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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2010 Nissan Frontier 4x4 that is usually driven in 2 wheel drive with about 150k miles. The rear differential pinion seal recently started leaking. After some research, I ended up changing the seal and refilling the c200 differential with 75w-140 synthetic oil, per the dealerships recommendation since it had the tow package/trailer hitch. I marked the drive shaft, pinion, and pinion nut. Reinstalled with the same amount of turns it took to take off and my lines lined up. It was a little lose so I went just a little bit more. Maybe an 1/8", not much at all. I also put thread lock on this before installing. The truck ran without issue for about 3 days and then started making a howling noise that has not stopped. I tested yesterday and this noise only happens when you let off the gas. It starts at about 10mph and above. No noise even when barely pressing on the gas but as soon as I let off there is the noise. Almost as if the pressure from the momentum of the truck and the gears slowing down the truck, cause noise. I took a look and don't see any leaks. The pinion seal however, is now a while color. I could have swore it was black when I installed it.
We called the dealership and they said to make sure the gear was not rubbing on the cover. I assume the back cover that was never removed. They also said that they usually replace the bearing, spacer, and pinion seal when they do this. Should I take apart again and replace the bearing and spacer? Not really sure where to start here other than taking it apart again. I am going to look at the fluid level today. When I refilled it, the fluid started coming out and I put the cap on. Maybe there was a little too much? I didn't let it drain until it was right below the opening.
I did have the drive shaft sitting on the ground when I disconnected from the pinion. Could this have caused damage to the center bearing? I believe the noise is coming from the rear but I need to get it on jack stands and run the truck to try and pinpoint for sure. From sitting in the truck and driving, it sounds like it's coming from the rear and since I just changed that seal, I am led to believe it's something to do with that.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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What trim level is your '10? Auto or manual trans?

I believe a C200 rear diff uses a lighter oil as that 75W-140 is what the M226 calls for. And, I'd say there's a likely chance you've over filled it since you put the fill plug back in prior to it draining out to the full level. With all this said, I'm still not sure these two things would account for your issue. Using what your dealer said about "replacing the bearing, spacer and pinion seal" may prove worthy advice.
Keep us posted.
 

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It's most likely bad pinion bearings or they aren't preloaded enough. In my experience if it was preceded by a seal failure it's the bearing. But, I know this isn't helpful, that's not always the case. I am unfamiliar with the C200 torque procedure. But in the HD truck and equipment world you typically preset the bearing at an inflated torque. Then back off and set to spec. Some require rotating the pinion during the counter rotation. Check the FSM and redo the torque procedure before going further.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What trim level is your '10? Auto or manual trans?

I believe a C200 rear diff uses a lighter oil as that 75W-140 is what the M226 calls for. And, I'd say there's a likely chance you've over filled it since you put the fill plug back in prior to it draining out to the full level. With all this said, I'm still not sure these two things would account for your issue. Using what your dealer said about "replacing the bearing, spacer and pinion seal" may prove worthy advice.
Keep us posted.
The truck is a V6 SE with automatic transmission. I was having a very hard time finding out what oil to use because most said 75w-90 but the manual said for O/R to use 75w-140. Then I called the dealer today to confirm and they said this was an off road vehicle and to use the 75w-140, when they looked it up using the VIN. I am going to look into changing the bearing and spacer but think this a huge job.
327161
 

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The truck is a V6 SE with automatic transmission. I was having a very hard time finding out what oil to use because most said 75w-90 but the manual said for O/R to use 75w-140. Then I called the dealer today to confirm and they said this was an off road vehicle and to use the 75w-140, when they looked it up using the VIN. I am going to look into changing the bearing and spacer but think this a huge job. View attachment 327161
Attempt to retorque first, before you play parts darts.
 

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If you have the C200 rear diff, then the 75w-90 is what is called for. This C200 diff requires less fluid than the M226.
If 8 bolts are holding on the rear diff cover then you have the C200. This is what comes w/ SE/SV Frontiers w/ an auto trans. Only 6-sp SE/SV's come w/ the M226.
But, I doubt the thicker diff fluid is causing your issue. And, I'd call another dealer since I believe your current dealer has given you the wrong information.
 

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75-90 or 75-140 makes no difference, did you reuse the crush sleeve, thats normally a consumable item, it puts the preload on your two pinion bearings and might be cause of your new growl
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did not change the crush sleeve since I didn't see anything come out or see that in the couple videos I watched. The only thing I pulled out was the seal. I checked the pinion yesterday and it was loose. The nut was still lined up with the shaft and the markings I made before I took it off so I don't think the nut came loose.However, something in there is. I am thinking the preset bearing torque got messed up when I took the pinion nut off. Or I pulled the shaft forward a little when I tightened the nut just a little past the mark. Just took to the dealer to have them take a look and hoping it's not going to cost me a small fortune to fix. (Facepalm)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, the dealership got back. They said the pinion is whats causing the noise and that it looks like it wasn't tightened which caused the bearing to fail. He is going to try to retighten / retorque it and go from there. I am guessing not replacing the crush washer caused this. Not sure what else I did wrong. I am going to bring it home and look for a used rear end to swap it out with. They want $3,500 to replace it. FML
 

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Assuming the OP has the C200 rear diff, does an M226 just drop right in? Honest question here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is the C200 rear diff with an 8 bolt cover. Was looking as getting a used rear end but need to make sure the gear ratio is the same. Trying to figure that all out. The truck is a crew cab but also has a long bed, not the short ones that usually come with. I believe its 6 ft so the truck is longer than most you see.
 

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Hard to imagine you would have ruined your gears in such a short time,make sure they at least try torquing a new crush sleeve.Tons of used axles out there, problem is getting a decent one that isn't defective just like yours .good luck
 
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