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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just yesterday my 2006 4.0L Crew 6-Speed began to make a random exterior rattle at low speed, say 10 to 20 mph on smooth roads. It sounds much like a small rock being slowly thrown around in a coffee can and lasts for perhaps five seconds. The sound doesn't cycle, but varies in type of noise and in volume.

The sound is brief when it happens, but applying the brakes, emergency brake, clutch, shifting, revving the engine or anything doesn't seem to affect it. I never hear it at speed. Differential fluid level is fine. 154,000 Miles.

I've looked around and under the truck without finding anything obvious like a rock in a brake caliper or in the spare tire.

Any ideas?

It's been a very long time since the brakes were looked at. Could something be dragging or hanging that wouldn't be affected by a brake application? With my head out the window, I may hear the noise emanating from the rear, but it's really hard to tell where it's coming from. If it's from the rear, maybe it's from the drum assembly inside the rotor? :frown:

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Ryno -- that'll be an easy thing for me to check.
 

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Take a rubber mallet and tap the exhaust for the heat shield, Nissan uses metal straps to hold it on and they always break. My truck is only 1 year old and hear it already.

Clint
 

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I 2nd or 3rd that crap I had that one below drivers side seat break the metal band and rattle. I just put a hose clamp on it an tightened it back down Its only like a 1/16" to a 1/8" strap with a crimp on it
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thank you for the direction -- I'll bring a rubber mallet under the truck today.

BTW, what does a failing driveshaft carrier bearing or U-Joint sound like when they're going bad, or is that something I'd feel as well as hear?
 

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Thank you for the direction -- I'll bring a rubber mallet under the truck today.

BTW, what does a failing driveshaft carrier bearing or U-Joint sound like when they're going bad, or is that something I'd feel as well as hear?
You would hear/feel a clunk, not a rattle. While you're under there, just turn the driveshaft back and forth with your hands near each u-joint, one hand on the shaft forward of the joint and one aft and try to turn them in opposite directions like wringing out a towel. They shouldn't have any play at the joint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My rattle doesn't seem to be a heat shield, nor a U-joint. Thank you for the suggestions.

I now have a solid clue as of today. The intermittent loose-bolt-in-a-rotating-coffee-can noise appeared again and when I depressed the clutch, the noise went away. When I engaged the clutch, the noise reappeared, and so on.

The truck has the original clutch and it shifts great -- no slip, no shudder, no grinding.

What might this intermittent noise be? Has something has fallen off of or loosened on my clutch?

Arrrgh.
 

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Not sure if this helps or is applicable, but my Gen 1 XE 2.4 5-sp made a sound like you've described at around 140k miles or so. Freaked me out as I was fully expecting to be doing a clutch job as a result. Then a couple/few weeks later, the sound vanished never to return. No explanation. Sold it to a family member w/ 185k miles on the odo and it ran like a top - still on the original clutch.

Godspeed to your troubleshooting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks shift_RUSH. A friend suggested that it may be a catalytic converter has failed and the internals have become loose. I'm going to crawl under the truck again with a cold exhaust and bang on them with my fist.

I stopped by my local shop today and they suggested it's the throwout bearing. With my truck at 154,000 Miles, they said that a new clutch and pressure plate might also be best replaced. I asked if I could specify that Nissan OE parts be used and the guy said I could and that they actually prefer to use Nissan OE parts for this kind of work.

He said that if it is the throwout bearing, I can wait and see if the noise gets worse and not risk disaster.

With the noise being intermittent, maybe my noise will go away like yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, no diagnosis luck so far. Even tapped on the catalytic converters to see if anything was loose in them. BUT I have another idea.

A failing throwout bearing would make noise when the clutch pedal is depressed, but mine’s the opposite -- my intermittent bolts-in-a-rotating-coffee-can noise goes away when I depress the clutch pedal.

Could it be a failing or loosened clutch disc spring, you know, those little coil springs held within the clutch disk? Or maybe one of the pins that holds the disc assembly together has loosened up or fallen out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'll check that Frontier4x. I know mine kept loosening up years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So here I am a month later and I've not heard the mystery noise recently. Perhaps it's because the weather has chilled and my windows are up and I can't hear it, but I think too it may be a shift_RUSH situation where the noise has gone away. I'm driving as usual, not babying it and not abusing it.

So, we'll see where this goes. I removed the inspection plate on the transmission and peered inside and all looks well. Flywheel is fine and there are no objects to be found laying at the bottom of the case.

Thanks again for everyone's posts here.
 

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Check your hood rubber bumpers.. Mine would make a rattling at low speeds and I turn the rubber bumpers out a little so the hood would fit tighter and the noise went away.

Just something else to check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you Shaggy. I'm familiar with the rubber hood bumper noise, but I'll check them again to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
OP here. I hadn't driven on the Interstate for a long time, but I did yesterday and I was immediately aware of a vibration I hadn't felt before. I could instantly eliminate all of the vibration by taking it out of gear.

The engine runs smoothly in Neutral at all RPMs, yet there's also an unusual bogging at higher speeds that makes me want to downshift when I shouldn't need to. Transmission still shifts beautifully and the clutch take-up seems normal.

Does this read a clutch disk failure? Given the weird exterior bolt-circulating-in-a-coffee-can rattle noise I heard weeks ago and yesterday's events, I'm thinking so? I've always gotten over 200K Miles on my clutches, but in my reading here, at 155,000 Miles my clutch life seems about average.
 

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OP here. I hadn't driven on the Interstate for a long time, but I did yesterday and I was immediately aware of a vibration I hadn't felt before. I could instantly eliminate all of the vibration by taking it out of gear.

The engine runs smoothly in Neutral at all RPMs, yet there's also an unusual bogging at higher speeds that makes me want to downshift when I shouldn't need to. Transmission still shifts beautifully and the clutch take-up seems normal.

Does this read a clutch disk failure? Given the weird exterior bolt-circulating-in-a-coffee-can rattle noise I heard weeks ago and yesterday's events, I'm thinking so? I've always gotten over 200K Miles on my clutches, but in my reading here, at 155,000 Miles my clutch life seems about average.
Lot of variables there. Does the vibration increase steadily with speed or does it vibrate at a certain speed and then go away? Certain gears?

Clutch could be glazed and is slipping in high gears which could cause the vibration or feeling of power loss.

You should try starting off in higher gears and see how the engine responds, it should bog or stall, but if doesn’t and continues idling away or seems to take a long time to bog that may be a good sign that it’s slipping in higher gears. You can also drive down the road at about 2000rpm in 3rd or 4th and then engage the clutch and rev the engine and then quickly rengage the clutch and you should see a noticeable change in your rpm’s decreasing, if you don’t that’s a good sign its slipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Good tips on detecting clutch slip IAm_Not_Lost and the tests make a lot of sense. When I get a chance, I'll try these. In recollection, I don't feel the vibration in local driving (say 1st => 4th), but do feel it on the highway (5th and 6th).

Considering the expense of this work and my 155,000 Miles, is it normal to replace the Flywheel, Clutch Disc and Clutch Cover (aka Pressure Plate I think, the component with the fingers on it)? I guess the Flywheel replacement might depend on it's condition for resurfacing.
 

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Our dual mass flywheels are not resurface-able. More than likely = new DM flywheel.
 
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