2005 WK whining sound.
Howdy, long time lurker, first time poster. I have a 2005 WK Limited with the 4.7L. She has almost 100k miles on her. I have a whine coming from what I think is the front end of the Jeep, but its kinda hard to tell exactly where.
A little back story to start off. I live in Colorado and during a heavy rain storm, I was forced to enter a rather deep "puddle". Although after the fact, it was more like a lake in the right lane. It was around a corner and I could neither stop in time nor change lanes before hitting the "puddle". Long story short, it flooded the engine and threw two rods. Insurance covered the replacement of the engine. $13k later I had a rebuilt engine with 10k less miles, along with some other minor body work. Around August 2010 is when I got the Jeep back. A week or so later I noticed a whine. I had just taken her on a easy dirt trail, and thought maybe there was a small rock in the brakes or something. After a day or so, the whine was still there so I changed my assumption to maybe a bad wheel bearing. After doing multiple tests to see if it was a wheel bearing, I have come to the conclusion that it is the front differential.
It usually starts whining around 50 mph all the way to about 70 mph and higher. I can be speeding up or coasting and it whines. I have read a lot on
this and other forums and am thinking I have diagnosed it correctly. I'm far from being mechanically inclined so still I may be wrong.
My question is this. When the Jeep went into the puddle is it feasible that water got into the front differential and could have caused damage? And is it possible that the repair shop missed this? I know that differential whine is common on WK's but could the water have made the problem come to life in this instance? I am really reluctant to take it back to the shop for them to take apart the differential and find out that it was not because of the water, and me having to pay for the work of them tearing down the differential. I also have talked to some mechanics and they have said that it is a warped carrier in the differential, or could be a bad bearing. They also told me that if it is a bad bearing or the carrier, that it is not essential to get replaced right this second, but in the next year or so. They did not take the differential apart, so I don't know if these statements are correct or not.
My wife and her brother are taking the Jeep on a 1700 mile journey from GA to CO late December to meet me when I return home from Iraq, and am worried about it possibly causing a problem during their trip. Any insight would be appreciated.
Edited to fix formatting.