Squeaks, Rattles, and Clunks - Not what you think... - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
Suspension / Lifts This is the place to discuss the suspension, lift systems, and other stuff underneath your Jeep Commander

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-25-2013, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Squeaks, Rattles, and Clunks - Not what you think...

So here's the thing...

I haven't posted here in forever. I kind of got away from posting or replying but I did utilize many of the posts here in the interim to solve many issues with my Commander.

I did want to post about this however because to me it seemed very unusual and in all my searching, I hadn't found anything about it.

Fair warning: This is long-winded. Read at your own risk.

I have a 2007 4.7L flex-fuel with QT-II - 150K miles. Have the Rocky Road lift and for the longest time, I ran 245/70/17's with 1 inch Spidertrax spacers - various brands of tires but always the same size.

I've had the normal issues: MAP sensor, TPS, brake light switch...etc. Even had a door fall off... All dealt with and all good.

About six months ago, I began to have problems with what I thought were bushings in the front. Lots of squealing and squeaking and rattling around on bumps and what-not. I did several inspections, but found no visible issues. I replaced the sway bar bushings, but the problem didn't go away.

This September, I needed new brake pads, disks, and tires, so I dropped a few bills on those and made plans to spend a few hundred in January to replace all the bushings. Caveat: I went up in tire size to 265/70/17 - and chose the General Grabber AT2 heavy duty model. Yes, I had to grind the pinch welds and cut away a lot of the plastic fender lining in the front but they don't rub at all anymore

Everything was good until about three weeks ago when I began to get the "SERVICE 4WD SYSTEM" and "EPS/BAS - Traction Control" lights. No codes however and no noticeable change in how it drove or ran except cruise wouldn't work when the lights were on. And they would go out if I restarted the Jeep. One day shortly after this starts happening, I'm turning into my neighborhood and there's a loud "crack" and suddenly it feels like the front passenger tire is blown. I get out and look, but it's got plenty of air...

Jack it up, inspect it, and find that all but one of the lug bolts is sheared at the hub. Trip to the parts store and $200 later, I have a new one installed and it's all good. Three days later a rattling noise from the driver's side wheel - same lights, and cruise stops working. All my searches point to "bad wheel speed sensor". So jack it up, inspect it and find one lug bolt sheared and rattling around between the wheel and the spacer. Park it, order one online for $50. When it arrives, I replace it and I'm back up and running with everything working normally again. No lights, no codes, no nothing - just lots of squeaks, squawks, and rattles from the front from the worn bushings...

That same day, I'm leaving for a short weekend trip and as I pull into the gas station, I smell something like burning plastic. Thinking it was the jalopy in front of me, I pump my gas, start my car and drop it into gear. But it's REALLY sluggish - like it doesn't want to move at all. I look down at the panel and see it's in "4" instead of "D" and no amount of shifting will change it. I'm in "limp-home" mode. Quick check of the DTC codes with the key and I have P0884 - TCM lost comms with the transmission. Limp it to my mom's and borrow hers for the trip.

When I get back, I go over the whole front end - every piece of wiring with my eyeballs and find nothing. No blown fuses, no loose wires, no bad grounds. So I crank it back up and it drops into "D" with ease. Park my mom's and take mine. Five miles later, the "SERVICE 4WD - ESP - and TCS" lights are back on. Cruise isn't working either. But it stays in "D". Works like this for three days before suddenly going back to "Limp".

Now I have several codes - 0884, 0129, 0572 and a couple others I can't remember. But I'm pissed so I disconnect the ground from the battery and leave it disconnected for about ten minutes while I calm down. Once I felt sane again, I reconnected the battery and cranked it back up.

No lights. No codes. Normal drive mode. So I drop it in gear - which it does very quietly for a change - and I drive on down the road.

About fifteen minutes pass before my daughter asks why it isn't squeaking any more. I shook my head and replied that not only that, it's running and handling better than it has in a very long time and it even seems to have more power. So when we got home, I did all the things that would normally cause it to make the most noise: I turned very sharp circles in the cul-de-sac; I ran over the curb a few times - slow and not-so-slow; I turned the wheel quickly back and forth as I was driving about 20 mph... Nothing.

It's been almost 300 miles since I did the battery reset. And it's running like it did the day I bought it.

My theory and some questions:

The QT-II at some point six months ago disengaged the front diff. Without it, the front suspension was just hanging there loose - which I'm sure it's not designed to do - and this is what was causing all the rattles and squeaks. When I added the tires, the additional weight and dimension was too much for the lugs to handle with the front end just hanging and they sheared. If this is the case, why were there no lights or codes until months later when the "SERVICE 4WD" lights began to come on intermittently?

When I replaced the front hubs, should I have disconnected the battery and re-set the computer? I didn't - it didn't dawn on me that I should - but I guess in retrospect it makes sense to reset the computer with the new speed sensors.

Has anyone else run into anything remotely like this?

when the computer passes 300 miles - will the problems start again? If they do - why? It's literally running like a brand new car right now. The gas mileage is up, no squeaks, no rattles, lots of power... It just seems weird that suddenly it would stop working again.

Told you it was long-winded, LOL
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-25-2013, 05:39 PM
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Computers can be strange creatures - thank God- I serviced them for 43 years
Guess modern cars need a cold boot every so often also.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-25-2013, 08:45 PM
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I'm gald your jeep is driving like new again! But what do you mean when you say the QT II disengaged the front diff causing the suspension to hang there loose?




2007 4.7 Liter XK | Front OME MD Springs w/Superlift Preload Spacer | Rear 4" Superlift Springs | Bilstein 5125 Rear Shocks | JBA UCA's | Rusty's Rear Adjustable Track Bar | Black Rock 997 Wheels | Fred Goeske 1/4 Inch Wheel Spacers | 305/70R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R w/Kevlar | Airflow Snorkel | Flowmaster 40 Series Muffler | Superchips Flashpaq | Mopar Skids | 4xGuard Belly Guard | American Rebel Rear Diff Cover | Rear Powertrax No-Slip | Front E-Locker | Rear Heat/AC Delete
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-25-2013, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsanchez View Post
The QT-II at some point six months ago disengaged the front diff. Without it, the front suspension was just hanging there loose - which I'm sure it's not designed to do - and this is what was causing all the rattles and squeaks. When I added the tires, the additional weight and dimension was too much for the lugs to handle with the front end just hanging and they sheared.
The tires had nothing to do with the lugs shearing and electronics have absolutely no effect on the structure of the front suspension.

Unfortunately I've seen this happen quite a few times. The root cause is installer error (you forgot to torque the bolts).

-Matt
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07JeepXK View Post
I'm gald your jeep is driving like new again! But what do you mean when you say the QT II disengaged the front diff causing the suspension to hang there loose?
It's just a theory that explains the facts. And I'm a shade-tree guy - I only skimmed the surface of how the QT II works...

The QuadraTrac is a full-time four-wheel-drive. This means that during normal driving, the front driveshaft is always turning and the front diff is always engaged even though more than half the available power is directed to the rear axle. This is how it's supposed to run unless it's in neutral (as if it were being towed) - or at least that's how I understand what I've read.

With that in mind, it would seem logical to me that when the front diff is engaged and the axles are under torque, there is added tension on the front suspension which keeps everything "tight" for lack of a better term.

What happens if for some reason, the front driveshaft isn't engaged and therefore, there's zero torque on the front axles - but the same amount of power and torque to the rear? Could this happen if the computer couldn't read the front speed sensors? Is it possible that this would - because of a loss of tension in the front - result in unpredictable behavior in the suspension? IE - squeaks, rattles, and clunks...?

I ask because I don't know, but it's the only explanation that fits what happened. As I said below, there were no loose nuts, bolts, or anything. I'd torqued and re-torqued everything - and the noises were there even after I'd replaced both hubs, and re-torqued everything to spec yet again... The noises were there until I reset the computer at which point, everything changed.

I'm willing to not look a gift horse in the mouth, but I'd like for things to make sense as well..
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_ View Post
The tires had nothing to do with the lugs shearing and electronics have absolutely no effect on the structure of the front suspension.

Unfortunately I've seen this happen quite a few times. The root cause is installer error (you forgot to torque the bolts).
I would normally agree with the "user error" statement which is why I checked and re-checked torque on everything several times after the noises began to happen.

And most recently, the tires were installed by a third party and the nuts on the spacers were torqued and coated with red Loc-Tite by yours truly when I re-did the brakes. In fact, after they were sheared, I had to put the bolts in a vise and use a torch to break the nuts loose so I could use them again.

Plus, don't forget - the squeaks and rattles and clunks were happening long *before* the lugs sheared and even before the new tires were installed - six months before. And these noises were loud - they were loud enough for everyone around to hear them when I drove by and they were coming from the suspension, not the wheels. I didn't get wheel noise until the lugs started breaking.

And before you suggest loose suspension components, I checked all of those as well and besides, the night I "reset the computer" - it was still squeaking and rattling right up to the point where I parked it and did the reset. It was so bad that shortly after I did the reset, my own daughter noticed the noises were gone before I said anything.

The bottom line is that the noises were there, and then gone ten minutes later and I didn't turn a wrench in the meantime - All I did was reset the computer.

Again, I understand that the simplest explanation is usually the answer, but in this case, it's not. There were no loose nuts or bolts or anything else - including as it turns out - bushings.

And electronics may have nothing to do with the suspension, but tension does. And as I said to 07Jeep - the driveshaft turning the diff which in turn rotates the axles creates a considerable amount of tension. And in the QT-II, where that torque and power is distributed is controlled by electronics - not the structure of the front suspension.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 06:23 AM
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Edit:

The only thing i can assure you, the wheel studs failing have nothing to do with the "reset" you did.

-Matt

Last edited by Matt_; 11-26-2013 at 09:53 AM.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 06:33 AM
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I wonder if possibly it was jumping in and out of 4 wheel low? I know mine has jumped into 4 low twice for no action on my part, luckily while at low speed. That certainly would stress the lug bolts. Did you have the recall for "going into neutral" applied?

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 07:10 AM
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How many ft lbs did you torque your wheels to the spacers and how my ft lbs did you torque the spacers to the hub/rotor




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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 07:17 AM
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The noises he was hearing were probably a combination of the abs pump and the tcase locking. If the key was turned on while the wss was disconnected the stability control system might have gone into a hypersensitive mode. Depending on the condition of the front diff bushings there might have been some clunking noises from them.

None of this would cause wheel studs to fail. You can drive around locked in 4 low all day.... your cv axle, front diff, driveshaft joint or tcase will grenade before you shear your wheel studs (unless his aftermarket spacers were made with really low grade material)

However I overlooked the use of wheel spacers. Did the spacer studs fail or the oem hub studs? Either way the failure of the stud is either user error or wheel spacer manufacturing issue.

-Matt

Last edited by Matt_; 11-26-2013 at 08:20 AM.
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