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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so heres the story....I thought one of my cv axles was bad. I just started pulling the truck apart so i could replace the bad side tonight, come to find out that I think its not the axles, and its the diff. Heres why I think that:

I pulled the engine skid, and while laying under the truck and grabbing both axles and pulling up and down on both, it seems like the part where the axles go into the diff, there is play on both sides. I haven't drained the diff fluid yet to see if there is metal shavings.

Also, to note....since I installed my saw coils, I noticedt that the axle shafts are both slightly rubbing on the coilovers. (yes i have them installed the correct way). I wonder if this helped cause the diff to fail, or if the failing diff is causing movement in the axles to where they are rubbing the coilovers. The last wheeling trip I was on, was the shocker run at raush, and I ran my truck pretty hard as I was a trail leader, and had to blaze a lot of the trails thorugh thick snow and ice. Since then I noticed a knocking sound when backing out of my driveway.

The boots on the axles arent torn, nor do they look in bad shape. The only imperfection is where I see on the shaft where theyve been rubbing the coilovers slightly.

What do you guys think?

If I need to replace the front diff, I'm thinking of taking this opportunity and using it to re-gear. If it were a perfect world, I'd like to find a pair of diffs from a manual offroad with the 3.69 gearing, or at least get the 3.36 gears. With all the weight from armor and the 33s my truck really struggles going up hills and such.

I appreciate your guys help, and if anyone has had first hand experience with this, please PM me your number so I can give you a call and talk it out. Thanks again,

- Dave
 

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Dave there will be a tiny bit of play where the axles conect to the shafts on the diff (up and down ). Aslong as there is no noise from the diff (bearing wine ect ) . I have a spare diff of you need one 3.13s and 126k on it no issues very clean . Get a front lokka locker and i can install it into it ;)
 

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Two things.

First, in the half axles, there is some play at the diff. That's normal.

Two, if your saw coil overs are rubbing, I will literally bet you 20 bucks that you have the wrong spacers. You may have them installed "properly", but of you got the wrong sh!t then there wasn't much way of knowing. The reason I say this is that I have installed several sets of saws and, if done correctly, they do not touch the axle (although they are close). If they are rubbing then I generally believe that there is a legit issue there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Two things.

First, in the half axles, there is some play at the diff. That's normal.

Two, if your saw coil overs are rubbing, I will literally bet you 20 bucks that you have the wrong spacers. You may have them installed "properly", but of you got the wrong sh!t then there wasn't much way of knowing. The reason I say this is that I have installed several sets of saws and, if done correctly, they do not touch the axle (although they are close). If they are rubbing then I generally believe that there is a legit issue there.
I brought it up to greg on the phone when i first installed them, and he seemed to think it was normal. :dontknow: As far as I know, it doesnt rub unless I'm at full lock either side, but from the looks of it, it seems its been rubbing fairly often and idk when.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What made you think something was wrong to begin with?
First of all, I was getting the shakes at highway speeds, and also getting a shaky steering wheel when on the brakes also at highway speeds. I know that typically means warped rotors, but it wouldnt do it all the time. If the rotors were warped, then it would be consistant. Also, I've been getting a nice clunk when i first start the truck in the morning, and back out of my driveway with the wheel turned, every time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok guys, so a little update here. I took all the rest of the skids off except the gas tank skid, and I pulled the front driveshaft to eliminate the possibility of the clunk coming from the u-joints. I took it for a drive and it seems perfectly smooth, except when i hit the brakes at 60-65. I probably do need to do my front brakes, but thats a lesser problem.

Sure enough, that clunk is still there. I guess my next step is to drain the diff fluid, and see if metal shavings come out. If not, then I will swap axles, fill the diff back up, and take her for a spin. If that clunk goes away, then I know it was just the axles. If it does not go away, then I know its the diff. I spoke with my buddy who is a nissan tech, and he too thinks a bit of play is normal. He said he is gonna check the play on another xterra at work tomorrow and let me know.

Also to add to this, I found that two of the bolts back out and are gone from the front flange on the driveshaft. I wonder why? Weird....and they were both opposite one another.

Anyways, tomorrow I will swap the axles and see if that is the cuprit, as well as install the new u-joints. Hopefully that is all thats going on here.
 

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The brakes sound like a great place to start as you said. Have you been able to replicate the issue? When I blew my front spiders it was more of a "click" under load as I broke a few teeth off. So the front wheels would start to turn until it hit the broken teeth... "click"

As others said, there is play in those cv's, they are just the pop in type that are held in place with a ring at the end (unlike the titan cv's that are bolt on) as well as the spindle, lca and uca holding it in place. Did you try rotating them at full droop to see if the noise was coming from one of the knuckles?

As far as the bolts go, I've used red locktite on my drive shaft nuts in the past without and issue removing them, but since I have switched to blue and did all 12 of the m205 bolts and they are still torqued to spec last I checked.

Were you able to check your ball joints?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The brakes sound like a great place to start as you said. Have you been able to replicate the issue? When I blew my front spiders it was more of a "click" under load as I broke a few teeth off. So the front wheels would start to turn until it hit the broken teeth... "click"

As others said, there is play in those cv's, they are just the pop in type that are held in place with a ring at the end (unlike the titan cv's that are bolt on) as well as the spindle, lca and uca holding it in place. Did you try rotating them at full droop to see if the noise was coming from one of the knuckles?

As far as the bolts go, I've used red locktite on my drive shaft nuts in the past without and issue removing them, but since I have switched to blue and did all 12 of the m205 bolts and they are still torqued to spec last I checked.

Were you able to check your ball joints?
I don't hear any abnormal noises while driving, only when I'm backing out of my driveway, or a parking spot when I have the wheel turned hard and going over a bump. I didn't try spinning the wheels/axles with it up in the air because it was getting late last night. I did do a front end check, and it seems that my ball joints/tie rods/wheel bearings are all nice and tight. I will def be using loctite on the driveshaft bolts this time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
As per everyone telling me that it is normal to have play where the axles go in the diff, its making me think its just the axles that are bad. I will drain the diff fluid tonight to check for metal shavings to be sure.

Also, just to note...my saws are the 2.0 extended versions. I am not titan swapped in case some of you thought i was. I will try to post pics of the spacers at the bottom mounts of the coilovers.

Thanks again for all your gus' input. Mucho appreciated!!
 

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It took me 3 months and finally a trip to the mechanic to learn that one of my LCA bolts were tight but not torqued enough. What does it sound like when a LCA bolt is not torqued enough? Clunk over slow bumps, clunk during slow turns, clunk during initial acceleration once it really started to work itself loose.

It will take about 10 minutes to torque these. Check em before you do much else.

it also sounds like you really need a brake job and for someone to balance your wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It took me 3 months and finally a trip to the mechanic to learn that one of my LCA bolts were tight but not torqued enough. What does it sound like when a LCA bolt is not torqued enough? Clunk over slow bumps, clunk during slow turns, clunk during initial acceleration once it really started to work itself loose.

It will take about 10 minutes to torque these. Check em before you do much else.

it also sounds like you really need a brake job and for someone to balance your wheels.
Its def not the lca bolts, but thanks for the input. And yeah, I def need to do my front brakes.
 
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