Hi. I have a 95 Grand Cherokee V8 4x4. About 2 months ago I started noticing that my steering was clunky when the wheel was turned to either extreme of steering. By "clunky" I mean that there was a clunking noise, and the vehicle was noticeable slowed down by the clunking, as if the axle was trying to get over some bump or imperfection in an axle component. It only happened very near the steering wheel extremes, so this was only a problem when parking. So, I checked out my front axles, noticed the CV boots were completely torn, and so replaced the front axles with brand new ones. But, the clunkiness wasn't totally gone after that. It was better, but not perfect. Also, it happens more when reversing.
So, what could still be causing the clunking? The tires are the right size and there's no suspension mods on it. I looked underneath while someone else drove the vehicle at full steering, but couldn't figure out what the problem was (although, it was pretty hard to see everything under there).
My brother said the problem might be the clutches in the limited slip differential. The Jeep noticeably loses power when the clunking happens (in other words, the vehicle is noticeably slowed down), so maybe the clutches are worn out and not grabbing properly at the steering extremes. Anyone else think this may be the problem? I don't know much about LSDs (), but this sounds like a possibility. If it is the clutches that are wearing out, will this cause any problems? Like, would the LSD suddenly fail/break?
Your NP 249 transfer case viscous coupler is shot.
Sounds like it to me as well. Try this .... drive your jeep around for awhile and get it nice and hot. Do some figure 8's in a parking lot. Try to coast through the turns. If it want to bind and hop real bad it is the VC inside of the transfer case. A very bad/binding VC will wear your front end parts (your new CV's)very fast.
I did that figure-8 test a while ago when I first discovered the problem, and it does hop when coasting through the turns.
The problem is that I'm going on a 3500-km road trip starting tomorrow. But, I'm guessing this worn VC will only cause problems for the front end parts (or other parts?) when turning sharply, and hence not cause too much trouble on the highway? *fingers crossed*
Yes , the stress is only applied when turning but the VC will want to lockup more the hotter it gets. A 2,174 mile trip is pushing it but as long as the VC does not totally lock up you will be fine driving straight. Some have driven on a bad VC up to 150,000 miles. Each case is different though.
Ok, awesome! I probably won't be doing more than 300 miles on any given day, so it won't be a stressful trip for the Jeep. I'll definitely look into it when I get back.
Btw, would a worn VC be caused by shifting the transfer case out of 4-low at 20mph rather than 5, or whatever Jeep suggests? Cause I accidentally did that when I first got the Jeep, having forgotten what speed to shift at.