Background: Well, I had to let my younger brother drive the YJ last week, and he is a careful driver but really unsure of himself with a standard shift. I had just gotten an epidural shot in my back and they refuse to let a person drive after one of those...He was doing fine until we came to a four way stop at the top of a hill, and the Jeep picked then to stall out. The jerk behind us was right on the bumper and leaning on his horn, so my kid brother got flustered and gunned the gas, peeled out, and I am pretty sure did something to the rear end. (It was shuddering for a mile until I got him to pull over and calm down. He refuses to drive a standard ever again ...so much for buying him a cj2a someday.)
Symptoms: In the lower gears, there is a single bark or scrape coming from the rear end when just starting to accelerate. It sounds like bumping a metal table on a ceramic tile floor. I have had a bad U-joint before, and this is not the clicking or chirping that I have heard under those circumstances. I have also noticed a little bit of "give" in acceleration. I am wondering if it is just time to replace my U-joints (visual inspection was tight, but that sound has got me thinking)...or if my poor baby brother banged up the differential or transfer case.
Thanks for looking!
P.S. The differential was rebuilt four years ago and has never been taken off-road (other than the cow pasture) since. New ring, pinion, yoke, bearings, shims, etc.