Got a '06 KJ CRD, need some help with front end noises

Tazmool

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Hello Everyone,

I recently got a '06 Jeep Liberty KJ CRD from my family, (it was used as a winter vehicle in the Rockies, its been in the family since new)

Mileage is 98k miles, body is in good shape, but there are a few issues.

For now I'd like to focus on one that's got me a bit stumped.

There has been a consistent noise coming from what I thought was the front tires, it sounded somewhat like a bulged tire (cyclic throbbing sound) but has been getting louder and louder, and it now sounds more like a bad bearing. Its quite noisy, noisier than the diesel engine, louder than the wind noise on the highway.

Tires are winter tires on the front, and AT tires on the back.
I swapped the tires from front to back, the noise did not follow the tires (tires appear good, no bulges, no damage)

Steering left and right while driving and hearing the noise (checking front wheel bearings) does not change the sound.
Checking the wheels for play while up on stands, shows that the bearings seem ok, no free play.

I removed the front drive shaft (propeller shaft) drove around and the noise did not go away (if anything, it seems to be getting worse)

Question #1
As I removed the front drive shaft (front CV joint/u-joint, connected to the front differential) leaked out a heavy (seemed green) of oil out of it?
Is the front drive shaft CV joint filled with oil? (the shaft is originial oem)
The 6 bolts that hold the CV joint in were seeping oil out as soon as I removed them, I'm assuming this is not normal?

The front drive shaft rear CV joint seems ok, nothing leaking out, smooth quiet movement

Visual Inspecting the front 1/2 shafts, both seem to be in good shape, no torn boots, no leaks.

Question #2
Could this noise be the wheel bearings? despite the fact that there seems to be no play and no change in noise when steering left/right?

When I get a bit more time, I will check the front differential (open cover, check condition, hopefully there is fluid in it) seems hard to get to.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post,
Looking forward to any suggestions!

Cheers
Tazmool
 

tommudd

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First it is bad to run different tires front and rear, all 4 need to be the same size, brand, tread
Second, there is no fluid in or around front driveshaft coming out like you stated, its natural to have some oil like come out when removing
Third you must drop the front diff out of the vehicle to properly look inside with cover off, change the fluid to some good Dino and go on
Fourth, noise could be from the right side CV/Intermediate shaft both being worn out, may " look " ok but still be worn enough to make noise
Fifth, it could be a wheel bearing but generally if you turn one way or the other noise will get louder or quit altogether
Sixth, suspension, at 98,000 miles suspension is due for an upgrade, stock springs and shocks even on a CRD are junk from the get go.
Start there to see if anything pops it's ugly head up
 

turblediesel

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Loose nuts in a coffee can sound can be motor mounts. It's a CRD only noise. The mounts can seem fine but rattle when shaken. I'm not sure if that relates to your noise but it's something to consider.
 

Tazmool

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Thank you for the replies guys,

Tommudd,
#1 I agree 100%, I dont like the tires on the jeep, they are mixed up, it make it handle poorly in wet/slippery conditions, its one of the issues I want to address, there are other issues I'll mention later as well. I will address this one, but not yet.

#2 I figured there should be grease (not fluid) inside the front drive (propeller) shaft, the boots look ok, the shaft cv and u-joints move smoothly. However, I found it very, very strange there to be (what smelled like differential fluid) inside the "cup"? "Yoke?" that was holding the CV joint end in place. Even the 6 bolts holding the CV joint on the "yoke?" were saturated in this oil... when the cv joint was removed, a small quantity of the oil leaked out onto the floor....
I have never worked on 4x4 systems, just my old s10 rwd pickup years ago.
Could the differential "somehow" be leaking into that yoke? there is no evidence of any kind of front differential leak....

#3 Thanks for the tip, I looked into a few KJ front diff videos, I see what you mean. I'll just change the oil and be done with it.

#4 Again, thanks for the tip. I read some posts on here regarding that intermediate shaft, it seems to be an issue for some, not others, but its definitely worth looking into.

#5 I also agree, in my past experience, front wheel bearings usually get louder/quieter as you steer around, this issue is very consistent, only changing with road speed, nothing else.

#6 This is also on my radar, I figured the suspension would be very close to being done by now, but I'm trying to work through all the issues with this jeep, and not spend a fortune on it, especially right now.

As mentioned, this KJ has landed in my lap unexpectedly. I remember when my family bought it new, and I always liked it. As life changed, people moved away it too was gone for a long time. Now that its back, I'm trying to figure out what to do with it (engine runs great, love the crd sound and torque)

At the very least, I'd like to get it back into good road worthy shape, and keep it as a backup vehicle, and maybe..... just maybe, in the future as a fun off-road vehicle?

Its in relatively good shape, low mileage, relatively well taken care of, plus I like it, have good memories of that jeep.
To be honest, still trying to figure out what to do with it, how much money/effort is worth it....

It does have other issues
Rear differential pinion seal is leaking,
Rear windows don't move (up or down) they are closed though
Front passenger side upper ball-joint boot is torn, should be replaced
Needs new rear brakes, probably rotors, and parking brake overhaul (for a safety inspection before I can transfer the ownership to my name and plate it)


Turblediesel,
Thanks for the tip as well, fortunately right now the only noise is the front end, hopefully once thats resolved no other noises will pop up!


Tazmool
 

Tazmool

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An update,

Following the suggestions here, I decided to change out the tires, and installed All Season Continental tires
Changed out the front differential fluid, no leaks
Installed the front propeller shaft as it appears to be ok (no damage, smooth movement on both ends, cv & u-joints ok)
Changed out the rear differential fluid, and replaced the rear-diff pinion seal, no leaks. (I used 75-140 fluid front & rear)

Test drove the Jeep, and its is MUCH quieter now.
With the Jeep being much quieter, I can hear a squeak in the front end when going over a big bump (only when off-roading/testing 4x4), most likely sway-bar bushings.
There still *seems* to be a bit of noise coming from the front end, could be the starting stages of a wheel bearing, it does *seem* to change with steering left/right, but its very hard to hear.

Another thing I'll change out soon is the transfer-case fluid.

Thanks for the help thus far everyone.

Tazmool
 

tommudd

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Yes sway bar bushing will let you know when they need replaced
when it gets cold out they will squeak worse
replacement is super easy , takes just a few minutes
 

Tazmool

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January Update,

The front end noise I was talking about before has only gotten worse over time, to the point that at speed (50mph+) it sounds like a WWII bomber (low growl) the noise gets lighter/changes when steering to the right, its definitely a front wheel bearing.

There is no play in the wheels, nothing that is otherwise obvious.

Changed out both front wheel bearing hubs. Used TRQ parts (locally the auto parts store wanted $269.99 per side, online it was $237 after shipping and all fees for the TRQ parts) I know they're made in china, but I've read positive reviews regarding them, so decided to try.... hopefully they hold together for a long time.
As for the front end noise, its gone completely! The Jeep is quieter than I have ever heard it (quiet for a diesel anyway)

Inspecting the old hubs, the passenger side does seem not so great, sounds "dry" when spinning it.
The driver side bearing hub is definitely on its way out, seems "dry" and feels like it has some kind of internal damage. Both are going to the metal recyclers!

Tazmool
 

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