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Unread 11-04-2002, 04:26 PM   #1
Jeep Daddy
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Problem with rear leafs, shackles, axle

I've probably had this problem a long time and didn't know it. I know that it is normal for my Detroit Locker to make popping and binding noises when cornering slow, but my CJ seems to be making more noises than it should even when going straight. I did some experimenting this morning and think I've found that my leaf springs, spring hangers, shackles, and axle are not really squared up as it should be. Therefore the spring pack is shifting and causing a binding - almost with a popping noise - and the rear shackles don't seem to be hanging square with the frame. They seem askew from the shifting of the axle and springs.

I believe this is what is causing my handling problems as well. The reason I think this is I replaced all the tie rod ends, checked the steering gear box, had the front axle completely apart and checked my ball joints, checked the steering shaft and my front end is solid.

Much work has gone into this and I need some ideas on how to remedy my problem.

To let everyone know I've got new:
4" lift (BDS), shocks, tie rod ends, gears (4.56 front and rear) Detroit Softlock, drop pitman, xfer case lower kit, spring bushings, motor mounts, tranny mounts, clutch, steering stabilizer, 4 degree shim in rear, longer brake lines, many bolts etc.. That's all that I can think of that someone might say did you try this ""....

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Unread 11-04-2002, 07:28 PM   #2
GTSCJ
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Jeep Daddy, I have had the same problem with my 85. I replaced a lot of parts before I found one of the wheel u joints hanging up now and then. I had checked it just a few weeks before and it looked fine. I know you said you checked yours but it might be worth another look. It drives great now.
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Unread 11-04-2002, 08:42 PM   #3
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Do the front wheel U-joints turn when the hubs are not locked? I don't think they do.
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Unread 11-04-2002, 09:29 PM   #4
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They shouldn't as long as the transfer case isn't in 4WD.
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Unread 11-04-2002, 11:35 PM   #5
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Although the front U-joints don't turn while the hubs are unlocked and in 2 wheel drive, they DO pivot when you turn. I still had the originals on mine and ran into a problem where the steering wheel had more tension in certain spots of the rotation and when comming out of a turn, the Jeep would squirm a bit and not track straight. Found out it was a bad U-joint binding up when pivoting turning a turn. New joints, inner bearings and seal made it drive great. Jeep Daddy, Check your main eye bolts on the spring frame mounts and make sure they are tight (on the sleeve) as even a hair thin gap will cause a clunk sound. Next, check the U-bolts on the axles and make sure the are riding next to the spring pack and not flared out and loose. Also, the bushings in the shocks. I have someone turn the wheel back and forth (engine running for PS) and while I'm under it, I see what shifts and makes noise. If it only does it when going down the road, see if it has to be a smooth or bumpy road. Meaning, suspension or drivetrain.
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Unread 11-04-2002, 11:53 PM   #6
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I'll check my front end as you suggest, in the morning. I had those u-joints checked when my mechanic did my re-gear a month ago but it won't hurt to get under it and turn the wheel and check for a noise.

As for my test today, I drove slow over very uneven terrain, pitching the rig high on the drivers side, low on passenger side, while my friend looked and listened at the rear. We traded places and I did some observing. The noise does seem to be coming from the rear, and I'd guess that something is tweaking my spring pack and shackles. Everything seems to be able to shift around in the rear when on turns, accelerations, braking, and rough road conditions. I can see the bottom, military wrap, spring shifting about 1/2" over to the right of the other springs in the pack. The shackle is also looking a bit tweaked. This, all on the drivers side rear. I will check the centering pin in the morning, but I doubt that's the problem. I did check to see if the U-bolts were tight and they are. Same with the shackle hardware.
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Unread 11-05-2002, 02:46 PM   #7
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Checked front end and don't hear any noise. Checked my centering pins and they are ok. The U-bolts are all tight.

I did some measuring on the distances between the spring hangers, centering pins and the shackles. Can someone tell me if this seems correct or do I have a problem. These measurements are all taken on the rear suspension where I feel the problem is.
- distance between spring hangers = 34" (front of leaf_
- distance between centering pins= 36 1/8" (these are all centers)
- distance between shackles (again center of shackle) = 34 11/16"

Maybe someone out there can see what bind I'm talking about now. If you need a pic of my springs and the bind at the shackle I can post.

Thanks
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Unread 11-07-2002, 11:07 PM   #8
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Sorry, My math was wrong. Here are the correct measurments on the spring hanger, centering pin and shackle distances.

- distance between spring hangers = 35 1/2" (front of leaf)
- distance between centering pins= 36 1/8" (these are all centers)
- distance between shackles (again center of shackle) = 36 1/16"
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Unread 11-08-2002, 06:17 AM   #9
GTSCJ
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My rear leafs do the same thing with a 4" Superlift lift. I tried loosening the u-bolts and used a heavy ratchet strap to pull them together while I tightend the bolts back down. This worked untill I drove it. Mine handles ok like this so I quit worrying about it. I think the springs shift because of the 4" lift springs. As I said before I had a very bad handling problem and this was one of the things I tried. While I was looking at the rear end as a possible source of the problem I found I had a bad wheel bearing. It only had a little play in it but this would cause the brake to catch sometimes.
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