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Old 12-21-2013, 05:53 PM
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WK rolling ball bearing noise

I've been dealing with a noise coming from what sounds like near the center console like a steel ball bearing rolling back and forth. The noise typically is noticeable at low speeds (although it might be happening at higher speeds but I just can't hear it). When I turn left/right at low speeds it sounds like the "ball" is rolling in the opposite direction until it hits something and stops with a clunk. The same thing happens when accelerating from a stop and when slowing down to a stop, the "ball" sounds like it's rolling in the opposite direction. It also sounds like it's worse when it's colder outside, but that's difficult to confirm.

I've already stripped down most of the interior trim (center console, steering column, etc) and dug around under the seats and haven't been able to find anything loose or rolling around.

I'm beginning to think that this might be a transfer case issue as it sounds louder from the outside of the vehicle and that seems to be the only logical location to start with first. There's also a small amount of play in the front driveshaft, not sure if this is normal or not. Also, there are no noticeable clunks or awkward shifts, nothing really noticeable while driving performance wise other than the noise.

Has anyone ever heard this phantom rolling ball noise? Driving me crazy. Thoughts?
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:07 AM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

some "play" is normal in the front driveshaft.

Honestly, this is something that will be nearly impossible to isolate without having the vehicle but I will say I have never heard any complaints like yours. Your complaint sounds exactly as you have concluded, something rolling until it hits something... there is nothing in the transfercase that will make this noise, nothing in the transmission or engine either.

It could be almost anything because the noise you describe doesnt sound like a car failure but a loose item. From there you just need to isolate the noise better (as I understand you already know). has there been any big work done (engine tear down, exhaust replacement? for example I just did the head gaskets on my parents subaru last week, I was removing a ground bolt and what are the odds, it dropped down and clanked down in to the exhaust I had unbolted from the motor. I did fish it out but an example of a noise that I caused that would make a similar noise to your complaint.

Good luck man!
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Old 12-24-2013, 09:34 AM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

Yeah, I have basically accepted the fact that it's basically like searching for a needle in a haystack at this point. Nothing mechanical feels out of place while driving and I've had it in for a few other things and asked the tech to look for anything obvious out of place and nothing has come of it.

Unrelated, but unfortunately I just found out that I need a new HVAC housing (or some piece of it) as of yesterday since I only have boiling lava hot air blowing from the vents no matter what the setting. Looks like I'll have to shell out $1000 to have the dash ripped out and fix whatever else is wrong back there. To bring things back full ciricle, I'm thinking that when they have it apart they might either get whatever is rolling around out or possibly the piece that is broken is what's rolling around, who knows.

For now, I think I'll wait on trying to resolve the ball noise until after the HVAC is repaired.
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Old 02-09-2014, 04:13 PM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

I have exactly the same problem with my new jeep wrangler - like a steel ball bearing rolling back and forth sound. I'm driving it back to dealership service but I just thought of maybe reading online forums first while trying to find time and see if I can find online solution.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:03 AM
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Still no luck with locating this one... Hopefully it's nothing drivetrain related as sometimes it sounds like it's coming from the shifter/center console area
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:40 PM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

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Originally Posted by OgieA View Post
I have exactly the same problem with my new jeep wrangler - like a steel ball bearing rolling back and forth sound. I'm driving it back to dealership service but I just thought of maybe reading online forums first while trying to find time and see if I can find online solution.
Just got back from Jeep dealership and they were able to identify and remove the metal piece that's making that very irritating noise in my new jeep. It was the pin tail of one of the heavy duty rivets they used in installing my Wrangler hood lock. So it was really nothing, just irritating.
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:07 PM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

I heard the same exact sounds described in the OP, but only 1 time....

A couple of other times I've heard a different sound coming what sounds like the back left of the car, but it sounds more like a very low clanking sound when driving on the highway. its only happened about three times and I drive it on the highway often...
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:33 AM
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Yeah mine is usually there I'd say 90 percent of the time. The other 10 it either goes away or the "ball" gets stuck somewhere on a hard turn or brake (at least that's what I tell myself). I'm not sure it's worth paying someone to tear it apart to find a needle in a haystack.
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:57 PM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

I think I have finally resolved it!

I finally decided I would just start taking everything apart until I got to something. After ripping out all of the trim (carefully of course), driver's seat, and the carpet, I started probing around. I found a guitar pick from the previous owner, a 9mm socket that I thought fell out of the truck a while back, and a broken plastic clip that I assume was supposed to hold the lower rear vent in place. None of these were the answer so I taped a magnet to a long bolt and started fishing inside all of the frame channels under the seat and finally out popped a bolt. This little guy was the culprit.

So for anyone else out there with a noise, keep digging, there's probably something hidden somewhere... best of luck
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Old 03-13-2014, 11:21 AM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjf026 View Post
I think I have finally resolved it!

I finally decided I would just start taking everything apart until I got to something. After ripping out all of the trim (carefully of course), driver's seat, and the carpet, I started probing around. I found a guitar pick from the previous owner, a 9mm socket that I thought fell out of the truck a while back, and a broken plastic clip that I assume was supposed to hold the lower rear vent in place. None of these were the answer so I taped a magnet to a long bolt and started fishing inside all of the frame channels under the seat and finally out popped a bolt. This little guy was the culprit.

So for anyone else out there with a noise, keep digging, there's probably something hidden somewhere... best of luck
That would just make me wonder where the bolt came from...and force me to tear more things apart. Plus, a bolt that large probably has a relatively important job...
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:26 PM
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Re: WK rolling ball bearing noise

That looks like a seat belt anchor bolt, is it torx?

Congrats! Like I said before, there was no pattern failure that cause this noise, its simply something where it should not be and you got the right idea... rip and tear till ya find it!
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