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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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?
 

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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).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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Discussion Starter #6
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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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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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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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.
 

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Some troubleshooting you can do:

Shift from drive to reverse and back a few times... if you hear a clunking sound your diff bushings are bad. That would make a noise if your tcase was locking/unlocking in certain scenarios.

Find a gravel or dirt parking lot and engage 4 low. Drive around a bit making turns in altering directions and listen for popping, clunking, grinding etc. This will identify if any driveline joints are on their way out; which also would make noise if stability control was activating the brakes or tcase.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks and more info...

First I want to thank everyone for their help - and their patience. No one likes long posts on forum boards - I know this - and I really appreciate all the advice and the questions.

There appears to be some confusion as to what happened when - and that's probably my fault for not explaining it well enough. There are also some questions about torque and what-not...

So here is a time-line of highlights that will hopefully clear the confusion and answer the questions:

2009 - Bought the Jeep. Rocky-Road lift installed by me. Spidertrax spacers originally installed by me using red Loc-Tite. Torqued to 90 ft-lbs on the hub; wheels torqued to 90 ft-lbs on the spacer (these are Spidertrax specs). Both were done with a torque wrench, not a gun. And yes, I went back and checked them a week later to make sure they were still torqued within spec.

2009 - 2013: Three sets of tires and a few brake jobs. Re-installed spacers with Loc-Tite, torqued, and checked every time.

May, 2013: Begin to hear squeaking and rattling noises from the front end. Googled and searched here and decided it was probably front sway bar bushings.

July, 2013: Replaced the front sway bar bushings but the noises continued.

September, 2013: Replaced front brake pads, rotors, and tires. I did the brakes myself - re-installed spacers with red Loc-Tite, torqued to specs above, and re-checked. Still getting squeaks and rattles.

Mid-October, 2013: "SERVICE 4WD SYSTEM/EPS-BAS/Traction Control" lights come on while driving on the freeway and cruise stops working. Lights go off and cruise comes back when I restart the car. No codes, no change in how it drives; still getting the squeaks and rattles.

Early November, 2013: Passenger-side lug bolts shear (all but one). I replace the entire hub - and the bolts hadn't backed out - the Loc-Tite was still active and had to be broken with a vice and a torch. After replacement and re-torque to spec, squeaks and rattles continue.

Mid November, 2013: Rattling noice from driver's side wheel well. Inspection finds single sheared lug. All other lugs torqued within spec. Replaced everything and re-torqued to spec. After replacement, squeaks and rattles continue.

Same day as second hub replacement: Transmission goes to limp-home mode after stop at gas station. Code: P0884; Park it for five days.

Five days later: Visual inspection of wiring and fuses shows nothing wrong. Start Jeep, runs as normal - still throwing P0884. Squeaks and rattles continue.

That day: "SERVICE 4WD SYSTEM/EPS-BAS/Traction Control" lights come on while driving and cruise stops working. Lights go off and cruise comes back when I restart the car. Code P0884, no change in how it drives; still getting the squeaks and rattles.

Three days later: "SERVICE 4WD SYSTEM/EPS-BAS/Traction Control" lights come on while driving and cruise stops working. Transmission goes to limp-home mode after re-start. Codes 0884, 0129, 0572 and a couple others I can't remember. Pull into parking lot and disconnect the battery for ten minutes. Reconnect and restart - no codes, no lights, normal transmission mode. No more squeaks and rattles.

Nearing two hundred miles now and still nothing as far as codes, lights, squeaks or rattles. MPG up to 11.5 on the sensor which is better than it has been by nearly one full MPG.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Some troubleshooting you can do:

Shift from drive to reverse and back a few times... if you hear a clunking sound your diff bushings are bad. That would make a noise if your tcase was locking/unlocking in certain scenarios.

Find a gravel or dirt parking lot and engage 4 low. Drive around a bit making turns in altering directions and listen for popping, clunking, grinding etc. This will identify if any driveline joints are on their way out; which also would make noise if stability control was activating the brakes or tcase.
Matt,

Funny you should suggest the 4-low test.

I did do an experiment this AM and put it in 4 low because we are in danger of getting really crappy weather and I want to make sure I'm good just in case. Noticed that when I shift into low, the entire front end moves backwards a bit - enough so that the tires rub the back of the wheel wells a tad at full turn. In normal mode, I can fit my hand between the tire and the rear of the well in the same position. This was just in the parking lot at work - no mud or gravel.

So there's play in there somewhere.

And it does clunk sometimes when shifting from drive back to reverse, or from reverse to neutral. However, that clunking isn't the noise I was hearing before.

Imagine driving a really old box-spring mattress down the road - listen to the springs squeaking and groaning and the mattress rattling around in the frame. That's what it was like. You could literally hear it from a hundred yards away.

Thanks again for the help and the patience :)
 

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If you're trying to turn on solid ground in 4 low you're going to flex the upper and lower control arm bushings to their max.... its not good for them, but doesn't necessarily mean they're bad.

In september did you replace all 4 tires or just the fronts?

Have you been on the highway again since the reset?
 

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Imagine driving a really old box-spring mattress down the road - listen to the springs squeaking and groaning and the mattress rattling around in the frame. That's what it was like. You could literally hear it from a hundred yards away.
That's what I have, both front and back!!! I have to make an appointment at Matt's Shop to make use of his diagnostic ears and get my mattress fixed. :cursin:

BTW, I had some clunking in the front that went away with new struts and diff bushings.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you're trying to turn on solid ground in 4 low you're going to flex the upper and lower control arm bushings to their max.... its not good for them, but doesn't necessarily mean they're bad.
Got it! Thanks :)

In september did you replace all 4 tires or just the fronts?
All four. And it was aligned but they mentioned no issues - forgot to include on the timeline...

Have you been on the highway again since the reset?
About 1/4 of the miles I've put on it since the reset were on the freeway.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That's what I have, both front and back!!! I have to make an appointment at Matt's Shop to make use of his diagnostic ears and get my mattress fixed. :cursin:

BTW, I had some clunking in the front that went away with new struts and diff bushings.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure new diff bushings are in my immediate future, and new shocks and struts are not too far behind.

Going to be three hours of fun replacing the diff bushings from all the things I've read about it...
 
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