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Dan, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 3490
Experience:  GM ASEP A.A.S. 14 years GM experience. Mark of Excellence and Professional Guild awarded.
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2006 Saturn Vue: AWD..grinding..a dry bearing or gear box noise coming

Customer Question

I have a 2006 Saturn Vue AWD at 45000 miles. Recently it has developed a grinding, more like a dry bearing or gear box noise coming from the rear. This noise starts after driving at moderate speed for 15 or 20 minutes. The strange thing is that once it starts, it does not change pitch with speed. When I slow down to 15 or 20 mph the noise just subsides until I speed up again.   This noise is driving me nuts. Tonight after returning home I measured the temperature of the rear diferential (I think they call that the RDM?) with an infrared sensor. The outside temp was about 45 degrees and the RDM was at 110 degrees. Is that normal? Do you have any ideas.   The car should still be under drive train warranty. Are AWD components warranteed. Will I have any problem convincing the dealer. Thanks very much,   Art
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Dan replied 8 years ago.

The 45,000 miles would put the rear diff out of factory warranty. Here is what the problem is.


#PIP3916B: Resonating Vibration Type Noise While Driving From The Rear Of Vehicle - keywords drone moan - (Dec 17, 2007)

Subject:Resonating Vibration Type Noise While Driving From the Rear of Vehicle

Models:2006 Chevrolet Equinox
2006 Pontiac Torrent
2006-2007 Saturn Vue
Equipped with All Wheel Drive


This PI is being superseded to update repair instructions and add part numbers. Please discard PIP3916A


The following diagnosis might be helpful if the vehicle exhibits the symptom(s) described in this PI.


Drone, moan, rotational, resonation type vibration noise from the rear of the vehicle that can be at any speed but is generally most noticeable at 35-50 mph (56-80 kph). The noise may be described as a "helicopter" type noise.


Isolate the noise to the RDM (rear drive module) by driving the vehicle with the rear prop shaft removed, then swapping a prop shaft from a known good vehicle.

If the noise can be isolated to the RDM replaced the clutch drum with updated stock from GMSPO.

2006 Equinox and Torrent: part number 19177885

2006-2007 Vue part number 19177886

Please follow this diagnostic or repair process thoroughly and complete each step. If the condition exhibited is resolved without completing every step, the remaining steps do not need to be performed.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks very much so far. That does sound very close to my noise. Is it normal for the RDM to have the temperature increase that I mentioned? I was reading lots of forum posts that say changing the RDM fluid should quiet it down. What about any damage that is already done. I have 75,000 mile warranty on the drive train. I confirmed this with the dealer some time ago.


Please tell me what you think and I will accept yiour answers.


Thanks very much



Expert:  Dan replied 8 years ago.
Changing the fluid may help but a sure way to narrow the noise down to rear diff is by disconnecting the actuator switch on the diff. If the noise goes away the diff internal clutches are worn excessively and the recommended repair is replacing the entire rear diff. If you give me your VIN I can tell you what warranties are still applicable from the factory.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Dan, Thanks very much. The VIN is 5GZCZ63456S901090.




Expert:  Dan replied 8 years ago.

Here is that info ok.



GM Vehicle Inquiry System Summary

Home - Summary - Claim History - Vehicle Build - Vehicle Component - Delivery Information - Dealer Information - Service Contract - Warranty Block - Branded Title


VIN : 5GZCZ63456S901090
Merchandising Model : ZLN26 -2006 SATURN VUE - AWD V6 Warranty Start Date : 09/14/2006
BARS Order Type : 70 - RETAIL - STOCK
Delivering Dealer : N/A Selling Source : N/A
Site Code : N/A
Business Associate Code : N/A
Service Contract : No Branded Title : No Warranty Block : No PDI Status : Open
Vehicle Has No Current Record Of Outstanding Campaigns
Type Number Description Posted Date Status
EI 07238 FUEL CAP MAY NOT SEAL, MIL/SES LIGHT ILLUMINATED. REF. TSB 07-06-04-022F 07/30/2008 See Bulletin
OnStar Equipped Yes OnStar Status Active Refer to Help page for details or:go to OnStar Online Enrollment (located on the "OnStar" tab in GM InfoNET) or (888)ONSTAR1(NNN) NNN-NNNN
XM Equipped No XM Radio ID N/A XM Status N/A Refer to Help page for details or: or Dealer Hotline 1.877.GET.XMST (1-877-438-9677).
Description Effective Date Effective Odometer End Date End Odometer
36/36000 BUMPER TO BUMPER LIMITED WARRANTY 09/14/2006 275 miles 09/14/2009 36275 miles
72/100000 SHEET METAL COVERAGE RUST THROUGH LIMITED WARRANTY 09/14/2006 275 miles 09/14/2012 100275 miles
96/80000 FEDERAL EMISSION CATALYTIC CONV. AND PCM 09/14/2006 275 miles 09/14/2014 80275 miles
36/36000 FEDERAL EMISSION 09/14/2006 275 miles 09/14/2009 36275 miles

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thanks very much Dan. They said I have drive train warranty of 75,000 miles or 2011 through USP. Hope that will help me if it is anything serious. From reading the forum posts and your answer it sounds like there is a good chance that it is the RDM. It doesn't look like the factory has any special warranty for the drive train.


I always like to know as much about the problem as possible before I talk to the dealer.


Thanks very much.



Expert:  Dan replied 8 years ago.
You are very welcome and glad I could help. If you need any further assistance let me know ok. Thanks for using JA and best of luck.