Anyone learning to drive a manual transmission for the first time has probably heard the sound of grinding gears at least once. A sudden jolt usually accompanies this loud, unpleasant sound as the gears fail to mesh. Grinding a transmission once or twice isn't typically fatal, but persistent grinding noises with an experienced driver often mean trouble is ahead.
Since many semi-trucks with manual or automatic transmissions are still on the road today, it's worthwhile to understand why your truck might be making this noise and what you can do about it. Fortunately, grinding gears don't always mean that it's time to swap or rebuild your transmission. Check out these three common reasons for grinding gears in big diesel trucks.
1. Worn Clutch
Even the most experienced and careful manual transmission drivers will eventually need to replace their clutches. Each use of the clutch pedal puts a bit more wear on the disc, grinding away its friction material. Once your clutch begins to slip, it can cause numerous problems with your transmission, and a sufficiently worn clutch will leave your truck stuck on the side of the road.
Grinding is a relatively early symptom of clutch failure that occurs due to the gears failing to disengage when you press in the clutch pedal. As a result, you hear the grinding of gear teeth forcing themselves together. Continuing to drive your truck in this state can damage the gears or synchronizers in your transmission.
2. Failed Splitter Valves
Splitter valves or splitter synchronizers are present on semi-trucks with low-range and high-range gear sets. These valves facilitate switching between each range of gears. If you notice your gears grinding when you switch from high to low (or vice versa), there's a good chance that your problem lies with this critical component.
Depending on the problem, you may be able to repair the issue by replacing or rebuilding the affected valve. A technician can check the pressure on both sides of the valve to determine if it's faulty, allowing you to confirm the failure before replacing the part.
3. Dirty or Low Transmission Fluid
Manual transmissions rely on clean fluid to lubricate and cool their internal parts. Fluid problems can cause grinding and a variety of other issues, ultimately wearing down transmission internals and leading to premature failure. Always check the level and condition of your transmission fluid any time you experience transmission issues.
If your truck seems to lose fluid routinely or you notice large amounts of particulate matter in the oil, it's time to have a qualified repair shop inspect your rig for additional problems. Resolving issues with leaking transmission fluid or contamination can potentially save you thousands of dollars on a transmission replacement or rebuild.
For more information on transmission repairs, contact an auto service like AC Transmission Centers North.Share
25 October 2021
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