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Unread 12-08-2014, 11:13 PM   #1
NumbSkull
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Popping sound... loose drive shaft harmonic balancer? (now with video of sound)

The jeep developed a new sound last week, and I cant seem to find the cause.

Its a popping/clunking sound that tends to happen most when first taking out from a stop, and occasionally at lower speeds or turns. Reproducing the sound is inconstant, and I cant seem to figure out what to do that will cause it or not.

It kind of sounds like suspension popping/creaking, but its more in the center of the jeep, and jumping on the bumpers or rocking the jeep doesn't usually produce the sound, nor does hitting bumps of any size.

After crawling around under the jeep for a bit, I found that what I think is a harmonic balance (see pic) for the transfer case is a little loose. I can get a couple degrees of rotation on the balancer before the drive shaft will move at all.

I'm trying to upload a video of the sound, but something with the video is giving me fits...

This is a picture i found of the part I'm asking about (not my tcase). Its the large disk at the end of the tcase housing that the tcase output shaft passes through to create the male portion of the slip yoke.

If this is a balancer... shouldn't be it mounted firm to the slip yoke? It doesn't look like the rubber ring is bad, the whole assembly seems to be loose. How is this attached? Should it be a press fit, or is there a bolt or a key that might be loose?

This is on an 05 LJ, 6 speed manual. I recently installed a 4" Savvy/Currie lift in the jeep, and it took a few weeks to get the drive line vibrations settled... so I'm thinking the vibs may have loosened it up.

SYE is planned for the spring with some other transmission work... but if the output/slip yoke is damaged.. might have to get to it a bit sooner...

Should that balancer be mounted static.. or is a little rotational play acceptable.. and maybe my noise is coming from someplace else.

lof-98-.jpg

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Unread 12-09-2014, 12:06 AM   #2
NumbSkull
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Here's a short video. You can hear the popping when I'm backing out of the drive, right when I start to pull forward on the road, and again when I'm braking to a stop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjXs...ature=youtu.be
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Unread 12-09-2014, 08:17 AM   #3
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Bump for visibility .
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Unread 12-09-2014, 11:19 PM   #4
Knuckelhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NumbSkull View Post
Here's a short video. You can hear the popping when I'm backing out of the drive, right when I start to pull forward on the road, and again when I'm braking to a stop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjXs...ature=youtu.be
Drive shaft or axle shaft U joint?...
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Unread 12-10-2014, 11:25 AM   #5
NumbSkull
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Ujoints look okay and don't seem to have any play in them. Drive shafts look okay too.

I did find where the exhaust *might* have been banging against the passenger upper control arm mount... not sure if that's the issue or not. The bushing on the exhaust hanger that mounts to the transmission mount is shot... I pushed the exhaust away from the mount, and didn't hear the sound when I test drove it. I did hear it pop a few times this morning, but I may have driven enough for it to move back over.

I think I'm going to mount the go pro to the upper control arm and see if that's what I'm hearing.
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Unread 12-10-2014, 11:57 AM   #6
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Bump because I'm curious as well. Have similar issue but have yet to locate the culprit, although I suspect it may be the slip yolk. Clunk happens when loading unloading the driveline.
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Quote:
gily25 Says...
Issues only become problems when you don't have the tools or time to fix it.
Mike318 Says...
I like my 4.0L like I like my ****... stroked and blown. :duhrock:
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Unread 12-10-2014, 01:05 PM   #7
Melissas6570
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How about a pic of your drive shaft angle from the tcase to the axle?
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Unread 12-10-2014, 04:36 PM   #8
NumbSkull
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Will get a pic tonight of the driveshaft angle, but its not bad. This is an LJ, and I just installed a mml and reset the pinion angle, and it didn't help the sound any. It did get rid of the drive line vibs...
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Unread 12-10-2014, 04:40 PM   #9
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Well... I don't think its the exhaust. No sound last night or this morning, but this afternoon, it came back, so I put a cam on the exhaust, and it looks to be pretty firm with no signs of movement. I'll put the cam on the hanger that's bad next to see if it may be the hanger rattling in the bushing.

I might also take the rear driveshaft out tonight and put it in four wheel high and take it for a spin to see if its the rear ujoints. If that doesn't make a different, I might do the same to the front shaft.

This one is making me nuts! I think the inconstancy of it is the most annoying part...
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Unread 12-10-2014, 05:01 PM   #10
NumbSkull
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Here's a screen grab of one of the videos I shot that shows the driveshaft angles.

Larger pic found here:
http://i.imgur.com/lDO1Lo1.jpg
driveshaft.jpg

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Unread 12-14-2014, 07:05 PM   #11
Lastshot
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Bummmpp!
I pulled my rear driveshaft today to replace a Ujoint that was giving me vibes. While the rear shaft was still off, I went for a cruise in "FWD" mode, and the clunk was actually worse than before. Twisting on the front driveshaft gave me a decent amount of twist play at the yolk into the front diff. With the rear shaft back in and the tcase in 2wd, clunk is still there!
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Quote:
gily25 Says...
Issues only become problems when you don't have the tools or time to fix it.
Mike318 Says...
I like my 4.0L like I like my ****... stroked and blown. :duhrock:
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Unread 12-14-2014, 08:38 PM   #12
NumbSkull
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I tried the same thing a few days ago on mine. But mine didn't get any worse with the rear driveshaft out. Stayed just the same. At this point, I'm pretty sure its the suspension popping on mine. I'm driving on a new set of Johnny Joints, with new JJ trackbars (front and rear) and a new antirock on front. I greased them up a few weeks ago, and tried again before the weekend, but they were all so full they would hardly take any more grease.

I put a set of rock rails on mine about three weeks ago. The rails I put on bolt up to the body bolts (same bolts that you use to install a body lift). If its not the suspension, it has to be in those bolts. Maybe releasing the bolts to install the rails upset the bumpers that the body sits on, and now they pop when the weight shifts on the jeep...

I've not ruled out the balancer, but I'm really leaning towards suspension.

By any chance... is the gear I'm running or anything I've done recently line up with what you've done or have on your rig? Maybe we can find a common denominator between our jeeps.
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Unread 12-15-2014, 06:57 AM   #13
Lastshot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NumbSkull View Post
I tried the same thing a few days ago on mine. But mine didn't get any worse with the rear driveshaft out.
By any chance... is the gear I'm running or anything I've done recently line up with what you've done or have on your rig? Maybe we can find a common denominator between our jeeps.
I had the body bolts out awhile back for my BL install, I've checked them and they are still torqued with no play. My LJ has had this clunk since I bought it stock @100k miles. If it's suspension, I might have to strap a camera to start watching all the control arms(most of mine are stock, front lower is metalcloak) . I'd bet money the clunk is somewhere in the driveline though, going to pull the front shaft and see what that does. Also, my harmonic balancer is tight, so I'd cross that one off.
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{You know you drive a TJ when....}
Quote:
gily25 Says...
Issues only become problems when you don't have the tools or time to fix it.
Mike318 Says...
I like my 4.0L like I like my ****... stroked and blown. :duhrock:
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Unread 12-15-2014, 07:34 AM   #14
tucsonzj
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I've been having the same issue. I couldn't find it to save my life. Took it on the trails yesterday and by the time i was 3/4 the way done with the trail the pop/clunk was getting very bad (after I had made it go away by greasing and torquing everything the day before. When we hit the road I had my co pilot turn the steering wheel from left to right as i watched suspension/steering parts. I finally tracked it to somewhere between a TRE or Possibly axle side trackbar mount (I can hear it and feel it, but can't see anything binding or slipping so still fighting with it).

Guess the point would be try that if you have someone who can help you.
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Unread 12-15-2014, 10:52 AM   #15
ParaRigger
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What transmission? My LJ had a horrible clunk. Transmission mount.
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