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Some of you know that I got my driveshaft replaced this week by Chevrolet under warranty, to eliminate the "tick" sound that was occurring due to windup and then release of the aluminum drievshaft when starting from a dead stop, and sometimes when the automatic transmission shifted gears.

Well, there's good knews and bad news!

The good news is that the tick sound is gone.

The bad news is that it has been replaced by a much more irritating and persistent hollow, resonant sound that shows up at high city speeds and becomes more pronounced at highway speed!

I didn't realize what had happened at first as a result of this driveshaft swap, and it's embarassingly funny.

Basically, I picked the SSR up from the dealership and drove pretty much immediately, with the sound system on (significant - see below), to a high performance shop where I had an appointment to do something unrelated: change the rear axle ring and pinion from the stock 3.73 to 4.56, as described in another of my postings. It never occured to me that anthing was amiss, especially since, because of route and traffic, I did almost all the driving at city speeds.

I pciked the SSR up again last night with the new axle ratio ALSO installed, and did something I don't normally do: I drove WITHOUT the sound system on. I normally like to play music all the time in the SSR these days, because I am away from home in Atlanta on a contract assignment, living in a hotel, and have NO other sound system! BUt, after picking up the SSR from the high performance shop, I wanted to specifically listen to see if the 4.56 gears would be noticeably louder than the 3.73 had been, so I turned the sound system OFF, AND the blower fan to the "1" setting..

Yeah, you guessed it. I heard this sound that I described above, and, because I thought it had not been there before, assumed it was due to the 4.56 gears! I called the shop, and Lamar, the owner, told me that his son Rob, who did the gear install, had roadtested the SSR before I picked it up, commented on the "driveshaft sound", checked to confirm it was coming from the dirveshaft and not the rearend, and unfortunatey left for the day before I arrived to pick the SSR up, so couldn't tell me. When Lamar told me what Rob had found, we all got really curious, as Lamar himself owns an SSR (an early 03, not an 04 as I had originally thought). Rob and Lamar invited me to bring the SSR in again today and they would put it on a lift and run it!

Yes, again you can probably guess what we found with the SSR running on a lift with the wheels above ground and the drievtrain turning like on the road. The differential was quiet as a church mouse (Rob HAS done many of them and knows how to do them well). But that driveshaft was a different story.

First, even before running it, Lamar, who remember has an 03 SSR AND is a skilled auto tuner and builder, noted that this new driveshaft:

- Has a MUCH larger diameter than the one in his SSR (no ruler with me, but looked like maybe 5 inches diameter in that central section!)

- Appears to have no sound deadening material in it (it rings like a bell when you flick it with your finger!)

- Is VERY light guage aluminum, has a sort of rubber doughnut at the front to try to dampen noise

- And most significantly, has WAY too much physical "play" in the coupling to the bushing inside the transmission. We were easily able to defect the front of the driveshaft away from center with very moderate hand pressure. There is literally visible play in the coupling with the transmission.

Once we ran it, we could clearly hear that the commotion was coming from the front end of the driveshaft.

Then, just to be sure, Lamar himself test drove my SSR, and confirmed his opinion.

He and Rob told me that they have also encountered this noise on Corvettes, which also use a very light and resonant driveshaft that operates at high rotational speed because in a Corvette, the transmission is at the rear axle. When it's bad, they send the driveshaft out to a local driveline place that installs sound deadener.

I don't think there is any chance that the Chev dealer mechanic installed the new drivesahft incorrectly somehow, as the driveshaft is PURELY the driveshaft (the u-joints are NOT part of what was replaced), and it fastens to the u-joints with simple bolts (4 bolts total I think). It's also not bent or unbalanced, because there really is no vibration to speak of - it`s just noise (which a scientist will tell us IS the result of a high frequency virbation). I think there are 3 possibilities:

1. The factory forgot to put sound deadener into this specific driveshaft.

2. The frontend of this specific driveshaft is somehow out of tolerance (i.e. it's not supposed to have the large amount of play that it does have)

3. The new driveshaft design gets rid of the "tink" (which was mildly annoying, and caused all my mechanic friends to incorrectly say "you need new u-joints"), and replaces it with an anoying hollow resonant sound that is frankly more annoying than the tink ever was!

I called my Chevrolet dealer and told the service rep that I don't like this new driveshaft, and either want a new one that does not make the noise, OR I want to go back to my old one (tick is better than the noise). He is checking to see if they still have my old one!

The dealer invted me to come in Monday to continue "The driveshaft story"!

I'll let you guys know what happens next.

Isn't owning an SSR fun?

Jim G
 

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Machell
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Well I guess we aren't out of the woods yet. I didn't know that there would be a more annoying noise than the Tink Noise. I hate it and it does it all the time.
 

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Jim,

I just got mine back from the shop from the rear end swap and new driveshaft install and i have 0 noise..Quiet as a mouse..I have had mine up to 125mph and there is NO sound...Are you sure it is the driveshaft?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes Steve, I am about 99% certain.

- It sounds like it is coming from right under the passenger cab

- It increases volume with road speed and is independent of transmission gear being used or engine rpm

- It sounds like a hollow singing resonance, if that makes any sense to you, or like a thin metallic tube "ringing".

It's posible that:

- I just got a bad one

- It was somehow installed incorrectly (but like I said above, I cannot see how it could be installed any way except correctly.

Your comment that yours is silent to 125 mph is significant too. My OLD one was silent at 100 mph, and even with my tighter 4.56 versus 3.73 gearing, which is only 22% faster rpm, the driveshaft rpm at 60 mph would be only 73% of the rpm at 100 mph with the 3.73 gearing, so should be silent. But, it is not. Bad forward mounting on it?

Jim G
 

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I would bet its the new gears. The way you describe the noise, its rearend howl.
With 4.56 gears everything will be more harsh, it will seem quicker but the trade
offs will be unacceptable. GM has the right gears in these to start with, 22% faster
driveshaft speed is a huge difference , you never see 4.56 gears in very expensive
performance cars and there is a reason for it, NVH's very high which means- noise
vibration and harshness, 4.56 are for drag cars that turn 8000 rpm not road going
cars, I still think 3.73 will be faster in the qtr. mile........................
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Rick: I'm not ruling anything out yet. It is posible that you are somehow correct. But, 2 guys that build performance cars for a living say it's the driveshaft. And, they can demonstrate the slop in the front mounting to support the statement. It only takes a tech well under an hour to swap drievshafts in an SSR, so if the dealership still has my old driveshaft, we'll do a quick swap to see if that eliminates the problem or not.

As for the quarter mile, I stand by my computer projection. The quarter mile time for he 4.56 will be about 1/2 second quicker than the 3.73. The only reason the difference is not bigger is that the weird ratios in the specific transmision model we are blessed with are WAY too far apart for "performance" use.

The same "ultra wide-ratio" choice of ratios makes the 0 to 60, 0 to 80, and 0 to 100 times relaitvely inconsistent with each other. It just happens that with a 4.56, the mathematis line up to give a much greater reduction in 0 to 60 time than for the quarter mile as a whole.

The simplified explanation is that by increasing the overall ratio by 22%, we manage to convert the 0 to 60 mph speed range from one that uses all of 1st gear and just a little of 2nd gear, to one that uses all of 1st and a much larger portion of second gear. With this wide ratio box, that is UNUSUALLY beneficial because the difference between 1st and 2nd gears is so huge that when you run to the rev limit in 1st, you still only hit 3200 rpm in 2nd! In other words, you fall right off the power curve. By moving all the gears "downward" (compressing their speed ranges), you get the engine back into the power band in 2nd gear much sooner, and thus get to 60 mph a lot faster. THAT's why this change in ratios is so magical.

Since I have NO interest in dragracing, but a lot of interest in making the vehicle more nimble at moderate speeds (0 to 80 mph), this ratio swap is just the ticket for me.

Jim G
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Rick: Did you know that you can order a Chevy Silverado with a 4.11 ratio?

It's NEEDED to get those impressive towing capacities that Chevy quotes in their ads!

A 4.11 is only 10% "slower" than a 4.56. I can't see that 10% making that big a difference in noise level and resonance.

Jim G
 

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Jim does hte whine quit when you lift your foot off the gas? And then come back when you get back on the pedal? IF it does it is the ring and pinion. Run it at a steady speed where you can here it good..Lift your foot off the gas and see if it goes away... If so ..Make them set it up again!.

Oh yea sorry I have not returned your call yet..Dang cold is killing me and I can hardley talk. The answer is yes...It copies the program on the cpu first before it will let you put anything else on it.
 

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There Is A Difference

JimGnitecki said:
Rick: Did you know that you can order a Chevy Silverado with a 4.11 ratio?

It's NEEDED to get those impressive towing capacities that Chevy quotes in their ads!

A 4.11 is only 10% "slower" than a 4.56. I can't see that 10% making that big a difference in noise level and resonance.

Jim G
The outside rolling circumference of the Silverado tire is much larger than the outside circumference of the SSR rear tire due to it's low profile (2.6 inches in height alone) .The drive shaft speed on a Silverado with 4.11 is probably slower than a SSR with 3.73 ratio.
 

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I tend to agree with Rick, this sounds more like a gear noise to me. The problem with the big diameter drive shafts that the manufactors are useing these days is that due to their large diameter and being hollow inside they can tend to make a noise from on place travel to another. We have run into this with some other vehicles in our service dept. in the past. As for my SSR I have never noticed the tinc noise that many of you have posted about, it is now covered up for winter, but I will probably be paranoid listening for it this spring.

So far I have had 3400 trouble free miles :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I really LISTENED to the sound today on the way to and from church, and learned more.

There are really TWO different sounds in this orchestra.

What they have in common is:

1. They both are LOUDER when gas is applied and quieter (but still there) when coasting

2. They both become audible at around 30 mph roughly, and become louder with increasing speed. They are still quiet enough even at highway speeds of 60 to 75 mph that the sound system masks them completely, but ONE of them (the second one described below) is loud enough with the sound system off to be pretty distracting.

One of them, is a sort of not particularly unpleasant "whine" that I have heard before on other vehicles with stiff final drive ratios (like the F-150 I used to have with a manual transmission, where you could hear the gearbox gears whining normally). It is much quieter than the other sound, and not partiuclarly a problem at all.

The second sound is entirely different. It is best described with the following adjectives: singing, very "hollow", "sheet metal vibrating", or "wind rushing past an aluminum airplane fuselage", and has points in the speed range where it resonates. It sounds like a hollow metal drum for want of a better description.

It sounds so "sheetmetal-like" that I actually asked my mechanic friend to check to see if an exhaust component or exhaust shield was somehow disturbed during the installation (was not).

No "tinking" anymore though . . . :)

Jim G
 

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Jim:
Aside from the noise problem, did the gear change meet your expectations in regard to performance/throttle response? I suspect it made a big difference.

Oops - Nevermind - I just found your other post and don't know how to delete this one.
 

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The driveshaft 'tink' has been a pet peeve of mine after about 600 miles after owning my '04 SSR.It was mild at first and then an embarassing nuisance.

The dealership had it replaced with a 'new improved' driveshaft and yet after 250 miles the 'tink' had returned. I waited till the sound was loud enough to make sure no one could dispute it's origins and took it back into the dealership after several months.

After scouring the web to find any reports of driveshaft noise in other SSRs, I found this forum.

I had brought with me printouts of the driveshaft 'tink' discussions from this forum and the SSR Fanatic site address to present to the dealership.

A couple weeks later the service manager from the dealership had called and asked me to bring in my SSR to install try out a custom steel driveshaft.

I've waited to see if this new driveshaft had dispersed the 'tink' noise before reporting it on this forum.

After 500 miles of driving, it seems to be working fine.

Just wanted to pass this info along...

~Macabone
:flag
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Macabone: THis is valuable confirmation of what others have told me: a steel driveshaft would not wind up like the aluminum ones does on application of sudden torque (e.g. when you put it into gear), and then replease,making the "ting" sound.

The other problem with the aluminum, ultra thin wall driveshaft, new or old style, is that it is a giant musical amplifer (think about the way any brass instrument in a an orchestra works!). In my case, when I went to the 4.56 rear end ratio, it amplifies greatly the sound of the higher ratio. I am going to try an experiment on Monday that I'm told will have a good chance of solving THAT.

Jim G
 

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Machell
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Macabone said:
The driveshaft 'tink' has been a pet peeve of mine after about 600 miles after owning my '04 SSR.It was mild at first and then an embarassing nuisance.

The dealership had it replaced with a 'new improved' driveshaft and yet after 250 miles the 'tink' had returned. I waited till the sound was loud enough to make sure no one could dispute it's origins and took it back into the dealership after several months.

After scouring the web to find any reports of driveshaft noise in other SSRs, I found this forum.

I had brought with me printouts of the driveshaft 'tink' discussions from this forum and the SSR Fanatic site address to present to the dealership.

A couple weeks later the service manager from the dealership had called and asked me to bring in my SSR to install try out a custom steel driveshaft.

I've waited to see if this new driveshaft had dispersed the 'tink' noise before reporting it on this forum.

After 500 miles of driving, it seems to be working fine.

Just wanted to pass this info along...

~Macabone
:flag
I was told by my mechanic, that the dealership can't replace it with a different type material and weight! Was this a lie or what?
 
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