4 WHEEL Drive Clunk-Worn Drive Shaft/Differential Gears? - JeepForum.com
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Unread 06-21-2010, 05:38 PM   #1
Jeeps4u
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Madison, WI
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4 WHEEL Drive Clunk-Worn Drive Shaft/Differential Gears?

Hey Guys,
So the other day I was pulling my boat out of the water. I was on a 30 angle incline with wet pavement, so I put it in 4 hi and pulled forward when the front axle made a loud clunk. Since the weight was pulling the XJ back, I feel like the 4 wheel didn't fully engage as it would if it was on a flat plain with no load. Took it out of 4 wheel and pulled the boat out in 2 wheel. Really wish I didn't do that!

So it shifts into 4 wheel fine. About every wheel rotation it makes a loud clunk in the front axle, forward or backward. I'm not too familiar with how 4 wheel engages, but it feels like the front drive shaft is possibly slipping at the front differential. I know these things are tricky to pinpoint, but knowing the Jeep was pulled back by the boat when engaging the 4 wheel, what would "bind"?? Any thoughts on what is causing this?? Thanks in advance guys!

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Unread 06-21-2010, 05:44 PM   #2
LKrux
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a "clunk" is usually a u-joint that has gone bad and isnt fitting tight anymore. the clunk is caused by the slack in the worn u-joint.

you can check for slack by grabbing the driveshaft and seeing if it rotates more than it should and LOOK at the joint while doing this)

ujoint looks like this + and is on the drive shaft to where it connects to the differential

go to a parts shop(kragen,autozone, etc) and pick one up.

try that and see what happens
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Unread 06-21-2010, 05:46 PM   #3
camjeep3
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i can bet money its a shot u joint. crawl under and start with the drive shaft, grab it and try and twist shake move around up down side to side. see if you hear any noises... if no go to you front axle u joints grab them and check for play, if they have play inside the caps that will most likely be the cause of you clunk...
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Unread 06-21-2010, 06:10 PM   #4
93gc40
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Well I would expect the front axle to clunk, due to binding, If i were to use it on pavement. Evan a wet boat ramp. But could also be a U-joint.
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Unread 06-21-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
DirtyViking
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In 4HI, my 4x4 has never made a clunking noise on dry pavement. 4LO I could see, but not 4HI. I echo the bad u-joint.
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Unread 06-21-2010, 06:56 PM   #6
tc90xj
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Yeah sounds like a bad axle joint to me. Or a driveline ujoint. But I'll put money on one of the axle joints.
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Unread 06-21-2010, 09:04 PM   #7
sthippe1992
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Its the u-joints. I had the same problem. Replaced them for $21.60 and a few hours of my time. Problem solved
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Unread 06-21-2010, 09:05 PM   #8
sthippe1992
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Here this might help... U Joint Replacement | My Jeep XJ
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Unread 06-22-2010, 09:26 AM   #9
Jeeps4u
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wow that's a lot of u-joint posts. I should mention I did twist around on the driveshaft the other day and everything is tight. The wheel u joints were replaced a year ago and are tight. But I will check again.

Maybe the word "clunk" isn't the best to describe it, but more like a gear that is slipping. I don't know. Was thinking it was a gear slipping where the driveshaft meets the front axle.

Will check the u-joints for play.
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Unread 06-22-2010, 03:00 PM   #10
93gc40
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uf you think its a gear slipping that leaves wo options to check. Bad spiders in the diff, pull cover and look. Or, slipping Drive chain in the T-Case.
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Unread 08-23-2010, 08:23 PM   #11
Jeeps4u
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Alright fellas, it's time for an update. To recap, my 4-wheel drive went out when the gear slipped and the front axle (or transfer case) made a loud clunk while in 4-wheel. Just this past few weeks there has been a ticking/grinding/blown bearing sound developing. At first it seemed to be the front right U-Joint (it has been squeaking at low speeds) so I got all up in there with the intention of replacing it (replaced one year ago) only to find that while rotating the front drive shaft the loud grinding noise is coming from the transfer case. Sounds like a blown bearing or worse. While I thought the spider gears in the front differential were the cause of the 4-wheel drive slip, it now seems that some damage has occurred in the transfer case. I have been driving my XJ since it's my daily driver and I don't have much a choice to get to work. I'm worried I am potentially making the problem worse. I can/and have fixed nearly everything on my XJ at some point but never had to dig into the tranny/transfer case. So a few questions:

What does this grinding/ticking/bearing noise sound like to you? Is there a chain in there that may be slipping? It sounds as though there is a rock (bearing/loose part) tumbling around in the T-Case.

How difficult is it to crack the T-Case to see what the damage is? Considering I am pretty mechanically inclined, just not in transmissions and such.

Should I be worried about doing more damage while driving 40 miles daily to work until I figure out how to go about fixing the problem.?

I would take my baby in to have a look over, but I'm not willing to fork over $1000 for T-Case work if I can do it my self. What do you think? If it's a bearing that has failed I would think I would be able to replace it with minimal effort. As long as I don't have to dig into the chain and gears too much I think I can handle it. Thanks for any thoughts guys. Have just a few more months before the dreaded winter rolls in and the 4-wheel will be a must! Thanks, -AJ
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Unread 08-23-2010, 08:25 PM   #12
Jeeps4u
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P.S. it's not the U-Joints on the drive shaft or axle. I've checked and checked again. The grinding noise is coming from inside the Transfer Case where the shaft enters. Just to clarify. thanks!
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Unread 03-07-2011, 01:17 AM   #13
streetrider
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mine is doing the same exact thing and when it "clunks" i can feel it through the floor pretty hard! I have pulled apart the t case changed the input gear to 23 spline. the t case is simple to take apart and put back together. but is kinda time consuming and you will need an extra set of hands that kinda knows whats going lol, but you shouldn't have any troubles
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Unread 01-18-2012, 04:36 PM   #14
XJXJXJXJ
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1992 XJ Cherokee 
 
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Location: victoria, BC
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Hi, Im currently having the idsact same problem and have ripped apart my entire front end checking the u joints and gears looking for the solution, and havent found one yet. Did changing the input gear to 23 spline remove the problem? or what kind of solution did you guys find to this in the end?
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Unread 11-18-2014, 10:22 PM   #15
brianberrier
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It's the chain in ur transfer case. U can pull the drain plug or fill plug one of the 2 and should b able to feel the chain and u shouldn't have a whole lot a slack..
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