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Thread: What would happen if the rear differential failed?

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    Previously Known As Jamesd Dsemaj's Avatar
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    What would happen if the rear differential failed?

    Long story short, I need an answer to what would happen if the rear differential failed on a car.

    I won't go into details, but somehow the car lost it going out of a roundabout and as far as I know, it spun with no excessive speed at all, and I really don't know how it happened. Could have a rear differential failing in some way have caused the rear wheels to loose traction, but I distinctively remember hearing something at the rear.

    The car also spun the wheels or something when it did a right hand turn off a main road onto another. I dismissed it as it was wet, but now I'm just convinced that something is wrong with the car.

    I'm just so confused to how it could happen. If it wasn't the rear differential, what could it be?

    EDIT: Can't be the differential.
    Last edited by Dsemaj; November 4th, 2007 at 6:33 AM.
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    Proudly supports terrible french cars Aston Martin's Avatar
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    "I won't go into details"............ Means "so I was drifting"
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    Previously Known As Jamesd Dsemaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aston Martin View Post
    "I won't go into details"............ Means "so I was drifting"
    No. I wasn't driving, my friend was, and we seemed to be going around the roundabout normally, and the car just lost it.

    It's a bit complicated, I didn't want to go through it
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    Does it have an LSD?
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    Previously Known As Jamesd Dsemaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomCat View Post
    Does it have an LSD?
    Nope, just a normal differential that you find on any RWD car.
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    Unless your spider gears seized while accelerating out of the corner, I don't know how it could be the rear end.

    Unless you ran over something.
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    The_Finn's Avatar
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    if the diff blew up wouldn't you just not get any power to the rear wheels? or only one wheel?
    Last edited by The_Finn; November 3rd, 2007 at 4:33 PM.
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    Previously Known As Jamesd Dsemaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomCat View Post
    Unless your spider gears seized while accelerating out of the corner, I don't know how it could be the rear end.

    Unless you ran over something.
    The car was still driveable after, we managed to get it moved into a park.

    I've looked over the road where it happened, there was nothing to hit, nothing wrong with the road.
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    Previously known as Cosworth Paddy's Avatar
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    If the diff shat itself, you would of losing drive and would of ending up going no where. What exactly happened or where ye doing ?

    If you were drifting, the car just one wheeled and spun you out, seen it happen to loads of BMWs over here ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosworth View Post
    If you were drifting, the car just one wheeled and spun you out, seen it happen to loads of BMWs over here ...
    Happens to just about anything with an open diff and an inexperienced driver.

    If the car can still put power down normally I don't think you've got a diff problem. I would think you'd hear some noise or feel some resistance if it was a serious problem. You could have a torn up bushing in a trailing arm or something though. That can make the rear end do some funky stuff.

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    Previously Known As Jamesd Dsemaj's Avatar
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    We weren't drifting The car was going around the roundabout normally, and it just lost it. I'm not sure about the exact speed, but my both of my friends who were in the car (including the one driving) were sure it was about 25-30 kilometres, what it would have been normally. But the car managed to spin, so i'm really confused.

    Interestingly, me and my dad had heard a noise from the back the day before, but everything seemed fine with the car. I thought it might be the exhaust or something, but my dad was going on how it wasn't coming from the left, the side it's on.

    I think I just have to get that rear end checked out, because if we were really going the speed that my friends said we were, and I think we were, there has to be something wrong with the car.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigger View Post
    If the car can still put power down normally I don't think you've got a diff problem. I would think you'd hear some noise or feel some resistance if it was a serious problem. You could have a torn up bushing in a trailing arm or something though. That can make the rear end do some funky stuff.
    I agree; if it is something wrong with the car, I would think it would be a problem with the suspension first. Either that or the tires are in need of replacement. If it were a differential failure, the car wouldn't move another inch under it's own power, and trying to drive it would likely result in a god-awful gear-grinding noise with no movement associated.

    Also, if you had someone sitting in the back seat, the additional weight back there can do all kinds of funny things to the car's handling.
    Last edited by MrChips; November 4th, 2007 at 1:45 AM.

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    have a good mechanic look at it, they may be pricey, but its not as though they don't know there stuff.

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    Diff failed.....you would go nowhere.

    Suspension failed, its possible you could spin.

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    Previously Known As Jamesd Dsemaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrChips View Post
    I agree; if it is something wrong with the car, I would think it would be a problem with the suspension first. Either that or the tires are in need of replacement. If it were a differential failure, the car wouldn't move another inch under it's own power, and trying to drive it would likely result in a god-awful gear-grinding noise with no movement associated.

    Also, if you had someone sitting in the back seat, the additional weight back there can do all kinds of funny things to the car's handling.
    Yeah, it can't be the differential. There was two people sitting in the back, that's about it.
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    check your suspension, sounds very similar to what a friend had on his golf mkII. you going fine through a turn, and suddenly sth snaps and you're facing the other side

    turned out the holes in the discs to connect the shockabsorbers to the car itself, were rusted, and gave play

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    I think it would depend on what type of differential you have and exactly how it failed. You could have power only going to one wheel, no power at all, a loss of power/traction, etc.

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    Previously Known As Jamesd Dsemaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bone View Post
    check your suspension, sounds very similar to what a friend had on his golf mkII. you going fine through a turn, and suddenly sth snaps and you're facing the other side

    turned out the holes in the discs to connect the shockabsorbers to the car itself, were rusted, and gave play
    Really interesting you mention that. Well, regardless, the car is being taken to a brother's mates tomorrow (he's got his own workshop), and I suspect he's going to take a through look over it. Must get him to check the rear.
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    http://youtube.com/watch?v=QKSDdKze4i8

    Diff in the car on the far lane breaks.

    If you were just riding around normally it woudlnt put nearly enough stress on the differential to break it. The hardest thing for a differential to do is to handle a launch from a dig (like the video) and GM 10-bolt rears are notorious for popping.

    Usually it rips the gears right off, and the car just rolls.

    Your problem probably isnt related to the differential.
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    If it was the diff you'd hear a heap of grinding and crunching, even if a diff shits itself it's not going to magically spin the wheels, it will just stop putting power to the wheels and in the worst case lock them up

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