Intermittent Front End Noise

Discussion in 'KJ General Discussion' started by Jeffreywp, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Jeffreywp

    Jeffreywp Full Access Member

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    I have a 2003 KJ with the 2.4 engine and manual transmission. I removed the front drive shaft with a bad rear cv joint hoping that was the cause of the noise but it is not. The noise comes and goes and is usually not present. Maybe once a week or so. There is a clicking clanking aspect to the noise as well as a grumbly bearing type noise that seems to follow the cadence of wheel rotation. At highway speeds it is a loud horrifying I might die kind of sound and as you slow down or come to a stop it sounds kind of like you have a flat tire except for the clicking sound. Turning does not seem to effect the noise and it goes away soon after it starts. Removing the front drive shaft has isolated the sound to the front as with the drive shaft in, I was having a hard time pin pointing the location. I checked the front wheels for play and the hubs seem solid. I am thinking it is the front differential. Is it possible to gut the front differential without fixing it? How hard is it to rebuild the front differential? Or what else could it be?
     
  2. duderz7

    duderz7 Full Access Member

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    Check for play at the inner CV on front axles. There will be a little, but if there is a lot you have an issue. Lots of threads about it. Also my wheel bearings got money and I never could feel any play, and things got quiet after replacement.
     
  3. Jeffreywp

    Jeffreywp Full Access Member

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    I crawled under the Jeep and the axles seem tight with weight on them, slight play but they moved together when twisting on one. Or should I raise the Jeep with the wheels of the ground?
     
  4. duderz7

    duderz7 Full Access Member

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    You should be able to check for play at the can shaped portion of the front axle, usually it's the right side that gets sloppy. Just grab hold and give it a jiggle. I've heard of some actually rusting solid, but that was not my experience. Wheel bearings are easier to check with the vehicle of the ground. However mine felt fine until I had the CV axle out and spun the week bearing, I could hear and feel the crunchies. How many miles on your Jeep? At it's age is likely wheel bearings, right side CV axle and intermediate shaft all need replacement unless it's been done before.
     
  5. Jeffreywp

    Jeffreywp Full Access Member

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    I did grab the "can" like area of the shaft. Neither jiggled on its own. There was a small amount of play in the outer cv joints as the axles would move a very small amount and moved in unison with no play on the inner cv joints. When I checked the wheel bearings I had the whole front end up off the wheels. I had seen a trick for checking wheel bearings where you rotate the wheel and feel for the transfer of vibration on the coil spring. Maybe I will try that with a stethoscope. I still find it odd that the noise is usually not there and then SOO loud and bad sounding when it is.
     
  6. duderz7

    duderz7 Full Access Member

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    If I'm understanding you right, and you're feeling party at the outer end (near the wheel) of your CV I think you've found your problem. They should not move at all at that point.
     
  7. Jeffreywp

    Jeffreywp Full Access Member

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    How is slight play ok if it is the inner cv joint but not ok if it is the outer? Both axles move 3-4 degrees in tandem so I have the slight play at both outer joints
     
  8. duderz7

    duderz7 Full Access Member

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    I'll double check mine when I get home, but I don't think the other ends should move at all. They are bolted in place through the wheel bearing. There inside CVS are slipped onto a spline and held with a snap ring, which is why play can be felt there.
     
  9. duderz7

    duderz7 Full Access Member

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    Sorry, the Mrs too the Jeep to work, I'll have to check tomorrow
     
  10. duderz7

    duderz7 Full Access Member

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    There should be no play at the outer other than the spline inside CV to allow for axle length at our floors through suspension travel sorry it took a bit to respond
     
  11. Jeffreywp

    Jeffreywp Full Access Member

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    So that would mean that both my outers are bad if both turn a few degrees in unison with no slop between them through the differential. At least they are not too expensive.
     
  12. duderz7

    duderz7 Full Access Member

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    If I'm understanding you correctly, yes. Get remans from Napa, and a new intermediate shaft.