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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I thought I'd pass something on to any members here that own a Jeep Wrangler, particularly a 97 - 2006 model. First off, I realize many of you may already know about this or have experienced it yourself. So with that, I just wanted to make it clear that this is not a "Qball thinks he knows everything and we are dummies" type of thread. This is merely for you guys that may experience this and not realize what is causing it.

I own and drive a 2006 Wrangler Rubicon. In the late summer, I started hearing a noise in the front end that sounded like it was coming from the right wheel bearing hub. It was a chirping noise at certain speeds and would change to a rattling noise at higher speeds, and a grinding noise at very low speeds with the drive line under load. It would change back to a chirping sound on the coast side at low speed.

I normally would have looked at it and fixed it earlier than this but the noise went away a few days after I first discovered it and did not come back until a week or so ago. So last weekend, I took the right front wheel off, disconnected the brake caliper, and turned the brake rotor by hand while listening. The noise was very prominent directly behind the brake rotor. "Ah Ha! It's the wheel bearing hub assembly", I told myself. So, I proceeded to tear down the rest of the right side down to the steering knuckle. When I removed the bearing hub, I was curious because while turning it in my hand I couldn't detect any noise or resistance at all. So, I grabbed the protruding axle shaft, pushed it back into the axle housing to engage the side gear, turned it by hand, and to my dismay, heard the chirping noise. I thought, "Damn!!! The noise is coming from somewhere else but is traveling through the front drive train to both wheels".

I then got under the vehicle, grabbed the prop shaft, and started turning it. The noise was very prominent back towards the transfer case front output shaft. I stuck my head back there, turned the shaft again, and was again disappointed to hear a noise coming from what I was quite certain, the front output shaft bearing in the transfer case. So I went ahead and installed my shiny new wheel bearing hub, and buttoned up the rest of the right side thinking that the T-case was going to have to come out.

Yesterday at my office, I decided to pull the front prop shaft from the Jeep so I could get a better feel for what could be going on. I was holding out hope that when I pulled the shaft down, and turned the yoke on the transfer case, that there would be no noise. Thanks to another member here, Grindel72, I was able to handle the freakin horrible transfer case skid plate that doubles as the transmission cross member. With one jack and no jack stands, we had to man handle the skid plate because the jack had to support the transmission. Having the Diff lock pump bolted to the floorboard side of the skid plate didn't help matters.

Anyway, once the skid plate was out of the way, I got the prop shaft removed and "Halle - Freakin - lujah"!!!! The transfer case made no noise when the yoke was turned. Turns out, it was the Double Cardan Joint on the transfer case end of the prop shaft making the noise. Below are a couple of pics. If you look closely at the closeup pic of the double joint, you will see a shiny area inside the joint just behind the u-joint closest to the transfer case yoke. That is the centering kit assembly and that is where the noise is coming from.

Just thought I'd post this to help any Jeep Wrangler members here who may run into it down the road. The way the noise travels through the driveline, it makes it tricky to tell where it is coming from. Take care...................... Dave
 

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Carolina Shooters Club
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2,545 Posts
U joints are simply worn out. Replace them with greasable ones or with ones from napa/car quest.

Another issue for TJ's and JK's are the control arm and track bar holes are 9/16 but they use a 14mm bolt. This added clearance really puts alot of street on the bolt since they are not shoulder bolts. 40 bucks in bolts will save alot of headache later down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Negative guys. I appreciate the input. But I was putting this out here to maybe help others. The universal joints are not the issue in my case. I thought I mentioned that above. Yes, these components are notorious for failures in Jeeps because the U-joints are not serviceable. These universal joints on the shaft pictured above are not bad. The problem is with the Centering Kit assembly in the center of the double cardan joint. Thanks again for your comments however................. Dave
 

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Carolina Shooters Club
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Which can be caused by worn out u-joints or vice versa. As alot of times they are directly related to one another.

First time I've heard drive shaft called a prop shaft lol. Glad you found it the problem, now look at your control arm, track bar bolts. Frame and axle side.
 
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