Hi, all. I have a 96 RMW purchased last fall from a gentleman in Charleston. It has the tow package, is more or less stock, and is an awesome trade-up from my 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon. It had 90k on it when I bought it and is now at 98k. I think I may have a rear-end problem, and here is why:
About six months ago, I noticed a squeal or moan from the rear end when I would make a tight turn in or out of a parking spot. Driving in a tight circle, either forward or reverse, would elicit the same moan, with an occasional "jerk" felt in the seat, sometimes accompanied by a tire chirp. These tests were accomplished at or just above idle. To my relatively untrained ears, it sounded like maybe clutches in the rear end were grabbing. So, I removed the cover and inspected what I could. There were no big chunks in there, and just some normal swarf on the magnet, so I serviced it up, adding the GM Posi additive as per spec. The moaning and jerking went away immediately.
Fast forward to today, where I noticed a vibration in the seat, intermittently starting at about 40MPH. There is no moaning like before, but slow turns in the parking lot cause jerking that seems more violent than before, although it didn't chirp the tires. The most worrisome thing was during a brief highway run, at about 70MPH, there were a few brief periods of rapid deceleration that did not appear to be caused by engine malfunction. It also appeared to require more throttle input to maintain speed.
So, I'm thinking the diff is toast, but I'm a relative novice at geartrain stuff, although I'm a pretty accomplished mech in most other areas. Any thoughts on these symptoms? Any troubleshooting advice? Help is appreciated.