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03 Denali Has A Grinding Noise Up Front


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#1 jet

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Posted 15 December 2008 - 11:19 PM

I just got a 2003 Denali XL (full time AWD) and it has a grinding noise up front. The noise is not there when I am off the gas, but when I am just barely on the gas it is the loudest, when I get on it more then it gets quieter, but is still there. It sounds like it is the front diff or the transfer case. I did a search and didn't find anything. It only has 79k miles on it, I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem?

Edited by jet, 15 December 2008 - 11:22 PM.


#2 ChrisNJ

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 08:15 AM

Get it fixed before it leads to more trouble. Probably a bearing going south.

#3 dmignone

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:13 AM

I just got a 2003 Denali XL (full time AWD) and it has a grinding noise up front. The noise is not there when I am off the gas, but when I am just barely on the gas it is the loudest, when I get on it more then it gets quieter, but is still there. It sounds like it is the front diff or the transfer case. I did a search and didn't find anything. It only has 79k miles on it, I was wondering if anyone else has had this problem?



The same thing has just happened to my wifes 2003 Denali which has 77,000 miles on it. I thought it might be the front left hub assembly and just changed it (the right hub assembly went last year) but unfortunately that was not it. Now I am thinking it might be the transfer case...doesnt seem like a u-joint issue. If you get any more info Id love to know.

#4 tonygxp

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 12:55 PM

try the silverado ss forum. they have a similar if not exact awd system. sounds like front diff maybe pinion bearing? if it were the transfer case i wonder how being in it it would make it quiter?

at my job we have a 2006 yukon non denali but awd, it also have 60-70k on it and the last time i drove it (maybe 2 weeks ago) i noticed a slight hum from the front while barely on the gas at about 45mph. i remember thinking to myself that i should mention it to my boss but figured i would be blamed for screwing it up lol. let the guy who drives it everyday do the right thing.

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2010 GMC Denali Storm Gray Met.


#5 tonygxp

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 04:15 PM

just got off the phone with my friend who owns the shop i go to. he said he's replaced two front diff's on '02-'06 Escalades due to a similar noise. was the bearing on the driver's side axle of the front diff. it ended up being cheaper to buy a reman unit and have that installed due to the factory one more times than not will not relinquish control over the driver's side axle. usually seizes up in there. what it was on the two he's done, both this year was the driver's side axle bearing on the inside of the flange where the cv joint connects to it. he said both customers had hub bearings replaced before going to him.

cost for the transplant with the reman unit was approximately $1,400 ($1,000 unit & $400 labor/misc). hope it's not this, but just trying to help..

oh btw he said if you get under there and push up on the flange you should feel excessive play if that's what it is, says it will move indicating a bad bearing on that assembly. good luck.

Edited by tonygxp, 26 December 2010 - 04:24 PM.

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2010 GMC Denali Storm Gray Met.


#6 desrtrat

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 06:07 PM

the 03-04 SS are known for bad carrier bearings. mine went bad with only 190 mi new. a lot of the issues were bad bearings from a suppler, and a retaining clip that can come louse..drain your front diff and see how much metal is in there. as long as the case is not damaged, coat can be over $1200 parts and labor depending on who dose the work. if the housing is damaged, GM no longer stocks them, haven't in a lot of years. if it is expect top $$$ for repair..

Attached File  Carnage006.jpg   271.6KB   18 downloads

Attached File  Carnage001.jpg   206.66KB   23 downloads

good luck

#7 tonygxp

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 07:21 PM

the 03-04 SS are known for bad carrier bearings. mine went bad with only 190 mi new. a lot of the issues were bad bearings from a suppler, and a retaining clip that can come louse..drain your front diff and see how much metal is in there. as long as the case is not damaged, coat can be over $1200 parts and labor depending on who dose the work. if the housing is damaged, GM no longer stocks them, haven't in a lot of years. if it is expect top $$$ for repair..

Attached File  Carnage006.jpg   271.6KB   18 downloads

Attached File  Carnage001.jpg   206.66KB   23 downloads

good luck


if you need a price or where my friend got those reman units i can ask him. i think this pic may be the same part i was told. is that bearing on the driver's side of the carrier or is it both that go? maybe that's why the noise is primarily on the front left due to the offset of the carrier?

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2010 GMC Denali Storm Gray Met.


#8 Sly

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 01:03 PM

Try the Denali forum www.denalitrucks.com. Lots of info on this situation there.
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#9 ChevyTech77

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 01:14 PM

Front diff bearing issue. Have it pulled out for tear down and inspection.
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#10 zedbear

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 01:46 AM

I don't have the full time AWD system but the OP's condition sure sounds similar to mine. I also had quite a "puff" of metal shavings on the diff drain plug.




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