Yes, I know... Damn it...
So, on the 3rd of July, around 8:30pm, I was on the interstate and hit
a very steep, nearly mile-long grade. Maintaining speed is difficult
so I dropped to 3rd gear. As I peaked the hill I started to hear a
funny noise. As soon as I shifted back to OD and lowered engine RPMs
(reducing load on the axle) it started whining like crazy.
It sounded like that scene in 'Memphis Belle' where they go into a dive
to put out an engine fire.
I made it another 65 miles...yeah, I know, stupid... however I could
tell by the noise that nothing I could do was going to rescue the diff
at that point.
Anyhow, it couldn't be examined by a shop till the 5th, by which point
I needed to be back on the road to get back to Atlanta (200 miles
away). I ended up catching a cheap flight home, as I had to work the
The guys at Pep Boys cracked open the diff and said it had blown a
pinion seal and run dry. That makes some sense, as going up that steep
grade for an extended period of time allowed the remaining fluid to
drain away from the pinion and kill the bearing.
So, the K5 is still in Tennessee. I need to get it down here ASAP.
Provided that it stays topped off with fluid (it's been drained and
refilled) can anyone guess as to how long it will last? Getting it
above 60mph is not really feasible, but if I keep it at or below that
speed the noise is managable. I'm not currently in a position to have
it repaired up in Tennessee.
If I take it easy and watch the fluid level, do you think I could make
it back without total failure of the rear axle?
Worst part is, the axle was rebuilt about 8 or 9 months ago. It's no
longer under warranty. It sat for almost 6 of those months after the
engine fire and tranny problems. I'm out $750 for the rebuild...
And the K5 saga continues...