FIXED! 99 XJ front axle "clunk" and steering wobble
I just bought this Jeep, so I'm still figuring out what's wrong and what's normal, but this can't be right:
At low speed (parking lot speed) the front axle sometimes emits a loud and intermittent "clunk" or bang. Transfer case selection (NP242, 2WD or 4WD Full-time or Part-time) seems to make no difference. It does this most often when initiating a turn or while in a turn.
Also, sometimes I'll feel the steering wheel wobble slightly during a turn. I think it's mostly during acceleration, but I'm not sure if it could be happening when also coasting through a turn. Today I noticed the entire front end seems to jerk side-to-side during a turn as I was leaving the parking lot at work. It seemed like what I've read about a locked axle's behavior, but I think this is a stock diff.
I don't know if these are related issues, but it sure seems like they could be.
The Jeep has a Rubicon Express 3.5" lift, SYE, 31x10.5 Firestone Destination A/T tires on stock wheels. The previous owner didn't mention anything about locking diffs, and since he was quite specific about all the other modifications I'm sure he would have mentioned if he had replaced the original differentials. The tires do rub during full-lock turns, but what I've described here is something different.
Anyone have any ideas? Any questions I can answer that might help shed light on these issues?
EDIT: Figured out my problem! The track bar bushings are shot at both ends and I didn't notice it when I was crawling around under there after I took the Jeep home. Today I had my brother wiggle the steering wheel back and forth and I could clearly see the uniframe end of the track bar popping down when the wheel was turned left, causing the clunk I was hearing.
It's not an OEM bar and I don't know what manufacturer it is, so I ordered a new Adjustable Double Shear Track Bar Conversion Kit from Iron Rock Offroad. I figure this should fix the problem and prevent it from recurring.
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Last edited by PDBreske; 01-03-2010 at 10:19 AM.
Reason: Problem solved.