I have a 2005 Jeep Wrangler Sport with a six-speed manual trans and an in-line 4.0 6-cyl engine. I discovered a month or so ago a strange rattling sound coming from, what sounded like, the front passenger wheel area. It would occur when I slowed down to 10mph or slower or when coming to a complete stop, or when starting out from a stop, until surpassing the 10-12mph mark. The rattle is audible both inside and outside the vehicle. It’s a low-pitched sound like an “aaaaaahhhh” you make when opening wide for the doctor to look down your throat, only with a metallic rattle thrown in. Best way I know to describe it is a voice saying “aaaaahhhhh” through the back of a fan.
I recently discovered, when I took it in for an oil change and tire rotation, that my front tires were wearing much faster than the backs and had a very noticeable “choppiness” to the tread. I have since installed new shock absorbers on both sides of the front suspension in hopes that would even the ride out for the front and eliminate the choppy tire wear. I originally thought that the tire wear and the rattle were related, but I took it to a mechanic who raised the front end and hand-spun both front tires and they made no audible sounds while spinning.
The mechanic said he believes that the rattle is coming from the front differential. Now, I am no pro mechanic, but I am not afraid to tackle a car repair job as long as I know I have the tools I need at hand to properly complete the job. First of all, does the differential sound like a good place to look? There’s no change in the rattle when applying or releasing the clutch and it shifts smoothly, so I am pretty certain it’s not in the transmission. Is the differential something that I could remove the cover and adequately diagnose a problem on my own? Just don’t have funds available for a large car repair bill, so I am looking at trying to tackle the issue myself.
Any opinions as to what the culprit of this rattle could be? Thanks to anyone who can help!