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Old 09-14-2013, 06:46 PM
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differential noise, quick fix?

My Subaru is starting to develop gear whine in the front differential. From what I've read it's somewhat common in them.. Anything quite the whine as a quick fix?. I changed the gear lube with Valvoline semi synthetic 80W90 with limited slip additive in it and used about 50% Lucas oil stabilizer hoping that it would do something as a cushion, but it's only slightly better than it was..

I know sawdust is the old very temp fix, and there is a fix with bananna's ( not sure what the theory is on that one ).... Any fix in a can that might work for a while? The rebuild is about a $1,200 cost and a used trans isn't much less than that, so I'm just trying to extend the life of the differential while I search for a cheap used trans

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Old 09-14-2013, 07:11 PM
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Do yourself a favor and do not add anything out of the ordinary. In other words, if it's not made to go into the diff, do not use it- including banana peels and sawdust.

A noisy rearend (or front diff in your case) can go many thousands of miles w/o failure as long as it has lubrication. My advice is to drive it normally until such time that you rebuild or replace the rearend.
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:26 PM
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Lol, I wasn't really going to add sawdust or bananna's. I didn't know if there was a product formulated for diff gear whine other than Lucas. The Lucas oil stabalizer has to use 50-100% in noisy differentials in the directions so that is why I dumped that in there. I remember the old Lucas display with the 3 gears and a crank, and figured it might not hurt
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:28 PM
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saw dust is a car lot scam to sell the C##$. i would not use today's oils in an older ride either. they were not meant to use it. could cause more problems. use it up and sell for parts, if the $1200 is not justified.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:13 PM
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Well, I'd never use sawdust except as a possible test to see how long it would live, after I obtained a new transmission/ diff to be installed... The car is probably worth the repair. It books for approx $6k mechanically sound, but I have my truck which needs nothing except gas and oil changes and can get 20 MPG if I drive careful, so $1,200 on a car I really don't 'need' makes little sense. I bought it as a cheap second vehicle needing some work, which was mainly an engine swap due to the original engine cooking due to a blown head gasket.

I think what I will do is drive it around for a thousand miles or so and then change the gear lube again. The oil should still be golden brown at that point so metallic particles will be easier to spot. I think I will use Amsoil 75W90 or 110 severe gear lube as I have heard reports of that quieting Subaru gear noise. I'm not an Amsoil fanboy but I'll try it if it is supposed to work.. It's a 1999 and Subaru specs synthetics as optional for the diffs in the older generations
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:10 PM
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One of the factory campaign tricks is to overfill the diff to provide moer of a damping effect from the oil. Usually extra fluid can be added through the vent provision. This can make a potential leak into a real leak, so proceed at your own risk.
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Old 09-15-2013, 04:33 PM
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Interesting. This uses a fill at the top of the diff with a dipstick, so overfilling by a little bit would be no huge issue
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:41 PM
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Ok, I have located several Legacy L/ base model transmissions which will swap BUT have a different gear ratio. It's 4.44 ( my car ) and 4.11 ( Legacy L/Base ). I know a rear diff swap would need to be done for the ratio's to match, but they swap from like 1992-2007 so finding one of those will not be an issue... Think I would gain or loose MPG? I have arleady swapped out the troublesome DOHC 2.5L which made 160hp in favor of a much more reliable 2.2L which has 130hp and came out of an older Legacy L, so basically if I swap gears to 4.11 I will end up with a lifted Legacy L with the outback sized tires. My car is a Legacy SUS, which was the first generation of Outback sedans

This 'repair' will only cost me between $3-400 if I swap the trans myself which is a likely situation unless my local guy ( friend of mine ) will do it as I don't have a lift. I'll still run the old trans until it goes. Possibly really try the sawdust trick to see if it helps when it's arleady obviously gone or will go soon, but I can have the parts handy in any case
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:26 AM
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4.44 to 4.11 will gain you a little MPG. It'll probably lower your cruise RPM by say 200 or so.
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:52 AM
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That's what I was thinking
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:04 PM
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RPM/MPH From Gear Ratio Calculator by Wallace Racing

I don't know what your tire height or OD ratio is; but you can input the 4.11 and 4.44 diff. Its a handy little spreadsheet to have
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:14 PM
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One of the engineers here (who worked at New Process Gear with Phil - our builder who was on TV), was reading over my shoulder and said "Tell him if hes trying to run that car with the 4.44 and 4.11 diffs in the car at the same time, the Subaru AWD system will try to apply itself constantly and it may burn up the diff or at LEAST be hard to drive. You may be able to put a taller tire on the 4.44 diff (in the rear?) to even it out with the 4.14 (on the front?) to fool the computer"
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