Grinding/Rattling Noise & Clicking after Front Axle Rebuild with new Axles?

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Nov 18, 2014
Anaheim, CA
I had clicking birfields so I went ahead and rebuilt my front axle. During the rebuild process, I replaced the Axle/Birfs with RCV chromoly axles and birfs. I put everything together and things seemed to be working fine. I went wheeling yesterday and now making u-turns at full lock (either left or right) I hear a clicking clicking noise. Seems to be the same type that i experienced before the rebuild except much, much quieter. Additionally, I hear a noise that I can best describe as a rattle or grinding noise during acceleration sometimes. It doesn't happen all the time, so I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly when it occurs. I've put on approximately 200 miles since the rebuild.

During the rebuild I had to take the third member out because the diff gasket was leaking. During this process I unbolted the diff side of the front driveshaft (I used paint and marked the shaft before removal and bought new bolts and spacers, so I'm confident the front driveshaft went back together correctly).

The rig has a custom 6" suspension lift which I can best describe as a 3-link. It no longer has the stock radius arms (custom adjustable lower control arms) and the control arm axle bracket on the tube have been cut and rewelded in a different location. If anyone thinks this is a concern I can take some pictures and post. Yes... quite basterdized, but I bought it before I knew enough about FJZ80's.... live and learn.. drives great though when not having these issues. Even now, with all the issues, I still like it better than the Jeep XJ I sold.

Anyhow, what I did first to rule out issues was get an alignment done. Toe was in spec, castor was in spec, however, Camber was off... numbers below:

Left Right
Camber -.1 .2
Caster 3.0 3.1
Toe 0.12 0.12
SAI 13.6 14.0

What I'm looking for are suggestions on where to troubleshoot. I'm kind of clueless at this point, I paid close attention to the FAQ, greased the brass Spindle bushings liberally, the birfs were packed straight from RCV, I packed the knuckle liberally, all new trunion bearings, wheel bearings, gaskets, seals, etc. (Toyota parts).

The only weird thing I found was the transfer case was filled with Transmission fluid instead of diff fluid, which I promptly corrected. I use Chevron Delo Full Synthetic Gear Oil 75/90 in the diffs, and t-case.
I have a 1997 FJZ80 with 4.88 Gears, Custom 6" left, Factory E-Lockers, CDL mod.

Sorry for the long post, any help would be appreciated.
The RCV joints are VERY stiff the tolerances are incredibly tight. I had a very hard time getting them apart. At least twice as hard as the OEM joints I have done. I also noticed they were difficult to move even with the weight of the inner axle they didn't want to move much. My best guess would be that they expect a little wear to loosen them up. Taking them apart required some hits with a brass drift and after a very thorough cleaning and regreasing I reassembled and spent 10 min or so working each joint and they freed up. I would watch it for a couple days but my guess is it will loosen up.

The camber being off would worry me slightly that I had a bent front axle housing....
Thanks Guys for the responses. It turns out I had a front driveshaft that was shot (Custom built with no greasable fittings). When I dropped the driveshaft, I also figured out I had a seized Viscous Coupling (which I replaced as well). After rebuilding the driveshaft (with greaseable joints), and trading in a healthy VC, all noises, including the clicking went away.

I appreciate all the help.


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