I have a 2000 Suburban with 117,000 miles. When the 4WD is engaged, it seems to work fine but if I turn either way it makes a very loud clack-clack-clack sound that I can feel through the steering wheel. My guess is that this has something to do with a teen driver driving it on dry pavement with the 4WD engaged.
Any ideas on what this is, how serious it is, and how much it might cost to fix? Am I driving on borrowed time? Thanks.
It sounds like the constant velocity joint on the front axle is bad. If you look under the vehicles front end to the left or right tires you will see a shaft with two rubber boots on the inner and outer ends of the shaft, you will likely see that the boot is torn and full of dirt and grease on the outer boots.
If you get the clacking sound on left or right turns and there is not any noise on straight ahead driving it is likely one or both outer constant velocity joints are bad. You will hardly hear the noise in two wheel drive because there is no load on the joints on turns in two wheel drive.
The price will vary from shop to shop depending on labor rates.
The repair is about two hours per side which includes the replacement of the constant velocity joint and the protective boot. The joint and boot could be about three to four hundred dollars per side plus labor.
Another way this could be done is ask you repair shop to install rebuilt axle shafts which is the replacement of the entire shaft for either or both sides depending which is needed. I know this will save you money but am not sure; you need to talk to your repair shop on the difference in prices.
Yes you are on borrowed time and it should be looked at as soon as possible.
Four wheel drives should only be used when needed and usually should not be driven faster than forty to fifty miles per hour.
If four wheel drive is used on dry pavement all the time premature tire wear may also occur.
This information should be in your owner's manual you received when you bought the vehicle.
Thanks for the reply. I think you're right, because as you say the sound is barely there when 4WD is not engaged. Also, my kid put the car in a ditch a month or so ago and that's probably when the damage happened.
I have no doubt that the information on operating the 4WD is in the owner's manual. Unfortunately the number of 17-year-olds willing to listen to parents and read owner's manuals is quite small. FWIW, he's no longer allowed to drive any of the family cars, EVER.
Thanks again --