How much play in the front d/s is normal? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-09-2019, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
LouC
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How much play in the front d/s is normal?

I thought I was hearing a new noise in my WK for the past several months, but I also have a Mopar CAI which makes noise as well. It is a drone like noise that starts a bit over 30, peaks at about 35 and then fades out. Noise is only heard under power, coasting it is silent. The Jeep has about 109,000 on it and the front shaft, rear shaft and front cv axles are original. I got under today and wanted to see if there was any play in the front shaft. Front CV boot is fine. I found that I can move the shaft fwd/rearward just a tiny bit, not up and down. Could this mean the rear joint on the shaft (the one bolted to the transfer case) is starting to wear? There is no play/movement at all in the rear driveshaft. I have heard that these cv joints can be replaced instead of replacing the whole shaft. Thoughts?


2017 JK Unlimited Sport 6 spd
2007 WK Limited Hemi QDII
1998 ZJ Laredo 4.0 Selectrac
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-09-2019, 09:05 PM
voltquad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouC View Post
I thought I was hearing a new noise in my WK for the past several months, but I also have a Mopar CAI which makes noise as well. It is a drone like noise that starts a bit over 30, peaks at about 35 and then fades out. Noise is only heard under power, coasting it is silent. The Jeep has about 109,000 on it and the front shaft, rear shaft and front cv axles are original. I got under today and wanted to see if there was any play in the front shaft. Front CV boot is fine. I found that I can move the shaft fwd/rearward just a tiny bit, not up and down. Could this mean the rear joint on the shaft (the one bolted to the transfer case) is starting to wear? There is no play/movement at all in the rear driveshaft. I have heard that these cv joints can be replaced instead of replacing the whole shaft. Thoughts?
I have almost 109K on my 2010 WK with stock shafts all around.

As far as the shafts go, I checked my drive shafts this morning. They had absolutely no play at all while I was in park. I'm a strong guy and I couldn't get them to budge at all in any direction. Unless you're strong enough to move the differentials in relation to the transfer case I don't think you should have any play when everything's bolted together.

I had my left CV shaft out a while ago to replace a seal I damaged when I was replacing the differential bushings. The CV joint had absolutely no play at all rotationally or linearly, but it was easy to move them longitudinally (in and out). Its easy enough that all I had to do was remove the tire and top ball joint bolt in order to get enough clearance to access the differential seal to replace it.

A drone heard at those speeds sounds more like a wheel bearing or differential bearings to me (My RAM had a diff bearing go out that sounded like you are describing). I'd guess differential bearings since it only happens under load and that could also explain the play you were talking about, but if I were you I'd wait to hear from someone more knowledgeable on differentials and driveshaft problems than me. I don't a drone is a normal bad driveshaft symptoms. Those usually are described as clunks, pops, shuddering and vibration. I've never had a drive shaft go bad myself, but I've replaced more than one CV shaft in other vehicles, and every bad CV joint I've ever replaced always had the same symptom for me. A clicking or popping heard when turning in reverse. An easy way to check the wheel bearings is to raise the wheel and see if it has any play in relation to the spindle. I've had wheel bearings on other vehicles develop play before developing noise, but I can't ever remember replacing any noisy bearings that also didn't have play on other vehicles.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-10-2019, 12:18 AM
APSolo
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I’m sitting at 170k. Front CV’s will notify you of failure during turns. Clicking is the usual key. That drone, usually under power only, is often the driveshaft. Whee bearings will be a constant sound only varied slightly by speed. The driveshafts will make noise under power but go silent while coasting. You should be able to identify where the sound is coming from. Wheel bearings (hubs) are easy to spot. Either drive next to a divider or have someone listen. Driveshafts will sound like they’re coming from the middle and will sound different whether under power or coasting. Unlike the WJ, the WK doesn’t have diff/wheel bearing issues as a norm. Driveshafts however are well known. It’s difficult to Id a bad driveshaft based on “play”. Going back a few years my WJ showed zero u joint wear but howled at 60. Replaced the front (transfer to front diff) driveshaft and problem solved. WK is suseptable to the same issues with mileage. Mine, at 170k is on Original shafts and has been wheeled and driven on type B schedule since 42k..........
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-10-2019, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
LouC
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I checked it again and I could see the boot for the rear CV on the front driveshaft is torn but not seeing a trail of grease thrown out yet. If I hold the cv joint in one hand and the transfer case joint in the other and turn them in opposite directions I can feel just a slight amount of play which I think should not be there. Looks like Ill be replacing this joint soon! Seems to be a common problem.

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post #5 of 9 Old 03-10-2019, 08:04 AM
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I 2nd you trouble shooting Lou. Hardest part is getting it out to work on. Good luck with the repair!

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post #6 of 9 Old 03-10-2019, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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BTW we also have a 98 ZJ with conventional u joints on both driveshafts and in the front axle half shafts. At 21 years old and 177,000 miles we have not had to change any of them!

I bet what wears these CVs on the transfer case end of the front shaft is when the front diff bushings go bad and put pressure on the driveshaft. There should normally be no significant movement between the front diff and the transfer case on these models. But when those front diff bushings go it allows a lot of movement at the front diff.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-12-2019, 09:36 AM
Raffish
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Shouldn't there be a little rotational play in the front shaft?

I have some, ≈1/2" maybe..

I repaired my CV last year and this winter in -30C there was a bit of grinding noise back, everything looks fine.

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-12-2019, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
LouC
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Well I could answer my own question. I have the new Dorman repair kit in hand and there is no play in that CV joint between the inner splined section and the outer part that bolts to the transfer case flange.

BTW, I looked carefully at the design of this and I don't think that this design is water tight like a front half shaft CV booted axle shaft is. Reason being, there is a gasket between the CV and the back cover, but there is a hole in the center of this cover, presumably to let grease out. Then there is no gasket between the front cover (part with the boot) and the CV joint. I was thinking of using some RTV on that part and sealing the hole with a dab of RTV and also using some where the bolt holes are. Probably overkill but I honestly think for what it costs to get a new driveshaft from Mopar this design could be improved.
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-12-2019, 10:51 AM
Raffish
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Originally Posted by LouC View Post
Well I could answer my own question. I have the new Dorman repair kit in hand and there is no play in that CV joint between the inner splined section and the outer part that bolts to the transfer case flange.

BTW, I looked carefully at the design of this and I don't think that this design is water tight like a front half shaft CV booted axle shaft is. Reason being, there is a gasket between the CV and the back cover, but there is a hole in the center of this cover, presumably to let grease out. Then there is no gasket between the front cover (part with the boot) and the CV joint. I was thinking of using some RTV on that part and sealing the hole with a dab of RTV and also using some where the bolt holes are. Probably overkill but I honestly think for what it costs to get a new driveshaft from Mopar this design could be improved.
I used a tiny bit of RTV to seal the caps on both sides of the bearing..

BTW Mopar RTV sets really fast and is cheap..
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