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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Dreaded Gearbox Noises! (Manual 5 Speed)

    I was driving back from work last night and I heard what I initially thought was an air leak or an exhaust issue. As I got up to 3rd gear and accelerated away down the dual carriageway, I thought I hear an 'airy' sound that sounded not unlike a sound you would get from a gas leak but with a gritty/bearing sound mixed in with it as well.

    I thought I'd do some trouble shooting before I passed judgement so I tried to recreate the sound on different sections of road, at different speeds and in different gears. When I got to a nice straight section of road I took the car out of gear for a few seconds and revved the engine to 4000 rpm+ and the sound did not happen, meaning that I could pretty much rule out any air leaks or exhaust issues as these would occur whether the car was in gear or not.

    So, then I focused in on the gearbox. I noticed in 1st and 5th the noise wasn't there but as soon as I got to 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, it showed up. So, again to confirm my theory I popped the car in to 3rd (the noisiest gear out of the 3), and put my foot down on the throttle and no suprises this gritty/grindy/airy sound showed up again. Then I popped the car in to neutral and revved the engine - no noise, just the normal engine revs!

    When I to town, I tried 1st gear and this noise didn't seem to happen but as soon as I got to 2nd, it showed up. At higher speeds in 5th I can't hear it either so the conclusion is that 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears are beginning to go, and this has suddenly showed up with little or no warning.

    Incidentally, I know someone will ask this question so I'll answer it now..... I have not had any problems changing in to any of the gears apart from reverse which sometimes doesn't want to engage until I lift the clutch slightly. Other than this, all the gear changes have been smooth and nothing has slipped out of gear (yet!).

    Looks like I'm going to be saving for a replacement gearbox (recon unit I suggest), and I might as well have the clutch done at the same time. It's going to be another big bill!

    I can't believe I just spent 1500 on suspension parts to now find the gearbox is giving up!

    Regards

    James

  2. #2
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  4. #3
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    I'd try giving the gearbox a flush, and new oil before you shell out on another gearbox.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by stribo View Post
    I'd try giving the gearbox a flush, and new oil before you shell out on another gearbox.
    Ok thanks, what's the best way to do that?

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    could it not be a boost issue? does the car still pull strong? have you got a boost gauge?
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    Just because it doesn't make the noise when you rev it, doesn't mean it's not the engine. A turbo car reacts differently when under load and they sound your hearing could be, as Colin said, turbo related, manifold, intercooler etc.
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesT5 View Post
    Ok thanks, what's the best way to do that?
    The way I would do it is drain the gearbox, refill with the correct grade oil, drive it for a week, drain gearbox again, refill with the correct oil, job done.

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    i think its time you got a new car. break yours for bits and transfer the good new bits on to a healther model. there has to come a point wear you accept your losses and move on. this car is costing you a fortune that youll never get it back. hope that dosnt sound harsh but i remember one of your first posts, was misfire i think then suspension knocking. im sure i said then it would be best to part with it. for what youve spent you could of had a lower milage newer model t5.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-R-P View Post
    Just because it doesn't make the noise when you rev it, doesn't mean it's not the engine. A turbo car reacts differently when under load and they sound your hearing could be, as Colin said, turbo related, manifold, intercooler etc.
    I recognise the sound as being similar to the sound I was getting from my first car I had back in 1999, a Rover 200 series. The gear box went and the sounds were not unlike the present ones.

    I'm not saying your incorrect but my gut instinct is transmission noise. When I have some time off next week after I've worked my night shifts, I'll take the car for a drive and take the camcorder with me. I'll make another video and then get opinions on the sounds, I'm sure many on here will have the experience to either confirm or deny what I think the problem is.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by graemewelch View Post
    i think its time you got a new car. break yours for bits and transfer the good new bits on to a healther model. there has to come a point wear you accept your losses and move on. this car is costing you a fortune that youll never get it back. hope that dosnt sound harsh but i remember one of your first posts, was misfire i think then suspension knocking. im sure i said then it would be best to part with it. for what youve spent you could of had a lower milage newer model t5.
    I appreciate the advice Graeme and I'm grateful for the opinion. That said, I'm not into breaking cars and transferring bits over, I just don't have the expertise or the knowledge or even the space to do that. I brought this car with 12 months MOT and very little sign that anything was going to cause this many issues. Not only that, I brought the car I could afford at the time and I don't have the money for a replacement even now (I wonder why!).

    You're right in whaty you're saying but it's financially easier for me to keep patching this one up until I've fixed it than to try and buy another car with money I simply don't have.

    Regards

    James

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    Ok, an updates for you all (yes one of those again!)...

    This sound has developed somewhat since my last posting and I'm now considering other possible options other than the gearbox (as advised above, thank you). This morning, driving back from work I can create the sound when I declutch at which point it 'winds down' along with my speed. When I use more throttle the sound increases dramatically and it even shows up in 5th gear now too.

    Thinking about how to describe the sound this morning, just imagine a very large swarm of angry Bees and you've pretty much got the sound I'm getting from the car right now.

    I will be taking this to a garage as soon as possible to rule out wheel bearings and CV joint issues. At least though, they would be a lot cheaper than a replacement box.

    I'll keep you posted (for those who are still following this post )

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    Does the noise rise with rpm or vehicle speed? I know it can be hard to tell. Vehicle speed - diff to wheel bearing. Rpm - gearbox and engine. If it is transmission related that is. You wouldn't be the first person to assume knackered box when in fact a wheel bearing is on its way out. Gearbox oil is easy to change - there are 2 nuts on the nearside of the gearbox. The top is the fill hole and the lower is a drain hole. Make sure you can undo the top before attempting the bottom. Catch the oil in a suitable container. I extend the gearbox oil bottle with garden hose and pour it in until it runs back out (full). Not and idea on a well used m56 irrespective of your findings. Wheel bearings get noisier as the they continue to fail and will be noisier as you turn away from the affected side ie: more rumble/whine on left turn = o/s bearing. I wouldn't rule out a boost leak if you hear hissing under load - you won't hear it on revving only.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jardon View Post
    Does the noise rise with rpm or vehicle speed? I know it can be hard to tell. Vehicle speed - diff to wheel bearing. Rpm - gearbox and engine. If it is transmission related that is. You wouldn't be the first person to assume knackered box when in fact a wheel bearing is on its way out. Gearbox oil is easy to change - there are 2 nuts on the nearside of the gearbox. The top is the fill hole and the lower is a drain hole. Make sure you can undo the top before attempting the bottom. Catch the oil in a suitable container. I extend the gearbox oil bottle with garden hose and pour it in until it runs back out (full). Not and idea on a well used m56 irrespective of your findings. Wheel bearings get noisier as the they continue to fail and will be noisier as you turn away from the affected side ie: more rumble/whine on left turn = o/s bearing. I wouldn't rule out a boost leak if you hear hissing under load - you won't hear it on revving only.
    Thanks for the advice. It's definitely happening in neutral now so I'm now having to revise my gearbox theory because the sound to start with was quiet enough to be mistaken for a gear box sound.

    But now I can get the car to make this high pitched 'humming' even in 5th gear and in neutral and I'm wondering if it's the driveshaft because of the addition of knocks and clunks on full lock with the steering. The humming is not unlike a very large swarm of bees or if you've heard a London Underground tube train coming in to a station and it's winding down to a stop, that's similar to the sound I'm getting when I slow down to a stop. Worryingly, it's got a lot worse in the last 48 hours!

    I'm going to take it to a garage for inspection and book it in as soon as they can look at it, then I'll post the results here for everyones reference, you never know this could be affecting someone elses car very soon!

    This morning I drove home via the back lanes to try and avoid the main roads so I could drive slower, I didn't want to chance driving too fast and over-stressing a bearing.

    Regards

    James

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    Bl00dy hell James!!!
    Were you a serial killer in a previous life and owning this Volvo is retribution in this life??!!!
    I have to admire your perseverance though mate. Many of us would have thrown in the towel by now, but you are hanging in there.
    Good luck with this latest problem, and keep us posted.

    PS. I reckon wheel bearing is giving up the ghost..............

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    JamesT5 (Tuesday 19th February 2013)

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    Wheel bearing maybe
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    JamesT5 (Tuesday 19th February 2013)

  21. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverhorse View Post
    Bl00dy hell James!!!
    Were you a serial killer in a previous life and owning this Volvo is retribution in this life??!!!
    I have to admire your perseverance though mate. Many of us would have thrown in the towel by now, but you are hanging in there.
    Good luck with this latest problem, and keep us posted.

    PS. I reckon wheel bearing is giving up the ghost..............
    Yes, against advise from fellow forum users I've kept this car rather than sold it or broken it for spares. So long as the car isn't a mangled wreck it is fixable and to be honest, although I'll never make all this money back I'm sure that the car at the end of this will be an solid one. This really will just be down to the fact I've changed so many parts there'll be nothing left to change, if you think about it I've had the suspension virtually rebuilt so really it's just a case of tracking this problem down and fixing it and then it should be on the road to recovery again (ok stated the obvious there I know!)

    The good news is, I'm keeping every garage receipt and every receipt/invoice for every part including light bulbs, gaskets, the lot. That way, when I eventually do part with the car I've got all the receipts and history to prove how much money and care has gone in to maintaining this thing. Who's going to buy a car with such high mileage without all the history of maintenance to go with it! Anyway, sorry I've got side tracked......

    My local ATS Euromaster have been F.A.B today. I took it down and they immediately agreed to look at the car on the spot, took it for a test drive and then jacked it up and had a play with the wheels.....

    The guy said he agreed 'a' bearing was going but couldn't pin point the exact problem, he said the wheel bearings are "solid" and it could be that it's just starting to dry out but nothing seems to be coming apart or is obviously worn. There s some slight play in my n/s/f inner steering rod (as predicted by forum members on here!), and nothing else is obvious other than the noise is there but where it's coming from is a bit of a mystery.

    It's been suggested to me today by someone else that this might be a thrust bearing in the clutch? I'd appreciate peoples views on that too and am I right in thinking the gearbox needs to come out to replace the clutch?

    Anyway, I've got my Dad coming over tomorrow to have a listen, the extra opinion is always needed! I'll keep you posted as I'm sure someone else will have the same problem at some point if not already.

    Thanks for all the help from everyone so far.....

    Regards

    James

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    Try finding a wide smooth downhill stretch and let it coast (clutch in) at around 50mph. Make some gentle swerves left and right to load up alternate wheel bearings and note if the sound is louder when swerving to one side. Wheel bearings are subtle when just starting to go and both mine have taken a while to pin down as the sound isn't loud enough to diagnose until they are worn enough. If it makes the sound in neutral and gets quieter at lower speed it's not your thrust bearing. It could be a diff bearing or driveshaft but the more common cause of such noises is a wheel bearing. When my wheel bearing "failed" it was solid with no play but the noise was bad. I would drive it as normal and allow the noise to develop to a level where diagnosis is easy. If it is a bearing anywhere in the drivetrain that's on its way out it will need replacing and driving to incur more wear to aid diagnosis is not going to shaft something else. A wheel bearing would have to be utterly fried to become dangerously worn and noise would be the least of your symptoms.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jardon View Post
    Try finding a wide smooth downhill stretch and let it coast (clutch in) at around 50mph. Make some gentle swerves left and right to load up alternate wheel bearings and note if the sound is louder when swerving to one side. Wheel bearings are subtle when just starting to go and both mine have taken a while to pin down as the sound isn't loud enough to diagnose until they are worn enough. If it makes the sound in neutral and gets quieter at lower speed it's not your thrust bearing. It could be a diff bearing or driveshaft but the more common cause of such noises is a wheel bearing. When my wheel bearing "failed" it was solid with no play but the noise was bad. I would drive it as normal and allow the noise to develop to a level where diagnosis is easy. If it is a bearing anywhere in the drivetrain that's on its way out it will need replacing and driving to incur more wear to aid diagnosis is not going to shaft something else. A wheel bearing would have to be utterly fried to become dangerously worn and noise would be the least of your symptoms.
    Thanks for the advice, it sounds like you've got quite a bit of experience in this field so I appreciate your input.

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    Follow-up -

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesT5 View Post
    Thanks for the advice, it sounds like you've got quite a bit of experience in this field so I appreciate your input.
    I know this is an old thread - but does anyone know what the issue ended up being? I have the exact same issue and would like to know if - and how - the described issue was solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingo View Post
    I know this is an old thread - but does anyone know what the issue ended up being? I have the exact same issue and would like to know if - and how - the described issue was solved.
    James is banned, so unlikely to be able to reply, his car had done a very high mileage for what I recall, so was most likely the wheel bearings

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