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Discussion Starter #1
When I activate the 4WD in my Samurai on the tar and turn I hear a clanking noise from underneath. I have a new U-joint installed on the front drive shaft, so there are no problems in the drive shaft itself. So the problem is really puzzling me, I don't know where it's coming from. Any opinions or inputs will be appreciated.
 

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What you're hearing is more than likely transmission windup which occurs when you engage 4WD on high friction surfaces like bitumen. This is extremely damaging and expensive to the whole drivetrain, in the worst case replacing the Tcase and the transmission. Due to the wheels unable to slip (as they do when 4 wheeling in mud, snow, sand or other slippery surfaces) transmission windup stress concentrates in the Tcase and unless it is dissipated it will destroy the Tcase.

You know if you have windup by not being able to move the Tcase shift lever out of 4WD. An easy way to get rid of windup is to jack up one wheel and the built up stress will be dissipated by that wheel spinning. Depending on how much windup there is the wheel may spin quite violently causing the vehicle to fall off the jack so be very careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What you're hearing is more than likely transmission windup which occurs when you engage 4WD on high friction surfaces like bitumen. This is extremely damaging and expensive to the whole drivetrain, in the worst case replacing the Tcase and the transmission. Due to the wheels unable to slip (as they do when 4 wheeling in mud, snow, sand or other slippery surfaces) transmission windup stress concentrates in the Tcase and unless it is dissipated it will destroy the Tcase.

You know if you have windup by not being able to move the Tcase shift lever out of 4WD. An easy way to get rid of windup is to jack up one wheel and the built up stress will be dissipated by that wheel spinning. Depending on how much windup there is the wheel may spin quite violently causing the vehicle to fall off the jack so be very careful.
Ok, thanks. I only engaged it on tarmac to observe the sound, I don't do it continuously. It shows even when I'm driving on slippery surfaces. Sounds like there is some kind of play somewhere, I would have guessed it is from the drive shaft u-joints, if I haden't been sure I just replaced one of them and the other was in sound condition.

Also, I observed that the front driveshaft has some play with the front diff pinion gear, I don't know if that's normal or not. When I rotate it with my hand, a small amount of rotation occurs. Is that an indication of some problem in the front diff? BTW, my car is not equipped with hub locks.
 

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so your hubs are locked in 100% of the time? I'd get some hub locks... unless you primarily drive it in 4WD. There's no reason to be turning the front drive train if you aren't using it. Just wears parts out and uses extra fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
so your hubs are locked in 100% of the time? I'd get some hub locks... unless you primarily drive it in 4WD. There's no reason to be turning the front drive train if you aren't using it. Just wears parts out and uses extra fuel.
Yeah I know :( I'm working on it.

Now, back to my problem ...
 

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If you reach up and try to shake the front output flange where the front driveshaft connects, do you get a solid feel or does it seem to move around a little?

I had that sound happen when I broke the front output gear in my transfer case...
It can be fixed with the transfer case in the vehicle, but you have to remove the front shaft, drain the oil from the t-case and then remove the front output section from the box. Here is a pic of what it looks like if it is broken.





 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll check that out. Although I already did that, but I did it with focus on the u-joint and I don't think the front output flange was solid.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I thought I put a reply this morning, but seems I forgot to click the button.

Ok, so I checked the output flange as you instructed, Bill, and it seemed to be quite solid. The drive shaft seems to be solid as well. So where else could the problem be?
 

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well it seems that if you have play in the front differential then the problem would be either in the diff, or the front axle. When the wheels are engaged, there shouldn't be a lot of play in the diff. For a comparison, Go check the rear to see how much play it has and that should be the same for the front end.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
well it seems that if you have play in the front differential then the problem would be either in the diff, or the front axle. When the wheels are engaged, there shouldn't be a lot of play in the diff. For a comparison, Go check the rear to see how much play it has and that should be the same for the front end.
That's a great idea. I'll do that. Starting to feel that the problem is from the front diff :(
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Finally I got around checking the play in the rear driveshaft to compare it to the front one (lazy!) It does seem that the front drive shaft is awfully loose, when 4WD is not engaged. Does that indicate that I need to re-balance my front R&P or anything worse, such as damaged R&P? Any help guys? Do I need to go to a mechanic and open up the front diff?
 
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