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back wheels jerk at tight turns. new to zj's

Old 09-07-2015, 06:55 PM
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Question back wheels jerk at tight turns. new to zj's

I have a 94 grand Cherokee limited that I just got on the road. It has the 5.2 v8, over 200,000 miles and was sitting for maybe over a year(s) before I got it going. Passed smog first try. It has the quadratech system (4full time). The previous owner said it eats thru tires, but he bought used tires and probably never rotated. When I was driving it to heat up the cat before smog everything seemed fine. Then at a slow pace trying to make a tight turn, or even just a turn The tires would jerk, make popping sounds, the back wheels would visibly jerk in or out a tiny bit. It felt like being in four low on dry pavement. After I got it smoged I bought a set of tires, knowing the problem could highly be related to having mismatched tires. With the new tires the problem is still their, but not as bad. It seems to only be with the back wheels. Before the new tires it seemed all four were an issue. Its also only after the tires have warmed up by driving hwy speeds for a while does it start to happen. I jacked up the front tires, spun them by hand, and tested for the wheel bearing to be shot. They seemed fine. Jacked up the rear tires, the rotation seemed ok, but when I pushed and pulled from top/bottom of tire I could get the slightest movement, I'm talking like 1/16-maybe to an 1/8th of an inch. If that. Couldn't really see the movement, but could feel it. I've read on old threads that it could be the VC in the t-case, that I just need some anti slip oil from dealership, my friend says to put in a t case and front end from an xj cuz its better anyway. I'm out of funds, want to keep this zj stock as a DD for my pregnant wife therefore safe as can be. If it is the VC can I drive it avoiding tight turns much as possible without creating serious damage to the jeep? Is it dangerous to drive? Should I replace back wheel bearings? (don't think they're the issue) my smog tech is a keeper and he noticed it right away, said I just need a anti slip fluid, till he noticed the bad mismatched tires and blamed that. Problem is still their after new tires. Can you really change the VC without dropping the t case? I'm going to start simple and check fluids in pumpkins and t case. Just got the tires yesterday, but I want this jeep safe as possible. Other minor issues I know it has ill figure when this is solved. I know there not related. Thanks to all who took the time to read this, double thanks if you respond. Its my first zj. More familiar with my renix.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:51 PM
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It sounds like the viscous coupler in the transfercase is shot. You can swap in a part time case and never have to worry about it again.
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Old 09-07-2015, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Bustedback View Post
It sounds like the viscous coupler in the transfercase is shot. You can swap in a part time case and never have to worry about it again.
Just to be sure, if I swap the t case to a part time I can keep the original front end? Is it dangerous or harmful to the jeep if I don't fix the issue. If I lag on fixing it should I expect it to do it all the time? Sorry for the million questions. Just got a lot to do with very little time, and if I can put this on the back burner without harm I will for now. Thank you for the input.
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Old 09-08-2015, 05:58 AM
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Okay, here's the thing. A viscous coupling for your jeep costs about $450, plus to replace it, the t/case has to come out and be disassembled. You'd be time, money, and heartache ahead if you just swapped for a 242 or 231 t/case. Your bad 249 is going to wreck your new tires.

And yes, you can keep your front axle.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:56 PM
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Thank you for the sound advice. Local junkyard has only a couple Cherokees that are older (89) but they come n go a lot. I read old threads where people ran with the problem for a long time and it was fine for them, one person wrote they switched out the tcase and still had the problem ( maybe it was a bad t case) others said fluid additive did the trick. Since I'm out of funds im going to try luck with fluids, though I know if the VC is the culprit it wont help anything. I'll try to drive the zj least as possible till I can fix it right. What stumps me is that it doesn't do it till after I've driven for a while at high speeds. I figure if it was a mechanical like a bad VC it would do it right from the get go, but as the old saying goes "heat causes friction" so I reckon it makes sense that the VC is bad but doesn't act up till warmed up. I'll post the results when its figured out. Thanks for the advice, anymore will be appreciated as well.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:28 PM
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Just for grins, pull the cover on the rear diff to see if someone put a locker or LSD in it that might be causing the problem. From what I can find, the only ZJs that came with the option of a limited slip diff were 2wd models, BUT someone might have swapped out the rear axle or added a locker. IDK what effect that would have on the 249 case. You can TRY removing the front driveshaft as a test, but don't leave it out because not only will it toast the VC, but you'll loose the "park" lock. I had a link to an article about the swaps, but I seem to have lost it. If I find it, I'll get back to you.

Last edited by dave1123; 09-08-2015 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 09-08-2015, 08:45 PM
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:20 PM
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If someone did swap limited slip into your ZJ without using LS additive in the rear diff oil the unit can develop a chatter. Don,t get the LS additive on you, you'll reek like a skunk if you do, best of luck bro.
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Old 09-08-2015, 10:05 PM
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Thank you for the posts. Gonna check out that link now. Got so many projects that need attention on top of being burnt out from work. I hope to investigate tomorrow. I'm gonna txt the previous owner and ask if he bought it off the lot, or if he knows its previous history. Its all stock far as I know. Think I have some gear oil lying around still, or can get some at work if applicable. I always prefer a gasket over gasket maker, but I have rvt sealant lying around too. Don't think this zj did much off road, but it did tip on its side in the snow I was told. Thanks again to all👍
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:01 AM
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You do not need to take the transfer case out of the car to replace the VC, but you will need patience.

The drive shaft has 4 bolts to remove and the housing has 4. one electrical connector.



It took me an hour or so for the job the first time I did it, maybe two. The last one took 45min, but I had already made the one "specialty tool" already.

There are two T 25 (i believe) screws on the very top toward the rear holding a 1'' x 2'' cover in place. I used a driver bit in a ratcheting box end wrench to easily remove them. You will need a mirror to find them the first time.

I took a bit of brake line and cut 1" cylinders that fit over the ends of my snap ring pliers and hammered one end of each one flat. I used that "tool" to spread the keeper ring on the bearing so the housing would slide free. (this is what is under the little cover on the top of the vc) 2" long cylinders would be easier to manipulate.

After that there is one snap ring for the bearing, and two keepers that space the pump and hold the vc on the shaft. The output shaft stays in place, but will wobble without the casing in place.

You do not need to remove the front axle at all.

Last edited by rangermonroe; 09-13-2015 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 09-13-2015, 11:21 AM
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Oh, and I am in the same situation as you, despite changing out my VC. In my case, the symptoms are identical, except it is the front end with new hubs, CV joints, etc.

When you remove the front axle, your car wont be where you left it if you forget the emergency brake.

I thought my co workers were messing with me as my car was rolled out of it's parking place every day. I assumed that they were backing it out, until I watched it creep slowly backward one day.

Good luck and I hope to learn from your success!
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Old 09-13-2015, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rangermonroe View Post
You do not need to take the transfer case out of the car to replace the VC, but you will need patience.

The drive shaft has 4 bolts to remove and the housing has 4. one electrical connector.



It took me an hour or so for the job the first time I did it, maybe two. The last one took 45min, but I had already made the one "specialty tool" already.

There are two T 25 (i believe) screws on the very top toward the rear holding a 1'' x 2'' cover in place. I used a driver bit in a ratcheting box end wrench to easily remove them. You will need a mirror to find them the first time.

I took a bit of brake line and cut 1" cylinders that fit over the ends of my snap ring pliers and hammered one end of each one flat. I used that "tool" to spread the keeper ring on the bearing so the housing would slide free. (this is what is under the little cover on the top of the vc) 2" long cylinders would be easier to manipulate.

After that there is one snap ring for the bearing, and two keepers that space the pump and hold the vc on the shaft. The output shaft stays in place, but will wobble without the casing in place.

You do not need to remove the front axle at all.
Thank you for that informative post. I read in an early thread of someone changing out the VC without dropping the case, but without specifics of how. I discovered the rear end is likely from a junkyard as it has an orange mark from a paint pen. Its a Dana 35 with half the pumpkin appearing saturated. The symptoms happen still only after everything warms up. Unfortunately I don't have a dime to throw at it until the fifth of October. And all my "free" time is going to remodeling the dilapidated front upper balcony on the house i rent (landlord wants it done asap) I am happy to receive all info I can on the VC issue, but am leaning towards a 231 tcase as ill likely find one cheaper than the VC. Its still best to gather as much info as possible rather than going I blind. Thanks again🙆
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:49 PM
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In retrospect, I should have just swapped the t-case.


For your situation, I would just disconnect the front shaft and see if that makes a difference. 8x 5/16'' bolts and it falls off. Just remember the parking brake afterwards.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:52 PM
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Touching back on subject.
I don't know if I'm lucky 🍀 or what, but the tire binding stopped. Fluid was incredibly low (like none) on tranny dip stick. Topped it offanf seeming fine. I know I checked fluid right off the bat and it was fine, so gotta keep an eye on it. Haven't taken on Long trip yet so maybe I'm not so lucky. Either way thanks to all who chimed in. And if you have similar symptom's. Double check fluids😈
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