If you own a Nissan 350z, then the chances are you have heard the clicking noise in the rear axle. You can hear it, especially when you start moving from a standstill position, drive at a slow speed, or are driving around corners.
The Nissan 350z rear axle clicking noise occurs when the axle nuts become too loose, which is often just a result of daily driving. To avoid unnecessary wear and tear inside the rear axle, it’s important to fix the issue as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, this is a very common issue among all 350z owners. It is not a matter of if the problem occurs but when it will. People who have racked up as little as 12,000 miles in their vehicles complain of it as well. But what causes this clicking noise? And how can you solve it? Read on to find out.
Why do you hear the clicking noise from the rear axle?
Whenever you hear a noise in a car, it is most likely because two metal parts are making contact. It is the same in this case as well. Over time, the wheel hub (either right or left) begins to move slightly with respect to the rear axle shaft. Essentially, the splines of the axle encounter their interlocking pair in the wheel hub.
When the direction of rotation changes, due to the initial contact, the rear axle clicking noise in your Nissan 350z is heard. Fortunately, while driving the noise might be reduced as the relative motion between the two is also reduced. However, this shouldn’t be happening in the first place, so why does it?
Possible Root Causes
Most of the time, the Nissan 350z clicking noise is because of the axle nut. The axle nut comes loose due to vibrations and stress. Hence, the force that holds the wheel hub and axle shaft together is reduced. While the exact cause for this is unknown, it may be blamed on the type of axle nut that is originally used in the 350z out of the factory. Therefore, due to the lack of torque in the axle nut, the wheel hub wobbles a bit and you hear this noise.
Moreover, the grease that was supposed to be there between the axle shaft splines and the wheel hub splines may have been depleted or contaminated with debris. Thus, the increased friction may also lead to a clicking sound.
Finally, a third possible but very rare cause for the sound from your rear axle can be a problem with your Constant Velocity (CV) joint. Sometimes, while working on the vehicle, you may tear up the boot protecting the joint. This tear leads to a leak in the grease and contamination with debris and other foreign particles. This increases the friction consequently leading to the noise.
How to fix the Nissan 350z Rear Axle Clicking Noise (3 Steps)
Now that we have identified the problem, let’s move on to fixing the issue. If you do not have any experience working on cars, we recommend you get it repaired by a mechanic. Especially if your car is still under warranty. Most dealerships acknowledge this is a recurring problem and fix it without hesitation.
It is also important to note that although the clicking sound can be masked by the wind, your engine, music, and other sounds you hear while driving, we advise that you get the issue fixed as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary wear and tear inside the rear axle.
If you do want to get your hands dirty, however, you will need the correct tools. This may include the following –
- 32mm socket for the axle nut
- Breaker bar
- Torque wrench
- New axle nut/cotter pins
Changing or retorquing the axle nut
Firstly, you will need to disassemble the wheel and axle. Make sure your car is parked on flat ground, and then lift the rear of your car onto floor jacks. Remove the lug nuts using a tire wench tool and carefully remove the wheel from the vehicle to reveal the axle nut and cotter pin.
Once you have reached the axle nut then take it out. At this point, you could use a new axle nut or just use the same one after assessing the damage. In either case, you would need a new cotter pin.
If you do however use the old nut, remember to clean the threads inside the nut and on the wheel hub properly. Moreover, apply some grease before re-torquing the bolt to the correct specification. This can be found in the owner’s manual.
The cleaning and greasing help you achieve accurate torque. Friction between parts or dust particles may give extra resistance thus fooling the torque wrench. This gives you an illusion of a job well done but causes the problem to reemerge.
Once done, you can reassemble the wheel and axle and the clicking noise should now be gone.
Regreasing the axle splines
If you want to go one step further, then you can regrease the splines on your axle shaft. This is generally what they do when you take the car to the dealership complaining about the problem. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary fix as a faulty axle nut may still allow the wheel hub to rotate a bit causing the sound.
To do this, you will need to take off the wheel hub from the axle. Once it is off, grease both inner and outer splines well before reassembly. Remember that you may need a 4-point lift or at least a few car jacks for this. Once you finish doing this, you should not be able to hear the noise for some time. At the very least it should be reduced considerably.
Replacing the CV joint boot
While this problem is rare, and the actual cause of the noise is usually one of the above two, it is best to get this repaired as well. If your CV joint boot is damaged, you will have to take off the axle shaft completely to fix it. As you can see, it is not an easy DIY.
Once the axle is off, take off the boot clamps and remove the boot. Once the boot is off, it is best to clean the CV joint of any dirt or moisture that may have gotten in while the boot was damaged. After you are done cleaning, regrease the joint and cover it with the new boot. Remember to use the right type of CV joint boot clamp for this otherwise, your axle may be off-balance.
If you can combine both of these solutions, especially using a new axle nut, we are confident that that should be the last you ever hear the clinking noise from the rear axle of your 350z. However, try to fix the rear axle at your own risk as we won’t be responsible in case anything goes wrong. In the unlikely case that you still hear the clicking noise after performing the fixes, it is probably time to take it to the dealership and let them sort this out.
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