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Need some advice on 4 wd noise

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  1. #1
    Happy Jeepin ScottDuffey's Avatar
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    Default Need some advice on 4 wd noise

    We went on the trail ride today as part of the Jeep Creep in Gladwin. I went through a mud hole in 4hi. When I got out of the hole I heard and could feel some clunking and banging in the front end somewhere. I shifted it out of 4hi back to 2 wd and the noises ceased. Later on there was a small hill so I put it back in 4hi and at first the bangs and clunks were not there but as I started to climb the sandy hill they came back. When I got home I went to a nearby two track to test it out again. I engaged 4 hi and at first no noises. But, eventually I heard them. It sounds like a clunk and then it also fealt like something catching or binding somewhere.

    Here is what I am thinking it could be. U-joints in front drive shaft, broken axle shaft, or blown up front dif. I would like some input from people with more experience than I have. What should I look at first, what should I replace first, what kind of diagnostic stuff can I do to figure out what it is or figure out what it isn't by ruling out some things?

    My Jeep is an 01 Wrangler with 4.0 and 5 speed trans. It has Dana 30 front and Dana 44 rear with 3.73. As far as I know everything in the area is stock. The only real mods are a 2.5 inch lift with 31 inch tires.

  2. #2
    Hi there! oz97tj's Avatar
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    You can most likely rule out anything broken, because the constant revolutions would make the noise continue.

    Most likely it's a u-joint that was well worn already and you just made it worse.

    You said you can only hear it in 4wd under load. Does it get louder while turning? If the noise is only during turning it's almost certainly a wheel u-joint. To find the problem, simply look at your joints. Standing at the front of your rig, stand in front of the tires and look just inside of the wheel at the axle, You can see the wheel u-joints right there. Look closely at them and see if everything looks tight? Then crawl underneath the jeep and look at the driveshaft joints. Do they look tight?

    If they are making that much noise then you will likely be able to see visible play. If you can see visible play, then put a floor jack under the front axle and raise it up so the wheels are off the ground. Put the jeep in neutral ( chock the rear wheels so it won't roll). Grab each front tire and rotate it and watch the joints to see if there is play. It's easier to see the play if the wheels are turned. Again do the same to the driveshaft. Everything should rotate smoothly together, but there is almost certainly a joint thats pretty blown out.

    For reference, u-joints wear out and need replaced every so often. They are cheap are fairly easy to replace so it's not a big deal. If you've never done it, this would be a good time to replace all of them anyway before one actually breaks and causes you much more problems.
    Oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
    I agree with oz. (gawd I hate saying that)

  3. #3
    Happy Jeepin ScottDuffey's Avatar
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    Thanks Oz. I will check the u joints. My guess is that it will be the drive shaft, the wheels were replaced less than a year ago. When I grab the front drive shaft with my hand and try to turn it should there be any movement at all? It does move a bit.

  4. #4
    Big Orange Bomb!!! BigBird's Avatar
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    Should be no movement "in the joints" on the driveshaft when turning it by hand. The shaft may turn itself upwards of 90* if it is in 4wd and all the tires are on the ground.
    Meh!!!

  5. #5
    Fizzgig's eye candy Gogolen's Avatar
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    Who's group were you in?

  6. #6
    Happy Jeepin ScottDuffey's Avatar
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    I was in a very large group. The leader was driving a blue jeep, not sure who was driving. I am a newbie to the Jeep scene. There were around 40 Jeeps that ended up in the group I was in.

  7. #7
    Happy Jeepin ScottDuffey's Avatar
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    Default Update: new question

    Okay so I checked the u joints on the front axle and front driveshafts. There is no play in any of them. After I last was able to reproduce the noise the only thing I have done is wash it then it has sat in the garage all week. I had a buddy go out with me today to walk next to me and listen for where the noise is coming from. The problem is now there is no noise. I mean I guess now I don't have a problem, but it seems weird that now it is not making the noise. I drove it for about 20 minutes down a two track and even through some mud holes and no noise. What do you think? Could it be something with transfer case or front diff? Water in something? Chain slippage in tc? I am stumped.

  8. #8
    the real slim shady Rook's Avatar
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    Control arm bushings is my guess. You mentioned hearing the noise while climbing, but not hearing it on what I would guess was a mostly flat two track later.

  9. #9
    Happy Jeepin ScottDuffey's Avatar
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    When it was making the noise it would only do it when 4wd was engaged. It would do it on relatively flat two tracks even. When I drove real slow I could get it to make the noise. It popped and sounded like something was catching or binding somewhere. After a week of sitting in the garage I can't get it to make the noise again. Any more thoughts on what it could be?

  10. #10
    Hi there! oz97tj's Avatar
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    Control arms will make noise but that's independent of terrain and 4wd usually.

    Could have been as simple as bottoming the suspension? Maybe a limb stuck someplace that was hitting?

    Then again sometime joints can make noise but still feel fairly tight by hand. Obviously we can't put the load on it the jeep sees while wheeling.

    Personally, id take it out and do some more wheeling with it while keeping an eye on everything. It won't make the noise sitting in the garage and sometimes the only way is to make it do it again.
    Oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
    I agree with oz. (gawd I hate saying that)

  11. #11
    Another Canadian idiot magnet's Avatar
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    You'd be surprised how bad the bushings can get before you notice anything then it's too late. My bushings literally fell out when I took my control arms off. Check all of the bolts and have someone turn your steering wheel back and forth to make sure everything is tight whether it's your track bar, steering, control arms etc.
    If, you have angry squirrel noises then check out your ujoints and centering ball in your double cardon joint at the end of your driveshaft closest to your TC.

    Also rock the Jeep back and forth and look at the control arms for any movement. Mine moved a bunch and had lots of clunking going on.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by idiot magnet; 12-26-2012 at 03:10 PM.

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