Strange noise upon acceleration -
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Unread 02-27-2012, 06:37 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Kingsport, TN
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Strange noise upon acceleration

Ok first off I'm going to say I'm clueless when it comes to most engine issues. So I'll describe as best I can what the problem is and hope someone has a clue.

We recently bought a 96 Jeep Cherokee Sport. Does not have 4 wheel drive but does have the 4.0 liter engine. Car looked like it had been under a mechanics care due to how spotless the engine looked, not a drop of oil anywhere under the hood.

However, not long after we bought it we noticed an odd noise coming from the front end upon acceleration from a dead stop. At first it seemed as if it was happening only uphill, now it seems to be any time. From a start after a full stop, and sometimes even after just slowing down and then going.

To best describe the sound I'd say it's like a fan that's slightly out of whack, and then it stops once it gets back into it's groove. Like a rattle, but not quite. Not quite a grinding noise either.

Took it to a mechanic to have an alignment done and while it was there I had them go over it as best they could. They could not find a thing. U-joints had been replaced, engine looked fine, belt needs tightening but that seems to be a common occurrence with Jeeps so we know that's not where the odd sound comes from.

Even after driving it and hearing it, he could not figure anything. He thinks maybe something in the transmission, but that could get pricey and he's not even sure that would solve it. He said he wasn't that concerned with it unless it got worse. Problem is, what's worse? Doing it every time instead of once a day? Ok then, had it happen at least 4 times today. However I was driving more then normal today, so that could be why I heard it more.

And to top it all off I'm supposed to be driving this from TN to OK in a few weeks. The mechanic said he'd let his wife drive it with it making that sound. However, I'm also going to be towing a 13' travel trailer. Tiny thing, but if there is something wrong with the transmission, I doubt towing something is a good idea.

But my husband isn't concerned about it either. Ok, maybe I'm just a woman, but if my car is making an odd sound I want to know what it is, and what could happen if it breaks. Especially if I'm going to be driving so far with 2 kids and a dog. I'm all for adventure but not if it included an exploding transmission!

I doubt I'm very descriptive, but hopefully there's enough information that will lead others to recognizing what could be wrong and how to deal with it. If you have any questions that might clear things up, please please ask them cause I'd really like to solve the problem.

I love my Jeep. It's the 4th one we've had in the past 12 years and I'd like to keep this one. Jeep 1 we sold because we could not bring it from CO, 2nd one my eldest flipped 6 times and walked away, Jeep 3 we had to sell because Dh could not fix all the little <but difficult> things that were wrong with it...and it wasn't quite the Jeep we wanted to replace my murdered Jeep #2. Now we're on Jeep 4 and I love it, but I need to find out what that sound is.

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Unread 02-27-2012, 08:09 PM   #2
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: out in the garage - Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Check the fans, and look at the fan blades. Any signs they are making contact with something ? The electric fan usually makes a fair amount of fan noise when it runs, but if it makes any unusual noises it should be replaced. The mechanical fan attached to the engine can make noises if the fan clutch wears out. It would make sort of a metallic rattling noise. Have the motor mounts inspected for excessive wear or movement. A cracked exhaust manifold pipe can also make noises.


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Unread 02-28-2012, 12:56 AM   #3
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Yeah. Have somebody inspect the engine closely while you slowly rev it. Starting with the fans... Tim is usually spot on and I had that problem before. At least determine if it happens while revving or only while driving.

Great detailed description you gave. I agree with weird sounds being a concern, at least until you figure out what they are.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 01:29 AM   #4
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Well, it's unfortunate that you have a long drive ahead of you (and you're going to be towing a trailer as well). I would have to say I agree with the "drive it until it gets worse" idea, but that's reason for concern if you're going to travel. Things like this always have a way of getting "worse" at the worst possible time. Long distance drive aside, I would just drive till it gets louder, or something actually breaks so that way you can find the problem easier. I know that's not the greatest of ideas, and it goes against everything I usually do with my Jeep, but sometimes it's the only option if everything else checks out okay. If your engine is running fine and your transmission is shifting smoothly, I wouldn't be too concerned about getting stranded anywhere.
It's a Jeep thing. Sometimes I don't even understand.
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Unread 02-28-2012, 01:50 AM   #5
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My first thought is the fan shroud is getting hit by the fan clutch. Maybe your motor mounts are toast which allows your motor to rotate a little under load?
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Unread 02-28-2012, 03:06 AM   #6
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Great answers and things to look for! Thank you guys so very much! Sounds like we'll be spending the day up under the hood to see what we can see. At least we have an idea on what to look at specifically.
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Unread 10-15-2015, 04:31 PM   #7
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Tj Any resolution

Did you ever figure out what the sound is? I experience the same thing under accelerating from stop, and also braking while backing up. Sounds like the fan, but it seems tight and the shroud is secure.
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