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Thread: Front End Noise May send me to Insane Asylum

  1. #1

    Icon911 Front End Noise May send me to Insane Asylum

    1996 Jeep ZJ Has a front end noise that does not change with the brakes applied.

    I have not done any recent work (within the past 2 months) The front end recieved new sway bar bushings and shocks. I have checked those and nothing seems crushed or has come loose. I am not good from this point on. What do I check and/or replace that may be making this noise.

    To describe it- I can only come up with this- When you push coins into a mechanical pool table and the balls come down into the reciever- it kind of sounds like that *clunk/knock*! It happens when I hit a bump or pothole regardless of the side.

    I'm aiming to get this fixed over the holiday weekend- so I need a gameplan because I'm working all weekend too.

    Could really use some help here. Thanks Guys.
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spatacuulous View Post
    1996 Jeep ZJ Has a front end noise that does not change with the brakes applied.

    I have not done any recent work (within the past 2 months) The front end recieved new sway bar bushings and shocks. I have checked those and nothing seems crushed or has come loose. I am not good from this point on. What do I check and/or replace that may be making this noise.

    To describe it- I can only come up with this- When you push coins into a mechanical pool table and the balls come down into the reciever- it kind of sounds like that *clunk/knock*! It happens when I hit a bump or pothole regardless of the side.

    I'm aiming to get this fixed over the holiday weekend- so I need a gameplan because I'm working all weekend too.

    Could really use some help here. Thanks Guys.
    If it's definitely not the shocks or sway bar or bushings in either, then I say track bar bushings. Mine made the same noise and would do the same on tight curves at speed. It takes two people to check it.. have someone get in the car and turn the wheel back and forth and look at both ends of the track bar. Also look at ball joints - lift vehicle till front wheels are off the ground, the use another jack or long bar with some leverage and lift the wheel a little and look at the movement at the ball joints.

    Sound also travels funny through these Grands. I went through hell over my rear brakes to find my front drive shaft c/v was shot. Had a clunk that sound like it was in front and it was the rear driver's side upper shock bushing. So, double check bushings, etc.. in the rear as well.

  3. #3
    Registered USFORCES's Avatar
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    Got a camcorder?
    Mount it under your jeep and go for a ride might help you find what's making it, I found mine this way

  4. #4

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    I don't have a camcorder but I have a buddy from Peru that is very small. Duct tape or zip ties?
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by USFORCES View Post
    Got a camcorder?
    Mount it under your jeep and go for a ride might help you find what's making it, I found mine this way
    Haha!
    Quote Originally Posted by Spatacuulous View Post
    I don't have a camcorder but I have a buddy from Peru that is very small. Duct tape or zip ties?
    bungee cords!

  6. #6
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    I had a 96 ZJ and that sucker ate sway bar links. They used ones that had a balljoint on it and when it got loose all you would hear is a clunking sound.
    Check out to see if http://www.jeep4x4center.com/front-s...-52088437.html These got play in them.

    Good Luck!!!
    Last edited by Redrum_1; 07-01-2011 at 12:36 AM. Reason: wrong link
    ____________________________________________
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  7. #7
    Registered USFORCES's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spatacuulous View Post
    I don't have a camcorder but I have a buddy from Peru that is very small. Duct tape or zip ties?
    LMAO!
    Another thing you could try is have a good mechanic drive it one that does it for a living, sometimes they can tell you what it is right off the bat.

  8. #8

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    The bungees snapped. RIP Claudio. Godspeed amigo.

    All great suggestions! I'm going to take the day and use the suggestions above to zero in on it and hopefully make my ride a little more enjoyable.

    I will update as soon as I find something.
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

  9. #9

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    It is absolutely coming from the front drivers side tire. The rear sway bar and bushings are shot as a sidenote. I'm ordering them.

    I had a friend up and down on the front bumper and I can hear a very subdued version of the noise coming from inside the front right wheel area. Any suggestions?
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spatacuulous View Post
    It is absolutely coming from the front drivers side tire. The rear sway bar and bushings are shot as a sidenote. I'm ordering them.

    I had a friend up and down on the front bumper and I can hear a very subdued version of the noise coming from inside the front right wheel area. Any suggestions?
    Ball joint, control arm bushing, lift it and grab hold of the wheel and and pull it back and forth to see if there is any play in the wheel bearing. But my bet is it's a ball joint.

  11. #11

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    The tie rod end is loose. Lots of play. Come to think of it, it's been squeak squeak squeaking when I turn into parking spots.
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spatacuulous View Post
    The tie rod end is loose. Lots of play. Come to think of it, it's been squeak squeak squeaking when I turn into parking spots.
    rock on... not too costly and easy to fix!

  13. #13

    Icon928

    Changed out the tie rod end today. That's not it. FML.

    I'm going to take Logicus's advice. I ordered the upper ball joints for both sides. I have never done ball joints. Should I do lower at the same time?? I'm imagining major surgery- therefore is there anything else that I should do while I'm in there? Axle seals, wheel bearings etc?

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Spatacuulous; 07-18-2011 at 12:17 AM.
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

  14. #14

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    So- low and behold it's NOT the ball joints. Which is good because their done but bad because the sound is still so aggravating. Like I said, just did the sway bar ends and bushings. It's definitely coming from the front end. Both sides make the same noise in the same spot with even the hint of articulation. What now?!
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

  15. #15

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    well... let's look at anything else that could be loose or broken?

    - Steering stabilizer and it's mounts?
    - What about the two big bushings that hold the anti-sway bar up in the very front? (not on the ends)
    - are the coil springs seated properly? when I unseated mine, I didn't even notice until the next "bump" about 50 yards further down trail.
    - is the steering box loose? what about the connections at the drop-pitman?
    - honestly - you may have already done this - but what about something resting on the axle housing that has come loose but not related to the suspension? part of the fender well or something...
    - if you did the ball joints, I'm assuming you also rulled out anything else to do with the wheel? hub bearings?


    I know I had my hub bearings and c/v on my factory front d/s go out at about the same time. So after I replaced all the brakes and rotors, replaced all bushings on, well, everything, I then threw it in the shop to check out what I'd done as well as replace the ball joints and hub bearings and that's what nipped it - hub bearings. I don't know that they would clunk or not as they usually grind when they're going out - unless they'd gotten so bad they'd failed.

    That's all the stops I got.

  16. #16
    Registered goldfishy's Avatar
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    Maybe something with the shock absorbers are loose?

    I would tighten down every little nut, bolt, screws you see below, besides the shocks.
    ** 1999 GCL, 4.0, automatic transmission, RWD, purchased at 42,000, now at original 281,100 miles (08-2014), overall runs good. Original tranny rebuilt at 231K, still on original alternator and starter and engine (fingers crossed).

  17. #17
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    One thing is if you go to a nut house you won't hear the noise.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeep ZJ 98 View Post
    One thing is if you go to a nut house you won't hear the noise.
    1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo - 219,000 miles-[5/08/2011 Installed 1997 Jeep Wrangler Engine w/70,000 miles]
    Cut Front Bumper -Removed Cladding- Custom cold air intake -Hi-Flow Cat- Bilstein Shocks-Stripped & Painted Original Rims

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