Transfer case making clunking noise when first accelerating -
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-30-2008, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: PA
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Transfer case making clunking noise when first accelerating

I have a 98 4.0L Wrangler that has been making a slight clunking noise in the front end. I took it to a local shop because I wasn't sure what the problem was. I thought u joints. When I made the appointment I explained the problem in detail. I called the shop after I thought I should have heard from them. The "mechanic" I talked to said he found a problem with the steering linkage and spayed some pene. fluid on a bad joint!! He also said he could not find anything else. I was upset that they wasted time (and my money, ...I thought) looking at the steering when the symptoms I described clearly pointed to something in the drive train. The mechanic said he would check the motor mounts and call me back. He never called. After 6 pm (which is an hour after normal business hours) The shops owner called and tried to explain what they did (a visual inspection & internet research). I exclaimed that I had done the same thing!! At this point I was rather upset & maybe a little irate with the owner. During a heated exchange at the shop, the owner explained that he did find the problem (on line) but I am not sure. He said it was the transfer case & it needed a rebuild kit. I did the same research, read the same article and I still wasn't sure what the problem was. How can the mechanic be sure without opening the T.C.? I asked the owner for my bill 3 times & he said "there it is" nodding toward the door. I said there's what!? he replied "your car". I left without a bill (I would not be surprised to see one in the mail). I apologized for my conduct (I am usually very quiet) and still feel bad for it, but I hate getting ripped off. I try to do as many repairs as I can myself. I don't know any mechanics I feel I can trust. At any rate, has anyone out their in cyberspace had T.C. problems? How much is a T.C rebuild kit & is it possible for me to do the job myself. My mechanical skills are better than some... but a mechanic I aint.

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post #2 of 5 Old 10-30-2008, 05:42 PM
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I would first an upmost talk with another shop about it's condition!
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-30-2008, 07:23 PM
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2001 TJ Wrangler 
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I haven't had this problem. You might try to take the front DS off and drive like that for a few days to see if it is in fact a u joint. Then go from there. I am not sure on how much a rebuild kit is, but don't think that it is that hard to do, just labor intensive.
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-30-2008, 08:52 PM
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
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I would suggest if you dont feel comfortable taking your transfer case apart, take it to a transmission specialist. Recently I had the same problem you are explaining. At first it started out as a clunk every now and then which led to somthing that sounded like a loose chain slapping the inside. Needless to say I waited too long and I have just replaced my fork inside the transfer case, (chain was fine), did some more looking around and also found my rear differential almost demolished. The pinion and ring were severly chipped, the bearings were shot, and the Race bearings ( I think thats the correct term) where they sit on boths sides of the gearing under a U type bracket, spun and dug quite deeply into the carrier. That sick thing is I just had it apart 6 months prior to clean up and reservice and there was no visual damage. All in all, I now had to replace the whole carrier, (another dana 35 as thats what was available in the short time I needed my rig back) and change the fork in my tranfer case as well as reseal, and put new bearings in everything. Only plus was a new S35 kit since it was all tore apart. I dont think the transfer case had anything to do with the rear carrier but this shows how stuff can snowball if you wait too long. Take it to a specialist and at least have it looked at. The worst that can happen is its something simple. For reference my rig just hit 100,000 mi. Also I would HIGHLY suggest replacing your U joints on your driveshafts if you have not done so in awhile. I just noticed you have the same year and these are things that went south recently. I had only bought this 3 years ago so I cant tell you what if anything was changed before I bought it that should have been routinely replaced. One thing alot of people forget about, including me, is servicing your transfer case. The fluid was black.

Last edited by greedy; 10-30-2008 at 09:20 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-01-2008, 06:38 AM
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Next time your accelerating hard take your 4wd shifter and push it to the side. The mount for the shifter is a bad design. Look into an advanced adapters shifter relocation bracket. Especially if you have a body lift or plan to get one.

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