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Discussion Starter #1
Well,

I'm now part of the not so elite club of Xterra owners with far more than their fair share of premature drive train component failures... :(

My story:
Purchased said 2006 Nissan Xterra S 4WD 3 weeks ago with about 72,700 miles on it for about $11,600. Found out just before I opened the check book that the tranny and radiator were replaced about 1 year ago...Surprise!..was about to cancel the deal if it had original radiator. So I thought, great, one less $ worry with completing the purchase. Came with a 3 month/3K mi warranty on the drive train so I was pretty comfortable. :hello2: Drove her home that night and noticed a bit of a whining/howling sound coming from the rear undercarriage area only when going between 65-70mph. Thought it was odd, but being new to automatics/4x4s, thought perhaps this was "normal" for this type of vehicle. Then I got around to searching for the cause of this sound online....several posts from google landed me here and I concluded based on some experimenting and careful attention to the behavior of the sound a couple days ago that the cause was excessive wear of the rear diff. :angry5:

Today's trip back to Dealer:
Dealer (not Nissan dealer) had mechanic ride with me to confirm the sound. The mechanic concluded drive train components were fine and sound appeared to be coming from the diff, but was most likely a "normal sound" for this vehs of this nature/size/components, etc.....Hog wash, I thought. :pirate: So told them I agree the diff is the issue, however the issue was not "typical/normal" for this type of vehicle. I advised them my research (this site) indicates excessive wear as the cause. Anyway, they agreed to a 2nd opinion via the Nissan dealership across the road from their lot. The Nissan dealer (same owner) across the road said they'd need to perform "diagnostic tests" on the diff. I asked what "diagnostic tests" they do to test these. The mechanic indicated they measure the gears for wear, etc. Told him I want to see it when he opens it up....looked through the window into the garage area and saw him shaking his head with a couple other mechanics looking into a small cup. Came to tell me based on 2 oz of diff fluid the diff was in need of replacement due to the shavings present (...never even bothered to open up the pumpkin). Estimate: $3,300 - $3,500 for a new rear axle assembly!...said they'll call me tomorrow after tt the dealer I bought it from. :violent3: More to come....

Love the truck. Hate the shoddy materials/construction. :salute:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update - Day 2

Well,

No call from anyone today from the dealer.....I can almost see them huddled, looking for a safe way to squirm :scratch: out of the 3month/3K mile used vehicle power train warranty. :drunken: I called the Service Manager to see what was up around noon today...said he needs to hear back from one of the managers at the Nissan dealer that diagnosed the defect.

My best guess is they'll call tomorrow and give me some :bs: about the diff fluid not being replaced by the prior owner @ 60K as being the cause of the shavings. They will then indicate they are denying the warranty, but in a goodwill gesture, they will offer to pay 1/2.:rulez:

Either that or they'll try to say that the shavings and sound it makes at 65-70 do not equate to a component failure....although it's now a ticking time bomb with a resale value reduced by $3,500.

.....I'll keep you posted, but the service manager's demeanor has me concerned. They tried to brush the $3,500 problem under the rug yesterday. Sadly, a weaker/less informed person would have bent over and gone home with their tail between their legs....not this guy.:whax:
 

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1st off, $3500 for a c200k axle is absolute BS, labor must be included but still, ridiculous. Also, just cause the R&P gears and/or the open carrier is F'd you could still just replace those parts on the cheap. Sh*t I have a c200k that would fit (if yours is auto) sitting in my garage right now, however I have no idea where you are... Either way, this is not the end of the world. Let me know if you need some help finding used parts locally.
 

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Day 3....still waiting

N.Y.X & rmacknight, thank you for the offer of assistance and the encouragement! You're obviously a couple of stand up fellas. :eek:ccasion5:

I am surprised to hear you say there are internals available for this differential. Nearly all of the posts I see on this model (06 S 4WD automatic) indicate that the entire diff needs to be replaced as Nissan doesn't make/sell the internals....kind of strange to hear otherwise. Oh, and the Tech I played dumb with said that this was due to the pressed seals on the diff, etc. I must admit, I know a thing or two about engine/emission components/peripherals, but not a lot about the gears/transmission related parts. I'm sure I could figure it out if I had to, but I may be able to leave it up to the warranty on this thing, we'll see.

So, today I did not hear from the dealer either....called them this evening to say "what's going on?"....young fella in the service dept said that the guy handling the issue was off today and that he was sorry, etc, etc...nice to know they care enough to let someone else know to call and give an update :joker:

So I called the Nissan dealer that diagnosed the failed diff and recommended complete replacement to the "upgraded" version Nissan now makes for this model. The very nice girl I've been dealing with there said that her Service dept manager called the dealer I got it from and "backed up the Tech" that diagnosed the diff (I made sure to get the Tech to tell me he checked with other Techs who concurred with him). Sounds like they will have a hard time weaseling out of this hole, but they'll probably give it the ol' college try....not too worried though, their 0 complaint rating with the BBB will go away and the DOT Dealer complaint would be nice and painless to submit online in my spare time. It's also been a couple years since I got a lawyer to cry uncle to this pro se amateur...I'm game if need be.... Hope for their own sake they don't choose that path....co-worker of mine said she wouldn't wish my wrath on anyone! :rockin:

Oh yeah, the "List price" on the diff is 2,790.30, for a total of $3,300 - $3,500 with 4.5hrs labor. Nissan part # 43003-EA009

Suffice to say, I'll take a new rear end over the replacement parts if this is what Nissan tells my dealer is necessary. :violent1:

Sounds like I'll learn more Monday.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks rmacknight.

One clarification, the Nissan dealer stated the reason they replace these when they are worn with a whole new axle (vs just the diff) is due to the nature of the seals being pressed into the diff housing, etc....he said he never changed one himself, so probably the best line he could come up with, I'm not sure. Perhaps they also prefer the more durable replacement in there vs the older style that has a history of failures? ...If it means I get a new axle installed under warranty (no cost to me except $100 deductible) vs parts and pieces replaced, I'm cool with that.

Anyway, I'll let you know if I need the parts list. In all reality, I doubt they'd want the negative publicity over this, but I really appreciate your generosity. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.
 

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They replace the whole rear end because its easier to just drop out the old and slap a new one in as opposed to taking the time to disassemble it, replace any worn parts and seals, then reassemble and reinstall. Just a lot easier for them.
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Interested to know where you land on this. I had my whole rear axle replaced under warranty around the same time on my 2007 S 4x4
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Discussion Starter #8
Dealer/Warranty Details

rmacknight,

My situation is a bit different than yours.... (I'm in WI...prefer to leave names out until this issue is resolved)

1. I bought this vehicle used 3 weeks ago from a Mini dealer who also owns the Nissan garage across the street from it. (you know, 'X' name big dealer owns all the brands on the block sort of gig)
2. The warranty is the standard 3 month/3K mile dealer warranty many dealers offer on their used vehicles, not aftermarket...although they did offer to sell me one for like $2,600!! ...um, no thanks. :geek:
3. The Nissan Tech said he was going to perform diagnostics on the diff (measurements), but ended up concluding it needed full replacement upon opening up the fill plug to get an oz. or two out of the diff and seeing a fair amount of shavings in that small quantity. I would imagine the sound it was making + the amount of shavings in 1 oz or so was reason enough to conclude the measurements would be way out of spec without even measuring the internals/opening the pumpkin. From what I've read from others, it sounds like this is probably the same way they'd treat someone who bought the vehicle from any Nissan garage, but you may want to take it to one you did not buy it from. I'm not sure if the Tech knew I have the used vehicle warranty or not...being that they are owned by the same guy, I figured that could possibly be used against me, but it appears they were straight up about it....In fact, I'm impressed with the behavior with the 20 somethings @ the Nissan garage. I'd definitely consider them in the future....The Mini garage stated they'd go 50/50 on the diagnostic cost (after they told me to drive over there without mentioning this 50/50 idea:angry4:), but once the results were in, the nice girl behind the counter said she was not going to charge me for it as she felt the Mini dealer should take responsibility :thumbup:. I have the cup with the diff fluid sitting here on my desk as I wanted to have the evidence in the event the Mini shop starts any funny business. (the fluid is dark/likely original, however it is viscous, smells like diff fluid (not burned), and not such that this level of wear would be the result of its use...basically, it's your average used diff fluid.)

*As for your warranty claim situation: Have you tried to take it to a different dealer and NOT mentioned it was to see if it meets the "warranty claim". I believe it would be wise that they don't know it has to do with a warranty. This should ensure they diagnose it the same as they would with Joe Blow off the street.
 

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Did Nissan take the cover off and do a gauge test on the internals or did they just pony up and show good faith.What state are you in and did you buy the x from that dealership.These are all variables that make Nissan respond to the issues in their products.I have a aftermarket warranty not through Nissan which I suspect is why im getting the run around.So,if you got the diff replaced for free consider yourself lucky.The site that I found the internal parts at clearly stated that the whole axle was not for sale to the public which I couldn't understand why.I took my x to two different dealerships and they both wanted to charge me one hours labor at 135.00 per to do the internal inspection and gauging to determine IF the wear were to be deemed a warranty claim.Then theres the 100.00 deductable
I have no idea what they did, but I didn't really see a way out for them. My X was a certified pre-owned so it was still covered under a Nissan warranty out to 100k. I had experienced whining and clunking for a while. Down the road, I got out of the X one day and could smell dif fluid. A seal had busted loose and I lost most of the dif fluid all over the underside of the X. Topped it off and dropped it off at the dealership. After explanation of the fluid loss and whining, I figured it would be replaced. They called me back the next day and told me that a new rear axle was on order. Picked it up a few days later ( maybe a week) with a brand new axle under the rear. I immediately did the breather mod and it has been running fine since.

I don't think Nissan wants technicians fooling around with the axle, so most times I think they are going to call for a full axle replacement. I'm guessing it has to do with quality assurance. They can have these axles worked on at a central or regional facility where they can monitor specs more closely and then ship them out to local dealers. One thing that was interesting was that whatever "changes" they made to the axle included running 75w140 instead of the 75w90 or whatever was in there before.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Act II

Looks like my instincts were correct. The Dealer I bought the used X from called me today and indicated they will offer to go "50/50" on the repair since "it's just noise" and there is "not anything wrong with the vehicle itself". ....sound familiar??
My best guess is they'll call tomorrow and give me some :bs: about the diff fluid not being replaced by the prior owner @ 60K as being the cause of the shavings. They will then indicate they are denying the warranty, but in a goodwill gesture, they will offer to pay 1/2.
So anyway, I was obviously not having any of it, and did what I could to remain relatively cool under the circumstances. I advised the young man that he can advise his manager I'd like a call and that I'm planning complaints with the BBB, WI DOT Dealer Complaint agent, internet, etc.

At this point, it appears I'll be waiting for an explanation from the manager as to why the Professionals over at Nissan informed me I need a "new axle", but they are concluding there is nothing wrong. Sounds like I may need to start dusting off the law books.

I'm a bit miffed that they would even make this statement fully knowing Nissan found a high amount of diff gear shavings in the fluid (which my dealer never bothered to check).

Looks like this is going to be dragged out.....hard to believe all of this from a very reputable dealer/owner. The fact that they have yet to apologize for selling me a vehicle at "excellent condition" price now knowing that it actually needs a $3,500 repair is mind-blowing. I'm not sure what leg they think they have to stand on, but I'm not seeing it. The truck had the issue prior to my purchase from them (reason alone for a legal argument against them outside the warranty itself).

Anyone think they stand a chance on this?

More to come when I speak to the manager......
 

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Update

Well,
I did not hear from a manager, but the same young man I didn't mince words with yesterday from the Mini shop called and left me a VM this afternoon. I called him back while on break at work. He indicated that they will now "take care of the fix" and to set up an appt with the Nissan dealer to get the axle replaced (they asked Nissan to order the part). There was little explanation as to why the change of opinion, but I think they knew they didn't have anything worth noting to back up their ridiculous claim to the WI DOT that there was "nothing wrong" with the diff. :chug:

All in all, it is apparent they are convinced I am wanting this repair done because of the sound....really? :banghead: How about the fact that the sound is a symptom of the $3,500 defect that is just waiting to strike in a big way not too far down the road....(Obviously it's the reason the prior owner traded it in). Seems they can't put two and two together. I also called the nice girl from the Nissan shop to see about setting up an appointment. She indicated she heard more about the issue (sounds like this is quite the talk of the shop), but that her manager was more involved....she indicated that the Mini dealer thought that changing the diff fluid would be sufficient...unbelievable how slimy this $#!+ must have gotten behind the scenes. :pottytrain5:

I feel for the poor ASE Nissan Tech. I'm sure he was pressed hard as to why he came up with his diagnosis. I will apologize for any inconvenience caused by the "Mini-hahas" and thank him for being a professional and not wavering in the face of isolation/intimidation. :notworthy:

Lesson: Take at least 1 test drive and drive in as many speeds/conditions possible, listen carefully, get a flashlight and scope the veh yourself or take it to a diff dealer for review prior to purchase. Check ALL fluids and vehicle systems (wipers, lights, seat belts, door handles, you name it!) I'm glad I took the precautions I did and watched what each mechanic did carefully and took home the "evidence" and demanded a copy of the repair estimate...Looking back I should have asked for a written diagnosis from the Nissan Tech and taken names a little more carefully.....you never know what these snakes will try to slip out of. My case was all but a slam dunk, and I was prepared to sue for double damages as permitted by unfair trade practices law in WI. I'm not out to make money, but being hung out to dry will not be tolerated. Just because they got screwed due to incompetent ASE Techs unfamiliar with SUVs at trade-in, doesn't mean it becomes my problem.
I'm hopeful all goes well with the actual repair.
I also left a VM for the manager of the Mini shop. I'd like to speak to him and teach him a thing or two about what I learned after 10 years in the customer service business...Primary complaint - Not ONCE did Mini apologize for selling me a vehicle with a $3,500 defect. Thanks for reading my drama...glad it's almost over.
 

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where you at and when are you coming wheeling with the GLXer's?
 

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Sounds like you handled it about as well as could be expected, kudos ... and that Nissan Tech is one whose name I would hang on to, may come in handy down the line.

Bummer that the initial POS dealer (point of sale, what were you thinking ... ;)) tried to give you the run around, but good for you to hold your ground and to back it up as calmly and professionally as you could under the circumstances.

I'm sure I don't say anything you haven't thought of, but at the risk of coming on a bit strong ... it's times like this when a 'thank you' of your favorite 6-er or Friday morning doughnuts if you prefer, would go a long way towards that tech remembering you, should you need to seek his help again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I called and talked to the Mini manager today a little bit. He was friendly, etc, but gave me the impression that he went "above and beyond what most dealers would have done"...said most dealers would have had the "diff flushed" and be done with it...I informed him that I heard that was his intent. I also reminded him that flushing away the shavings would not solve the problem, and that I could have taken his shop for double damages if I wanted to push the subject ($7,000).
Long story short, I informed him the conclusion should have been arrived at from day 1; no teeth pulling needed, and worst of all, not 1 apology for the situation from his shop. :laughing3: Imagine how that confidence boosting story would have looked on the dealer's website....worth far more than $3,500! :thumbright: Oh well, now the're out $3,500 and will not be getting a nice story to go with it - maybe they'll learn, who knows. :blackeye:

skibum315, I like your idea of the beer or donuts for the Nissan Tech. I think I'll do the donuts and let his buddies in the shop know what being Professional is all about and share in the spoils. Maintain your integrity and do well by your customers....it will take you a long way in life/business.

Bucksnort, I'm near Appleton, WI, but don't plan to do much off-roading...not yet anyway. Mainly got this vehicle to pull my fishing boat around as my 2WD 2.5L manual xmission 99 Ford Ranger was a submarine waiting to happen. :fish:
 

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Bucksnort, I'm near Appleton, WI, but don't plan to do much off-roading...not yet anyway. Mainly got this vehicle to pull my fishing boat around as my 2WD 2.5L manual xmission 99 Ford Ranger was a submarine waiting to happen. :fish:
Glad you got this taken care of. I've had experiences like this at just about every dealership I've gone to.

And BTW, I used to live across the mighty Winnebago. I miss that area.
 

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Sounds like you are getting what you want. I wouldn't necessarily go around burning bridges with the seller since they are giving you what you want, but that is your business.
 

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Sounds like you are getting what you want. I wouldn't necessarily go around burning bridges with the seller since they are giving you what you want, but that is your business.
I let the manager know I will not "bash" them on their website or file complaints, but I will not be leaving a "feel good story" either....They had the opportunity for that and missed out. The only reason they went along with the fix is because they are well aware they had no leg to stand on legally. Had I been someone unfamiliar with vehicles, they would have convinced me all is well, with a smile on their faces. :hello2:

Vitanksi, I look forward to many good years of fishing the Winnebago system. This Nissan is the final piece of the puzzle for me. Bring on the fish! :cheers:
 
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