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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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U Joints and Rear End Noise

My 1974 Spider has a low speed rumble and vibration from the rear end. It seems worse when coasting, but particularly noticeable when coasting down hill and turning. I replaced both U joints with new ones from Centerline,and it is worse. Now, there is a distnct metallic clang when coasting at low speed.
The new U joints seem to have more "in and out" play than remember in the old ones. The old U joints had a small spring in one end of each yoke that may have taken up any slack. The new U joints don't have this spring.I still have the rumble/vibration in the rear end, and a new problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated before I make another attempt.
Chuck in NC
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 02:53 PM
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Chuck had written: "The new U joints seem to have more "in and out" play than remember in the old ones."

Can you define "in and out play" in a little more detail? There should be NO play in the U joints. So, something may be wrong there.

That rumble from your rear axle could be the outer bearings. These aren't too hard to change. If you raise the rear wheels, and rotate them by hand, can you hear noise, and/or feel play? If so, remove the rear axles (probably will require a slide hammer), take the axles + new bearings + new bearing retaining collars to a machine shop, and let them press it all together.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Can you define "in and out play" in a little more detail? There should be NO play in the U joints. So, something may be wrong there.

"The yoke portion of the Ujoint slides back and forth about 1/16 inch. I think that is the source of the new noise. Perhaps I can stop that by pressing the U joint caps in further, but they are in far enough that the C clip fits into its slot. I assumed that the Ujoint is symmetrical, and there is no prefered orientation"

"I tried raising the rear wheels, and I didn't find a lot of play in the axles, or did I hear anything unusual. I will try that again. Is there some way to rule out the ring and pinion gears ? The noise/vibration is very noticeable under the right conditon. Seat of the paints noticeable. "

Thanks for the help.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Britalia View Post
worse when coasting, but particularly noticeable when coasting down hill and turning.
Makes me think driveshaft related whether it be guibo, support and bearing, or an issue with the new ujoints.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Partial Repair Accomplished

I was able to reset the new U joint caps with a big C clamp. This took out the play, and the metallic clanking noise disappeared. Unfortunately my original problem is still there. As long as I am in gear and apply light power with the engine, there is no vibration, but as soon as I back off and coast a bit, the vibration comes back. I had the front driveshaft out when I replaced the guibo, and the center support bearing seemed to rotate freely. I wished I had examined it more closely at the time.
Are my symptoms more likely to be rear wheel bearings, or center support bearing ? I do sense a rumbling when I jack up the rear end and rotate the wheels. This noise seems to be coming from the ring and pinion.
Thanks for the suggestions
Chuck in NC
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 09:47 AM
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1) I suspect you have the wrong U joints. There should be NO side to side play. Usually it is a bear to press the caps in far enough to get the snap rings to fit. The fact that you have play with the snap rings in place is a problem. Yea, you can press them in with a C clamp - but over time, they will work themselves out again. I guess you could put shims under the snap rings to hold the caps in, but.....

Perhaps the U joints aren't centered. If when you pushed the caps in, one moved and the other didn't, then yes it would take out the play, but now your driveshaft is off-center. In that configuration, it's going to vibrate when it's rotating.

2) Well, if the sound is coming from the R&P, then it probably isn't the driveshaft center support bearing. I still like the outer axle bearings, though I suppose your R&P gears or the inner bearings could be bad. Try draining out your differential oil (there IS oil in there, right?) and seeing if there are any metal chips in it. Or, chips on the magnet on the drain plug.

Jay Mackro
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'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 08-22-2008 at 09:50 AM.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jay,
I did drain the differential a while back, and there was pleanty of fluid. No metal chips, but I did find pieces of a thin shim. Here is a link to that post. http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/susp...al-pieces.html
I will watch the Ujoints carefully. The amount that I pushed the caps in was quite small. It is possible that the C clip was not fully seated before the extra push. There is a defninte rumble when rotating a rear wheel. It sounds a bit like one of those big roulette wheels. Both sides make the same sound, which makes me question whether that is normal or not ?
Thanks for your help
Chuck in NC
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 10:24 AM
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Greetings: Here is another vibration "opportunity". Today I drove out with my Duetto to get it aligned. About 1 mile from home a driveshaft vibration began to occur. Back home inspecting the driveshaft I notice that one of the U-Joint cups had begun to back out. Seems the C-clip had popped off. I tried to apply a spare, but I could not compress the cups enough to get it in. Then I REMEMBERED! Yes, I had difficulty with one of the 8 clips when I rebuilt the driveshaft last summer.

So I pulled the driveshaft out and began fiddling with the offending u-Joint. I found that across one axis I would get the clip in OK, and on the other it would not go in. I swapped 90 deg on the yokes, and the problem followed the new U-Joint. Getting hostile, I used enough force to get the clip partially seated, but then the joint was bound up.

I called IAP to discuss and was told that there were problems a few years ago with a supplier, and they solved them with thinner C-clips. I passed on that route (well, I might have taken it prior to pulling the driveshaft), and ordered a new U-Joint.

Anyone else seen this issue?

Moral is, make sure the C-clips seat fully, or try another U-Joint.

- Michael

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 01:55 PM
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Just a quick thought, did you realign the marks on the driveshaft if you removed it to do the work? It is said that it is factory balanced. One needs to eihtyer ID existing or punch alignment marks before R&R.

Speaking of rumbles, I had a nose bearing start to go out recently; it gave a muted rumble in the seat of the pants under certain loads and RPM's. Clearly not a u-joint or rubber donut. Replaced the driveshaft mounts/bearings earlier.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-07-2008, 04:49 PM
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Just a quick thought, did you realign the marks on the driveshaft if you removed it to do the work? It is said that it is factory balanced. One needs to eihtyer ID existing or punch alignment marks before R&R.

Speaking of rumbles, I had a nose bearing start to go out recently; it gave a muted rumble in the seat of the pants under certain loads and RPM's. Clearly not a u-joint or rubber donut. Replaced the driveshaft mounts/bearings earlier.
No need to look for esoteric failure modes - the u-Joint was simply falling apart. Thank goodness I was dong 25 MPH vs 65.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2008, 09:52 PM
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Chuck,

If you figure this out, please let me know what you found. My 71 GTV has had vibration problems that I can't solve. I've swapped drive shafts, rear ends, transmissions, and tires/wheels. The parts came off cars that did not vibrate, but installing them in my GTV one at a time made little difference. I have even replaced the entire exhaust system with no improvement. I have the most vibration and buzzing when I decelerate. The biggest improvement came when I replaced the only poly bushing I had on the car at the trunnion/rear end with the stock rubber type. That made it much better, but I still notice it, and it's taken most of the fun out of driving it. I hope you find a solution.

Dick Stachowiak
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Rear End Noise Update

Since this thread has become active again, I thought I would post an update on my situation. I removed the drive shaft and found that one of the new Ujoints I had installed had some of the pins out of place. This made it impossible to seat the caps properly. So, I ordered up a new U joint and got that one instaled properly, but it took an experinced mechanic with a big press and some special blocks to get it right. I had been trying to do it with my vice and a couple of sockets.
The clanking noise that I mentioned in one of my posts is gone, but the vibration is still there. I am considering a new transmision mount. as the next move. Can I do this without supporting the transmission from below while I take out the support ? I have access to a lift, but no way to support the transmission while the cross member is out.
The vibration in my car seems a lot like the one that Dick is expeirencing. It is much worse when coasting but even a small amount of throttle will make it go away. I also notice the vibration in sharp low speed corners. These may be two different problems.
Thanks for all your suggestons and feedback
Chuck in NC
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-09-2008, 06:57 AM
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Britalia - if you do not find one of the usual suspects (driveshaft balance/alignment, u-joints, donut, mounts), try the nose bushing. Mine was a slight but deep rumble coasting down under power approaching or at neutral load. I had already replaced the engine and all the tranny and driveshaft mounts as part of a rehab, and this then came up. These cars are getting pretty old and this is an oft neglected item (mine at 39 years). Ask your mechanic. Just a thought.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-10-2008, 03:20 AM
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Go back and do a search on Alfa U-joints. Alfa joints are a little different than the usual. I am thinking that the original U-joints have a spring which goes under one of the caps. Also, you have to mark the yokes and flanges and reassemble exactly the same way. A little tip when reassembling u-joints. With all the needle bearings in place in the cap, fill the cap completely with grease. This will trap the needle bearings in place and do a much better job of holding them while your line up the cross piece into the caps during re-assembly.
Robert
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 08:07 AM
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Rear end and drive shaft: Two similar issues, one old, one new

I have a 1988 Spider that has been making a rear-end "rumbling" noise when starting from a dead stop, worse under load with an extra passenger or on a hill. My mechanic told me what he thought it was (I forget) and illustrated the problem by wobbling the rear wheels to show how loose they are. Would this mean axle bearings or deeper rear-end issues?
THEN about four weeks ago, AND just after having the center muffler replaced, I have been getting a speed-sensitive vibration at about 60mph or above, radiating through the shift lever and the dash. It's pretty darned loud and annoying. Do you suspect a relation to the rear-end issues OR do you think this was precipitated by the muffler change?
Thanks for any advice. I just want to understand what I need to do.
Thanks
Andy
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