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Driveshaft Clunk Update


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#1 sc4808

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 10:21 AM

The whole driveshaft clunk thing is a really sore subject for me, the idea that we can put Bluetooth and Satellite Communications in a truck but we haven't quite figured out the lowly driveshaft is beyond me.

I feel rather strongly about it because a few years back on my 2003 Sierra, this little driveshaft clunk issue cost me $1700.00 for a new transfer case, seems that that clunk you feel when the driveshaft slip-yoke binds up puts a lot of pressure on the rear bearing of the transfer case. Yes I was greasing the yolk on a regular basis but I was driving a lot of miles during that time and there were trips where I would grease it before leaving but the clunk would return before I would get back home, I could not bring myself to crawl under the truck in a motel parking lot to pull the driveshaft when I was going to be home in a couple of days anyway.

When I replaced the transfer case, I also upgrade the slip-yolk to the "new" Nickel plated one from GM that would fix the problem.

UPDATE: The Nickle plated Slip Joint did resolve the binding for a long time, the truck had 40K on it when I replaced the transfer case and Slip-Yolk, it now has 160K and the "Clunk" has returned, I pulled the driveshaft yesterday to grease it (OH The Bad Memories) and noticed that the Nickle Slip-Yolk has a noticeable grove worn in it, looks like I will need to order another one, what a shame. I realize that it (the Nickle Plated Yolk) lasted over 100K miles but heck my last Ford had 315K and never had anything but the occasional U-Joint put in it (as far as the drive line goes anyway).

Luckily my other trucks have not shown any signs of the dreaded CLUNK, I feel strongly enough about it that, had I known that the NBS GMT900's are developing this problem before I bought the 2 that I have, I probably would have switched back to FORD, thats how much this bugs me.

Just a Rant, I enjoy my GM trucks, but I just can't understand why GM is struggling with driveshafts of all things.
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#2 JAMIEZ71

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 07:00 PM

I used heavy duty valvoline grease that's red in color and the factory yoke with most my mileage is in stop and go traffic and my clunk is yet to come back. Hard to say what caused the groove. Whatever did is probably the problem.

#3 Z71_Silvy

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 07:29 PM

, I probably would have switched back to FORD, thats how much this bugs me.


Then you would be pleading to only have the DS clunk back...
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#4 TRCM

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 12:25 AM

I used heavy duty valvoline grease that's red in color and the factory yoke with most my mileage is in stop and go traffic and my clunk is yet to come back. Hard to say what caused the groove. Whatever did is probably the problem.


What caused the gorrve is the same in chevy, ford, and dodge trucks.

The rear leaf spring suspension.

When you accelerate, the leaf springs flex, and this lets the rear axle walk forward slightly, which in turn moves the driveshaft slightly forward, and when you level out your speed, it goes back to it's normal position. Same thing when you back up, but in the opposite direction.

The problem is made worse if there are any blocks between the axle & springs, as it gives the torque even more leverage to move the suspension with.

Over time, this sliding motion wears a groove in the splines, and when you take off fast, or stop fast, the driveshaft moves more than normal, and it slips over this groove. The noise it makes is amplified by the driveshaft, and you hear it.

Only way to stop it completely is to not allow the rear suspensin to flex (ladder bars or 4 link), but most people wouldn't like the ride that gives.

Same thing as your normal accel & decel causes the transmission mount to flex, and over times, as it gets old, it flexes more and more, and eventually, gets to the point you can hear when it settles back down either cuz it finally broke, or you stopped or started extra fast.

Edited by TRCM, 28 April 2010 - 12:27 AM.


#5 High Plains Drifter

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:38 AM

I just greased the spline and slip yoke with marine grease the other day. Much better.
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#6 Wingnut

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:24 AM

160,000 miles and all you have to do is grease the slip yoke from time to time, maybe replace it? Sounds petty to me.

BUT.

I know how it goes when something small and stupid starts bugging me. It will irritate me to the point of smashing my fist through the dash (not that I've ever done this). And yeah...I think they should have figured it out by now. Same with the intermediate steering shaft. Small problems and easy fixes, but still...RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

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#7 4wd

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 05:59 AM

The whole driveshaft clunk thing is a really sore subject for me, the idea that we can put Bluetooth and Satellite Communications in a truck but we haven't quite figured out the lowly driveshaft is beyond me.

I feel rather strongly about it because a few years back on my 2003 Sierra, this little driveshaft clunk issue cost me $1700.00 for a new transfer case, seems that that clunk you feel when the driveshaft slip-yoke binds up puts a lot of pressure on the rear bearing of the transfer case. Yes I was greasing the yolk on a regular basis but I was driving a lot of miles during that time and there were trips where I would grease it before leaving but the clunk would return before I would get back home, I could not bring myself to crawl under the truck in a motel parking lot to pull the driveshaft when I was going to be home in a couple of days anyway.

When I replaced the transfer case, I also upgrade the slip-yolk to the "new" Nickel plated one from GM that would fix the problem.

UPDATE: The Nickle plated Slip Joint did resolve the binding for a long time, the truck had 40K on it when I replaced the transfer case and Slip-Yolk, it now has 160K and the "Clunk" has returned, I pulled the driveshaft yesterday to grease it (OH The Bad Memories) and noticed that the Nickle Slip-Yolk has a noticeable grove worn in it, looks like I will need to order another one, what a shame. I realize that it (the Nickle Plated Yolk) lasted over 100K miles but heck my last Ford had 315K and never had anything but the occasional U-Joint put in it (as far as the drive line goes anyway).

Luckily my other trucks have not shown any signs of the dreaded CLUNK, I feel strongly enough about it that, had I known that the NBS GMT900's are developing this problem before I bought the 2 that I have, I probably would have switched back to FORD, thats how much this bugs me.

Just a Rant, I enjoy my GM trucks, but I just can't understand why GM is struggling with driveshafts of all things.



I used to have 2004 F-140 and believe it or not, this clunk sound was always there!

Edited by 4wd, 28 April 2010 - 06:41 AM.


#8 jrod332

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 06:18 AM

I used heavy duty valvoline grease that's red in color and the factory yoke with most my mileage is in stop and go traffic and my clunk is yet to come back. Hard to say what caused the groove. Whatever did is probably the problem.


+1 for the red valvoline. Did almost a year ago and have yet to hear it come back.

#9 crepitus

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 07:59 AM

i have been reading alot about this clunk. When does it actually happen and what does it sound like? I dont think my truck is doing it but I cant be sure.
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#10 USMdude

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:23 PM

My 1999 GMC Sierra has never done it........ 177k But my 2001 2500 4wd was doing it when I bought it in 2005...... I pulled the shaft out washed it out in the parts washer and greased it up........ Fixed that was at 94k...... It has 178k on it now... IDK.....

But I have never had a ford that had a drive train clunk..... I have fought with linkage and bushings on the shifter thou..... And I have a 1995 Cougar that upon take off every time it makes a ODD noise that I can not describe...... Kinda sounds like a good air tight house when the air comes on and it sucks the doors shut.....

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#11 sc4808

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:14 PM

i have been reading alot about this clunk. When does it actually happen and what does it sound like? I dont think my truck is doing it but I cant be sure.


The "Clunk" is also a bump, when you come to a stop and the rear suspension unloads (back end comes up), when the vehicle settles (back end drops back down to level) you feel a bump/clunk, almost like someone bumped into the back of the truck, what causes it is the rear slip-yolk on the drive shaft binds up and then when enough weight gets on it(when the truck settles/back end comes down) the yolk unbinds and "Clunk/Bump"

The distance between the rear axle yolk and the rear output shaft on the transmission or transfer case changes as the suspension travels, hence the need for the slip joint.

I suspect that different wheelbase lengths effect how much of an issue this actually is. My 03 is a RCSB so the rear driveshaft angle is more than say a Extended Cab Short Bed.

When I was having this problem originally, (before I replaced the TC and Yolk) I tried every type of grease that has been recommended on here and none would last more than 4 or 5 thousand miles before the clunk would return. Now like I stated, when I went to the Nickel plated yolk, the problem totally went away for 100K miles, now it has returned.
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#12 sc4808

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:23 PM

160,000 miles and all you have to do is grease the slip yoke from time to time, maybe replace it? Sounds petty to me.

BUT.

I know how it goes when something small and stupid starts bugging me. It will irritate me to the point of smashing my fist through the dash (not that I've ever done this). And yeah...I think they should have figured it out by now. Same with the intermediate steering shaft. Small problems and easy fixes, but still...RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!

My '89 went through idler arms and pitman arms like it was getting paid to wear them out. At least that was fixed at some point :(


I never said that the Driveshaft was the only issue with the truck in 160K miles, just the most annoying.

Lets see, other than regular maintenance and the driveshaft issue:

Instrument Cluster
Transfer Case
Radiator
O2 Sensors (could be considered regular maintenance)
Blend Door
Fuel Pump

Its been a good truck.

Edited by sc4808, 28 April 2010 - 04:28 PM.

2008 Silverado K1500 4x4 Z71 CCSB
2009 Silverado K1500 4x4 Z71 ECSB
2006 GMC Sierra K1500 4x4 Z71 RCSB
2003 GMC Sierra K1500 4x4 RCSB
1995 Chevy K1500 Silverado Z71 4x4 RCSB
1994 Ford F150 4x4 Offroad RCSB

I live in the Lowcountry of SC

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#13 sc4808

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:26 PM

I used heavy duty valvoline grease that's red in color and the factory yoke with most my mileage is in stop and go traffic and my clunk is yet to come back. Hard to say what caused the groove. Whatever did is probably the problem.


+1 for the red valvoline. Did almost a year ago and have yet to hear it come back.



red valvoline did not last any longer(5K miles or so) than any of the other brands/types that I tried, the only thing that helped was changing the yolk to the Nickel plated one.
2008 Silverado K1500 4x4 Z71 CCSB
2009 Silverado K1500 4x4 Z71 ECSB
2006 GMC Sierra K1500 4x4 Z71 RCSB
2003 GMC Sierra K1500 4x4 RCSB
1995 Chevy K1500 Silverado Z71 4x4 RCSB
1994 Ford F150 4x4 Offroad RCSB

I live in the Lowcountry of SC

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#14 sc4808

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 04:53 PM

I used heavy duty valvoline grease that's red in color and the factory yoke with most my mileage is in stop and go traffic and my clunk is yet to come back. Hard to say what caused the groove. Whatever did is probably the problem.


The grove is normal after that many miles and is not the source of the problem, I personally feel that a fixed yolk on the transfer case with a slip yolk in the driveshaft would be the better solution.
2008 Silverado K1500 4x4 Z71 CCSB
2009 Silverado K1500 4x4 Z71 ECSB
2006 GMC Sierra K1500 4x4 Z71 RCSB
2003 GMC Sierra K1500 4x4 RCSB
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1994 Ford F150 4x4 Offroad RCSB

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#15 Ape0r

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 08:05 PM

Not surprised that the nickel plating wore out over time.

I stuffed a bunch of green marine grease into my truck's slip yoke something like 3.5 years and 60k miles ago and it has been good since.

I call bullshit on the clunk putting stress on the tcase output bearing, your tcase failed for some other reason.

The reason the slip yoke clunks is the same reason the splines on the intermediate steering shaft clunk - manufacturing tolerances and inadequate engineering practice. Were the tolerances tighter, neither one would clunk. My opinion as an engineer is that it would be pretty cost prohibitive (although perhaps not impossibly so) to get the tolerances that tight, but putting ten seconds of thought into this problem makes me wonder if a few strategically placed o-rings or rubber bushings could be used to dampen the relative motion and quiet up the clunking. It's too bad the boys at GM didn't think of that!

Edited by Ape0r, 28 April 2010 - 08:10 PM.

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