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Old 02-12-2013, 12:00 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 108
Grinding noise- I'm stumped

Need help diagnosing a new noise. Taught my kid how to drive manual on my 04 Rubicon last weekend. She did great after a few stalls and got the hang of the clutch.

However, now when I start in 1st and release the clutch, for the first inch or so of pedal movement I hear a crunching/grinding sound.

This isn't the normal rolling marbles sound of the N3550 when the clutch is released. And it isn't a typical bad throwout bearing sound- with the clutch pushed to the floor it is completely quiet. It doesn't make the noise when pressing/releasing the clutch while in neutral. And once the wheels are rolling, it's quiet.

So I'm stumped. I can't tell if the noise is coming from the front or rear, transmission, clutch, driveshafts or axles. I tried bouncing the front and rear bumpers to see if it was a suspension creak when launching- it's not. Any ideas what it could be? Anybody else have this happen?

2004 TJ Rubicon 5-speed
3.5" Rubicon Superflex lift
33" Duratracs

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Old 02-12-2013, 01:42 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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It could be the beginning of a rear/front end issue. I've rebuilt my rear end twice on my TJ. Started hearing a slight grinding noise but it went away after I got it going, little did I know it was the beginning of the end. Check the drive shaft... if it has any give, it may need to be tightened. Check the gear fluid too.

It could also be an issue with the flywheel/clutch. It sounds like it may be knocking.

How many miles on the Jeep... and have you ever replaced the clutch?

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98' TJ
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:09 PM   #3
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 108
Thanks the ideas. It's got 52,000 miles and still on the original clutch. Last night I spent some time messing around with it- turns out the noise is made when starting and *stopping with the clutch depressed*. Which rules out a clutch issue.

Diff fluid was replace last year, I'll check and top off if needed.

Now I'm wondering if it might be the rear driveshaft. I'll pull it out and drive in FWD to test. (I'm still using the stock single cardan shaft with a 3.5" lift). Might be time to call Tom Woods.
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