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Discussion Starter #1
I have now blown out (3) front driveshaft Rzeppa Joint boots this year. This is the CV joint at the transfer case. Trying to figure out what can keep causing this....
The first one was the original joint, so that wasn't surprising since it was just old and time to go. It didn't actually balloon and blow out like the aftermarkets did, it just separated on the inside bend like you see really commonly. Not my picture, but like this:
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Replaced with a full CV joint kit from RockAuto. 4-5 months later I'm under the jeep doing something else and notice the massive greasy mess slung around the drive shaft. The boot has ballooned out and has a massive tear. No noises or vibrations. Here's pics of the first boot failure:
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Replaced that boot about a month ago with a different brand full kit, assuming possible quality control issues with the first brand. The insides of the old joint were fine, just the torn/blown boot. This time I ordered from Amazon, one that had hundreds of good reviews for long lasting, good quality, etc. I just got back from an 800mi road trip, and part of the way through I decided to check under the Jeep for any surprises, leaks, etc. and I found the new boot was also ballooned out, torn and spraying grease. Also with no noises or vibrations, even at 80 mph.
Here's the current boot (sorry these picture angles aren't as good):
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I have a 3" modified OME lift with 265/70 tires. No diff drop or anything to relocate the front driveshaft angle or length from stock, that angle you can see is stock. My front diff bushings are still solid, they were replaced a few years ago. While I do have a lot of beefy engine upgrades, this driveshaft is the same one that's used on the SRT8 Jeeps, and I am not putting out as much power and torque that they can. I do occasionally tow a 25ft 6,000lb trailer. The current CV joint has one trip towing the trailer and the boot was still intact afterwards. I haven't done anything offroad on either of the aftermarket CV joints, short of slow driving around in grass fields with the trailer. I don't do a lot of crazy foot-stopping driving or launches, etc. I try to keep my MPGs as low as possible :LOL:. I know there's quite a few people with lifted XKs that tow pretty big travel trailers, and I haven't heard of them having any similar problems.
I have no weird noises, vibrations, or anything out of the normal at any speed.
I feel like if these aftermarket joints were this crappy, we'd hear about these failures all the time....yet I only hear about people loosing the old OEM joints.

I know of the double cardan full-replacement option, I just feel like that's unnecessary since I'm still at all OEM angles and length and I'm not putting out Hellcat level HP/torque numbers that can overpower this joint design.....so, I'm curious if anyone has any input or ideas......
 

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Having just used likely a very similar amazon joint a few months ago, im curious, and will check mine in the am. I suspect heat buildup during highway operation could expand the grease/air trapped inside, but doubtful it could blow out the boot? Have you verified the installs were error free? Done yourself?
I always add rubber conditioner to the boot exterior to help prevent dry rot.
*edit i noticed the next set of pics was your actual failure.
Sure looks like something external melted part of the rubber? I also wonder if the grease can go out of balance and collect in one spot if theres enough, could effectively have enough centrifugal force to push through the boot?
 

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Mine looks fine still after many highway road trips.my boot is 100% inside the metal cup, where i see yours almost appears to be inverted bulging out (towards front of vehicle). Was it that way when you installed it?. Also just a side note, if your slip sjaft isnt moving well, it could be pulling that joint in/out instead, even if only slightly, under loads.
Heres the one i used. Amazon.com: DTA D1932303K Driveshaft Propshaft joint repair kit Compatible with Dakota Durango Commander Grand Cherokee, rear side, OE replacement, Replace Dorman 932-303: Automotive
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Having just used likely a very similar amazon joint a few months ago, im curious, and will check mine in the am. I suspect heat buildup during highway operation could expand the grease/air trapped inside, but doubtful it could blow out the boot? Have you verified the installs were error free? Done yourself?
I always add rubber conditioner to the boot exterior to help prevent dry rot.
*edit i noticed the next set of pics was your actual failure.
Sure looks like something external melted part of the rubber? I also wonder if the grease can go out of balance and collect in one spot if theres enough, could effectively have enough centrifugal force to push through the boot?
I thought about it possibly being heat or pressure build up, expansion, etc as well. But, I noticed on the last install that there is actually a tiny vent hole on the domed cap that goes towards the transfer case. The joint I currently have on had a little sticker over it on the inside, I moved it to the outside during the install so it could blow out/off if need be. The RockAuto joint that blew out first didn't have anything covering the hole...so that kind of rules out any pressure buildup.
I did both installs myself, and I can confirm they were definitely error free. Spent damn near 45min packing the bearings with the "palm" method, gaskets on both sides, excess grease on both sides, bearings on the splines with the "tapered" end first giving the snap ring the flat side, new snap ring properly seated, boot band tightened with the proper tools (the different joint brands I used had different types of boot bands), bolts torqued to spec. I mean, it's not that difficult of an install, just messy....
I didn't do any rubber conditioner or anything, not really anything I've ever had to do with any other rubber parts like CV half-shafts, etc. Either way, even without a rubber conditioner I should get more than a few months out of it still being used under stock angles....

Mine looks fine still after many highway road trips.my boot is 100% inside the metal cup, where i see yours almost appears to be inverted bulging out (towards front of vehicle). Was it that way when you installed it?. Also just a side note, if your slip sjaft isnt moving well, it could be pulling that joint in/out instead, even if only slightly, under loads.
Heres the one i used. Amazon.com: DTA D1932303K Driveshaft Propshaft joint repair kit Compatible with Dakota Durango Commander Grand Cherokee, rear side, OE replacement, Replace Dorman 932-303: Automotive
When I installed both joints, the rubber boot was completely inside the metal cap as well, just like it is in the pictures, how it arrives in the box, and how your's still looks, lol. That's what baffles me the most, BOTH failures lead to the boot blowing OUT....The slip shaft works fine and moves smoothly, still has the spring or pressure in it to push out properly. I have to compress it a little every time to get the shaft hooked back to the transfer case. I used a different seller from Amazon, but they look like the exact same thing at the same price. Here's what I ordered: APDTY 043414 Driveshaft Propeller Shaft CV Joint Kit
And the first one I used from RockAuto: AWPI CH5303
Even if the slip shaft wasn't doing something properly, the bearings can't move around on the splines because of the snap ring....I was thinking maybe the shaft could be compressing under load, but that wouldn't really do anything either...
 
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Trans/Tcase mount t allowing excessive case rotation? Just spitballin why that boot would invert. Most likely the inverted boot rubbing the cup and shaft, blew it up. Even a cheapo joint should last a year minimum at factory angles.

Did any balls eject this time or last time, or all in tact still in the cage?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Trans/Tcase mount t allowing excessive case rotation? Just spitballin why that boot would invert. Most likely the inverted boot rubbing the cup and shaft, blew it up. Even a cheapo joint should last a year minimum at factory angles.

Did any balls eject this time or last time, or all in tact still in the cage?
tcase/trans mounts are all still solid, no excessive slack/play in them....the first boot that blew still had all the internals 100%, i just replaced the entire thing since i had a whole new kit. I haven't taken the current one apart yet since I don't have anything to replace it with. But, as far as I can tell, all the internals are still good. There's no noise or vibration still. Obviously no parts have come out. It's literally just the boot failing on both joints....
I just did about 150mi pulling the big trailer this past weekend, I'd still have no idea there was anything wrong without actually looking under there and seeing the greasy mess slung all over the place.

The old, OEM joint lasted about a year with my current engine & tire setup before failing (I didn't have the trailer then, so no heavy towing) which still makes it 14 years old. But, even when that boot failed it was just a dried, cracked boot like everyone elses's that fails with age...and it DIDN'T invert out. I didn't know it had gone bad until the bearings got dry and started making the obvious noises....I then had to drive it 2400mi across the country before I could replace it, lol
 
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tcase/trans mounts are all still solid, no excessive slack/play in them....the first boot that blew still had all the internals 100%, i just replaced the entire thing since i had a whole new kit. I haven't taken the current one apart yet since I don't have anything to replace it with. But, as far as I can tell, all the internals are still good. There's no noise or vibration still. Obviously no parts have come out. It's literally just the boot failing on both joints....
I just did about 150mi pulling the big trailer this past weekend, I'd still have no idea there was anything wrong without actually looking under there and seeing the greasy mess slung all over the place.

The old, OEM joint lasted about a year with my current engine & tire setup before failing (I didn't have the trailer then, so no heavy towing) which still makes it 14 years old. But, even when that boot failed it was just a dried, cracked boot like everyone elses's that fails with age...and it DIDN'T invert out. I didn't know it had gone bad until the bearings got dry and started making the obvious noises....I then had to drive it 2400mi across the country before I could replace it, lol
@Wombler;

I'm no mechanic - but I will say that definitely sounds like a vehicle specific problem since I don't recall reading about anybody else having issues like this;

Since I don't know all of the work & mods you have done - it's hard to even speculate intelligently.

I would think about ALL of the modifications that you've made since you've owned your XK and try to narrow it down to possible causes that way;

It could even be the cumulative effect, of 2 or 3 different mods that you've made.

I feel pretty confident that this is either

A) The result of something you've changed or

B) a problem you have not discovered yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@Wombler;

I'm no mechanic - but I will say that definitely sounds like a vehicle specific problem since I don't recall reading about anybody else having issues like this;

Since I don't know all of the work & mods you have done - it's hard to even speculate intelligently.

I would think about ALL of the modifications that you've made since you've owned your XK and try to narrow it down to possible causes that way;

It could even be the cumulative effect, of 2 or 3 different mods that you've made.

I feel pretty confident that this is either

A) The result of something you've changed or

B) a problem you have not discovered yet.
Yeah...that's the thought process I started with. I'm pretty used to being lucky (unlucky...) with uncommon "vehicle specific" issues....I've exhausted everything I can come up with, so I'm just reaching out to the community to see what anyone else can think of, or may have experienced even on a different vehicle 🤷‍♂️

To just quickly run through my Jeep; everything drive-train related AFTER the engine all the way to the ground (trans, tcase, mounts, drive shafts, diffs, diff mounts, angles, gearing, half-shafts, axles) is 100% OEM stock with exception to the wheel spacers and the tires on the stock rims. Some of this stuff (bushings, etc) has been replaced due to age, but all with stock-spec or OEM Mopar parts.
I debated a tcase issue, but that would be giving me some sort of sign; noises, smells, traction control, drive-ability, etc.

Since none of my suspension mods affect the direct drive-train (ie- front diff drop), I'm just ruling that out. I've never even had an issue with my front half-shaft CVs, and I do still keep an eye on them. I have the typical Modified OME HD lift with 5100s on lowest setting with JBA uppers. I could expect possible issues with the rear driveshaft, but it's still 100%. All this is stuff countless XK owners have done with no issues, so I'm moving on from this, lol.

All my engine mods do all a lot more HP and Torque, but I have no idea how much and where in the power curves since I still haven't had access to a good AWD dyno shop. BUT, I can guarantee I am not putting out as much power as the SRT Jeeps do, and they run the same front driveshaft stock. They do have a different trans with different gearing (same setup as the 3.7s), but I doubt that's much of a difference for this situation. Further, I don't race, track, or drag this Jeep like a lot of SRT owners do. And, I know other XK and WK owners with WAY more powerful builds on larger lifts than me and not this issue. (Supercharged 6.1 on 33s, 6.4 stroker on 35s, etc etc).

During the last joint replacement, I did hand-spin the whole front half of the drive line to feel for or listen for any binding, grinding, noise or any issues...and found nothing.
The old OEM Mopar joint was fine for over a year and almost 20,000 miles with my current set up...and it was already 13 years old. At this point, I'm just assuming cheap aftermarket parts that can't hold up to my build. If I'd have replaced with a Mopar joint (which means buying the entire, overpriced, driveshaft) I probably wouldn't be having this problem...same way that certain aftermarket half-shaft CVs don't hold up to lifted XKs....
I've already ordered a Tom Woods double cardon replacement....so when I get that on I'm going to thoroughly inspect the old driveshaft, and if I somehow blow up a solid double cardon......well.......who wants to buy my Jeep? :LOL:
 
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Yeah...that's the thought process I started with. I'm pretty used to being lucky (unlucky...) with uncommon "vehicle specific" issues....I've exhausted everything I can come up with, so I'm just reaching out to the community to see what anyone else can think of, or may have experienced even on a different vehicle 🤷‍♂️

To just quickly run through my Jeep; everything drive-train related AFTER the engine all the way to the ground (trans, tcase, mounts, drive shafts, diffs, diff mounts, angles, gearing, half-shafts, axles) is 100% OEM stock with exception to the wheel spacers and the tires on the stock rims. Some of this stuff (bushings, etc) has been replaced due to age, but all with stock-spec or OEM Mopar parts.
I debated a tcase issue, but that would be giving me some sort of sign; noises, smells, traction control, drive-ability, etc.

Since none of my suspension mods affect the direct drive-train (ie- front diff drop), I'm just ruling that out. I've never even had an issue with my front half-shaft CVs, and I do still keep an eye on them. I have the typical Modified OME HD lift with 5100s on lowest setting with JBA uppers. I could expect possible issues with the rear driveshaft, but it's still 100%. All this is stuff countless XK owners have done with no issues, so I'm moving on from this, lol.

All my engine mods do all a lot more HP and Torque, but I have no idea how much and where in the power curves since I still haven't had access to a good AWD dyno shop. BUT, I can guarantee I am not putting out as much power as the SRT Jeeps do, and they run the same front driveshaft stock. They do have a different trans with different gearing (same setup as the 3.7s), but I doubt that's much of a difference for this situation. Further, I don't race, track, or drag this Jeep like a lot of SRT owners do. And, I know other XK and WK owners with WAY more powerful builds on larger lifts than me and not this issue. (Supercharged 6.1 on 33s, 6.4 stroker on 35s, etc etc).

During the last joint replacement, I did hand-spin the whole front half of the drive line to feel for or listen for any binding, grinding, noise or any issues...and found nothing.
The old OEM Mopar joint was fine for over a year and almost 20,000 miles with my current set up...and it was already 13 years old. At this point, I'm just assuming cheap aftermarket parts that can't hold up to my build. If I'd have replaced with a Mopar joint (which means buying the entire, overpriced, driveshaft) I probably wouldn't be having this problem...same way that certain aftermarket half-shaft CVs don't hold up to lifted XKs....
I've already ordered a Tom Woods double cardon replacement....so when I get that on I'm going to thoroughly inspect the old driveshaft, and if I somehow blow up a solid double cardon......well.......who wants to buy my Jeep? :LOL:
Just out of curiosity, what size wheel spacers are you running?
 

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good call on the tom woods; the non mopar rzeppa stuff is crap for the v8s imo...
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Just out of curiosity, what size wheel spacers are you running?
1.5" spidertrax
I was a little skeptical about running spacers in the beginning (for all the same reasons you mention all the time), but they are still on 'cause I haven't bought any rims yet, lol.
 

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I think those issues come down to boot quality? What brand did you use? Before I went double cardan for both front and rear I did replace mine once with a dorman that lasted with no issues. Only replaced with a double cardan because I thought it was causing my vibrations but it wasn't:( lol. Dorman is fairly good at that stuff. Did you get greaseable or non greasable spicer joints in the double? I got greasable and fill like im going to regret trying to get up in there and grease all of the damn zerks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think those issues come down to boot quality? What brand did you use? Before I went double cardan for both front and rear I did replace mine once with a dorman that lasted with no issues. Only replaced with a double cardan because I thought it was causing my vibrations but it wasn't:( lol. Dorman is fairly good at that stuff. Did you get greaseable or non greasable spicer joints in the double? I got greasable and fill like im going to regret trying to get up in there and grease all of the damn zerks.
Yea, cheap boot quality on chinese parts is pretty much my guess as well....I saw the Dorman joints as an option, I've used plenty of their stuff in the past with varying degrees of success....But, I opted NOT for their joint in this case because it was the most expensive at $115...however, maybe had I just spent that money up front, or even the 2nd time, I wouldn't have just bought a $470 driveshaft :ROFLMAO:
First joint I used from RockAuto: AWPI CH5303
2nd one from Amazon: APDTY 043414 Driveshaft Propeller Shaft CV Joint Kit

I didn't have the option for non or greaseble joints on the Tom Woods driveshaft I ordered. They only come with the 1310 Spicer non-greaseble with a greaseable double cardon center ball. Must have changed something since you ordered yours? But I know you didn't order your's too long ago...like earlier this year? Or maybe you could special order something, which I did not reach out to them about. I would have preferred the greaseable, but nons are more robust and having the option to replace the u-joints in the future is a plus.
Took some screen shots of their page as it is now:
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My rear is non greasable and from them. The front is from a local shop here in Denver Front Range Driveline so much more customizable but now I have several grease points to worry about lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My rear is non greasable and from them. The front is from a local shop here in Denver Front Range Driveline so much more customizable but now I have several grease points to worry about lol.
Oh nice! I am kinda glad I don't have to worry about all the extra grease points....when I did my lift I replaced all the remaining suspension components with greaseable options, so i have my work cut out for me already whenever it's time for the routine! With that said, looks like I'll still have to disconnect the driveshaft from the transfer case to be able to grease the double cardan center ball 😩, at least the slip yoke grease nipple is still easy to get to...not that it'll ever be "slipping" 😅.

Shaft got here yesterday and I got in installed last night.
Turns out my top diff bushing at the pinion bearing is shot....AGAIN. I can push the diff up about an inch. I really doubt this caused the blown joint boots, but I know that bushing was fine when I replaced the joint the first time back in March. The other 2 bushings are fine, but I replaced all 3 about 5 years ago (using Crown parts 😒...), maybe 30-40,000 miles? Really don't want to go through that mess again 😭
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Took it for a drive today....it's quiet and smooth up until about 70mph and faster....I start to get a buzz of a vibration on coast and cruise, it goes away under power. I think around 80mph it's there regardless of coast or load, but not any more intense than at 70. It wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't feel it in the steering wheel. @Hawkeyes, did you get anything similar with your double cardan? I know yours isn't a Tom Woods...but it's most likely pretty similar in weight, etc.

This is direct from the Tom Woods website on the page about our front shafts: "The other possible disadvantage is weight. Our drive shaft is much more robust than the stock drive shaft. This means it is also heavier. The heavier a drive shaft is, the more potential it has to cause high-speed vibrations. We balance the shafts very well, but the effects of something like a slightly loose transfer case flange will be greater with a heavier drive shaft. "
I was hoping I wouldn't have any issues with what they warned about...but seems not. I can still return the axle for a full refund within the first 30 days so I'll have to drive it more and decide how I feel. I'm also not sure if the bad diff bushing would allow for these vibrations. Usually just the "clunk" on shifting in/out of Park/Reverse/Drive is the only sign, but having a much heavier driveshaft now? I wanted to really procrastinate on the 2nd round of diff bushings (using Mopar parts this time), but seems I have a short 30 day deadline now.....
 

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I get a little vibrations yep. Get rid of those crap crown differential bushings and order a set from Creative Steel:) much better, nvh a little higher though. I do not have steering wheel vibration, anytime I've had steering wheel vibrations its always been the damn wheel hub. I do have a crapton of nvh in my Jeep, though that could be the MBRP Catback stainless exhaust I put on it, that thing rips good but really can drone :(. Highly suggest it with the v8, and the CAI :). And superchip lol.
 

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I'm also running both drive shafts double cardan now, if this thing won't take to a trail soon im going to be ashamed. I need a gas money sponsor lol.

Do have a question though, anyone else with spacer lift/superlift get a "thunk" from either front side going over bumps etc.? Like its smooth on road but a bump on one side and it thuds a little. Its done that ever since I put spacers on it and even after the superlift.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I get a little vibrations yep. Get rid of those crap crown differential bushings and order a set from Creative Steel:) much better, nvh a little higher though. I do not have steering wheel vibration, anytime I've had steering wheel vibrations its always been the damn wheel hub. I do have a crapton of nvh in my Jeep, though that could be the MBRP Catback stainless exhaust I put on it, that thing rips good but really can drone :(. Highly suggest it with the v8, and the CAI :). And superchip lol.
I drove it again on the interstate for a while yesterday...the vibes are the worst at cruise, full coast and under power they go away. And they arent just in the steering wheel...it’s like eveything, lol. Gas pedal, seat, etc and i suppose it transfers slightly to the steering wheel as a result. My wife didnt notice in the back seat until i really tried to point it out to her, so it isnt THAT bad, just another new noise and feel, i guess. I’m just a little concerned about it possibly messing other stuff up in the future, like wearing the pinion seal and transfercase bushings/seals much faster now 😕

I’ve already ordered Mopar bushings to get swapped out from these crap Crowns ASAP, so we’ll see if that helps.
I looked hard at the Creative Steel bushing set and the SuperPro set. Both are good looking poly options that are way better priced than Jeeperf, lol. I decided against going poly, though, cause i know while they’ll last forever, they are stiffer and can transmit more vibes and such which im trying to eliminate....i did poly mounts in one of my XJs, and did not like how it felt after.
I already have tons of highway drone and noise with all my engine and exhaust mods, lol....see my signature, i need way more than just a Superchip at this point 😆
 

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Oooh you got a beefy set up lol! I just got a little old 4.7 :(. Mine seems so sluggish anymore. Its so weird, like it has so little low end torque. I like knowing my bushings will last forever, but yep, that nvh is definitely there lol. Theirs are like hard plastic poly, when I ordered I thought they'd be like a shock absorber bushing poly, nope lol.

My vibes aren't there at cruise and coast, in fact cruising and coasting shes smooth as butter. Its under throttle the vibes show up a bit. I know that rear pinion is still off a bit, but I dont know how to get these control arms adjusted for that yet :(. Every since I put them in that vibration is there. You checked all your control arm bushings? Especially the rear?
 
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