My Jeep is a never ending project. It gives me quality 'man' time in the garage. Things may not be broken, but there is always a list of items to work on.
My Rear Drive Shaft is a custom shaft from Woody's who was recommended for setting up custom shafts for Jeeps with lifts. The shaft is solid, but the U Joints are always in need of attention. The last one I purchased from the Glenside Napa. I didn't notice when I purchased it, but they sold me one that has a small flush mounted grease fitting. I'm told you need a special adapter/grease gun to fill these. I installed it because I had the car apart when I finally noticed. The shaft is acting and this would be the easiest UJoint fix. The other two on the front end are a CV joint and is far more complicated to deal with.
Removing the shaft takes about 20 minutes and requires 1/2 inch socket on a 1/4 inch socket wrench as well as a 1/2 inch ratcheted box end wrench. It's important to note because nothing else is going to work. The connection on the front end has a little lip that makes it hard for the open end wrench to get a good grip. And the space around the bolt is to small to fit a closed end wrench around it. On the rear end, there isn't enough space for the socket to clear.
The Jeep should have the rear tires lifted so you can easily rotate the shaft to get a good angle on each of the bolts. I replaced my rear stock clamps with more hardcore U clamps and had to drill out the yolk to make room for the larger bolt. These are much easier to install/remove and are much stronger than the stock clamps.
I took a little test ride after I removed the Rear Drive Shaft. I like that the Jeep can still function using the Front Drive Shaft if you remove the Rear Drive Shaft. The ride is totally different with only the Front Shaft working. First, the tires spin with the least amount of power because most of the weight is in the rear. There is also a little 'drop' when you accelerate. This feels cool but freaked me out the first time I rode this way. I think it does this because there is no Rear Shaft to keep the vehicle from compressing the Rear Suspension. During my test ride I didn't hear any of the noise I was hearing.
I couldn't really find anything wrong with the shaft after removal. I greased up the UJoints in the front end and installed it back in the Jeep. The shaft needs to be secured in place before you start attaching the bolts. It may fall and those little caps on the ends of the exposed UJoints may pop off. If that happens, you may discombobulate the roller pins that line the cap. They are super cool, but a drag to have to put back in.
I took the Jeep back out to test it and the darn sound is back.
I removed the shaft for now so I can replace the rear UJoint. I won't be getting it at the Glenside Napa.