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Old January 10th, 2020, 15:00
bpatto10's Avatar
bpatto10 bpatto10 is offline
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Question whine and rumble in overdrive (38-45), disappears at 55-60 on highway

I have a 1996 Jeep XJ stock, 6 cyl/4.0 engine, 4WD, AW4 transmission, 231J transfer case and Chrysler 8.25 axle, with 245000 miles.

I get a rumble sound (wa-wa-wa) sound as soon as I hit 38-45 (i.e. overdrive) accompanied by a whining noise. The rumble and whine seem to disappear when I get in the 55-60 range. I really don't feel a vibration that correlates with the whine and rumble, other than the normal vibrations of a 20 year old vehicle.

The local Jeep dealer said it was my differential, rebuilt my rear axle, and the noise did not change at all. I was P.O'ed.

I can make the rumble sound almost completely disappear/reappear by shifting from OD to 3rd and back. The torque convertor was replaced last year.

Other places have told me its the transfer case (91K mile JY case), which I tend to doubt as I recently drained the fluid and it was perfectly clean. No silver or blackness at all. I do this every year anyway. Never saw a hint of silver. I am at a loss as to how a problem in the transfer case would be affected by OD.

Web searches almost immediately led to differential problems for these type of noises. One posting indicated that worn output bearing and/or planetary gears on the transmission could cause whining or rumble noises.

I don't mind replacing the aw4 or transfer case, but I want to make sure I am not overlooking something else or replace the wrong part.

Lots of Grand Cherokee owners complain about a rumble in overdrive at low rpm (such as going up a hill), and everyone says to just live with it.

The combination of whine and rumble is what concerns me.

Other than the noise it drives fine and shifts fine at all speeds and drives fine in 4wd (at low speeds on dirt roads).

Thoughts/suggestions on tests or other areas to check?

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Old January 10th, 2020, 17:38
Tim_MN's Avatar
Tim_MN Tim_MN is offline
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Re: whine and rumble in overdrive (38-45), disappears at 55-60 on highway

Start with the common issues, and the easy/free stuff. Perform some diagnostics tests and some push/pull/wiggle checks.

How old are the u-joints ? Are the drive shafts still properly balanced ? Is the front slip yoke worn excessively ? What is the condition of the motor mounts and transmission mount ? When was the transmission fluid changed last, and are you using the recommended Dexron-III/Mercon fluids and not using ATF+4 ?

Have you removed the front driveshaft and taken a test drive over the same roads that cause the symptoms ? Now put it back, and remove the rear driveshaft and go for the same test drive in 4x4 Hi. When the driveshaft is removed, check the corresponding pinion for excessive in/out and/or up/down movement.

Most Dealerships know nothing about diagnostics, they are only interested in installing new parts.

Originally Posted by bimmerjeeper

Go ahead and slam the liftgate down on a blanket, and see how long you are laughing.
Originally Posted by soyjer

Tim MAY be 100% correct, but why would a person automatically pick him as the expert .....
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Old January 10th, 2020, 19:45
Anak's Avatar
Anak Anak is offline
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Re: whine and rumble in overdrive (38-45), disappears at 55-60 on highway

I will second the removing of driveshafts as above mentioned.

I will also add, pay real close attention the the centering ball in the front driveshaft. That part is often neglected when it should be serviced just the same as the U-joints.
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