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231 tcase problems/ i think--HELP!?!


NAXJA Forum User
my xj has been lifted 3 in. for about 1.5 yrs & just recently i was noticin some mechanical whining noise, so while investigating the usually suspects.. (u-joints, leaking axle bearings, diff fluid levels & OMG..

While lookin @ my 231 t-case (non SYE); 1" drop-kit.
i noticed some (about 3 or 5) small hairline cracks on the rear output shaft cover/ housing that run sorta horizontal & radially from the rear output shaft seal area toward the main case..

is this a common problem of 3" lifted rigs w/out a SYE i thought the driveline vibes were the only issue, not my case comin apart.. whats the fix?; a SYE, i hope it'll be that simple...

back to the noise issue.. the mechanicall whinning seems to be pulling on the engine a bit.. (only noticable while its in motion, it kinda sounds like when the power steering pump is whinning w/ the steering @ full lock..

its always somethin i swear...

pleez hep me...


What do you mean by "only noticable while its
in motion"? Does this mean the car is in motion under engine power or the engine is ideling with the car in park or ???

One quick test if you suspect the noise is engine related vice driveline is to take the serpintine belt off and see if the noise goes away with the engine running and the car in park. You can drive it for a little but but remember the fan wont be turning or the power steering pump wont be pumping. If so its got to be one of the accessories.

Get back to us so we know whats going on.

ehh.. yeah but no..

long story / short.. nope, no PICS sorry..:rolleyes:
rpili2001 said:

What do you mean by "only noticable while its
in motion"? Does this mean the car is in motion under engine power or the engine is ideling with the car in park or ???


thanks for the drive-belt tip i'll haveta remember that, but i don't think thats the problem unless it figures into RPMs somehow, like the water-pump seizing slightly @ a higher than idle RPM, but i don't think thats the case here, the h20 pump & steering pump are ok visually & fluid level wise..

yes Ray the whinning noise is only while i'm driving down the rd.. & its strarts @ 2k rpm/ 15mph or so & doens't quit..

im a maintence rat so i don't ever let anything get outta check, tranny (AT) is fine gear oil in everything is nearly new.. this just started after i was outta town last wk & the xj ast still for 3 days..

i'm thinkin its in the t-case those cracks to me look like stress fractures, its been wheeled purdy good in the last 6 months but i was just under it lat month when i changed the fluid, after a weekend @ tellico..
(sorry i don't have the xj w/ me here @ the p-rents house & my modem is out @ my house or i'd post some pics so you could see the cracks..) they're not bad enough to cause a fluid leak, but you can see em & feel em..

heres a pic of the cracks in the rear-output shaft housing..
notice them startin around the bearing collar & running about 3" or so toward the main case...


are the cracks gonna be a real problem soon or do yall think i got some time left?? is my best bet fix gonna be a SYE, isn't this all replaced w/ most SYE kits???

back to the whinning noise, thats weighting down my engine..
{this probly would be best sauited for oem tech, but..)

Ray >>you were right, taking off the accessory drive belt & driving (shortly) w/out it indicated that the noise is comming from an accessory drive pulley, i believe its the powere steering pump pulley bearing going out..

btw, when i drove the xj w/ the belt off, man i was tough steering, way tougher than a standard non-power steering vehicle.. Is that because my steering geometry is off because of my lift, or is that normal??
w/ the belt back on, i noticed a slight cherp in that pulley & w/ out the belt on all the other pulley turned easily but the P.S. pulley didn't turn all that easily, actually it had a binding feel to it..

what (if any available-aftermarket) power steering unit is gonna be the best replacement, given that my slightly oversized tires, 31s (hopefully larger soon), & lifted vehicle steering geometry as another factor, that will last the longest, and perform the best??

thanks again...

Take a look just behind the sheild that covers the casing and see if the lines continue thru thr machined area. It doesn't look like they do in the picture. If that is true then those are just casting lines. The NP cases are known for not being real smooth on the out side surfaces. You can also see if they are raised or if they feel like a hole/crevas (sp?).

The power steering pump won't spin freely like the other pullys. If the noise is more present when turning the pump might be getting old and needs replacing. You might consider having Lee Manufactuing build yours for you, he does a real nice job at it.

orgs mfg
thanks mark i'll check behind that "cover" .. is that the dark brass colored collar @ the edge of where you can see the cracks start??

just turned over 80k on betty & her power steering pump so its probly due a change out..Lee Manufacturing?hmmm.. got a link/ph#

Tom Lee is his name. Just realize he is REALLY busy and can take 4+ weeks to get your box and pump back. I started with an extra set and sent them to him. When I got theem back I then switched them out. Now I sent that set in for one of my buddies. We'll keep doing this until we all have gotten it done.

orgs mfg