I took my 84 Cherokee in the mud a couple of days ago. I noticed today while on 4WD going on a steep uphill that there's a Ratcheting noise coming from the front end. If I drive on flat surface on 4WD (auto) I dont hear any weird sound. Has anyone experienced this before? What are the things I need to check. Any suggestions ?
When the axel U-joint goes bad and the needles fall out, the joint can make that retcheting sound. It still transfers power because the cross is trapped in the caps, but it rattles and scrapes and grinds. Probably gets worse as you steer.
The front driveshaft on my 85 XJ sometimes makes a ratcheting noise when in 4wd as the axle cycles up and down. The noise is not present when driving on a flat surface in 4wd. Some of the older XJs use a CV joint at the t-case. It could need lubing. Also, some of the older XJs used CV joints on the front axle shafts opposed to U-joints. The older XJs used the vaccum disco.