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Mystery Drivetrain Sound (2013 Pro-4X 5AT)

603 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  YourKingslayer
Hi All,

I purchased a 2013 Pro-4X 5AT last fall after being without a vehicle for some time. I had a first gen X in high school when I was younger, and was drawn back to the XTerra now as an adult. My 2013 has about 87k miles on it now (put about 4k on since purchasing it) and I recently had to replace my rear axle seals and bearings (along with the rear brakes) thanks to a worn seal on the right rear axle. This repair cleared up some issues with vibration at stops, as well as at highway speeds. The rest of the drivetrain received a clean bill of health (minor metal filings in the rear diff, standard wear type of stuff). Nonetheless, I am paranoid about my baby as any parent should be.

I've tried to do a fair bit of research to see if I could track down the answer, but YouTube, Google, and various forums haven't provided a clear answer. My "issue" is related to a sound that seems to come from the transmission when revving the vehicle in Park or Neutral. I'm not talking rev limiter stuff here - more in the range of 2k to 3k, tops. As the revs die down, I hear a sound - it's not quite a whirring, not quite a whooshing, and not quite a rattling. It only presents as the revs die down, and only in Park and Neutral (a low rev brake test in Drive results in no sound, and normal load in Drive also doesn't appear to result in any sound).

Can anyone point me in the direction of what might be causing this? I'm trying to remember if my old Maxima or Altima (also automatics) made similar sounds and it's just an inherent part of automatic transmissions, or if I should be concerned.

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Thanks for the feedback - I've only tested for it solo, so it sounding like it comes from the transmission area may just be because I'm revving from inside the vehicle with the door open. I'm meeting up with a buddy later today so I'll have him rev the engine when I'm out front with the hood popped as well as underneath to see if it's more distinct in one location versus the other. I have perfectly smooth shifts, so I'm hoping it's not transmission related, but I'm coming up on a 90k service anyway so might not be a bad call to just change the ATF and filter anyway. Any recommendation on type/how big the magnet needs to be for it to collect any potential metal shards?
Managed to get under it and it seems less like it's coming from the transmission area, and more like it's around the transfer case area (although I can't imagine anything in the transfer case is moving when the vehicle is in park or neutral). The other thing I didn't consider is that it might be the exhaust system. It is fairly rusted so not sure if there's a leak, some loose heat shields, a failing cat, or some gaps in a flange. Will probably end up taking it in to get looked at either way, just to put my mind to rest.
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