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Unread 02-14-2014, 09:33 PM   #1
sAe23
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1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles / SFV, California
Posts: 2,320
Horrible squeal from front end

Had ring and pinion gears replaced in Dec.
Started hearing a squealing noise from the front end after lunch today.
Gets louder as speed increases, and is not related to engine speed (no noise when revving the engine in park).
Crawled under the Jeep and looked around. Nothing loose or obviously wrong, except the bottom of the front diff was slightly wet with oil.
When I grabbed the front drive shaft and turned it (as much as it would turn), it made a noise similar to what I hear while driving.

*IF* the front diff has leaked dry (or is low enough), would the pinion bearing start making noise?
I haven't popped the plug to check the level. I plan on taking it back to the shop in the morning to have them inspect their work...

TIA

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Unread 02-14-2014, 11:41 PM   #2
scottmphoto
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1991 XJ Cherokee 
 
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Yup, check your fluid level ASAP. Can't run them dry.
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Unread 02-15-2014, 03:52 PM   #3
FISTFULL
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Is this a chirping? Or straight squeal? Could be the ball in the cardan joint. Pull the front driveshaft and see if the squealing stops.
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Unread 02-15-2014, 05:23 PM   #4
sAe23
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It sounds to me like what a dry bearing would sound like... Kinda like a squeak-rattle combo

After crawling under the Jeep for a second time, I'm leaning towards U-joints.
The diff cover is on tight, but I don't have the right tool to pull the fill plug to check the level.
I wiped the bottom lip of the diff cover and will re-check on Monday.
There is no leakage at the pinion seal, nor is there play *at* the pinion as far as I can tell.
There IS play at the slip joint and somewhere at the cardan joint end. It FEELS like about a millimeter or so.
At the very least it's visible and causes a thunk when moving the shaft laterally.

I'm going to try to get the shaft pulled on Monday, and if it's the source of the noise I'll get it rebuilt.

Which begs a question:
How much can the slip joint be extended and still be considered within tolerance?
At my current 7" of lift, there is about a 2" gap between each side of the shaft (with the Jeep on the ground).
By the way, it is the stock front shaft
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Unread 02-25-2014, 02:38 AM   #5
sAe23
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Location: Los Angeles / SFV, California
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Update:
After lubing the drive shaft, and spraying the dbl cardan joint with ...wd40?... the horrible noise has gone away

But, my mechanic thinks one of my wheel bearings is starting to go, based on a very quiet noise heard while spinning the wheel by hand.
When spinning the passenger side wheel, all you can hear is the brakes dragging slightly.
But on the drivers side there is an additional noise that he says is the bearing. I heard it as well and believe he may be right.
There did NOT SEEM to be any play when trying to move the wheel at the 12/6 o'clock positions though.

So, should I replace it NOW, or wait till there is noticeable wear?
Can I get by with just replacing the one, or should I do both?
Anything else I should be doing while dealing with this?

TIA
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Unread 02-25-2014, 05:11 AM   #6
cidd
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There easy to do and fairly cheap do them both and put new seals in also should take about 4 hrs .
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Unread 02-27-2014, 10:39 AM   #7
sAe23
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The real question I have is, absent any noticeable play when grabbing the wheel at 12/6 and testing for movement, is the presence of noise alone an indicator that the bearing needs to be replaced NOW (and the noise is barely more than the normal brake noise)??
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Unread 02-27-2014, 02:53 PM   #8
RLE
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I've had front wheel hub/bearings with various degrees of play and run
them several months for the short trips (20 miles) I usually take. Long
highway trips might be a different story, because they have time to heat up.

If at highway speed you can veer the car a little to the left or right and
the noise changes, then that is a sign of a faulty wheel bearing. If the noise
gets louder over the course of several days or weeks, then you know it is
really time to change it out.

If yours is starting to go bad, then you have time to buy one now at the best
price and have it on hand when it is convenient or necessary to change it.
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Unread 02-27-2014, 11:48 PM   #9
sAe23
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I can only hear the wheel bearing noise when it's up on a rack and I spin the wheel by hand. Even then it almost sounds like brake noise, but it's different than the other side.
(The horrible noise I originally posted about is from my dbl cardan joint...)
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