Sounds like metal Skittles & ball bearings! - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 06-15-2021, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like metal Skittles & ball bearings!

1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ 4.0L 5-spd manual (349,630 miles and humming . . .!): Well, the humming part presently sounds more like metal Skittles and ball bearings (along with "singing wire sounds") mushing around "somewhere down there".

1. When in gear, all of the sounds are very present;
2. When the clutch is engaged, they go quiet
3. Shifting between/among gears is smooth
4. Except for a) about 10% of the time, after coming to a stop, it does not want to go into 1st gear (feels hard-locked, though I can with a couple of tries get it to go); and b) most times, when shifting into reverse, it grinds (as if something has not slowed down sufficiently for the gears to mesh, though a slight bit of patience and easing, it works).

Otherwise, accelerating and moving up through the gear range is sweet -- but from the increasing symphony of sounds, I suspect sweet may not last too much longer!

Thoughts? Which direction to go?

Many thanks. Appreciated.

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post #2 of 26 Old 06-15-2021, 05:00 PM
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It sound like re-build time to me. Bearings and synchronizers. Best to do before the gears get damaged.

Mark in Queens- Home of Spiderman and the Ramones
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post #3 of 26 Old 06-16-2021, 08:27 AM
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I would have to agree with FOURSPEEDMAN but if it was me doing it I would do new clutch, pressure plate, throw out bearing ect... do it once and done.

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post #4 of 26 Old 06-16-2021, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OCDXJ View Post
I would have to agree with FOURSPEEDMAN but if it was me doing it I would do new clutch, pressure plate, throw out bearing ect... do it once and done.
Absolutely. Welcome to "Mission Creep".

Mark in Queens- Home of Spiderman and the Ramones
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post #5 of 26 Old 06-16-2021, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank y'all for your replies. I'm pretty much at the same conclusion. Any thoughts re installing an 86,000-mile used unit rather than the ++$$ of a rebuild? Clutch/hydraulics were done 40,000 ago and I admit to being (aside from piling on the miles) a fairly conservative shifter.

Again, thanks. Appreciated.
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post #6 of 26 Old 06-16-2021, 12:18 PM
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Used is fine if you are absolutely sure it is not noisy. I once went through the agony of twice removing/replacing a transmission that had "new" synchronizers. It kept jumping out of gear. Yes, I was lied to but also young and stupid. I resolved to learn how to rebuild it myself and never looked back. The main reason they go noisy is low oil level. Sometimes if you are really lucky filling it up will quiet it down. But usually the damage is done. Hard shifting/jumping out of gear is the synchronizers. Small parts kits that include the bearings,brass synchros, and gaskets/seals is usually all that is needed but that is if it is rebuilt before real damage occurs.

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post #7 of 26 Old 06-16-2021, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HikerJeep View Post
Thank y'all for your replies. I'm pretty much at the same conclusion. Any thoughts re installing an 86,000-mile used unit rather than the ++$$ of a rebuild? Clutch/hydraulics were done 40,000 ago and I admit to being (aside from piling on the miles) a fairly conservative shifter.

Again, thanks. Appreciated.
Personally I would not use, used parts unless of course you enjoy doing clutch jobs more than needed, again maybe next week or maybe three years from now, if the donor is out of a different vehicle there is no way to know if they wearing exactly the same.

The old man always said if it is a wear part replace with new and do the whole job right once.
Just my 2cents.

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post #8 of 26 Old 06-16-2021, 04:59 PM
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I think he means using a used transmission. 40k on a clutch is not much if you know how to drive one. Of course after taking it apart he will have to decide on the pressure plate condition. But the disc should be changed just because. I recently did a transmission rebuild because the speedometer cable had rubbed against the exhaust pipe- melted- seized- and popped the drive gear off of the output shaft. I know- bang head here>>>>X. Anyway, I had to drop the tranny and take it all apart just for that. It was otherwise fine so all it got was new gaskets and new seals on the speedo gear housing. What I did do was replace the clutch disc because, as stated- it is a wear part- and right there so why not.. The pressure plate was in great condition so I just hit it lightly with a flap-disc to clean up the little scratches and give it a new surface. I put it all back together and it ran perfect. That was about five years ago and it is still doing fine.

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post #9 of 26 Old 06-17-2021, 06:03 PM
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My bad, guess I should pay closer attention to what I am reading, but yes used tranny should not be a problem I was thinking used clutch system.

Bad case of TMB and the failings that go with it.

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post #10 of 26 Old 06-17-2021, 07:37 PM
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And I keep forgetting these Jeeps use transmissions I am not familiar with. As you can tell by my handle, Fourspeedman, I am dating myself. Nowadays 4 speeds are automatics. These modern 5 and 6 speed manuals are not as easy to service, but not impossible. And finding someone who can rebuild one is getting harder and more expensive too. But the issues are the same. If you don't pay attention to the oil level the bearings starve, go dry, wear down, and start making noise. Hard shifting damages synchronizers. Missing shifts breaks gears. Noise is the tranny crying out for help and rebuilding one is still a whole lot cheaper than replacing with a new one.

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post #11 of 26 Old 06-17-2021, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourspeedman View Post
And I keep forgetting these Jeeps use transmissions I am not familiar with. As you can tell by my handle, Fourspeedman, I am dating myself. Nowadays 4 speeds are automatics. These modern 5 and 6 speed manuals are not as easy to service, but not impossible. And finding someone who can rebuild one is getting harder and more expensive too. But the issues are the same. If you don't pay attention to the oil level the bearings starve, go dry, wear down, and start making noise. Hard shifting damages synchronizers. Missing shifts breaks gears. Noise is the tranny crying out for help and rebuilding one is still a whole lot cheaper than replacing with a new one.
I completely understand the dating part, my 69' GTO had a 4 speed and the 75' Cherokee Chief had a 3 speed I had a 3 on the tree in another car I used to drive an old Peterbuilt that had 21 gears with the 3 speed brownie box.
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post #12 of 26 Old 07-15-2021, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ 4.0L 4x4 5-spd manual (350,000 miles and humming . . .!): Well, the humming part presently sounds more like metal Skittles/ball bearings (along with "singing wire sounds") mushing around "somewhere down there". I (who am not particularly mechanically inclined or experienced) had previously posted what had taken place to that point.

So now, sleuths, here’s more of story:

Clutch/hydraulic rebuild 40,000 ago; when I took it out of the shop then, I could immediately tell something was different — road noise and heat were coming up directly through the shifter; subsequently, my understanding (right? wrong?) is that there is some sort of "cover" that goes over the transmission (can’t locate any info about that); at least that’s what the former "mechanic" told me when I asked about the noise; he said he forgot to replace it when wrapping everything up . . .

Now, a month or two ago, the metal Skittles/ball bearing noise showed up and joined the road noise/heat coming up through the shifter — and was loud enough to be very evident to someone outside of the Jeep (neighbors looking sideways at me driving by . . . ).

How it’s played out so far:
- When in gear, all of the sounds described are very present.
- When the clutch is engaged, things go almost fully quiet; clutch out = my personal symphony.
- Accelerating and moving up through the gear range remains good, though the skittle noise “revs up” along with the motor; no balkiness, hesitation or roughness in this though.
- Took the rig to my transmission mechanic, who took it out on a 20-minute drive and concluded it didn’t appear to be a transmission issue, per se, but that the noise was generated from further up front and was being transmitted back through the drive train and was more evident inside the Jeep because of the shifter openness situation.
- As we stood at the front, hood up, listening to the running motor, it was clear there was an issue with a unit somewhere along the serpentine belt; he recommended starting there and replaced the power steering pump, which proved to have a deteriorated bearing, and the racket was significantly reduced, though not entirely.
- Fluid levels have been checked and upped as needed.
- We’ve been through a seriously hot time this summer here in the Pacific Northwest, and I suspect that has affected this whole business somehow.
- And here's the strange part to me: While driving, when I engage the turn signal, the skittles momentarily disappear . . . then reappear . . .

Side issue, perhaps:
- Can a deteriorating speedometer cable make any of these sounds?

Also, a part of this business is:
- When in motion, shifting between/among gears is nearly as smooth “as when we all were younger” . . .
Except for (and mostly after I’ve been moving for a while):
- About 10-20% of the time, after coming to a stop (typically, stoplight), the shifter does not want to go into 1st gear (feels hard-locked; my work-around is usually that if I go over to 5th, I can get it to engage there and then move quickly down through the gears until I’m back in 1st); and off I go . . .
- Associated with this is that most times, if I attempt to quickly shift into reverse it grinds and won’t engage (as if something has not slowed down sufficiently for the gears to mesh); my solution is to exercise a bit of patience and ease it into gear (guess that’s a good enough principle for life, eh?).

Previous responses have suggested redoing the bearings/synchronizers/gaskets and a clutch job. Are these two different jobs or one and the same? How involved do these repairs get with the transmission itself (as in, does it have to be dropped out, etc.).

Any further thoughts/recommendations appreciated. Thank you.
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post #13 of 26 Old 07-16-2021, 01:10 AM
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Might be time to play doctor. Just don't put the mechanics stethoscope on any moving parts, while the part is moving. For example, the idler pulley. Don't put it on the pulley itself, but you can put it on the bolt that holds the idler pulley in place.

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post #14 of 26 Old 07-16-2021, 09:49 AM
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In a sense they are two different jobs, being that the shop will charge you as such.
The trans will have to be removed to be rebuilt, bearings/synchronizers/gaskets.

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post #15 of 26 Old 07-16-2021, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Appreciate your thinking about this and responding!
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