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pcwolf 08-06-2012 01:05 AM

"click-CLACK click-CLACK" in 4-LO 1st
Searched WF but found nothing similar ...

When rock crawling or scrabbling over melon-size rocks in 4-LO I hear a "click-CLACK" noise from under the front end. It is rythmic with the working of the wheels and tires as they climb then clear each rock. No other indication of anything unusual, just a metallic noise that sounds like things are working as designed.

My local club jockeys tell me to check front u-joints. Parked in 2WD I grabbed the front driveshaft and rocked it by hand to see if there was play or noise ... and there was. DS was rock solid, the flange where it goes into front diff was resonating the "click-CLACK" from something in the diff as I rocked it back and forth. Holding the wheel u-joint while I rocked the front DS I could feel the metal touch making the noise, but again no loose u-joint. So I believe the source has to be between the shaft and wheel u-joints.

Does the differential by nature have play like that in it?

As I said, everything works like a horse on the trail, but the noise is definitely there every time.

2006 TJ Rubicon, 40,000 miles, high-quality fluids changed regularly.

Thanks in advance!


MCE Mike 08-06-2012 02:25 PM

The differential does have a small amount of "play" in them if you rotate the driveshaft back and forth, it is the backlash of the ring and pinion gears. However, there should be no side to side motion, only rotational.

I can't single out any one component yet from the description, but I will say U-joints usually make a lighter clicking sound in my experience when they start to go out. If it is a hard metallic noise, I would pop the diff cover check the ring and pinion. Or possible a gear is chipped in the locker.

pcwolf 08-07-2012 05:40 PM

From further research and replies, I believe it is most likely the normal backlash in the ring and pinion gears. Movement of the driveshaft is only 1/4" when I rock it back and forth. Thanks for taking time to reply.

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