Rear Diff Gear Whine - 07 Off Road AT - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-25-2018, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Rear Diff Gear Whine - 07 Off Road AT

Hey all, I've got an 07 Off Road automatic with 119k miles. It's got some pretty loud high-pitched gear whine at highway speeds (40+ mph) and searching through the forums have left me more confused than not. Some people seem to say it's normal from wear and tear, others say the diff is about to explode. I have the service history for the car and the pinion seal and bearing were replaced about a year ago (with OEM nissan parts, but at a local shop, not a dealership) but I have no way to know if this whine persisted before that repair. My guess is if it's because of this, they didn't torque the pinion nut properly and screwed up the pinion bearing pre-load causing the gears to not mesh perfectly together; or it was unnecessarily repaired and a misdiagnosis. The other option is it's just like that because it's getting old.

I haven't checked the diff fluid yet, but I plan on replacing it with a heavier 75W140 to see if that helps and also see if there's an excessive amount of metal flakes in the fluid.

If they did just mess up the pinion bearing pre-load, I need to replace the just the bearing race? or the whole setup? What's a rough ballpark for DIY vs doing it at a shop for this?

If the ring and pinion and on their way out, should I look for a used rear end for an Off Road, or see if it makes more sense to get the diff rebuilt?

Or should I just leave it and turn my music up?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-25-2018, 09:18 PM
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many Nissan X and Z diffs have that whine. its usually no big deal unless its really loud. I would recommend changing the rear diff fluid. this will do 2 things. 1. get new fluid in there, maybe it hasn't been done in a while and the fluid is bad. 2 tell you if there is water in the fluid.

I changed mine recently and there was signs of water in there. this is due to the poorly designed rear diff breather. I had the whine in my Z which i know the diff was good and it did that almost from the factory. It Z it was louder under hard acceleration, if youve ever watched racing on tv or whatever youll notice there is alot of gear whine when they show in cabin camera views. I personally liked it in my Z, i had the rear interior gutted so that it was lighter but i also liked to hear all the sounds the engine and drive train was making. my X also has the rear diff whine and still has it now with fresh fluid in it.

I would stick with whatever the stock weight is. in my c200 it was 75w90 but im not sure about the OR model as it has a different diff.

Last edited by mtnbound; 09-25-2018 at 09:21 PM.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 08:41 AM
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I had a whine that came on this summer. I had the fluids only checked & they were fine. The diff crapped itself the next day. I would suggest pulling the diff cover (mechanic or yourself) & inspecting the internals. I'm still a little paranoid after my ordeal.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnbound View Post
many Nissan X and Z diffs have that whine. its usually no big deal unless its really loud.
It's quite loud. Like, if I have the music up you can sorta hear it, but even with it turned down, you don't have to try. It's real obvious.

Also this is exactly what I was talking about, ha. Two replies and two different answers. I just want an idea before I start throwing money at the problem and there ends up not actually being a problem.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 12:03 PM
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Getting it checked now is a lot cheaper than replacing it later. Especially 1,000 miles away from home.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarge21rvb View Post
It's quite loud. Like, if I have the music up you can sorta hear it, but even with it turned down, you don't have to try. It's real obvious.

Also this is exactly what I was talking about, ha. Two replies and two different answers. I just want an idea before I start throwing money at the problem and there ends up not actually being a problem.
It all depends, @Texterra reported having whine for the last 200k of his 350k miles.

https://www.thenewx.org/forum/9-gene...ml#post3461329

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarge21rvb View Post
It's quite loud. Like, if I have the music up you can sorta hear it, but even with it turned down, you don't have to try. It's real obvious.

Also this is exactly what I was talking about, ha. Two replies and two different answers. I just want an idea before I start throwing money at the problem and there ends up not actually being a problem.

i guess the point in my post is, its probably fine as its common or these diffs to whine, no one will really know anythign concrete without opening it up and taking alook....but changing the fluid is a cheap and easy thing to do just in case.

three options:
1. do nothing: see what happens...
2. change rear diff: spend alot of money that may not need to have been spent..
3. change diff fluid: spend little money and either it will help the diff last longer or do nothing if the diff is already bad
and your out like $25 on fluid you could have done without...

personally i'd shy away from 1 or 2.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 01:57 PM
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option 4, open the rear diff case and take a look. alittle more effort than just changing the fluid but still not hard.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Longboardr View Post
It all depends, @Texterra reported having whine for the last 200k of his 350k miles.

https://www.thenewx.org/forum/9-gene...ml#post3461329
That's a C200k diff, though. Different rear end. I think that's part of where my confusion comes from because I've seen some people put 100k on with gear whine, but I don't know if it was with a c200k or m226.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnbound View Post
option 4, open the rear diff case and take a look. alittle more effort than just changing the fluid but still not hard.
That's probably what I'm gonna do. I'm already spending $25+ on fluid, what's another 20 minutes and 5 bucks for RTV grey. What should I look for besides obvious chunks of metal? I know there's gonna be some shiny parts on the ring and pinion just from regular wear and tear (and 119k miles), but are there any tell tale signs that I'm boned?

Thanks.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2018, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Well I'll be a f*ck and a half. I decided to double check which weight gear oil goes in the m226 and universally, everyone says it's 75W140 for the m226 and 75W90 for the c200k. I looked at the service record for when the pinion bearing and seal were replaced (picture attached) and what do you know, they put the wrong gear oil in it. That would probably explain the whine. I'm gonna open it up anyway and make sure driving for 8k miles with the wrong gear oil hasn't broken anything. First chance I get, I'm gonna change that out. I'll drive my other car in the mean time just in case. Wish me luck! Hopefully this shop didn't ruin my diff.
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