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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! I own a 2004 Titan SE Off-Road with the Big Tow package. I absolutely love the truck, but the past couple weeks I have had this bizarre road noise. ANY thoughts would be great!

Here's what has happened so far:

1.) Bought the truck, and the dealer gave me a free extended warranty. (2004 but only has 58k)

2.) Started to get a rotational "Whoosh" sound that seemed to be in sync with the tires as they turn. Faster you go, the more "Whoosh" you hear

3.) Take it to Nissan they say drivers side rear axle seal is pouring fluid, and bearing is probably bad.

4.) They fix seal, and put a new bearing in. I pick up the truck noise is still there!

5.) They take the truck back and say it needs a new passenger side hub assembly and bearing. They replace at no cost, noise is still there.

6.) Now they think it could be the front differential. They replace the entire front differential, noise is still there!

7.) Last but not least they replace the drivers side hub assembly and bearing, noise is still there.

Interesting to note, if the truck is on a lift with someone in the cab pushing the gas in drive, there is no noise at all. The noise only occurs when the truck is actually on the ground driving.

To me, that says tires, but the noise sounds identical to a bad bearing, but we have eliminated that issue. The truck as 4 almost new Nitto Terra-Grapplers on it. (Maybe they have 5k on them tops?) I've read that a sidewall bulge, bad belt, etc. can cause some strange cyclic road noise, but I guess that could be a long shot.

I also thought a bad rotor, but when you hit the brake the noise stays exactly the same, and as I said up on the lift it makes no noise at all.

Furthermore, it's not so much a "scraping" sound as it is a vibration. You can really only hear it with the windows up and the radio off. Every rotation of the tires and you hear it.

I got the truck up to speed (60mph) and put it in neutral to let it coast...same noise, same frequency etc. The truck drives and shifts absolutely beautiful, and there isn't any jerking int he steering wheel under any conditions.

Sorry for the long winded post, but this really is bizarre! I know maybe a bad tire is a long shot, but I really wish I had 4 stock rimes\tires to test the theory. he truck is going back for a full day for them to look at this week. If they want to keep throwing parts into it at their cost, fine, but I would like to enjoy the truck at some point too. :)

Any ideas would be great. Thanks.
 

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Rotate the tires and see if the noise moves with them. If it is bearings there's a good chance they'll only make noise when the weight of the truck is on them too.
 

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I think you are doing great so far. Just have them keep changing stuff, and you will have a new truck. The new front diff was a big upgrade as 04-05 have a weaker case and tend to allow the half shafts to pull out. Maybe try for a whole new rear axle assembly. ("Hey Mr. Dealer, do you think it might be a pinion or carrier bearing?") The 08+ rear axle assemblies have larger diameter shafts, more splines, and much fewer axle seal leaks. If you have the OR package w/ e-locker (although some 04 OR trucks didn't have the e-locker) 08 e-locker is also a stronger 4-spider design vs. the early 2 spider version. The only disadvantage is the available TrueTrac won't work with the 08+ 35 spline axles. Try to get new spring shackles also, as the 04-07 spring shackles tend to unroll and send the springs through the bed. 08+ shackles are much stronger.

Brakes might be a nice upgrade also, unless you already have the redesigned rotors. There was a TSB for brake judder on the 04s.

Yeah, it could be a tire, but I would save that for last as it might actually fix the problem.

My dealer doesn't like to randomly change expensive parts and uses a listening device with multiple sensors and a switch box. One tech drives the truck, the other wears headphones and switches between sensors to determine the problem.

Oh, sometimes the parking brake shoes can make noise. You just pull the rear rotors to check those. But again, save that for last, cuz it would be a cheap fix.
 

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try putting on another set of tires and see what happens
my truck was making a noise in the rear, it was my pinion bearing, so this monday nissan is replacing my whole rear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice guys! I actually ran out for a bit and took a video. Turn up your speakers and it's clear as day. At around 30 seconds in I let off the gas for less noise, and you can really hear it. Notice is slow down as the truck slows.

 

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Something in the driveshaft? The reason I say that is that last weekend I took out the driveshaft on my Ranger and replaced the carrier bearing and a u-joint (it didn't need it but I bought a new one so by golly I was going to use it!). While it was still up on jack stands I tested it up to about 40 MPH and in reverse. Seemed to work OK but had an odd sound when I put on the brakes. Whatever. Took it for a drive down the hill from my house, worked fine, stopped at the stop sign and started moving. Clunk! Clunk! Clunk! The driveshaft was hitting the bottom of the cab. When I put the carrier bearing bolts back in I didn't put the nut clips in right. I had to tow the Ranger home with the Titan.

So, to make a long story even longer... The driveshaft worked great on the jack stands because it was easy to turn the wheels with no load on them. If you really want to rule out the driveshaft then remove it and drive around in 4Hi mode and see if the same noise is there.
 

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that is a bad clunk. bent rim? bent axle? i don't know. try having someone follow u and watch the tires on the truck. good luck, hope you get it fixed
 

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Something that loud you would think the dealership should be able to find easy. I would ride in the bed to try and get a better handle on the location of the source of the sound.
 

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Hey, just for giggles, get up to speed (say 40 MPH) and then let off the gas and put it in Neutral and see if the noise level changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks guys. Yeah I tried getting up to speed and putting it in Neutral, and the noise stays exactly the same. So I assume that eliminates the drive shaft and drive line from the equation?

I know, the noise is loud and so apparent you would think it would take them 5 minutes to determine the issue, but here we are. lol

I will be sure to post as soon as we find out what is wrong. When we had it on the lift I never thought to look at it straight when they were running it to see if there was anything out of whack with the wheels and tires. Then again, the thing goes down the road perfectly straight and theres no jumping in the steering wheel.

:huh:
 

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Did this start suddenly or did it start out quiet and is getting louder over time?

Did you have any other work done on the truck a couple of weeks ago?

Did you take it off road and the noise started after that?

Is the noise there in all ranges, 2WD, 4-hi and 4-lo?
 

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Thanks guys. Yeah I tried getting up to speed and putting it in Neutral, and the noise stays exactly the same. So I assume that eliminates the drive shaft and drive line from the equation?

Not necessarily, no. Being in Neutral eliminates the application of driving torque from the engine to the drive line, but does not stop its rotation.

Summary: The front and rear drive shafts and internal differential parts will still be rotating because they are being driven in rotation by contact of the tires with the road.

Front Diff:

Front wheels/tires are bolted to the rotary part of the hub, which do not unlock or freewheel. The rotary part of the hub has internal splines which engage external splines on the end of the CV shaft. The other end of the CV shaft is bolted to a flange secured to a half shaft. The inner end of the half shaft has external splines which engage internal splines of a side gear. The side gears engage spider gears supported by a cross shaft on a carrier. The carrier is supported for rotation inside the diff case by carrier bearings. The ring gear is bolted to the carrier and rotates therewith. The pinion gear engages the ring gear and is also connected for rotation with the front drive shaft. Shifting into and out of 4wd happens in the transfer case.

So when you are going down the road in Neutral, contact of the front tires with the road rotationally drives the front tires/wheels/hubs/CV shafts/half shafts/side gears. When you are going in a straight line, the spider gears don't rotate on the cross-shaft, but rather transfer torque to the carrier and ring gear, which in turn rotates the pinion and attached drive shaft.

HowStuffWorks "Open Differentials"

Rear diff:

Each rear wheel is bolted to a flange fixed on the end of an axle shaft. The inner end of the axle shaft has external splines which engage internal splines of a side gear. From here, the story is basically the same as the front diff. (spider gears, carrier, ring, pinion, drive shaft) Shifting into and out of neutral happens in the transmission.
 

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WOW let us know what you find. I wouldn't have left the dealer with my truck sounding like that. On my next trip after they claim to fix it, drive around the block with them in the vehicle. If they can't fix it I'd get my money back. It sound like a bent rim or maybe a really really bad warped caliper possible a bent axle. (actually I've never heard a warped caliper do this) It can also be a tire seperating or spliting internally. Very rare, but I did see a tire split from the inside after a plug repair. Does the steering wheel vibrate, wobble or move out of the ordinary while driving? When did this start happening, when you bought it or after you had it for awhile? I agree with Best, have them keep replacing stuff until you have a rebuilt truck. Shoot tell them you think it's the transmission and after that doesn't solve the problem tell them it's the motor. BTW what dealer I'm going there next..... :hi: My truck is getting older......:redblob" And yeah they make ultra sound machines with pick ups and microphone to find where noise is coming from. Maybe the dealer doesn't have this tool. Here is a link to one manufacturer 97202 - Steelman Tools this is around $225.00.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the info guys, it really helps.

The most troubling part of this whole thing is when we put it on the lift and had someone sit inside with it in drive they ran it up to 50 or so, and there was no noise at all. The fact that you only hear it when the truck is on the ground makes it a royal pain in the ***.

Yeah thankfully my daily commute is literally 6 or 7 miles total, so I can make it a few days without getting too stressed out.

It's funny though, because it seems the mechanics would rather just throw parts into it rather than isolate the issue. To them it was definitely bearings, so 3 out of 4 corners of the truck have new bearings\hub assembly etc. Then they did the front diff.

I'm fine with that, of course..

@TitanEquipped: No, the steering wheel feels fine, and i can get up to highway speed, let of the wheel and it goes straight for quite a distance. No strange vibrations from the wheel at all. And the noise just kind of started out of nowhere, just prior to me getting my rear axle seal replaced. (It was moist)
 

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After driving around for a while feel the wheels at the lugnuts. Does one wheel feel much hotter than the other three? If so there is the problem location. The earlier suggestion of the parking brake being the problem should be relatively easy to resolve. Does your parking brake work? Based on what you provided in your first post of the thread it sounds like the dealer has had the end of every axle apart except for the rear driver side. Correct? If so I would start there.

bestatchess provided a very good response that summarized where I was headed with the coasting in neutral thought. I was looking to see if the noise was an issue of torque.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hello. I honestly never tried my parking brake, so I just went to try it. Sure enough, it does not work at all. I got the truck going about 5 mph or so and slowly put it on, and it did nothing. Then I found a small incline to park on, applied the parking brake, and I rolled back down. The parking brake it definitely useless. Whether that is causing the issue or not, there's one more thing to repair.

And yes, each bearing has been replaced except the passenger side, rear.

Yeah that was an awesome post about how the diffs etc work..and thank you for that! (You learn something every day) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well I'm supposed to leave the truck for a full day this Thursday, so we will see what they find. I've been doing my daily commute, and limiting it to that.

just to list some additional info:

> Tried reverse in a big parking lot, same sound

> Tried 4WD Hi and Low - goes in and out fine, and sound remains

> On a really big on\off ramp I notice the sound seems pronounced when turning left, and when turning right it doesn't seem as loud.

Honestly I can't wait to find out what the deal is here, because hopefully my experience will save someone some time and headaches in the future. :)
 
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