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Unread 05-19-2013, 08:36 AM   #1
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: toronto, ontario
Posts: 51
97 Front diff issues

I have had my 97 xj for about 2 years. I knew when I bought it that it was in pretty good shape other than some bad road noise and a vibration at highway speeds.

It also had a death wobble issue, I put in a new track bar and solved that issue pretty quickly.

The front struts were useless and that was a quick fix. Did the front axel ujoints and upper and lower ball joint trying to pin down the vibration and it didn't help.

Today I was under the jeep and started looking at the front driveshaft. I grabbed it and turned it ad noticed that there was at least an 1/8-1/4 turn worth of play (at first i thought maybe the ujoint on the driveshaft was bad) but the play seems to be in the diff itself. Has anyone heard of this issue?

I noticed as well that when i shift into drive from reverse there is a solid klunk, it seems like the driveshaft has so much play inside the diff that it klunks on the first rotation as it clears all the slack. I also notice it when driving, its not as loud but if I take my foot off the gas and coast for a second and then accelerate I get a smaller klunk but basically the same sound.

Any ideas?

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Unread 05-19-2013, 09:05 AM   #2
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: out in the garage - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Posts: 21,624
All that is normal. Twisting any axle pinion by hand will show some rotational play. A small Clunk is normal and even has a name, Chrysler Clunk. Pause for 2-5 in NEUTRAL when shifting will usually reduce that clunk. Learn to smoothly ease onto and off of the gas pedal will reduce that clunk. If the clunking gets progressively worse, you may have a problem that needs to be looked at.

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Unread 05-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #3
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: toronto, ontario
Posts: 51
Well it's good to hear hear that the clunk isn't of concern.

I know an XJ isn't going to be a silky smooth ride but I have been in a few others and none of them vibrated at highway speeds.

I even tried new tiers to see if they were the cause. Maybe the rims? They are stock and I haven't had a chance to upgrade them yet.
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Unread 06-12-2013, 10:37 PM   #4
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1990 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gunnison, Colorado
Posts: 44
My front drive shaft will turn almost 180 degrees! Is that still normal or do I have a problem?
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