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240 Volvo 240 Wagon Rear Diff Whine

edited February 7 in Troubleshooting

I've been using my Volvo a lot this past few weeks and it's developed a whining noise from the rear that's got louder and louder.
Upon diagnosis it runs out it's my rear differential that's causing the loud whining noise. I drained the oil and it looks ok, bit of usual wear since the oil change a few months ago,

What would be the best option for this do you think?
- Replace entire rear axle
- Replace just the differential
- Buy some rebuild kit (if available?)

P.S: There's also a clunking noise coming from the rear right wheel but no wheel movement to show it's a failed bearing. Not sure if it has anything to do with the whine but don't think it has.

Here's a clip of the noise:

Thanks for any advice you have :)



  • Rolling element bearings can degrade the races very quickly once a defect occurs and not necessarily show up as chunks of metal until they are seriously had it. Have you disconnected the tailshaft an taken the wheels off to check for a notchy movement in the pinion bearing or the wheel bearings?

    The other thing to check is to jack it up again and check that one wheel is rotating forwards and the other backwards when the tailshaft is turning (unless you have a LSD centre).
  • Usually a diff wine or noise will be more pronounced under load and a wheel bearing noise will still be audibly when the transmission is in neutral and coasting. Sometime the wheel bearing will produce a rhythmic noise rumble noise and a diff pinion bearing failure more pronounced under load.
  • edited February 9
    I got stuck into the 240 today and pulled apart the rear wheel bearing, diff and pinion bearings.
    The issue was the pinion bearing but it was so hard pin point this. Although visually they don't look damaged.
    At one point I thought it was the carrier bearing.

    Now that the entire rear end has been pulled apart I'll grab all new bearings before putting it back together.

    Here is a video after isolating the pinion shaft and bearings. This is the noise we heard whilst driving. (Diff and axles are removed in this video)

  • Anybody have bearing and pinion shaft seal for sale? 😊
  • So it turns out there is a bit of work in getting a new bearings and seals fitted. Getting all adjustments and back lashes set correctly is a bit of work.

    Has anybody a workshop/service manual or link to a place where I can view a workshop manual on rebuilding the rear diff? The Haynes manual i have doesn't give too much detail.

    I was thinking of jut whacking in a 2nd hand differential to get me back on the road and the rebuild what i have, it would be good experience and wold learn from the rebuild :)
  • The 140 manuals have a pretty good description.
  • The respective Volvo greenbook can be found here
  • SpacSpac (@Spac) Canberra-ish.
    Setting the diff up once new pinion bearings have been fitted is a pretty big job.
    I would have to ask if it is a skill worth learning - in all of my fiddling, I've probably only had to do it half a dozen times - and two of those times are because I screwed it up and had to fix the screw up...
  • Replaced complete rear axle, thanks for all the advice and thanks to Angus for supplying the parts :)
    He is the reason my car still runs to this day!!
  • CanoeCanoe (@Canoe) Sydney,NSW.
    The CONSTANT "Whine" from the back, is the mother in law.
    It wont stop till you kick her out!
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