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soad334 09-02-2012 06:57 PM

Drift Shaft problems
I Have a 97 TJ 4.0L engine and I have an issue that whenever I turn AND accelerate (reverse or drive from being stopped) I hear a load obnoxious clicking/popping/groaning sound. From what I've been reading I'm figuring either bad u-joint or cv joint but I don't really know what the difference between the two are or which one is the culprit.

TnDz TJ 09-02-2012 10:09 PM

When turning, what you are hearing the axle shaft u-joint(s) within the front knuckles. Visually inspect them, you may not see using a prybar, you can side-load the u-joint and look for play.... you most likely will find it in one or both joints. You must check all four endcaps for play.

I had a tight ujoint.... no play at all, but when I removed the axle shaft, I could make it bind by working the joint.

soad334 09-02-2012 10:49 PM

Sorry noob here but "side-load"? and should I raise it on jack stands when I check for play?

soad334 09-02-2012 10:58 PM

oh and I should mention this is only when warm, not sure if that matters

269jeep 09-03-2012 08:29 AM

When it's warm sounds odd. I would still check the axle joints. Take a pry bar and try to move the the axle shaft. If you are new to working on Jeeps get yourself a good manual. Haynes and Chilton manuals are available everywhere. These are ok. Nothing beats a factory service manual if you can find one. This forum is a great place for tips too.

TnDz TJ 09-03-2012 09:41 AM

When warm does sound odd.... if the joint is bad... its bad.

To side-load the joint... you must be able to put pressure on the caps. using a prybar between the bottom of the knuckle and the joint, apply pressure upward on the cap and watch for play INSIDE the joint by the seals. You need to rotate the shaft 90 degrees to check the next one... then again... and again. Move to the other side.

If you find no play, it doesn't mean they are good.... they could be dry as a bone and seized.

Your best option is to pull the shafts and fully inspect them.... new Spicers are only $22 each here... FYI

ciamex 09-03-2012 11:08 AM

do you have an upgraded front diff?

mine is always locked so it complains under tight turns...

soad334 09-04-2012 03:53 PM

I figured it out, the u joint that connects with the rear dif has enough play for me to be able to move it by hand (and is the source of the noise). I've got new spicer's on the way :) (hope it makes it) I'm gonna take a look at all of them though just to be safe. Thanks for the help everyone!

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