Have you recently purchased a Jeep Wrangler, only to find an annoying wind noise you just can’t seem to pinpoint? You’re probably wondering if the level of road noise and buffeting is acceptable for a Jeep. Perhaps your trusty wrangler has recently developed a strange whistling noise? Does your Wranglers road noise sound excessively loud?
Your Jeep Wrangler can develop excessively loud road noise and buffeting due to any of the following reasons
- Misaligned freedom panels
- Misaligned Windshield
- Hard top needs reseating
- Loose hardware
- Door seals inadequate
- Excessive panel Gaps
- Lack of support
When you own these vehicles, you generally don’t expect their comfort and refinement level to be on par with that of a German Luxury sedan quality. They are purpose-built vehicles specifically designed for off-roading and overlanding. With that being said, we also don’t want the thing to drive us completely crazy with all sorts of rattles and whistles when we driving in and around town, where they spend a large percentage of their time anyway.
Its design is like a massive Lego block on wheels
As a first time Jeep owner, it’s hard to determine what level of road noise is actually acceptable, and at which point do you need to investigate further. I mean, the aerodynamics of a Jeep is similar to my Land Rover Defender, which resembled a BRICK! Its design is like a massive Lego block on wheels. Slap on a roof rack, snorkel and some off-road muddies and you’re in for one hell of a sensory overload.
Let’s dig into it and identify a few possible causes of excessive wind noise, buffering and whistling.
2019 Jeep Wrangler Wind Noise
So, at which point do you actually have a problem and when is it just, “a Jeep Thing”? Well, usually these aerodynamics and wind issues manifest themselves anywhere from around 55mph. A strong crosswind or head wind will aggravate and exaggerate any pre-existing noises inside the cabin.
So, for example, if you have a whistling noise at 55mph or experience severe buffeting that actually detracts from the driving experience, then it’s pretty safe to say you have a legit problem that needs your attention. As mentioned earlier, general road noise is normal for these vehicles.
What is a good noise-to-speed gauge? Expect to hear only subtle wind noise between 55-65mph. This is normal. From 65mph and up you can expect audible wind noise but not overly intrusive. Don’t expect the Wrangler to offer similar sound deadening to that of a premium SUV. The Wrangler’s are purpose built and more utilitarian in design, so it lacks a lot or sound dampening and padding other manufactures in a similar category.
Freedom Panel Alignment
The factory design of the freedom panel is very poorly insulated. The reason for this is, its only purpose is to protect you from natural elements and not to carry any loads or form part of the vehicles support structure.
The panels are thin and designed from SMC (Sheet Molding Compound). Sheet Molding Compound is a made up of a compressed fiberglass-base. SMC is used in applications where high strength and light weight is required. There is absolutely no sound-deadening properties built into it.
Unfortunately, these panels have such low tolerance for a good seal, however, there are a few DIY fixes you can apply to improve the seal of the freedom panels. You can start by adjusting the hardware around the freedom panels.
Let’s look at that in more detail next
The first thing you should do is inspect the hard top for sagging or any visible misalignment. Next, you need to disengage the latches on the windshield frame. Adjust the hardware bolts down as much as possible. There are two hold down in the front center that adjust up and down. This will increase the seal and drastically decrease any audible wind noise and whistling inside the cabin. Adjust the hardware latch mechanism as well for a better seal and lock the panels down better. Do the same for doors hinge hardware if you experience excessive whistling from the side.
Next let’s look at the cause and solution to the buffeting sound
As mentioned previously, the design of the hardtop and freedom panels are rather flimsy and lack decent structural reinforcement. This is apparent when traveling at a certain speeds or when you hit a bump in the road, the roof begins to resonate. The hardtop resonates the sound throughout the cabin because of the square cabin shape. You can add the optional headliner which help reduce resonation. Like a sound dampener, it reduces vibrations
Buffeting a well-known Jeep Wrangler phenomenon and if you pop on over to your local dealership to test drive a new Jeep, you’ll find the symptoms are similar to yours.
A simple DIY fix to eradicate this buffeting is by wedging something to support the roof. Squeeze it between the roof and the overhead roll bar directly over the rear seats. This is the weakest, least support section of the hardtop and adding support to this section of the roof will make a massive difference. As an initial trial run, use a pool noodle or a few dense pillows.
Next, let’s look at a few DIY fixes you can do
You attempt any of the below DIY trouble-shooting techniques at your own risk. With that being said, many Jeep owners have successfully isolated their problem and solved them by using any of these methods.
Water spray technique
The soapy water technique is always a good method to identify leaks quickly. Problem is you are working inside the vehicle while stationary, when the problem is caused from outside while in motion.
So, in order to successfully recreate this problem you need to create some sort of vacuum pressure inside the cabin. Follow the below steps.
|Step 1||Start by ensuring all doors and windows are properly shut|
|Step 2||Seal your tailgate by using a plastic bag to seal the vent in the tailgate.|
|Step 3||Crank up your AC blower to max level|
|Step 4||Target all the potential areas with the soapy water spray|
|Step 5||Pay close attention for any bubbles appearing|
Once you’ve identified the leaking/whistling area, you can apply a sealing technique of your choice.
Rear View Mirror Plastic triangle
If your wind noise if coming from outside, close to the front of your doors, then you want to investigate your rear view mirrors. The triangular plastic sections around the mirror can become worn over time and not sit properly seated and flush. This causes a tremendous amount of wind noise and whistling that becomes increasingly invasive the faster you drive. As an additional check, always ensure your door seals are still sealing properly too. You might need to adjust your hinges again.
As a quick way to isolate the plastic triangular fittings, tape them up and go for a quick spin. Make sure you can get up to speeds of 65mph to test properly. Make sure you replace both driver and passenger sides.
Top Windshield Bolts
If you are 100% convinced the noise is coming from the front top section of the windshield then you should adjust the hardware in the front of the panels. Make sure all four bolts that hold the windshield in place are actually properly secured. This will help with front wind noise.
Adjust the two bolts that hold down the panel in the front center. These allow you to adjust up and down, adjust them all the way so you can pull the panels farther down when you flip the handles over.
Also make sure your latch me mechanism is adjusted as securely and tight as possible. There are also 2x bolts which allows for adjustment. To make it extra secure, you can add a brass 1/2” shim washer .010” between the panel lever and the bolt. You need to widen the holes to accommodate a 13mm bolt and washer.
The Wrangler door and windshield sealing properties are poor. Unfortunately, this makes them susceptible to leaks when driving in rain and excessive wind noise. The door seals can be drastically improved. They are very thin. The dated structural design also has a few flaws which creates insulation and sound deadening issues. Outside noises are clearly audible, even when stationary due to the large gaps between panels.
A quick DIY test would be to tape up the door and the window frame from the outside. This is just a test, so you’ll need to enter form the passenger side and climb over. The purpose of the tape sealing is only to isolate which section of the front the noises are coming from. Once you’ve identified the exact location, you can apply your own DIY foam sealing or electrical tape down the door channel. Don’t rule out the fact that your door might need adjustment.
It’s always recommended to visit your dealership first for a diagnosis. Unfortunately, it’s a well-known fact that certain dealerships are a bit reluctant to investigate or do anything about it. I guess the level of support, in this regard varies from dealer to dealer.
When driving a square vehicle like a Jeep Wrangler or a Land Rover Defender, you should expect a little wind noise at high speeds. You should, however, experience low to moderate wind noise while traveling less than 55m, unless it’s a very windy day. If you have unusual wind noise, just keep searching for the source and you’ll find the issue.