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Old 10-17-2020, 09:53 AM   #1
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Is some noise from drive axle normal?

Our 1999 28 foot Bounder is surprisingly quiet. Very little wind noise and the motor cannot be heard unless accelerating or climbing a hill. I can, however, hear a hum from I believe to be the rear axle. We have the Dana 80. It doesn't seam to be overly noisy, but it is distinctly noticeable. Changes with torque. Do they all typical hum or should I have it looked at? I have already changed gear oil as PM and didn't see anything noteworthy to my novice gearset eye. Thanks.
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Old 10-17-2020, 11:09 AM   #2
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I don’t consider myself an expert in truck axles, but my 2019 Dana 80 is quiet as a church mouse.
My 1999 20.5k chassis had the next size up axle, but it was pretty quiet too at almost 40,000 miles.

I might advise a road test with a reputable gear and axle shop tech. A bit of gear noise is typically not a worry, but a noisy bearing or drive shaft U joint is another issue. If the noise is it an outer axle bearing, it could be a safety issue.

Let us know if you get a professional diagnosis. Lots of us have Dana 80’s.
Always good to know how they hold up and what to look for or listen for if a failure occurs.
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Old 10-17-2020, 02:09 PM   #3
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What Nickd pointed out was excellent advice. We had a 1999 34' with 19.5" tires and I'm guessing it was a Dana 80. Doesn't really matter. If memory serves me right we had about 10,000 miles on the unit and departed from AR for ME and maybe around OH I began to hear a differential (DF) humming noise. It reached a noise level point but didn't get any worse so we continued.

I decided to continue for this reason. The noise did vary but more based on being under load. To me that pointed to the ring and pinion gear. If we had stopped before we got to ME we would have been stuck midway. Usually the bearings associated with the DF would not respond the same as a DF ring and pinion. There's more pressure on those two mating surfaces and when issues occur loading the ring and pinion result in noise changes. Had it been an axle or carrier bearing the noise would have been consistent with RPM changes and not as much with load changes.

Once we reached ME I took it to a Ford truck garage in Bangor. They agreed with my thinking but did check with some folks higher up. I think they consulted the Ford area REP or service manager. The consensus was to drive it back to AR and have it replaced by a Ford dealer in Tulsa under warranty. That's what we did and all was well.

We drove about 1,500 miles with the noise. It stayed about the same so I stopped worrying about it.
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Old 10-18-2020, 12:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
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What Nickd pointed out was excellent advice. We had a 1999 34' with 19.5" tires and I'm guessing it was a Dana 80. Doesn't really matter. If memory serves me right we had about 10,000 miles on the unit and departed from AR for ME and maybe around OH I began to hear a differential (DF) humming noise. It reached a noise level point but didn't get any worse so we continued.

I decided to continue for this reason. The noise did vary but more based on being under load. To me that pointed to the ring and pinion gear. If we had stopped before we got to ME we would have been stuck midway. Usually the bearings associated with the DF would not respond the same as a DF ring and pinion. There's more pressure on those two mating surfaces and when issues occur loading the ring and pinion result in noise changes. Had it been an axle or carrier bearing the noise would have been consistent with RPM changes and not as much with load changes.

Once we reached ME I took it to a Ford truck garage in Bangor. They agreed with my thinking but did check with some folks higher up. I think they consulted the Ford area REP or service manager. The consensus was to drive it back to AR and have it replaced by a Ford dealer in Tulsa under warranty. That's what we did and all was well.

We drove about 1,500 miles with the noise. It stayed about the same so I stopped worrying about it.
A friend with a 2018 22K F53 chassis had an identical condition at just a few thousand miles. Take the foot off the gas and the noise went away. He had a mobile tech check it at their next stop, who found nothing obvious. He drove it back home, several hundred miles, and the Ford dealer truck tech immediately knew it was the rear end. He pulled the fill plug and it was full of metal shavings.

Ford would not authorize a warranty replacement, just a remove and rebuild, which would take weeks. The Ford tech told him to just drive it until the end of the season, which he did. At the end of the season he went back to the dealer and lo and behold, Ford now authorized a replacement. It still took about three weeks at the dealer as I recall.

I probably would have insisted they drain and flush the differential to get the metal shavings out to reduce further damage until it was repaired, but the dealer did not do that.

Ray
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:12 AM   #5
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If you want to see if you have an issue, there are 2 things you can do. The easiest is to purchase a contactless temperature gauge. Then before you next drive in the MH, while the rear end is nice an cold measure the temperature of the pumpkin. Then after you have driven for a bit stop and measure the temperature of the pumpkin again. Yes, it should be warmer but not HOT to the point that the temp gauge maxes out.
The contactless temp gauge you should have in your tool box anyway. It's a nice way to check the brakes and bearings and AC temp.
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Old 10-26-2020, 04:37 PM   #6
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I changed ALL OUR FLUIDS including the Diff before we went FT, watch, check and change some of my fluids often. We've been on the road now approaching 4 years since then. I am a pretty good mechanic and I usually know how to check things that seem odd or need attention.

The experience in our coach is "yes" there is a certain hum, or whine or whatever you want to call it when were traveling on the highway. There's a certain sound or pitch at 63-65mph and when I hear that pitch I know I'm in my sweet spot as far as speed and MPG is concerned. That sound tells me all is good on highways posted 65mph. If I go faster, say up to 68-70 that sound goes away and so does my 7.3mpg. It drops to about 6.3.
So in a nut shell just because there's a slight whine, sound, pitch or whatever you want to call it doesn't mean anything is wrong or irregular.
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Old 10-27-2020, 03:01 PM   #7
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Ray,

I probably would have insisted they drain and flush the differential to get the metal shavings out to reduce further damage until it was repaired, but the dealer did not do that.

I would have also requested a complete flush. Worn metal materials flowing in the fluid is never a good situation. That should have been done without question.

mr.tommy,

I understand your thinking but any humming could indicate a mismatch between the ring and pinion gears. I'd at least expect them to remove the cover plate or ring an pinion set up and have them check it for pattern matching.

We understand you are hearing a hum at the lower speed which goes away at the higher speed. That means there is a vibration at the lower speed which goes away at the harmonic of the higher speed. The vibration is still there and it would concern me. Life is about choices and I'm not saying you are right or wrong. I usually let the symptoms guide me.

The problem that I see is we don't have to many technicians out there that can think outside the box? In years past a humming noise simply indicted a gear mismatch. It could be checked using bluing on a set of cleaned gears. That would pinpoint the mismatch and it could/would be corrected.

My thinking was gear noises under load and as certain speeds was a symptom and indicated an issue. Maybe the thinking today is let it go and maybe the gears are hard enough so no additional wear will occur. I guess that's the chance one would take. It's just not how I'd approach the noises.

I've been wrong before and will be wrong again. We are all just human!!

Best of luck with the noise. Enjoy your full time travels and travel safely!!!!
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Old 11-08-2020, 04:28 PM   #8
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The speedometer pickup is on top of the rear end on my 2000, it has a magnet inside. You can pull it and it will show how much metal the oil has in it. Mine was noisy at 40 but quiet on the highway. Ford says the oil is good for a lifetime. My rear end oil was dirty, I bought a pump and 5 gallons of oil and changed mine. It took around 4 gallons. It never got worse, I've driven it 15,000 miles after the oil change. It has 133,000 miles on it now.
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Old 11-09-2020, 12:56 PM   #9
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The hum is caused by misalignment between the ring and pinion gears.
Most normally when the hum starts on a used hypoid gear assembly, it's the loss of pinion gear bearing preload. Dana 80 pinion bearing preload is between 24 & 28 inch lbs. of torque. If you pinion gear preload is loose, that means bearing wear and should be addressed by a trained hypoid gear tech.

Richard
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Old 11-09-2020, 01:06 PM   #10
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Dana 80's use shims through out for setting clearances......if you can move pinion up and down, then you have a bearing failure going on.....That inch pound setting is for the pinion only, with no ring gear creating drag.....most Dana style rear axles require a spreaded tool to properly set a diff up....
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Old 11-24-2020, 07:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperGewl View Post
If you want to see if you have an issue, there are 2 things you can do. The easiest is to purchase a contactless temperature gauge. Then before you next drive in the MH, while the rear end is nice an cold measure the temperature of the pumpkin. Then after you have driven for a bit stop and measure the temperature of the pumpkin again. Yes, it should be warmer but not HOT to the point that the temp gauge maxes out.

The contactless temp gauge you should have in your tool box anyway. It's a nice way to check the brakes and bearings and AC temp.


For reference and to add to SuperGewl’s post: The rear diff temp will often be 180f or higher under normal operating loads. Heavy loads or long hills can cause the diff temp to exceed 200.

I shoot the diff temp (and about 12 other temps) on my coach at every fuel stop. I typically see 185f at the pinion snout. 165f at the housing. I often shoot the diff temps of other motorhomes and semi’s at refueling stops. Most motorhomes run in the 180f range. Most Semis are well over 200f some even exceeding 250f.
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Old 11-25-2020, 07:29 AM   #12
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For reference and to add to SuperGewl’s post: The rear diff temp will often be 180f or higher under normal operating loads. Heavy loads or long hills can cause the diff temp to exceed 200.

I shoot the diff temp (and about 12 other temps) on my coach at every fuel stop. I typically see 185f at the pinion snout. 165f at the housing. I often shoot the diff temps of other motorhomes and semi’s at refueling stops. Most motorhomes run in the 180f range. Most Semis are well over 200f some even exceeding 250f.
Nice data, thanks for sharing!

A friend with a new 2019 F53 started hearing a loudish whining noise from the rear at a few thousand miles. The Ford dealer found metal shavings in the rear differential and knew they would as soon as they did the test drive. They told him to just drive it until it failed because it was summer and parts were a month away. He drove it for a couple of thousand mile more and it never failed.

When he shot the pumpkin it was hot but I do not recall the actual temp.

Step on the gas and it whined, come off the gas regardless of the actual speed and the whine stopped. That is supposed to be pretty definitive.

Ray
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