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Beowulf 04-15-2011 09:55 AM

Strange clunking sound in rear axle…not drive line slack.
Strange clunking sound in rear axle…not drive line slack.

Ok, I have a strange sound coming from the rear end that occurs after the slack in the driveline is taken up. Normally, I would attribute this to loose or damaged controls arms. I have eliminated this possibility by systematically taking each one off and reproducing the sound. Before you think I have driven around without a control arm, this reproducible with the vehicle off. All you need to do is rock the jeep fore and aft. You will hear the drive line slack and then a clunk. Having been under the jeep while someone rocks the jeep I can say that by sound and by feel it seems to be coming from right at the end of the axle. I don’t know if this could be from a bad bearing, but the wheel spins without effort or grinding, a loose retainer plate, or something else.

I am totally stumped on this one? Anyone heard of anything like this?

DevilDogDoc 04-15-2011 12:21 PM

Rear sway bar links?

DerekM 04-15-2011 01:20 PM

I think it would be wise to take off your rear diff cover if you haven't already and look for broken teeth.

OffRoadCanadian 04-27-2011 01:54 PM

Mine does the same thing but only when turning to the left. I've replaced the track bar bushings already. I suspect the bearing but am not sure.

Beowulf 04-27-2011 03:26 PM

Is there any chance the bearing retiaining collar could have slipped?

Beowulf 05-01-2011 11:31 PM

Checked all the shocks, trackbar, sway bar, control arms. All bushings seem fine, all bolts tight. Pulled the axle today and everything seems fine. Bearing looks good, splines look good...etc.


1. Should the bearing race in the axle housing just slide out by using your fingers?
2. Should there be any In/Out movement of the axle?
- I was able to push/pull the axle while the retaining plate was fully bolted and there was just the tiniest bit of play. I'm talking just enough to tell, but not even enough to say it moves a millimeter.

Could the bearing Retaining Ring have slipped?

GoldenSahara00 06-10-2011 10:14 AM

Did you figure this out? and can you describe the clunking noise a little bit more.

Beowulf 06-10-2011 10:35 AM

I did not. I have replaced my track bar, replaced the busings in my Control Arms, checked my bolts on the axle retaining plate. Even pulled the axles to inspect the splines. I still have the noise.

Now the sounds seems to be coming from directly under the jeep. I am wondering if it could be a look tranny bolt or even a loose motor mount bolt. If it is none of those, then it must be something wrong inside the diff. Maybe teeth or a loose ring....etc.

Just don't know but the search continues.

Oh, one thing that was not helping with noises was the fact that I had totally destroyed my OEM sway bar links. Both of them. They would clunk terribly when I pushed the jeep side to side. I now have no sway bar. The clunking seems less, but still the clunck from applying torque to the driveline continues.

Next I will remove the rear drive shaft to see if it still happens.

Shelby427 06-10-2011 10:36 AM

No the race is a pressed in affair. If you popped it out with finger pressure, it could easily be rotating as the bearing spins. Not sure if this is your knocking, but is something that needs addressed.

A bad bearing can look good, only way to tell if it looks good, is to apply a load to it. Pry up and down on the axle flange and see if you get any movement.

GoldenSahara00 06-10-2011 10:47 AM

Sounds like it. It it just a single clunk or is it multiple? I have a clunk also but I have not yet adressed it as I am having other more pressing problems. I will be following to see if you solve it. goodluck

CapnRich22 06-10-2011 11:09 AM

DerekM said it.. sounds like gears in the diff.. spider gears might be going out.. if you popped the diff cover and looked you would/will probably find your problem

Richd1963 06-10-2011 11:41 AM

I am curious as to what happens after you disconnect the drive shaft. Do you have te SYE. I didn't see any info in your profile on your jeep as far as model year and upgrades.

Beowulf 06-16-2011 11:44 AM

I just wanted to let everyone know I found the culprit. It was a bad JKS lower rear control arm. The bushings are fine. It is the threaded portion in the middle. I can pull and push the two halves apart and it makes a nice little sound. Now that I have replaced my 2 lower rear control with my old OEM arms the noise it gone.

I have contacted JKS to see what can be done. None of the other 3 lower arms are the 4 uppers exhibit this behavior.

GoldenSahara00 06-17-2011 09:44 AM

Sounds like youll get a replacement to me.

Beowulf 06-17-2011 02:31 PM

To answer some questions, this was on a 2006 Unlimited Rubicon.

I had not taken the rear driveshaft off, but that was going to be my next trouble shooting step.

I was thinking that it could have been a ujoint, but that was not the case.

Mostly, I was just really hoping it was not the something in the diff.

ottoride 03-18-2012 08:49 AM

any news from jks? i have the same sound.

Beowulf 03-18-2012 10:32 PM

So, they never told me what the cause was. It took them quite a while to turn them around. One day they showed up on my door step. They replaced all the bushing of which only one really needed to be changed. They welded the "y" part of the front uppers. They no longer made any sound by hand and still don't.

I think something was wrong and they did fix it, but for some reason never told me what was the cause. Since they fixed it for free I don't really care, but it would have been nice to know. Just call them and tell them what is going on.

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