Have you recently noticed a metallic clicking noise coming from the front of your vehicle? Is the clicking noise more noticeable when turning at a low speed, i.e. when maneuvering in a shopping mall parking lot?
In most reported cases, the vehicle behaved fine under normal straight-line driving conditions, and no other symptoms were reported. There is no vibration or sensation feedback on the steering wheel. It’s just a troubling, annoying sound heard when driving at low speeds, especially when your windows are down or the freedom panels are off. Then it’s the most audible.
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Jeep Wrangler Clicking Noise When Turning
The Jeep Wrangler’s clicking noise is most prominent when returning to the center from a hard left or right turn. The noise can easily be replicated when stationary to demonstrate it to your mechanic or dealership.
- The popping and clicking noise will become more pronounced over time if left unattended.
- Can cause premature wear on other suspension components.
Clicking noise Symptoms
- Metallic clicking noise
- Low speeds
- Only while turning
- Crown/Castle Nuts
- Ball Joints
- Loose cotter pins
Loose Crown Nuts
Another cause of popping and metallic rattling is worn-out or damaged crown nuts. The function of a crown nut is to secure the ball joint bolt in place with the cotter pin fixed into one of its crown slots.
- Make sure the crown nut is torqued to spec.
- These nuts can work themselves loose if you often drive on corrugated or dirt roads.
Bad Ball Joints
A bad ball joint will emit a metallic knocking sound as the suspension articulates over uneven surfaces. A worn-out ball joint will cause excessive vibration and play in your suspension.
- The metallic clicking sound is caused by the shaft of the ball joint not being seated properly inside the knuckle housing.
- In most instances the joint itself is fine.
Dealerships will have you believe they will need to replace components such as wheel hubs, u-joints, or even your shock absorbers. Insist on them first inspecting your ball joints and re-torquing your castle nuts to spec, since this is a quick and inexpensive repair.
Loose Cotter Pins
The cotter pin is a simple component used to ensure the bolt remains secure and does not slip out completely. It consists of a thin piece of metal inserted through the hole and twisted to avoid it slipping out.
- If this becomes too loose over time it will begin to rattle.
Ensure all your ball joints are greased and seated correctly. The upper and lower ball joint nuts should be torqued to 70 ft-lbs (95 N-m).
- Ensure the Castle Nuts are torqued to factory specifications.
- Ensure the cotter pins line up with the nut slots.
- Inspect the condition of the cotter pins.
- If they are loose and bent badly, replace them.
- Loose cotter pins will rattle and pop which will drive you crazy.
Jeep Wrangler Clicking Noise When Driving: OTHER CAUSES
Multiple components can cause this clicking noise issue on your Jeep Wrangler. If the noise is only evident when turning, you can narrow it down to a steering or suspension component.
- Something as simple as a stone caught in between your tire lugs can result in a clicking noise that will be in sync with driving speed.
Exhaust Manifold Blow
Your exhaust manifold can be another possible cause for the constant clicking/ticking noises. The noise is most audible on cold startup.
- The clicking noise is synchronized with the engine RPM.
- The ticking noise is caused when the manifold bolts lose tension or sever completely.
- This causes exhaust fumes to escape in that area, resulting in a clicking or ticking noise.
All Wrangler TJ models are fitted with a duty cycle EVAP canister purge solenoid. The purpose of the solenoid is to regulate the rate of vapor flow from the EVAP (EVAPORATION CONTROL SYSTEM) canister to the intake manifold.
- The solenoid is attached with a bracket which is located in the engine compartment near the EVAP canister.
- The top of the solenoid has the word UP or TOP on it.
- The solenoid will not operate properly unless it is installed correctly.
In this instance, the ticking noise is perfectly normal and you can feel it clicking/ticking if you place your hand on the solenoid. The clicking solenoid shouldn’t be heard from inside the cabin though and if so, you will need to replace the Purge valve to rectify the problem
All Jeep Wranglers have SFA (Solid Front Axles) and 4x U-joints. They are located on each end of the front axle. The other 2x U-joints are located on the front and rear driveshafts.
- A bad U-joint emits an audible metallic clicking noise as it rotates.
- Once a U-joint lacks sufficient lubrication it wears out fairly quickly.
- There are tiny pin-shaped bearings inside the short cross-shaped joint that require sufficient lubrication as it rotates at thousands of RPMs under load.
It is not recommended to drive your vehicle for extended periods with a bad U-joint since this may fail, causing possible damage to brake lines, the transmission line, or the driveshaft.
It’s hard to immediately identify which of the above components is responsible for the clicking sound since it’s usually only audible while driving and turning at low speeds. Your best option is to systematically work your way through each of the above-mentioned components to inspect for obvious wear, looseness, and lack of lubrication.
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