last week I emailed Dana asking about the failure problem and axle seal leaks. In a few days I had response. I asked this person if I could post his comments here and said it was fine. He also wants to here about the failures and what kind of driving conditions has the truck been under for the differential to fail. I also sent him a link to this site with a direct link to some of the threads about the failures and the leaks.
Here is the response
I received and read your information regarding your concerns on both your trucks. I work in Dana Warranty and conduct warranty teardown analysis on Nissan axles, as well as other programs. I will answer your questions the best I can, here they are:
1) Why have both your trucks had wheel seals replaced?
- Model year 2004-2007 Titans have the same axle shaft assembly design (includes wheel seal). It is common knowledge in our warranty that these seals tend to have oil leaks and/or grease seepage from excess wheel bearing grease being applied at our plant. Dana Corporation is in process of testing this design to find its flaws and hopefully come out with a better axle shaft assembly replacement for service axles of model year 2004-2007. In model year 2008+, the axle shaft assembly design has changed with a larger shaft, larger wheel bearing, different wheel seal and added dust deflector. However, we are having some leaks reported with the 2008+ design as well, we are working on solving this issue as soon as possible. Nissan is pushing Dana Corporation very hard to resolve this wheel seal leak issue.
2) Why are there axle assembly failures?
- Each model year has its own issues as there are small design changes, sometimes none between them. Your model year is 2005 for both trucks, I will concentrate on this. You should have the aluminum cover plates on both your axles, which goes directly with the 75W-140 synthetic gear lube implementation, both improving axle sump temperatures and providing a better cover seal. The steel plates had some cover leak issues. Also, from November 2005 and prior, there are some issues with noisy or differential failures (axle assembly internals - include diff case assembly & gearset). Basically, if you have a catastrophic failure, you do need a new axle assembly as the cause is more than likely a carrier housing issue we have found. I suggest getting a post November 2005 axle build date as a replacement, as the issue was fixed then. I have seen a few standard/open differentials break from overload, that is the only other catastrophic issue I have seen. I can not honestly answer what the cause was for overload conditions are, as I am not the driver, I would like to know under what conditions they failed first-hand. As I stated before, wheel seal leaks are still an issue in model year 2005 as well.
3) You tow 5,500 lbs. or less, anything you can do to prevent axle assembly failure?
- Remove both your rear axle assembly covers and make sure the differential internals look okay. Also, grab the ring gear and move it wheelend-to-wheelend and if there is no play, you are fine (otherwise have it replaced with November 2005+ axle assembly if possible).
- Assuming both your axle assemblies checked out fine, keep them and if you have wheel seal leaks, get the axle shaft assemblies replaced only. This keeps you with less variables.
- Change gear lube appropriately and use the factory 75W-140 synthetic or anything better aftermarket to keep the fluid fresh. Pay attention to magnetic drain plug when changing lube as a status check, wipe it clean with every change to get any early indication.
- Send me a photo or email me all the information contained on the sticker you should have for each axle assembly near the carrier pinion nose area.
Sticker has information, such as:
Axle serial # (ex. 0410602098053)
Nissan part # 43001-ZH04B
Dana part # 606886-4
Ratio 3.357, 3.36, 2.937 or 2.94
Hope this helps, please keep me updated via email with your Nissan Titans as I would like an owner's perspective.