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Noise.....


MTGunner
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Have been driving my 2000 Pathfinder for approximately 10,000 miles now, one year. It has a droning, light howling noise in the drivetrain. Put it up on jacks upon returning from 100 mile round trip today. Have been thinking universal joints, but no play. Universals do not clunk when put into gear. There is a slight play, less than 1/8” in the shaft where it slips into the rear of the transfer case. But does not seem excessive. There are no leaks from transfer case or any other obvious leaks underneath. ???????

At one point thought it may be exhaust noise. What think you all? Is this a common issue? My Pathfinder, SE, 4x4 has just over 150,000 miles on the odometer. It runs great, starts great. Have no other problems other than this noise that bothers me. Thanks for the input. MTG

Edited by MTGunner
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I would probably replace the transfer case and differential fluid (along with LS additive as required) just to be sure they are full and correct.

But I think this is a known issue if you search the forum, perhaps differential bearing or trailing arm bushings with too much play.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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Fluids were changed approximately 8000 miles ago. Could not hurt to do again. No play at differential end. Just slight play at transfer case end. MTG

Edited by MTGunner
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Mine has play at the transfer case also. I thought something in my diff was bad for sure not long ago and it was actually my tires; Cooper Discovery AT3 XLT with low pressure.

 

If something in the diff is worn out bad enough to howl, would the diff case get hot? Maybe he could diagnose it that way if so.

 

What about wheel bearings?

 

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Towndawg, my 2000 Pathfinder is not lifted. There are no mechanical noises, clunks or mechanical engagement noises other than the droning noise lessons when I reduce speed. I thought the universals would be the issue but both are tight and no play. MTG

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Onespiritbrain, I do have larger aggressive tires that I have been running a 30psi. For the life of me the noise comes from near the front drive shaft near the rear transfer case. But, what the heck, I can only hear the howling within the vehicle compartment. I have checked and repacked front wheel bearings. I will drive and check the rear diff case for heat.

approximately how much play at the rear of transfer case in yours? MTG

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It is possible that you have a worn bearing making the noise. That bearing could be in the trans, t-case, or diffs. Does it happen in all gears? Does it go away or get worse in 4wd? 

 

Often I have to put the car up on a lift, put it in gear and use a mechanics stethoscope to pin point noises. Most times failing bearings make noise long before noticable play in them. 

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Have you tried putting jacks on all four corners and running it up to highway speeds? Its obviously dangerous and you'd better be incredibly careful but you could lay a hand on some of the components to see if you can feel the droning with your hands. 

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Some weeks back I jacked up the rear of the car, placed on jack stands, started my Pathfinder and put into drive. Crawled under to perhaps diagnose the noise. Could not identify any specific droning noise. I did not raise the front end for same. This drone/whine I hear inside the vehicle when I drive. 

This morning I drove my Pathfinder in 4x4 high and low. No difference in noise other than a whine in 4 wheel low which I assume could be normal, perhaps. 

The real issue is that I want to drive this home to Montana, 1400 miles. Therefore my paranoia regarding this noise. WTH, could be my aggressive tires.  

Really not comfortable placing all four wheels in the air and running up to highway speeds. 

MTG

Edited by MTGunner
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Sounds like the noise could be in the front end. One thing you can try is to remove the drive flanges and see if the noise is still there. If the noise is gone, then you know it is from something in the front drivetrain. Front diff, front driveline, or front output of the t-case. If you still have the noise, you know the source is elsewhere like the tires, wheel bearings, rear diff, trans, or t-case. 

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  • 1 year later...
On 2/21/2020 at 5:00 PM, MTGunner said:

Drove my Pathfinder from SW NM to NW MT, 1350 miles. Nothing broke, seized, never broke down. But, now that it is home I will put up on 4 good jack stands to find noise. MTG 

Did you ever resolve this issue? I seem to be having the same problem. 

 

I really hear it when cruising at ~70mph. If I let off the throttle then I don't hear it. If I really get on the throttle then it seems to stop. This makes me think it is gearing engagement in the dif but I'm not sure. Could be the bearings too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been having same problem, 1999 Pathfinder. Vibration in front end from 60 kmph to 100 kmph (40-60 mph). I checked everything and the only thing that stops it is removing front drive shaft. If you do remove it make sure to mark it so it can be reinstalled in the same position. I have been told it is probably Transfer Case Bearing or Bearings. A few comments I received:

 

" I suspect the bearings as well. There should not be any noticeable end play at the drive shaft flange on the transfer case. There is a front and rear bearing in the transfer case for the front drive shaft. Both are suspect. To replace them requires the transfer case to be disassembled. The factory service manual has a good write up for overhauling the transfer case and specialty tools that would be needed."

" Those bearings are pressed onto the drive shaft in the transfer case. The bearing and shaft assembly needs to be removed from the disassembled case in order to use a puller to take the bearings off of the shaft."

I have not gone any further with this. I will try replacing front Drive Shaft and if that does not work I will have to park it till I decide next step. I find it strange that other than the vibration which is only at at the speeds mentioned, it runs fine. No noise from Transfer Case, Shifts fine and No leaks from Transfer Case. Let me know what your findings are.

 
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