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Old 02-28-2011, 08:49 AM   #1
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clunk/rattle coming from rear

I have a clunking rattle sound coming from the rear of my Jeep...1997 sport, straight six, 5 speed manual. I've been under the vehicle several times trying to find the source and so have two reputable mechanics in my area. No one seems to be able to locate it. The noise is definitely coming from the rear of the vehicle. It's a dull sounding clunk and if I drive over a washboard pavement the clunk becomes a rattle. Even at very low speeds the clunk is heard. I have a 1 inch drop where the concrete garage floor meets the driveway and it clunks going over it ever time. Even at very low speeds the clunk is heard.
Here's what it's not: shocks, tailgate (I've driven it with the tailgate open to test), exhaust, backseat (in or out the noise is still there), top (on or off makes not difference). I'm almost positive it's coming from underneath the vehicle. It can be heard with just the slightest bump in the road but when parked, you can get out and physically shake the vehicle as much as you want and the sound won't be heard. My mechanic has tightened every visible nut and bolt underneath the vehicle and it still clunks.
Any ideas? Could the gears in the rear be worn and clunking around? I don't have enough mechanical knowledge to know if that's possible. At this point it seems to me it must be something internal though... maybe something inside the gas tank? Any ideas would be a great help...thanks, Jim

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Old 02-28-2011, 02:43 PM   #2
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How many miles?

My 97 has the same issue. Pretty sure the control arm bushings are shot.

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Old 02-28-2011, 04:40 PM   #3
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Does it get worse on take off like as you accelerate at all? Or does your stick shifter shake side to side when accelerating or as you let out the clutch?
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austindsmith9
Does it get worse on take off like as you accelerate at all? Or does your stick shifter shake side to side when accelerating or as you let out the clutch?
Sounds real stupid but considering the sway and trac bar bushings were checked, what about your spare tire, mine bounces around a little. I just got done replacing the bushings and I still heard some knocking and was like WTF. Found out it was the damn tire on the back

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Old 03-01-2011, 12:26 PM   #5
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thanks for the replies

thanks for the replies. I did forget to mention that the spare tire has been ruled out as well.

As far as the takeoff, the noise really doesn't seem to occur upon takeoff or braking. There has to be bumps in the road or uneven pavement for the noise to occur (for instance, the drop in concrete between my garage floor and the driveway produces one dull clunk, a washboard road will produce a series of rattling clunks). However, the shifter has always shook from side to side from the time I first bought the vehicle 8 years ago (at the time it had 77k miles on it, now has 126k). I"m not sure if that's a clue or not. I first noticed the clunking about 3 years ago when I was the only person who could hear it (being the owner and all) and it has steadily gotten louder to the point where anyone riding with me can hear it. The best way I can describe the noise is you would guess it was either exhaust or the tailgate but it's not either of these.
thanks again for any input you may have on this.
Jim
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:41 AM   #6
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thanks for the reply...I am curious about your question regarding the shifter shaking side to side. It has always done this for the 8 years I've owned the Jeep but only during the initial pull out in first gear then goes away. Do you think this has something to do with the clunking in the rear?
thanks...Jim
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:05 AM   #7
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maybe something in drive line-u-joint? Would that make the noise or cause shifter to "wobble side to side"?
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:43 AM   #8
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Had the same thing happening to me. Come to find out my rear track bar was just loose. Tightened up the bolts and havent heard the noise since.
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:51 AM   #9
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What I've come to find out with clunks they only seem to be when driving.playing around underneath and pulling pushing, jumping on the bumper etc. nothing can be heard until it's drivin. My vehicle is up there in age and mileage and still clunks sometimes. The major clunks were caused from my sway bar bushings were shot and as far a the track bar bushing I could not get that one to replicate the noise( only when driven) my vehicles old and unless All the components are replaced I am going to get some noises still.

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:03 AM   #10
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Sounds like your transmission mount may be broken. You will have some of the engines torque showing on the shifter but it should be negligible. The tranny mounts to the skid plate and is a pretty common break point. Tightening the bolts that hold that mount would only be tightening a mount that is no longer attached to the tranny which makes a lot of noise if loose.
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasT
Sounds like your transmission mount may be broken. You will have some of the engines torque showing on the shifter but it should be negligible. The tranny mounts to the skid plate and is a pretty common break point. Tightening the bolts that hold that mount would only be tightening a mount that is no longer attached to the tranny which makes a lot of noise if loose.
^^^ thats a good one, I'm really surprised mines still intact considering the rust underneath lol... This is very common in older jeeps like ours..

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasT View Post
Sounds like your transmission mount may be broken. You will have some of the engines torque showing on the shifter but it should be negligible. The tranny mounts to the skid plate and is a pretty common break point. Tightening the bolts that hold that mount would only be tightening a mount that is no longer attached to the tranny which makes a lot of noise if loose.
I think TexasT is right. SOMETHING is loose on the underside. If you say sparetire and exhust are not it, well there are only a few things left it could be.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:27 AM   #13
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Thanks again for all the replies. Although my trans mount may be broken I think it's unrelated. The noise is coming from further back in the vehicle...it really sounds like it's coming from the wheels/axle area of the Jeep. My next question is, if any of the bushings are the culprit (sway bar, track bar, control arm) would something be loose underneath? No amount of getting under the vehicle and pulling, banging or shaking anything produces the noise and nothing is loose at all. No amount of shaking the whole vehicle or jumping up and down on the bumper produces the noise either. I have to be driving the vehicle and then the noise is non-stop. Unless the road is smooth as glass the noise is heard constantly either from the slightest side to side motion of the vehicle or the slightest up and down motion.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:33 AM   #14
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I would suggest rechecking your rear shocks, since you say the clunk is non-stop and varies with road bumps. I had similar clunk and there was nothing loose, ended up the shock mount bushing was gone...put in bar pin eliminators and got rid of all that.
Also, have you tried pushing up the tailpipe (with engine off and cold) to see if the hanger bracket isn't doing it's job? If you can get it to move at all, investigate all the way down the pipe to see if there is any spot that a moving tailpipe/muffler could be hitting against.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:34 AM   #15
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I had a sound very similar to yours; it behaved just as yours did and it ended up being my transmission mount. I thought for sure it was something further back, and ended up tightening every bolt I could get a wrench on, and replacing every u-joint on the Jeep hunting down that clunk. As a last resort, I replaced the transmission mount simply because it was cheap and I had some spare time and wouldn't ya know it, the clunking stopped.

Not to say thats your problem, but it fixed mine. 98TJ A/T
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:44 PM   #16
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thanks...I'll check them out again but the shocks have been replaced with no change to the noise.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:46 PM   #17
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I guess it wouldn't hurt to replace the trans mount since it's probably shot anyway...the shifter shakes from side to side when I pull out in first.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:44 PM   #18
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Do the trans mount...especially if you suspect it being bad. Let us know.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:54 AM   #19
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trans mount ruled out

The trans mount has now been replaced and the noise is still there. The old mount turned out to be in good shape but I replaced it anyway.
To be honest I'm still going back to my original question...is it possible that the gears in the rear can get worn and "slop" around? it really sounds like that's exactly where it's coming from. The sound is a very dull heavy clunking rattle. It basically makes the noise almost constantly now unless the road is smooth as glass and can be heard even if I'm just coasting along at speeds of less than 1mph.
It's driving me so crazy that I'm actually considering taking it to the Jeep dealer in hopes that they've come across this problem before. Just the thought of going to the dealer is making my stomach turn. Anyway, thanks for your help and I'll keep you all posted. If anyone has any other ideas I'm all ears.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:14 AM   #20
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my 1998 sport is making the same noise you have decscribed..mine is sounding like in the area of the muffler..it only does it while taking off in 1st and then putting the trans in neutral and presssing the accelator and also down shifting and driving on a bumpy road as well..and after it gets up to speed it quiets down ..it has just has started this noise in the last day ..the noise sorta reminds me of a catalyitic converter gone bad..but it runs fine.but i will have to check out these other problem areas as well that others was talking about and see what i can figure out also..good luck
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Old 03-20-2011, 10:16 AM   #21
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Quote:
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my 1998 sport is making the same noise you have decscribed..mine is sounding like in the area of the muffler..it only does it while taking off in 1st and then putting the trans in neutral and presssing the accelator and also down shifting and driving on a bumpy road as well..and after it gets up to speed it quiets down ..it has just has started this noise in the last day ..the noise sorta reminds me of a catalyitic converter gone bad..but it runs fine.but i will have to check out these other problem areas as well that others was talking about and see what i can figure out also..good luck

Jeep had catalytic converters fail around your year model. Mine did. It sounded like a heat shield rattle. It was inside the cat. The ceramic media inside the cat had broke apart and was just rattling around. Drove me crazy until I replaced the cat.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:12 AM   #22
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my old 1994 had the noise , removed the catalytic converter , engine was a little noiser but the rattle was gone.

Roy
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:08 AM   #23
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I am almost positive I have the same issue you are having. Subscribed for updates.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:45 AM   #24
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I'm having the same issue with my 98. Any bumps in the road produce a rattle. Even a smooth road will do it to a small extent. To me, it sounds like it's from up front or the middle but also could be the rear. Sounds from an undercarriage can travel.

Everything is solid underneath except for my rear sway bar link lower bushings. I'm hesitant to replace them immediately because the rattling seems to me more than they could cause.

http://youtu.be/Q84s_1MXwcU

http://youtu.be/VrMLlwXKJ1o

@joharejim - have you checked these on yours?
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:57 PM   #25
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Mlaborde...thanks for the video. This sounds just like a recent rattle i've been trying to fix.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:58 PM   #26
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found my rattle

i have been looking for a rattle in the right rear for weeks, found it to be a emergency brake lever inside the rear drum was disconected and rattling. hope this can hewlp some one else. i had read this and many other posts and tried about everything every one else said.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:20 PM   #27
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i think you might have some bolts that do not fit perfect into their holes. from the day i got my jeep you would always hear clunking and clanking and loud knocking from under it whenever you would hit any kind of dump of hole or even go up into my driveway. i even went as far as to consider this noise inherent of a heim joint design on my lift kit. i could not have been more stupid. i have lower shock bracket extensions in the rear, and the p.o. did not put in the correct size bolt to fit the hole in the bracket. a quick drilling with new, bigger nuts and bolts and my jeep is now as quiet as a honda civic when going over bumps.

point is....everything can be tight. if it doesnt fit, it will still move and make noise.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:57 PM   #28
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I own a '04 TJ that has a similar 'rattle' or 'thump' in the dirt...paved roads seldom produce this annoyance. I've also tightened anything and everything I could put a wrench on to no avail...I will check the "transmission mount". Thanks for the heads-up!
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:23 AM   #29
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Hi,

I have a similar problem with my 1997 Wrangler, 4 in. lift and 33x12.50's. At certain speeds on the highway I even get a sway in the rear almost like I am pulling a trailer behind me. When lifted with the rear wheels off the ground and hanging, I can wobble the wheels, left side is worse than the right. I am getting ready to look in the differential case today. I think something is loose. I will let you know if I find anything, I have also ruled out everything else.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:32 AM   #30
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I had the same thing and missed the source when I got under the Jeep the first few times. Turned out it was the upper bushings on the rear sway bar links. The bushing on one side was completely gone. It wouldn't clunk when I rocked the jeep, or at cruising speed but would rattle and clunk like hell going slow over small bumps. It was very audible and was driving me crazy. The lower bushings were fine so I guess I didn't notice it the first time I inspected everything. When I got under the Jeep again and noticed the bushing was gone, it was obvious. I could rattle the link by hand and sure enough that was the source of the clunk.

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