums, make sure they're clean on the inside, IE, not caked with rust or other crap. It's also worth looking to see if there's anything that may be scraping against the drum.

I doubt it's the rear axel or differential, but go ahead and look anyway. Suspend the rear of the vehicle with jackstands and block up the front wheels. Have a friend put the truck into an appropriate gear so that the rear wheels spin at the right speed while you listen around. If you have enough stands, suspend the whole vehicle and place it into 4x4 mode.

Obviously, don't be under the vehicle while you do this. And, I would advise doing this in the driveway, a CONCRETE driveway. No gravel, no sand, no grass, just solid concrete. Two reasons for this. In a garage, air isn't moving as good as it would be outside and should the vehicle fall, there's some space to move forward if reaction time is slow.

Oh, and a tip. I believe your transfercase doesn't take gear oil. Automatic transmission fluid, specifically Mercon V. Check your owners manual. If it specifies 'mercon', use mercon V instead.
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Old 08-10-2016
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+1 for ^^^

Welcome to the forum

Does applying the brakes when it is making noise change anything?

How about using the Parking Brake pedal, while holding out the release handle, while it is making the noise, does noise change

Shift transmission into Neutral and coast when it is making noise, see if noise changes as engine RPMs drops faster than speed, also when in Neutral REV the engine and see if noise changes.

It does read like rear brake issue, do you use the Parking Brake every day, or hardly ever?
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Old 08-10-2016
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From what I can tell, not the brakes

Thanks for the replies! I just took it for a spin and the pressing and/or depressing of the brakes changes nothing. I tried the emergency brake also and it doesn't change anything pressed or depressed either.

You asked if I use the parking brake a lot or not and I do use it regularly.

Putting it in neutral doesn't change the frequency but it does change the loudness. From what I can guess, that means not the engine or clutch, probably not the tranny or transfer case (hopefully!!!) but I feel like it is driveshaft or farther back for two reasons:
1. It sounds like the rear end from the cab
2. When the drivetrain has load on it when accelerating or decelerating with engine brake, it gets louder like it has more strain on whatever part it is but again the frequency doesn't change so it isn't coming from in front of the tranny (again, hopefully!!!)

I'll try to get a hold of some jack stands but don't have any currently. Thanks for that suggestion though :)

Thanks
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Old 08-10-2016
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If it is indeed from the back, the only things back there are the differential/axels and rear drums.

You can get a set of good jackstands from Walmart, believe it or not. I bought a set there and they're working out great. Used 'em plenty of times. I think they were like 16 bucks per stand. I want to buy two more.

Anyway, here's something you could do. If the brakes don't appear to be the culprit, get a good size drain pan, or wash tub, whatever works. Drain the fluid out of the differential via popping the cover off. Make sure you have new gear oil when you do this, and some RTV to make a new gasket.

Once it's drained, suspend the tires off the ground and slowly turn the wheels to inspect for wear or metal shavings. DO NOT use the engine to do this. Not only could it sling oil, but it'll have very poor lubrication and could cause you problems.
Turn the tires by hand and look for gear wear. Obvious cracks or shavings. You don't have to be an expert to know when you see something wrong with gears.

My money is on something being loose in the brakes, though. Differentials or axels wearing out is not something that's common on Rangers. In fact, I've never seen anyone trying to repair one or finding that's their issue. Doesn't mean it can't happen, but unlikely all the same.
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Old 08-11-2016
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Found area of source

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheArcticWolf1911 View Post
If it is indeed from the back, the only things back there are the differential/axels and rear drums.

You can get a set of good jackstands from Walmart, believe it or not. I bought a set there and they're working out great. Used 'em plenty of times. I think they were like 16 bucks per stand. I want to buy two more.

Anyway, here's something you could do. If the brakes don't appear to be the culprit, get a good size drain pan, or wash tub, whatever works. Drain the fluid out of the differential via popping the cover off. Make sure you have new gear oil when you do this, and some RTV to make a new gasket.

Once it's drained, suspend the tires off the ground and slowly turn the wheels to inspect for wear or metal shavings. DO NOT use the engine to do this. Not only could it sling oil, but it'll have very poor lubrication and could cause you problems.
Turn the tires by hand and look for gear wear. Obvious cracks or shavings. You don't have to be an expert to know when you see something wrong with gears.

My money is on something being loose in the brakes, though. Differentials or axels wearing out is not something that's common on Rangers. In fact, I've never seen anyone trying to repair one or finding that's their issue. Doesn't mean it can't happen, but unlikely all the same.
I just ran to Walmart like you said and got some jack stands. I lifted my truck and ran it and found the area. I added some grease but no immediate fix.

I am 100% sure the screech is coming from the area either where the u joint connects to the differential or the u joint itself. Any ideas how to fix it now that we know the general area? Would you suggest I add more grease or replace u joint or something else?

By the way, thanks for the recommendation on the jack stands :)

Last edited by Amarotica; 08-11-2016 at 12:31 AM. Reason: Adding video
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Old 08-11-2016
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You're welcome. They're great value for money.

Anyway, check the driveshaft for play, or any dusting (namely orange or red) on the driveshaft linkage itself. If there is none, which I suspect, then don't bother with more grease.

That's the sound of metal against metal. Reminds me of one of those things that pump oil that you'll see in a field, actually.
Anyway, I suspect it's something inside the differential. I say this because there's nothing really for the driveshaft to rub on, but inside the diff, there's plenty of metal places that other metal can rub itself against.

For your sake, I really hope you don't find any unrepairable damage, otherwise a new differential/axel assembly could be in your future. If this is the case, don't panic. Salvage yards are your friend.

Couple things. Before cracking the diff open, if you choose to do so, make sure you can remove the fill plug from the rear of the diff. Upper end near the driveshaft on the driver's side of the vehicle, I believe. It's a 3/8ths box-end plug. Pull it out and check the fluid level. If there's little fluid in there, that could hint you into something much more..... tragic.
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Old 08-11-2016
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Great video, sounds like a dry outer wheel bearing in the axle, or the input bearing right where the "U" joint bolts onto.
I would of said "U" joint, but you have eliminated that.

It would be unusual for a sound like that coming from the differential because it's always in oil.
When differentials wear, they become clunky, making a clunk sound as load is applied and let off, but that squeaky sound is the sound of dry metal with no oil.

Last edited by Jeff R 1; 08-11-2016 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 08-11-2016
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^ Perhaps the oil leaked out slowly over time. Wouldn't be the first time something leaked.
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Old 08-11-2016
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If there was no oil in the differential, it wouldn't last long and he's been driving around for a while, I am assuming.
There would also be oil wetness somewhere indicating a leak, even a slow one. The rear end looks dry and dusty with no oil and dirt being caked by an oil leak.

An engine stethoscope would tell Taylor right away.
Or piece of wood _ I use a cedar stick the width of my ear and about 3/8th thick and how ever long one needs it.

The stick is held hard against the suspect area while you hold the other end cupped up to your ear with your hand.
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Old 08-11-2016
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A very large screwdriver I find works just the same.
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Old 08-11-2016
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I'll have to try that next time.
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Old 08-11-2016
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It works very well. The tip of the driver goes to where you want to listen, and the handle to your ear. Best results if you can get it on your jawbone or other bone for it to resonate to your eardrum.

Of course, the bigger the screwdriver, the better.
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Old 08-12-2016
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Or the longer the screw driver in some cases _ like next to a wheel.
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Old 08-14-2016
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*SOLVED* thanks for everyone's suggestions!

Thanks to all with the suggestions! I went and got some gear oil and WD-40 cause I thought the sound ended up coming from the rear differential but before I opened it up, I decided to spray the U joints with WD-40 and the noise stopped immediately! I guess the grease I tried using on the rear U joint right at the differential before just didn't penetrate far enough into the system... Now I feel like an idiot because I hadn't tried that first but I'm happy that a dry U joint was the problem! Next time I'll try WD-40 first!!!
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Old 08-14-2016
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I thought there was a grease nipple and you added the grease through that.
Factory sealed, so much that.

It's great when it turns out be something simple !
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Old 08-14-2016
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Sweet. Glad it wasn't something more expensive.
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