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Cv axles can be felt in the steering. I can tell the difference from the CV axles and a bad bearing. But when both are bad, you can't tell. Both will feel the same, but can make the same sound. The best way to check a CV axle is to pull it out. Then rotate the ends in a circular pattern. If it isn't smooth and has like a flat/catching spot. The axle is bad and will vibrate. You can hear it and feel it in the steering. Bearings will get loader or softer when turning left or right.
When an inner c/v joint starts to go out it does exactly as you are describing. Often times all that is needed is to simply look under your vehicle, you may see a torn "boot"; the sealed rubber cover that goes over the constant velocity or c/v joint. These are found at each end of the half shafts. On your suv there are 4 shafts, one for each wheel. For each shaft you have two c/v joints one on each end, they are very simular to universal joints in that they allow for independant movement of the wheels and suspention. Please note c/v joints will only make noise for a short period of time then they break! The popping sound is metal-to-metal contact. You want to look for torn boots on the transmission side or inner side of the shafts. If on the back, on the sides closest to the differential.
First check that the road wheel nuts are tight. I had a friend who rebuilt a tractor to find and repair a fault when in fact is was loose wheel nuts that were to blame all along! Check the universal joint at the back of the hub. Remove the road wheel and twist the half drive back and forth looking for play in the spider assembly. There should be no movement or noise in any of the drive line components. If you can see and feel movement in the outer universal joint it will need replacing. Rock the wheel hub up and down and left to right to see if there is any movement in the wheel bearing. Likewise if there is movement this will mean a new bearing. Check the lower ball joint connected to the wheel upright. Inspect the caliper assembly to ensure it is bolted securely and that the disc rotor is mounted with the securing bolts correctly. Basically you are making sure that everything that should be tight is not worn or slack. Check all rubber bushings on suspension arms to be sure that the through bolts are centered Lastly look for any free play in the steering arms and rack mechanism.
Check the front universal joint. These don't have grease fittings and tend to fail Put vehicle in park and check drive shaft for excessive movement by rotating it by hand. If you feel any play at all it may have failed. Hope this helps.
It sounds **** it could be the rear joint Its where the drive shaft bolts to the rear carrier if you get under the truck and try to rotate the drive shaft back and forth and you feel movement and noise it needs to be replaced
Check Universal joints in the driveshaft using the following procedure:
Park on a flat, level surface. Leave the vehicle in neutral, engage the parking brake, and chock at least one front and one rear wheel, so that the vehicle can not move.
Under the vehicle, grab hold of the driveshaft and rotate it back and forth, checking the U joints for abnormal motion. You should not be able to move it more than approx 1/16th turn in either direction. Excessive U-joint movement will be obvious. Yoke flange movement will not be as obvious, but is still noticeable.
If there is any up/down/side-side movement in the shaft, there are worn components that will need to be replaced.
If no worn components are detected in the drive shaft and associated components, check/replace your diff fluid as necessary. Metal shavings in the fluid may be indicative of an accelerated wear condition, and loose gears will be evident by excessive rotational movement of the driveshaft while not under load.
the easiest way to check is to use a jack to lift the side that you suspect may be broken. when the whole tire os off the ground, grab the top and the bottom and try to move it around. there should be no movement at all, except for the normal rotation. if the tire feels like it is loose, then peek under the car while a friend shakes the tire. you will see right away if something is broken under there. make sure you pay attention to the steering linkage also, like the tierods and ends. if everything looks to be tight, then you may have bad bearings.