Jump to content

Due to a hardware failure on the hosts systems, all posts and messages created between May 26th and Jan 13th have been lost. Additionally, if you joined the NPORA Forums community during that time, you'll need to re-register. -NPORA Mod Team *Updated: 05/19/2022 12:15AM PST

Weird rattle noise when in 4 wheel drive


Recommended Posts

Hi all! :-)


I put my 1993 Pathfinder into 4-hi the other day. No real reason. Noticed that there was a terrible rattle noise right afterwards when the vehicle was in motion. Kinda sounded like a couple of rocks in a coffee can, best way to describe it. :wacko:


Slipped it back into 2 wheel. Light went out on the dash. Continued driving and the noise remained.


Backed up a few feet, then continued on my way. Now the noise was gone.


I can repeat this now every time. Put it into 4, drive along and hear the noise, put it back into 2, noise remains until I do the back up for a few feet.


What's up? Auto hubs gone?


Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I had auto hubs and one was failing (probably could have gotten away with a teardown/rebuild. There's a how to somewhere here for that) mine would make a noise similar to spinning a ratchet. Reverse to disengage and fine until I locked the front in again.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1, sounds like the auto hubs crapping out. Mine did the same thing after I made the mistake of cleaning/regreasing one of them. I can only assume the black sticky grease that was in there was the only thing making the worn-out clutch bits work. My fix was a set of manual hubs.


Sure gets your attention when one pops half out and starts clattering!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm on the worn CV axles train. You only hear it when the hubs are engaged because that's when the cv axles are turning, and clicking. I've got a bad one I need to replace too, you can even hear it on of my videos.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd check the cv boots, if there in good shape, I'd blame the hubs. My cv boots were shot for the better part of two years driving on anything from asphalt to mud and wet sand, still made zero noise. I get a similar noise in my hubs in 4-Lo/reverse, not in forward though. I plan on swapping to manual hubs eventually. I serviced the auto hubs when I dropped the engine in a few months ago, along with rebuilding/rebooting them at the same time I did the engine swap. CV's usually are more noisy when their loaded and turning. Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps.




Edited by Manik
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

just got under there finally, as the weather has been pretty good this winter so I haven't needed to use 4 wheel drive yet


the noise looks to be coming from the front diff / front driveshaft u joint connection


u joint seems pretty tight


I didn't jack up the truck, just crawled under and checked for u joint play with trans in neutral and in 2 wheel so front disengaged


I heard the noise when I spun the driveshaft with my hand


very faint noise, but it seemed like it was coming more from the diff area rather than the u joint, but still close to the connection at the u joint, and not back in the diff housing


so noise seems to come a bit forward of the u joint


any more ways I can troubleshoot this without taking apart the front axle? I'd rather not if I don't have to :/


I was thinking about just pumping the front diff full of fluid to see if it quiets down

Link to comment
Share on other sites

more symptoms I found, hopefully can lead to a better idea of what's broken


put her into 4h and got on the gas, and there was no noise


let off the gas and coasted, noise came back


this was pretty consistent, noise under deceleration, no noise under acceleration


then, while in 4h, had to do a sharp, low speed left hand turn, which caused some thumping, clunking and wheel hop


right after this on a straight-away, there was no noise at all under accelleration or decelleration... none at all


kept driving straight with no noise for about 250 meters or so, then had to make a gentle right hand turn, which caused the noise to return


I'm pretty baffled because this is way above my skill level


I'm trying to get a sense of what's wrong to decide if it's worth spending $$$$ to fix, or if I should just live with it, since it spends most time on pavement in 2wd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My trouble was like yours. In my case, is was a rusty heat-shield, which broke off of my exhaust manifold. When the 4-wheel drive was engaged, it was wedged in in the axle and would make a terrible noise. My 2 cents.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

sure enough, that was it


couldn't see it from below the truck, but from above it was plain that the heat shield was interfering with the driveshaft


I yanked it out and now all is good!


I suppose I'll need to put something back on the exhaust pipe to help shield whatever it is that needs shielding, but for now I'm happy I've got a 4x4 again before the snow hits


thanks for the ideas guys :excl:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Welcome to NPORA Forums


Please register to gain full access to the forum.

Make sure you read the Forum Guidelines and don't forget to post a new intro in the New People Start Here! section, to say hi too everyone.



  • Create New...