The Shaft!

By Hartford  100 miles from home I think the tranny is making more noise than I remember… (now you must understand the wrangler tranny has had 2 service bulletins because it is so NOISY!!) I had changed the tranny fluid 3 days before I left Boston. So I looked to see if I was leaking fluid… nope. By Mount Cobb I knew something was wrong!!  The tranny was growling and the drive line vibration was worse. I have had a rear drive line vibration since I put in a bottom up pan (raises the transfer case 2” to increase ground clearance) 6 weeks ago. I think it is a pinion angle problem; I have reduced the vibration by adj. the pinion angle using adjustable lower control arms and a protractor to measure the angles.  I thought I had the numbers correct but have not eliminated the vibration. (Vibration when accelerating and decelerating, and no vibration with neutral power.)

We got off Rt 81 to check out the noise, and it was bad. At slow speeds 10 mph I get a rattling squeak that was rhythmic like a bad bearing, at high speed 50 mph I get a growl like a bad bearing. We where pretty close to Scranton so we went there to check out our possibilities. I thought I would have the tranny fluid changed and look at the drain plug. Since it is magnetic if any parts where stuck to it, that would be an indication.  Right where we got off of 81, at Exit 184 is a Jiffy Lube and a Clarion Hotel, not bad.  Unfortunately we got to Jiffy Lube 20 minutes before they where closing.  In order to change the tranny fluid, first, I have got to remove my oil pan skid plate. (I modified one from Skidrow and it takes about 20 minutes to remove). So I had time to kill before they opened on Sat. morning. I got a room at the Clarion Hotel (for a great price 30% off the $90) and went out to the parking lot to diagnose the problem. I decided to first try taking the front drive shaft off and drive around to check for noise and vibration, then try without the rear drive shaft on and then to remove the oil pan skid plate in preparation of having the tranny fluid changed. Out I went out into the dark and 25 degree weather to remove the front drive shaft.  Hay, wait a moment, I took the southerly Rt to avoid the snow, and it was colder here than in Boston! But you gotta do what you gotta do.  I climbed under the Jeep and got to work! I disconnected the front drive shaft from the front dif. And drove it around … the rattle squeak and vibration where still present.  As I climbed back under the Jeep to hookup the front drive shaft it started to snow!!!  Just like being back in Boston! I removed the rear drive shaft. When I worked the CV joint it moved easily but squeaked!! (I have a DANA 60 reverse cut rear end. And a Rubicon slip yoke eliminator kit on the transfer case.  It uses a custom rear drive shaft that has the same a CV joint that the ford explorer uses.)  When I drove around on the front axle only… No tranny noise, No vibration!!  VOILA!  Diagnosis Made!! Noisy CV joint and vibration from a misaligned pinion angle. Unfortunately the shop that made the drive shaft (Brookline Machine in Brighton MA) did not use greaseable u-joints, so the only solution is to replace the u-joint. I found the yellow pages and started to call around for a CV style U-joint. It now being 8:00 P.M. on Friday not all the stores were answering the phone. Of those that did answer none had one. They all wanted to sell me a new drive shaft. I finally got a lead to a drive line shop. OK change of plans the shop opens at 8:00 AM so I will call them at 8:10.  After soaking in a Jacuzzi, I was playing with the rear drive shaft and I noted that if I put pressure on the joint while working it, it would bind up… Vibration!!  I need to have more faith in me, I ran an auto repair business for 23 years and I usually do things right the first time so I should have looked elsewhere for the vibration, and I may have found the bad joint before I left Boston. At 8:15 I called FleetPride in Scranton, and was told they would have to see the u-joint as the numbers I got off the joint did not cross over to their part numbers.  When I got there at 9:00 while they were very helpful the guy that does the work did not show up for work!!!!  He did offer to try to force some grease into the joint, which did help. Back on the road at 10:00 using my sorta greased rear drive shaft, the noise was gone and the vibration was GONE!! By 3:00 PM the grease had worn out and both the noise and vibration were back!

STILL not fixed check in to find out how it ends



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