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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen so many posts about drivetrain vibration and haven't quite found anyone that has the same symptoms as mine after some of the eliminations I've made. Here's what I'm dealing with -

2006 Xterra OR A/T with 70k miles.

Within the last 90 days I've changed the oil, trans fluid, transfer, and replaced all three engine mounts.
Radiator was replaced on initiative, no cross contamination in the trans.
Rear prop shaft was replaced entirely as it had a leaking U Joint and play in the CV.
Front prop was removed for a test drive and did not make any difference on the vibration so is assumed not the cause and reinstalled.
All brakes and rotors were replaced, rear calipers were replaced. Rotor temps are nominal after driving.
Tires are about 6 months old and not suspected at the moment.

The vibration begins around 30-32 mph and feels very much like its in the drive train, not the wheels. It's felt when coasting at that speed but is much more pronounced when accelerating/under load. It also happens regardless of what gear I hold it in, but is more apparent when in 4th, but that could simply be that it's not being masked by higher RPM noise of a lower gear. It is not felt in the steering, rather felt in the seat/body underneath you. It feels like a prop shaft out of balance or a U joint beginning to fail, but again I replaced the entire shaft and mounts.

Any ideas?
 

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I've seen so many posts about drivetrain vibration and haven't quite found anyone that has the same symptoms as mine after some of the eliminations I've made. Here's what I'm dealing with -

2006 Xterra OR A/T with 70k miles.

Within the last 90 days I've changed the oil, trans fluid, transfer, and replaced all three engine mounts.
Radiator was replaced on initiative, no cross contamination in the trans.
Rear prop shaft was replaced entirely as it had a leaking U Joint and play in the CV.
Front prop was removed for a test drive and did not make any difference on the vibration so is assumed not the cause and reinstalled.
All brakes and rotors were replaced, rear calipers were replaced. Rotor temps are nominal after driving.
Tires are about 6 months old and not suspected at the moment.

The vibration begins around 30-32 mph and feels very much like its in the drive train, not the wheels. It's felt when coasting at that speed but is much more pronounced when accelerating/under load. It also happens regardless of what gear I hold it in, but is more apparent when in 4th, but that could simply be that it's not being masked by higher RPM noise of a lower gear. It is not felt in the steering, rather felt in the seat/body underneath you. It feels like a prop shaft out of balance or a U joint beginning to fail, but again I replaced the entire shaft and mounts.

Any ideas?
I’m assuming you haven’t since you didn’t mention it, but have lifted the rear end recently? Change leaf springs, shocks or anything? Changing the angle between the rear drive shaft and the transfer case can cause vibration at those speeds. You could also have a bad u joint on you drive shaft.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I’m assuming you haven’t since you didn’t mention it, but have lifted the rear end recently? Change leaf springs, shocks or anything? Changing the angle between the rear drive shaft and the transfer case can cause vibration at those speeds. You could also have a bad u joint on you drive shaft.
Nothing new on shocks or springs, shocks were changed 5 years ago. The vibration began around September. U joint isn’t likely bad as it’s brand new and the vibration was happened both before and after I swapped that prop out. Removal of the front prop made no difference either.
 

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You seem to have tried everything but....
Have you tried rotating your tires?
Have you replaced front u-joints?
Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You seem to have tried everything but....
Have you tried rotating your tires?
Have you replaced front u-joints?
Good Luck!
I did one better, I swapped wheels off my buddy's 2019 Frontier to eliminate my tires or wheel balance issue. Vibration continued as expected. For the front u-joints, I pulled the front prop and drove it without it in to eliminate that as the cause. The rear prop was just replaced, however. Today I changed both the rear and front diff fluids. Rear was okay but the front was pretty bad. I don't use the 4 wheel drive however. Very rarely, maybe once a year in the winter.
 

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Have you checked you CV Axles up front?

By "Prop Shaft', do you mean the front and rear driveshafts?

Did you have the rear driveshaft balanced when you had the U-Joint swapped out?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Have you checked you CV Axles up front?

By "Prop Shaft', do you mean the front and rear driveshafts?

Did you have the rear driveshaft balanced when you had the U-Joint swapped out?
Yes I mean the drive shafts. I replaced the rear shaft entirely with a new OEM shaft.
 

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Yes I mean the drive shafts. I replaced the rear shaft entirely with a new OEM shaft.
Did you have it balanced? A new driveshaft could be unbalanced, especially after the U-Joint is installed. Always a good idea to take it to a driveline shop and have them balance it before installation.

Also, is your truck lifted? If the rear is lifted, it changes the pinion angle. Too much angle will cause a driveline vibration.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Did you have it balanced? A new driveshaft could be unbalanced, especially after the U-Joint is installed. Always a good idea to take it to a driveline shop and have them balance it before installation.

Also, is your truck lifted? If the rear is lifted, it changes the pinion angle. Too much angle will cause a driveline vibration.
the rear shaft is sold as a complete assembly from Nissan, joints and weights are already installed. Its not lifted, it’s stock offroad trim.
 

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have you checked the condition of the gears in both diffs?

If it were me, and I had gotten to this point, I'd start looking at gears, bearings and brakes.
 

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I've seen so many posts about drivetrain vibration and haven't quite found anyone that has the same symptoms as mine after some of the eliminations I've made. Here's what I'm dealing with -

2006 Xterra OR A/T with 70k miles.

Within the last 90 days I've changed the oil, trans fluid, transfer, and replaced all three engine mounts.
Radiator was replaced on initiative, no cross contamination in the trans.
Rear prop shaft was replaced entirely as it had a leaking U Joint and play in the CV.
Front prop was removed for a test drive and did not make any difference on the vibration so is assumed not the cause and reinstalled.
All brakes and rotors were replaced, rear calipers were replaced. Rotor temps are nominal after driving.
Tires are about 6 months old and not suspected at the moment.

The vibration begins around 30-32 mph and feels very much like its in the drive train, not the wheels. It's felt when coasting at that speed but is much more pronounced when accelerating/under load. It also happens regardless of what gear I hold it in, but is more apparent when in 4th, but that could simply be that it's not being masked by higher RPM noise of a lower gear. It is not felt in the steering, rather felt in the seat/body underneath you. It feels like a prop shaft out of balance or a U joint beginning to fail, but again I replaced the entire shaft and mounts.

Any ideas?
I had the same problem turned out i needed a front end alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update - well the problem has worsened over only a few days. I guess give anything enough time and it will expose itself. Seems I have bad rear axle bearing(s). How can I verify which axle I have so I can chase down the parts since Nissan doesn't want to offer them anymore?
 

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Nissan sells the complete axle shafts with bearings already pressed on.

If you want to replace just the bearings and seals you can do that also.

Is yours a standard X or off-road/pro-4x?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Nissan sells the complete axle shafts with bearings already pressed on.

If you want to replace just the bearings and seals you can do that also.

Is yours a standard X or off-road/pro-4x?
Oh, I was under the impression they no longer offer the axle shafts and only have the entire axle assembly. That would be my preferred action than replacing the entire thing. They want nearly 3k for the axle assembly.

It's gotten so bad today that I think it's best I take it in tomorrow and have them diagnose which bearing(s) are bad and what my options with them are. If they'll do the shafts w/bearings at a reasonable rate, I may do that. If they only want to do a whole axle assembly, I'll probably go aftermarket. As this is currently my primary car, I may just fix it and list it for sale and get something more appropriate for my current situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I think msrp on the shafts is $400 each.
Yeah, I've seen them online at a dealer, but I don't know if it's actually on the shelf or if my local dealer can get it in (sans freight fee).

 

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Discussion Starter #20
So the official diagnosis from Nissan is that the pinion bearing is failing as is the seal. Their only remedy is the entire axle replacement to the tune of $4,200 w/labor. So I guess I have to decide if I want to throw $4k into a 14 year old truck not worth much more than that (but it does only have 70k miles...) . I've already spent about $2k replacing the radiator, brakes and rotors, rear prop, 3 engine mounts, and a condenser fan. All in the last 90 days. I don't have the experience to try and rebuild it and I don't know if I could get all the parts since the axle shafts have to come out to rebuild it anyway.

If I have it rebuilt, I'll be leaving the state as soon as it's done and if they didn't get it right I wouldn't be able to come back to the same shop for warranty. If I replace the entire axle, it would solve the pinion bearing but also anything else that might be worn in the axle. But does anyone think I could recoup the $4k new OEM axle if I were to sell/trade in the near future?

And are there after market total axle replacement options? I haven't found anything online, just upgrade kits etc.
 
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