Strange Noise & Vibration - Part II - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 04, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Ok Guys,

I've got my Camaro off the ground again and am doing some experiments. I've rotated the driveshaft 180* and run it again...IT STILL THUMPED LOUD!

Next, I disconnected the driveshaft from the diff. and spun the yoke. everything seems to rotate smooth. Also checked the diff. fluid, all seemed OK there....

Then, I pulled the driveshaft completely out. I ran the car briefly in park between 2k~3K RPM. It had a very slight vibe but nowhere near the thump of before. Then I started it up and ran it in reverse and drive. It basically had the same amount of vibration as in park...again nowhere near the thump of when it is fully together.
So I think it's safe to rule out the tranny.

So this leaves the driveshaft/U-joints or the rear axle. I have two questions, how much play should there be in the output shaft of a TH350 tranny? And two, how stiff should the u-joints be? These are new u-joints that I put in at tranny swap. I can move them by hand,but they are stiff (they stay in the spot where you leave them)...

So would you agree that the driveshaft/u-joints are the prime suspects??? Any other thoughts are appreciated...

Sorry so long winded...

Mark P.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 04, 01:24 PM
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I just replaced the U-joints in my Mustang and they were pretty stiff too if that helps. I have a vibration at about 50-70 MPH and I have been told that it is an out of balance Drive Line. I hear you can get them balanced for about 110 to 150 bucks.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 04, 06:28 PM
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Hit the shoulders of the U-joints (4 on the front, 2 on the rear) lightly with a hammer. This will vibrate the bearings out of their current misaligned, binding state, & the joints will loosen up. This may or may not fix it, but if not, at least you'll know they're not binding. Have you checked the rear wheel balance? If the rear wheels will fit on the front, swap them front to rear & see if the vibration moves to the steering wheel.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 04, 04:09 AM
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As jimfulco suggested, wrap the U-joints with a 2-4 lb hammer. This will bring the U-joint to its fundamental frequency and set them in their designed physical location. Does a tuning fork come to mind?

Next time the joint is replaced, use a steel support between the yoke to prevent it from collapsing.

There is a good amount of 'slop' with the output shaft as the sliding yoke, when installed, provides the second bearing support for the shaft.

You might install the d/shaft and view from underneath the d/shaft rotating with the drivetrain in gear to see the physical movement of the shaft. I have found with the engine idling and in 1st gear, an off-center U-joint. You might even remove the tire/wheel combo, replace the lugnuts to hold on the brake drums, and spin up to see/feel if the imbalance is gone.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 04, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all,

Everett, I have already removed the right rear tire and used the lugnuts to hold the brake drum on. It still thumps that way too. So it's not a tire balance problem. It is interesting to watch the pinion yoke area dither up and down at low speed while idling in gear. It's funny that this problem surfaced right after I replaced the monoleafs with the 3 leafs. So I'm also suspect of a problem there too.

I spent a good deal of time looking at the rear axle alignment yesterday. I measured 3&1/8" from edge of pass. side tire to the back edge of fender. And I measured 3" even on the driver's side using same method. So I loosened the shock plates and kicked the wheel rims with my foot until I got 3&1/16" on both sides using same measuring methods. Yes, I know that the above is unscientific, but I didn't have anything else to go by...

I don't have a Chasiss manual...Anyone know what the proper axle measuring points and measurments should be?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 04, 06:31 AM
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Two of the most popular are the lower ball joint Zerk fittings and the rear spring locating pins.

Measuring a diagonal length, ie., LF-RR & RF-LR, will determine the squareness of the two axles. Usually, +/- 1/4 inch is acceptable.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 04, 06:34 AM
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The proper method for centering the rearend would be to align it to the center of the frame. Not the body.

First let's find the centerline of the frame. Put the car on jack stands. You'll want to get a plumb bob. Pick a spot on the inside of the rear frame rails. Let the plumb bob hang from the inside of the frame rail. Put a piece of tape on the ground under the plumb bob. Mark an X at the center where the plumb bob contacts the floor. Do the same on the opposite frame rail. Measure and mark the center point on the floor between these two points.

Do the same for the front subframe. Mark that center point.

Now by connecting the two points you have a center line drawn under the car. You can use a piece of string that layes on the floor. Pull it tight and put something on the string to hold it in place. The string should pass through the two middle points and extend far enough for you to get your other measurements.

Now let's find the center of the rear end. Drop the plumb bob off the face of the brake drums. Mark on the tape on the floor. Measure and mark the middle of the rear end. Now compare that to the string center line you made connecting the center of the front and rear frames. Adjust the rearend until you're centered.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 04, 07:34 AM
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Before getting too involved in the U-joints, you may want to think about the torque converter. The reason I say this is, you said it still made "some" noise/vibration even with the driveshaft out, that pretty much eliminates the U-joints. The reason the noise would be less if it is the torque converter is because you had less of a load on it. I am not saying it is the converter for sure but, it very well could be. Just something to think about.

Does it make the noise/vibration in Park when the driveshaft and everything it hooked up? If so the driveshaft/U-joints are not the problem. The torque converter could still be the problem (as it is turning whenever the engine is running).

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 04, 05:46 PM
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Ok, here is one you are not going to beleive. I had the same problem. Went from rearend,to driveshaft,to u-joints, then trans,then clutch,preasure plate and even pilot shaft bearing. After spending a shi----t load of money on stuf that was not wrong with the car, the 70 year old ***---le at the parts house selling me all that stuff laughed and said to go home and unhook the alt. belt, start the car and watch all that vibration go away. After laughing I went home and tried it with no intentions of ever telling anyone that I even listend to that old fool, well guess what, he was right.So I guess I was the fool for not asking him what he thought when I first went in that place. So at least try it, you may have the same new but unbalanced fan spacer I had. One other thing, if the leaf spring center pins are not seated the spring perchs good, you will have the pinion angle off and that will cause a some vib after 10 MPH.
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