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GoldTJ 10-29-2010 09:37 PM

Rude noises from left rear wheel area
Today,on my way home from work,almost home,as I made a left turn,I heard a popping sound coming from the rear.As I was pulling in my driveway,I heard another similar sound.I drove around my yard,and going up a gradual grade,I heard some racket coming from the left rear wheel area.I'm guessing something went south in the axle shaft splines or something similar.It's dark now,and I got home,at least.I'm going to attack it early in the a.m.! The reason I am posting this is to garner as much (hopefully) info as possible.I plan to jack up the rear,remove the wheel,spin the tire,etc.If it is what I suspect,I will have to remove the rear end cover,possibly pull the axle,and see if the diff/carrier is damaged,splines stripped,etc.I suppose I should mention that it is a 2003 Wrangler Sport,6 banger,automatic,with the Dana 35.Not sure if I have limited slip.Just hoping for advice,similar experience,etc.I would best describe it as a popping type sound.Also,to make matters worse,the wife is out of town,and this is my only ride!Would it be safe to remove the rear driveshaft and run in 4hi to get to the parts store 5 miles away?Thanks!

GoldTJ 10-30-2010 12:18 PM

I just raised the rear,and checked it out partially.When the rear is off the ground,in neutral with wheels spinning,no noise.Rotated by hand,jerking wheel from front to rear,no slop.When I put it back down and drove it,it sounds like the rear end is trying to fall out from under it!I'm in the process of trying to pull the rear driveshaft now to see what happens with no load.Still holding off on pulling rear diff cover until I can get a ride to auto parts store for oil and gasket.

Jerry Bransford 10-30-2010 12:33 PM

Is it a clunking sound? Jack up one side of your rear axle and then push-pull on the side you are hearing the sound from. Then push/pull on the wheel to see if it makes that clunking sound as the wheel and the axle shaft it is mounted onto moves in and out of the axle housing.

Because your rear Dana 35c axle is a c-clip design, that in/out movement for the axle shaft is perfectly normal and it can make a very audible clunking sound as it moves in and out. It has that in/out "slop" so the axle shaft can be pushed inward to release the c-clip when removing the axle shaft. The c-clip normally sits in a recessed spot in the gear carrier to hold the axle in and pushing the axle shaft (wheel) inward moves the c-clip out of its recessed home so it can be removed so the axle shaft can be slid out.

Both sides can make this noise, the left side is just nearest the driver's position so it is more easily noticed. :)

GoldTJ 10-30-2010 01:00 PM

No,Jerry-I know the "normal sound" you are talking about.The left axle has about 1/2"-3/4" of slop in and out.The noise I have is far worse.I suspect something has gone awry in the third member.Just got done removing rear driveshaft,and running in FWD only,I still hear sounds but nowhere near as bad as when I was in RWD.Gonna pull diff cover next and see what horrors I find.I'm somewhat stranded right now,and need to procure some diff fluid and a gasket.Is it possible that something is wrong with my clutch pack or whatever it is that the Trac-Loc consists of?It seems like I always have the strangest problems!

Jerry Bransford 10-30-2010 01:07 PM

1/2" to 3/4" of in-out movement? :eek: That has to be from damage in either the carrier or at the c-clip area of the axle shaft. Normal in-out movement is far less than that.

fire239 10-30-2010 01:07 PM

Mine does the same thing (97, d35, trac loc) I'm thinking it's brakes though.. I can actually look at the driver's rear tire when pullingup a slight grade and see my tire moving with every pop. It is regular and rhythmic, not a steady noise. Kinda a pop every 1/4 revolution.

GoldTJ 10-30-2010 01:24 PM

Mine is more of a clunking type sound,and seems very noticeable when going very slow under load,like going up hill.And you can definately feel it.Can't reproduce symptoms while on jackstands,only while on the ground.I'm pretty sure it is diff or axle issue,perhaps a gear going south,or something of that nature.We will know soon after I pull rear cover and left axle.

TJamieD 10-30-2010 03:53 PM

I have an '06 same engine and axle setup and had the exact same issue. Only difference may be my 35c has the factory limited slip. It sounds as if you're not sure on yours. If it is, there should be a little metal tag held on to your diff cover by one of the cover bolts that says to only use limited slip diff fluid. Anyway, I had planned on pulling the cover and checking it out. Before I took the time, I ended up snapping the shaft on the drivers side anyway. So, I installed a new shaft and now the popping is gone. Deduction? Something was wrong with the shaft that was causing the popping(I also think that has to do with why the shaft broke so easily).

I'm betting when you break your diff open you find the issue is with the shaft. But... I'd love to hear the end result.

GoldTJ 10-30-2010 04:10 PM

Well,I noticed while it was up in the air that both wheels turn in the same direction when you spin one.From what I have been told,this indicates that I do have limited slip diff.I hope it is only the shaft,and not the differential itself.I limped it to my Mom's house around the corner and borrowed an extra car,but will have to wait for a second driver to get the Jeep back home.At least I have a ride,now-a Cadillac.Talk about culture shock!It depends on how late it is when I can get the Jeep back-I may have to wait until tomorrow to further inspect!

GoldTJ 10-30-2010 09:46 PM

The wife didn't get home until 7:30 P.M. from her trip.I decided to wait for sunshine to bring my broken heart back home and do further surgery!

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 02:44 PM

Today I finished ripping the axle apart.This is what I found-the left spider gears were toothless.Trying to post pics,but as usual,this forum for some reason will not allow the pics to post.I tried!

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 03:16 PM]scottimpala[/URL] at 2010-10-31[/IMG][/QUOTE]

TJamieD 10-31-2010 04:27 PM

Sorry bro. That's a bummer.

jdhallissey 10-31-2010 04:47 PM

if you put the photo to photobucket and just copy the link (no url) then we can see the carnage :). Carnage is always awesome on somebody else's jeep

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 06:44 PM

HMMMM-Photobucket,huh?I struggled for at least an hour and a half with imageshack-let me try that!On SOME forums,I can get them to upload straight off my desktop without hassles!Just sayin.....................But I'll play your game!Thought everyone might enjoy seeing the carnage,myself!

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 07:00 PM

O.K.-try this!It's a HUGE PITA to post pics on this forum,and such a chore every time I try!

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 07:03 PM

Well,apparently your idea didn't work!I will post a link to the forum I never have any trouble posting pics on,then you can see them!

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 07:08 PM

Dana 35 Issues -
O.K.-try this one if you want to see pics!

Martinez_Coins 10-31-2010 07:09 PM

Are these the pics you are trying to post?

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 07:17 PM

Yep!Glad it worked for you-it sure didn't work for me!THANKS!I am on 3 different forums,and this is my favorite,except for the picture posting hassles!

Martinez_Coins 10-31-2010 07:47 PM

When posting from photobucket just copy the link under the thumbnail image and paste it into your reply.

GoldTJ 10-31-2010 07:56 PM


TJamieD 10-31-2010 11:00 PM

My mom always said, "If you're gonna do something, do it well!" I think she would be proud of you. ;)

redneckpilot 11-11-2010 03:00 AM

I have a different post running right now, , and I'm afraid that I have exactly what you're talking about. How hard is it to replace the spider gears?

JD Adams 11-11-2010 06:36 AM

Of more importance, what caused this type of damage to begin with? Locked axles on asphault? Excessive spinning on loose ground? Poor maintenance, water contamination? Defective parts? Bad OEM QC?

GoldTJ 11-11-2010 01:34 PM

It really wasn't all that hard to do the job.It took me about 4 hours.I did it in less than ideal conditions.If I had a garage and help I probably could have done it in half that time.As for what caused it,I have no idea.My Jeep is pretty stock,no locker,I haven't had it on anything rougher than dirt and gravel roads.I drive like Grandpa,have never abused it at all.Unless it was previous damage from PO that just took time to manifest,I honestly can't say any 1 particular thing caused this to occur.

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