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Old 01-12-2012, 09:58 AM   #1
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Default popping noise, front end

Hello everyone,

New member here. I have a 99 that I purchased 2 years ago for my daughter. So far it has served us well and my daughter absolutely loves her jeep. I also enjoy driving it when I do get a chance.

About a month ago my daughter called me from school, she's a freshman at Pittsburgh State University, to tell me that there's a popping noise coming from the front end. I inspected the u-joints by the wheel and decided it looked dry, so I went ahead and replaced them. I found one with busted spindles and the other completely without the spindles.

After completing this task, checking the front differential and assembling it, it was still making a popping noise when making a turn. So I raised it on four jack stands and ran it on four wheel drive. It seems to be coming from the transfer case. The noise is not a popping noise anymore, but a loud noise, it's not a grinding noise either.

I took it to a transmission shop and they didn't find anything? Is the transfer case hard to mess with?

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Old 01-12-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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Sounds like the chain is jumping teeth. Its fairly easy to take care of, any haynes manual will easily get your through it
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:17 AM   #3
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I just had this problem. I bought my XJ last week and did a quick check to make sure that 4wd engaged, etc. But a few days ago i took it through a steep ditch for fun, and on the way up, 2wd lost traction. So i pulled the lever to 4Hi and pressed the gas, i got a LOUD CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK from the front end. It turns out that the chain had slipped off of the gear. I didn't know that at the time, so i stopped by a salvage yard and picked up a transfer case from a donor jeep and put it in mine. I paid $250 for it which i know was a little high for a used one out of a junk yard, but it was the only one around that would fit for sure. that obviously fixed the problem, so now 4x4 works like a charm.

but i gotta ask, what is she doing driving around town with the transfer case engaged??
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:29 AM   #4
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The cv joint in my front DS was bad and before it started to vibrate really bad, there was a gnarly kinda grinding noise coming from what I thought was the TC when in 4wd. Then it started making the noise 24/7. So I pulled the DS out (8 bolts, quick n easy) and the noise, and at this point a bad vibration, was gone. 90 bucks got me a new shaft and I was good to go. Point is, start simple!
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:48 AM   #5
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NO, she's not driving around town with 4wd engaged. It's making the popping noise when driven normally on 2wd, but to check for the noise I had to put it up on jack stands, I had to engage the 4wd to have the front wheels turn.

Up on stands, when manually turning the front wheels, no noise.

At the transmission shop, they said that once the chain is stretched, it needs to be replaced! That's the response I got when I asked about adjusting the chains.

I'm an hvac tech and a pretty decent mechanic. I have in the past, open up the top part of my 2000 Silverado to find a bent push rod when it was making a loud knocking noise. I'm also a pretty lucky mechanic, because replacing the bent push rod with a new exact lenght took care of the problem. I know my limits and that's why I don't mess with transmissions. I leave that to the pros. I'm not that familiar with transfer case and that's why I appreciate everyone's opinion. Thank you!!!
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:57 AM   #6
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ok, just making sure

But that does seem a little weird, when the transfer case popping when it's not engaged. I'm leaning towards what VTJeep said.

Also, i'm the same way as you, i won't hesitate to tear open a motor or a drive line component, but transmissions are a whole different story. That's why i just picked up a salvaged transfer case and swapped it in. It took about 6 hours and a 12 pack of beer on a Saturday afternoon. Could have done it faster, but i was taking my time...
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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Ok, sorry I wasn't clear, but the popping I heard was at the front end. Which is what made me looked at the u-joints, but after I replaced them, I still hear a popping sound by the wheels, while driving on turns. Which is why I raised it on jack stands. When I spun the wheels manually while it was as far left and right, it didn't make any popping noise. But when I ran it while on 4wd, there's a noise when I turn it left and right, but not a popping noise? And it seems to be coming from the transfer case.

I don't know if the transmission shop had it running on 4wd while turning left and right, hence not hearing it. But I don't want to question his methods, when he's the pro!

So, is there a lot to a transfer case? Is the chain adjustable? Is there anything that might pop out when the cover is removed?

At work right now and don't have my Chilton to look at!

Again, thanks everyone!!!
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Old 01-12-2012, 04:28 PM   #8
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Tighten the bolts that hold the track bar bracket to the driver's side frame rail. Inspect to see if the track bar is loose at the bracket while looking under the Jeep as your daughter turns the steering wheel back and forth.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruiser54 View Post
Tighten the bolts that hold the track bar bracket to the driver's side frame rail. Inspect to see if the track bar is loose at the bracket while looking under the Jeep as your daughter turns the steering wheel back and forth.
I would agree. I have had this problem my self.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:03 PM   #10
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Cruser and Prerunner, you guys rock! That was it, except it wasn't just loose, it's worn out and need to replace it and the pitarm(steering) end rods are also bad. Also the gear box needs to be replaced, but can wait till better weather, since I don't have a garage.

Last edited by rig1; 01-13-2012 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:14 PM   #11
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Glad you found it. Some sounds are normal for a jeep but others just make you nervous. Especially when it's something your kids driving. So good to see the guys helping out.
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:52 PM   #12
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The same noise that you have I have, but mine is coming from the steering box.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:10 PM   #13
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Sometimes I call things the wrong name but what I was referring to as a gear box is right above the tract bar driver side which may be the steering box.

I had a friend turn the steering wheel back and forth and I felt around below and noticed several things swaying rather than just turning. So, this mystery solved!

Now I just need to figure out what's the noise I hear when I have it jacked up and running in 4 hi. I have a video of it under the title TC noise in 4h.

Again thanks everyone!!!! I hope I can return the favor in the near future, but I'm afraid that I might give the wrong advise!
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:10 PM
 
 
 
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