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Unread 02-01-2014, 07:40 PM   #1
papanicko57
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Strange YJ front end noises

I have an 89 YJ with a problem I've never read about. When I turn the steering wheel back and forth, there is a loud clunk or popping noise that comes from the front end. When I press on the brakes and turn the steering wheel, it gets worse. Doesn't matter if the jeep is moving or not.

I've replaced the brakes, u-joints and ball joints, and checked the tie rods and outer axle bearing.

When lying in front of the jeep, you'd swear the noise is coming from the ball joints, but they have now been replaced. Lying just behind the front tire, you'd swear the noise is coming from the pumpkin. I can't find anything wrong, but boy is it loud!

Anyone ever hear of this before?

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Unread 02-01-2014, 09:05 PM   #2
Old4X
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1990 CJ7 
 
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Check your steering box mounting to the frame, the frame can crack in that area.

Do you still have the track bars on your jeep?
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Unread 02-01-2014, 09:55 PM   #3
jsawduste
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2006 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old4X View Post
Check your steering box mounting to the frame, the frame can crack in that area.
X2 on that. Recently saw a YJ that had the typical rusted out front section. Frame broke and the jeep traveled across the median into oncoming traffic ending up in a ditch.

Jeep was totaled and the tan seats were now a darker shade of brown.

Don`t take Oldies advice lightly. If the box or frame breaks lose you are in an uncontrollable situation.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 02:11 PM   #4
papanicko57
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Thanks for the tips, very helpful.

I check for cracks in the frame around the steering box, and everything looks good.

Following the hint, I disconnected the track bar on one end. I then tried moving the steering wheel back and forth with the brakes on, and it still made the loud clunk/popping noise.

In frustration, and not being able to think of anything else to try, I started loosening things (note I'm not driving the jeep!).

I finally got around to loosing the 4 nuts that hold the spring to the axle, and the noise went away. So I guess the spring shackles are somehow causing the noise. Now I just have to figure out what to do about it.

I wish I had tried that before I started replacing parts! Oh well
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Unread 02-02-2014, 02:38 PM   #5
YJ475
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1993 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Mapleton, UT
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I'm guessing this may have been caused by having the track bar still connected. All the track bar does with leaf springs in the YJ is bind the suspension. Sooner or later, something's gotta give.

Do yourself a favor, and get rid of the track bar completely.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 04:02 PM   #6
dancytron
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Get a torque wrench and the correct specs and and tighten/check the torque of every big bolt you can find. My unfindable "clunk" turned out to be a loose body mount.
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Unread 02-02-2014, 04:13 PM   #7
Old4X
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YJ475 View Post

Do yourself a favor, and get rid of the track bar completely.
This X 1000!
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Unread 02-03-2014, 08:55 AM   #8
Randonexplosion
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
 
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I'm constantly chasing down clunks, rattles and pops on my Jeep. Recently I've tightened down shackle bolts, steering gearbox bolts, steering box brace bolts, U bolts etc.

You dont have any shims between the springs and perches do you? My rear axle was so damn noisy while it was shimmed.
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Unread 02-04-2014, 08:01 AM   #9
papanicko57
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
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I still have the front track bar, at least until next weekend! Then it is coming off.

The front springs have shims. I think I will re-torque every big bolt I can reach and see if that helps. Maybe take the shims out as a last resort. Does that sound about right?
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Unread 02-04-2014, 11:55 AM   #10
cojab
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Steel shims or aluminum. The aluminum ones are junk and can deteriorate when sandwiched in between dissimilar metals like our springs and plates. I ran some as a quick fix for about a year. When I took them out, I really don't think they would have lasted another year. Good place to look for your issue if you think you have shims.
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