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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been having this noise for a while, took a recording / video, uploaded to YouTube and the link is below. The car has been into the dealers a couple of times now but frustratingly the noise doesn't happen every single time, therefore the dealer techs often say they cannot hear it and therefore cannot diagnose it, hence me taking this video to show them. I'm not a mechanic, so have in the past diagnosed it as an accelerator or brake noise, but they say they cannot find anything wrong.

Looking at other threads on this site, there seem to be many others with a similar but louder noise which variously seems to be related to the driveshaft.

Has anyone else had the noise the same as in my video, and had it successfully diagnosed and cured?

 

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Leaf e+ 62kwh https://share.octopus.energy/quiet-puma-274
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Been having this noise for a while, took a recording / video, uploaded to YouTube and the link is below. The car has been into the dealers a couple of times now but frustratingly the noise doesn't happen every single time, therefore the dealer techs often say they cannot hear it and therefore cannot diagnose it, hence me taking this video to show them. I'm not a mechanic, so have in the past diagnosed it as an accelerator or brake noise, but they say they cannot find anything wrong.

Looking at other threads on this site, there seem to be many others with a similar but louder noise which variously seems to be related to the driveshaft.

Has anyone else had the noise the same as in my video, and had it successfully diagnosed and cured?

That sounds more like reduction box noise, could be a gear or parking pawl ( known issue to Nissan I think ) I had the drive shaft click & that was only one click when moving off & one click when slowing, yours sounds like multiple clicks of something rotational..
Might be worth a quick check of all the wheel bolts & hub nuts if you can just to rule them out.
Have you showed Nissan the recording yet?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That sounds more like reduction box noise, could be a gear or parking pawl ( known issue to Nissan I think ) I had the drive shaft click & that was only one click when moving off & one click when slowing, yours sounds like multiple clicks of something rotational..
Might be worth a quick check of all the wheel bolts & hub nuts if you can just to rule them out.
Have you showed Nissan the recording yet?
Thanks for the feedback, that's really useful I will pass it on. I have shown them the video but they always want to hear it in person, not unreasonably. The problem is it's not a constant, sometimes it doesn't happen. The first time they looked at the accelerator and couldn't find anything. They drove it and couldn't hear it so I got it back. Now I've taken it back in with this video as evidence. The day I took it in though it was pouring down and the noise didn't happen again. It's infuriating. I'm not a mechanic and have little idea about what goes on under the bonnet but trying to come up with ideas from these threads. Any other ideas that come up is very useful.
 

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The play in the drive shaft splines is very distinctive sound, it gets worse over time and doesn't stop, it is always there until fixed.

The sound is a loud clicking noise, and it only occurs after forward inertia and the reverse inertia causes metal on metal contact in the drive shaft splines.

The stronger the reverse inertia when you take the gas off, then louder the clicking noise, when I had the 40, I let it go on longer, without getting it fixed, than I should have done. The result was a constant click click, even in slow traffic, just creeping forward and letting recuperative braking bringing the car to a halt would cause the click.

Once the Dealer did the fix there was never any further problems and did probably 10K miles after.

I then had the same on the 62, but realised what it was straight away and the Dealer did the same fix again and not had a problem since.

Listening to the recording it doesn't sound like the clicking problem, I am no expert, but to me it sounds like the bearing in the reduction gear. There is certainly an issue, the drive should be really quiet apart from a initial whine that always disappears at 15mph.

I hope this is helpful.
 

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That noise doesn't sound like the driveshaft issue. As mentioned already the driveshaft is a distinct single "click" when you apply power or switch to regen.

It sounds like a fault in the gearbox. I'm going through something similar at the moment with my Leaf 30, although much worse:


Mine is definitely a failure in the gearbox, although I don't know the exact cause yet. (My best guess is one of the tapered roller bearings supporting the main differential gear has failed)

Still trying to work out how I'm going to get mine fixed out of warranty without paying the earth...

Don't mess around - make sure you get this 100% fixed within the warranty period as an out of warranty repair could be very expensive.
 

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A week ago I heard a faint clicking noise when I lightly accelerated and again when I slowed. Apparent most at low speed. As much as I was disappointed to hear it in a 13 month old car with just under 15,000 miles, I was at least pleased to be able to diagnose it immediately thanks to this forum and similar threads to this.

Booked it in at my local dealer (Bristol Street, Darlington) who initially said they hadn’t heard of the issue but then did call me back ten minutes later to say yes it was in fact a known fault with the driveshaft and required some new/different grease (which I already knew of course). I had the work done today and they obliged by sending me a video of the work in progress. I am no technician but here’s a screenshot from the video, in case it helps anyone else, as well as one of the invoice note which shows the fault’s bulletin number. I felt I had very good service and the clicking has stopped (hopefully never to return). Here is a transcript of the technician’s commentary:

“It has been confirmed as a driveshaft click or what Nissan calls a ‘stick, slip’. This is due to the mating surface between the driveshaft and the hub surface. In order to cure this, a cleaning of the surface will be required (points to the driveshaft) and a different kind of grease will be applied. This will take up any slack between the driveshaft and the hub. A new hub nut will also be added and torqued up to approximately 120 nm.”

So, disappointment at experiencing the problem, but remedied swiftly and transparently.

Driveshaft clicking video screen shot.jpg


147416
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Many thanks for this information. I am taking the car back in yet again tomorrow. I went for a drive with their head mechanic who says he is 99% sure what the problem is. But I will show him this too. If he cures my problem m I will post a detailed description of what he did.
 

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A week ago I heard a faint clicking noise when I lightly accelerated and again when I slowed. Apparent most at low speed. As much as I was disappointed to hear it in a 13 month old car with just under 15,000 miles, I was at least pleased to be able to diagnose it immediately thanks to this forum and similar threads to this.

Booked it in at my local dealer (Bristol Street, Darlington) who initially said they hadn’t heard of the issue but then did call me back ten minutes later to say yes it was in fact a known fault with the driveshaft and required some new/different grease (which I already knew of course). I had the work done today and they obliged by sending me a video of the work in progress. I am no technician but here’s a screenshot from the video, in case it helps anyone else, as well as one of the invoice note which shows the fault’s bulletin number. I felt I had very good service and the clicking has stopped (hopefully never to return). Here is a transcript of the technician’s commentary:

“It has been confirmed as a driveshaft click or what Nissan calls a ‘stick, slip’. This is due to the mating surface between the driveshaft and the hub surface. In order to cure this, a cleaning of the surface will be required (points to the driveshaft) and a different kind of grease will be applied. This will take up any slack between the driveshaft and the hub. A new hub nut will also be added and torqued up to approximately 120 nm.”

So, disappointment at experiencing the problem, but remedied swiftly and transparently.

View attachment 147415

View attachment 147416
After reading your post the true cause of this noise has finally clicked with me (pun intended) and I'm pretty disgusted with the design Nissan has come up with here to be honest.

What didn't make sense to me was that adding grease to the mating surfaces would prevent a clicking noise, and more specifically the warning in the "fix" bulletin that "over tightening the stub axle nut would cause the clicking noise to return". On the face of it it makes zero sense that over tightening would cause or make the noise worse.

However it all makes sense now. Nissan want the spline shaft to turn in the hub slightly each time the take up direction changes to take up the slack in the splines so that the splines themselves transmit the force between shaft and hub. :rolleyes:

For this to work mating face between the outside of the CV joint and the hub/bearing assembly must be able to move slightly and smoothly with little effort. Hence all the attempts to get long lasting grease between the mating faces.

The phrase "stick slip" is what made me realise this. If the grease is washed away or there wasn't enough from the factory then the face between the CV joint and hub assembly will "bind" slightly, causing a stick slip situation where it will take a lot more force to overcome the static friction, then once it breaks free you will hear a "click" when the mating surfaces let go and the torque then slams the shaft splines into contact in the new take up direction.

This is an absolutely terrible, defective by design, design. :(

1) If there isn't enough grease, the grease isn't the right sort, or it washes away naturally with time and road spray the surfaces will start to bind and/or corrode and the click will return.

2) If the CV joint or hub contact faces corrode the rust will cause high static friction and you will have a stick slip situation even with the grease subsequently applied. This probably explains why the hubs were also replaced in the post above, they will have been too corroded, perhaps due to not having enough grease from new so no protection from road spray.

3) If you over tighten the stub axle nut the additional axial force will exacerbate any problem already present with stick slip by making it harder for it to turn, hence the warning in the bulletin not to overtighten the hub nut.

This design is in contrast to all the other cars I've owned where the basic approach is for the stub axle nut to be so bloody tight that the torque is actually transmitted from the CV joint to the hub not by the splines but by the clamping force between the hub nut and the CV joint - basically the friction between the CV joint face and hub (and a bit via the nut) transmits all the force and the splines are there for alignment and "just in case", but don't actually transmit the torque in ordinary circumstances so there is zero movement between stub axle and hub. In my Xantia the stub axle nut is done up to around 320Nm vs the 120Nm of the Leaf so clearly follows the "clamp it hard and don't allow any movement" school of thought. And despite having twice the power, being 24 years old and >90k miles it does not have any clicks in the driveshafts...

So why not just tighten the hub axle nut really tight on the Leaf ? I've seen figures of 185Nm from some sources but there is a very chilling warning in the service bulletin which says not to overtighten the stub axle nut as the CV joint uses a "press fit", but doesn't go into any further detail about what it means by that.

However looking at the photo in the quoted post it appears there might be an interference/press fit between the stub axle shaft and CV joint housing! :oops: If this is the case, overtightening the stub axle nut (albeit probably by a lot, maybe 2x normal torque) could potentially cause that interference fit to break free damaging the CV joint.

So Nissan have designed an interface that allows the slack in the spline to be taken up with change in torque direction, (which will in itself cause wear to the spline over time) which relies entirely on good lubrication between the faces and a relatively "loose" hub nut to allow this movement to happen.

My conclusion from all this is that due to the design the clicking noise is inevitable and that there is no permanent or even long term fix for this problem, (as grease will eventually wash away and the faces will eventually corrode) the only thing that would keep it at bay is regular preventative maintenance of pulling the driveshaft out of the hub and cleaning/re-greasing the faces every few years.

If you follow Nissan's service bulletin advice out of warranty this is an expensive exercise as Molykote M-77 (which is a moly paste not a grease) is VERY expensive, and its unclear if there are any cheaper good alternatives.

My advice would be that once the car is out of warranty just live with the click - it won't cause any harm or additional wear as even when greased the splines are taking up the slack every time you change torque direction anyway.

Bad job Nissan.
 

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When my 12 month old Leaf developed the noise, the fix was reported as tighten the hub nut and grease the brake pads. No mention of repacking with other grease.

After 3 months, the noise has not so far returned, although occasionally I do hear a feint, light click when setting off which I've put down to the pad moving after the parking brake has been on. (piston is retracted to prevent the pad rubbing on the disc and polishing both?)
 

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Definitely, especially considering that the issue is present since 2011 or so, and has not been fixed yet even for new cars. Very poor quality management ...
Quality management/control would be an issue with assembly errors in the factory or defective parts being used, but if my understanding of the situation is correct it's actually a design flaw!

I have my driveshafts out at the moment (long story, dead gearbox being swapped discussed in another thread) and they seem in perfect order including splines, joints, intermediate bearing etc and yet it had a very pronounced click for the year that I've had the car. I will follow the service bulletin procedure on refitting (lots of moly grease in the mating faces etc) and see if this "bodge" (which is all it really is IMHO) has an effect or not. Even if it does, I don't expect it to last and have resigned myself to hearing the click in future.
 
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