Nissan Axle Assembly: Some Diagnostic and Troubleshooting Tips
There are ways to tell if something's amiss with your Nissan axle assembly. However, figuring this out can be a puzzle. Here are some tips on how to troubleshoot the problem:
Rumbling and vibrations
When you drive down the road and experience some rumbling or some vibrations as the vehicle accelerates or turns, chances are, something's not right with your axle assembly. The axle can be worn out or broken. When accompanied by unusual sounds, you can almost be sure that something needs to be checked in that assembly. The problem could most likely be the CV joint.
Free play/excessive movement
If you suspect a fault within the axle assembly, you can always search for any signs of wear. Move the axle up and down. If there's free play or excessive movement, then you got your answer. The axle is probably worn out and needs replacement. If the vehicle has reached more than 100,000 miles, it shouldn't be a surprise. As you take a closer look at the axle, also check the rest of the assembly. This will be a great opportunity for you to catch any impending trouble.
Those strange noises while driving can be clues to all sorts of axle assembly problems. The vehicle may turn into a chatterbox, for instance, with fast clicking that becomes a chatter as the car accelerates. There could also be some clunking from the driveline. The problem here is most likely a worn-out CV joint. Now, if there's squeaking or clicking that is accompanied by vibration while the vehicle runs at slow speed, this could be the case of a damaged or an insufficiently lubricated U-joint. Whirring sounds as the speed increases can usually be blamed on the pinion bearings, while clunking, banging and jerking as the vehicle pulls forward could mean that the ring or pinion gear is missing a tooth or has broken teeth.
That low-pitched growl from the axle is never a good thing. This may seem like tire drone and may be unnoticeable at low speeds. It may also be accompanied by vibration. Check the axle shaft bearing or the differential carrier bearing and search for any signs of wear such as leaks and scores. A damaged carrier bearing would usually require an axle rebuild. If it's the axle shaft bearing, you may have to replace the seal, bearing, and the axle shaft itself. Although it won't be easy to figure out which part of the assembly is acting up simply through hearing its strange noises, it shouldn't be ignored.