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Buick 1955 noise from the rear axle

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I hope someone can help me figure out what this sound might be from.

First of all.. when you drive with no throttle pushed down, you hear a some sort of rattling/bearing sound while on the road, i cant point out exactly how the sound sounds, and when you push the throttle down a bit, you can hear the sound fades out a bit (its not a screaming sound like pinion bearing sounds like when failing..i guess). I have checked the brakes and drums, could not find any loosen parts and it looks just fine.

It all started when i was on a gravel parking and had a little fun spinning around, then i heard some "stabbing/resistance" (bonk bonk bonk) sound and i also felt it. But after i put the reverse and drove backwards 3-5 meters, the "stabbing" resistance/sound" was gone and started to sound like a scrambling/rattling/bearing sound that fades out when pushing throttle down and sounds worse when release the throttle.

can it be some bearings or maybe the gearbox? i know the gears aint tuned right in positions so it can sometimes refuse to put reverse in, and also if you drive on low gear (L) and get to 30-50 mph and release the throttle, it jumps up to D by it self.

Any clues about this?

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Well, the 55 has a one piece drive shaft inside the torque tube so I don't thinks that is the noise. You say the gear shift does not align properly. I wonder if the gear that locks the unit in PARK is coming into play ( called the parking pawl). This would sound like a clicking noise, sorta like the click you would hear from a wheel of fortune at a fair. But it would be coming from the rear of the transmission, not the rear of the car.

If you have access to a sympathetic mechanic, you might ask him to raise the car on a lift till the wheels hang free. Then start the car and put it in drive and walk around it to see if you can pinpoint the area of the noise. If you can get a mechanics stethoscope you should listen in all the areas where bearings are present, including the area right at the ends of the axles by the wheels.

It may not make any noise, in which case you would want to lower the car till it's just off the ground, put jack stands under the front end, and a hydraulic jack under the rear axle center. Again, run the car in gear so the tires spin and then slowly jack the rear axle up to change the angle of the drive shaft to see if you can find the noise.

Personally I am thinking you may have a damaged universal joint which is right inside the back end of the transmission. I believe it may be serviceable with the trans in the car, but it will require removal of the torque tube/rear end assembly to get at the part. Do you have a factory service manual? It would be nice to get one because it also has information on how to adjust all the linkages so the gear selector does align correctly.

Also if you have wire wheels on your car, check for broken spokes.

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"gravel parking and had a little fun spinning around"...That is the best way to tear up the spider gears. If John's suggestions don't localize the noise, remove the cover and look.


Agreed. That is tough on a 58 year old car. The best medicine is do not beat on it. Treat it like the grand old lady that it is. Drive it like a gentlemen. Not like a 16 year old out on his first date trying to impress the chics. All it does is cost you money and takes you nowhere fast. Dandy Dave!

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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