Vanagon – transmission noise hunt

For the last couple of months I have been noticing a slight whine/howl when driving no load/coasting, in 3rd/4th or neutral, clutch in or out. Only in a narrow speed band,  50 – 60 kph. I’ve discounted rear wheel bearings and I resolved myself to having trans. taken apart and examined. So I started the pull process, first with skid bars and propshaft. After they were out I decided to drive van and surprisingly the noise was gone. So what does this mean? Maybe front diff is making the noise or is the removal of propshaft affecting whatever is noisy in transmission?

I pulled the front diff and took the case apart, 3 sections. Front cover and rear section. Mid section has R&P and I set that up to measure lash on the R&P.

Rear section removed (note spacer not on top of VC, I took it off before pic, sorry)

Front cover removed (cover was cleaned before shot).

I clamped the input shaft so it wouldn’t move.

And then set up dial indicator on outer part of ring gear tooth.

Close up.

I wiggled ring gear back and forth and measured lash. Was in spec (0.004 – 0.010″).

And teeth looked ok. Mind you Daryl at AA Transaxle says ring teeth don’t usually show wear, its the pinion teeth that do. Hard to really see them when in case.

During removal I had to cut the vent line as I forgot to remove banjo bolt securing it to case (did same thing last time I removed diff, doh). So I made up a nipple and added a section of vinyl tubing.

So where does that leave me? Daryl is suggesting it is the pinion bearing in the transmission and I can still drive it for a while. I’m not clear on how the propshaft affects that bearing but I don’t feel quite as pressured to tear into, or have a skilled person tear into the transmission.

Addendum: Dirk over on the IG16 forum, wondered if the ring gears did actually show unusual wear. He pointed to lines parallel to the teeth. I don’t think that these marks are anything to worry about.


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