Join Date: May 2020
Location: Bristol, NY
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350 Big Bear Front End Squeal
My father-in-law gave my boy a 1999 350 Big Bear. It's been sitting in a barn for a bunch of years. It runs great! My boy has been riding a couple weeks now and it has developed a squeal coming from the front end when you get off the gas at speed. No noise during acceleration. At first I thought brakes. I took it for a ride and I don't think it is the brakes. I feel it is the front prop shaft U-joints, front differential or one/both axles. I pulled the fill plug on the differential and I can't find anywhere how much gear oil should be in there. My gut says up to the fill opening. It doesn't have a manual. It's wet in there, just don't see any gear oil.
#1 Should I fill the differential with gear oil up to the fill opening?
#2 How do I check or know if the u-joints are bad? That looks like a "Big Bear" of a job if they don't need to be replaced.
#3 What else could it be? I don't think it is the front bearings. I jacked the front wheels off ground and no play in the right wheel. Very little play in the left wheel, looks like the lower control bushing is where that play is coming from. The rubber CV boots look original but all still intact. Wheels spin easily without any noise.
Thanks for any help!