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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over in another thread I was discussing the infamous driveshaft clicking that many Leaf's seem to experience, mine has had this click on acceleration and regen ever since I've had it however today something nasty seems to have gone wrong. :(

In short there is a continuous clicking like turning a ratchet when the car is coasting or decelerating under regen, (including while driving straight ahead) but it is silent and smooth while under positive forward power, so rocking the accelerator will make the noise come and go. It happened out of nowhere a few miles from home on the way to work so I crept back home carefully and took the ICE to work while I consider my options.

To me it sounds like one of the driveshaft joints has failed internally quite spectacularly - I can't see how the symptoms of this noise fit in with the usual clicking noise which is supposedly the stub axle moving slightly in the hub. That would not cause a continuous ratchet noise, but a chip out of one of the driving faces in one of the CV joints in the reverse load direction would.

Has anyone heard of full blown CV joint failure in a Leaf before ? Unfortunately google results are drowned out with the usual single click on direction change issue.

The car is four (outside manufacturers warranty) and has only done 35k miles. In the 30 years I've been driving I've only had one CV joint failure - and that was in a car that was about 18 years old with over 100k miles on it which had been a bit knocked around prior to me buying it.

While it's outside warranty four years and 35k miles seems so low for a driveshaft failure to be bordering on "not fit for purpose" ? What are my options here ?

And I was just thinking things were going so well with the Leaf...
 

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While it's outside warranty four years and 35k miles seems so low for a driveshaft failure to be bordering on "not fit for purpose" ? What are my options here ?
Would be interesting to understand what caused this.

I guess if you can show it's a manufacturing defect, you might have a chance with Nissan. But probably not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would be interesting to understand what caused this.

I guess if you can show it's a manufacturing defect, you might have a chance with Nissan. But probably not.
I think it would be an uphill battle and I need the car sorted pretty quickly. While I have an ICE to drive in the meantime the petrol cost is a killer with the mileage I do.

If it is indeed a driveshaft joint failure and "just" needs the driveshaft replaced that's a job I could potentially do myself (and have done before) however the issue is trying to diagnose which side the noise is coming from (I can't really tell at least while driving) and finding the actual spare time to do the work... I've made an enquiry with a local Indy I use to see if they will look at it - while they don't specialise in EV's they're not afraid of them and have done other non-HV work on EV's for me before.

I'm loathe to take it into a main Nissan dealer and say "just fix it", as I might as well write a blank cheque. :ROFLMAO: Didn't have a great experience with them in the February "major" service either...
 

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I think it would be an uphill battle and I need the car sorted pretty quickly. While I have an ICE to drive in the meantime the petrol cost is a killer with the mileage I do.

If it is indeed a driveshaft joint failure and "just" needs the driveshaft replaced that's a job I could potentially do myself (and have done before) however the issue is trying to diagnose which side the noise is coming from (I can't really tell at least while driving) and finding the actual spare time to do the work... I've made an enquiry with a local Indy I use to see if they will look at it - while they don't specialise in EV's they're not afraid of them and have done other non-HV work on EV's for me before.

I'm loathe to take it into a main Nissan dealer and say "just fix it", as I might as well write a blank cheque. :ROFLMAO:
I’m thinking Nissan would charge you for ‘diagnosis time’ before you could make the argument that they should pay for it.

At which point they have your money.
 

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Wonder if it's something Cleevely EV would do? They have the mobile workshop. I'd think they'd be a good bet. Also if they start to get a load of them then it's more likely that Nissan might put out a recall if they're failing early.

The 40s weren't greased properly so they make a noise and they've often been replaced under warranty. It sounds like a consistent weak spot that Nissan haven't really sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Wonder if it's something Cleevely EV would do? They have the mobile workshop. I'd think they'd be a good bet.
I'm in North Lanarkshire so a long, long way from where Cleevely is based. Also the nature of the fault means they'd probably need one trip to diagnose and confirm the cause of the fault and get a part ordered and a second long trip to actually do the repair, unless they carry driveshafts in stock. Replacing a driveshaft means removing the hub and also checking wheel alignment again afterwards which is not easy on a driveway, especially one as lumpy and uneven as mine. :p
The 40s weren't greased properly so they make a noise and they've often been replaced under warranty. It sounds like a consistent weak spot that Nissan haven't really sorted out.
My gut feeling is this is not related to the clicking noise issue and I'm just unlucky to have a "normal" driveshaft joint failure. It's not much consolation though.
 

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This is a video I saw for 64kwh Leaf on how to grease the driveshaft. Might be useful if you want to investigate yourself.

This is what Nissan main dealer wrote on the warranty claim receipt when I bought my 24kwh at just under 3 years old (2017) and had them fix the knock.
“Knocking noise when driving and braking - Tech found noise to be coming from the drive shaft. Re-tightened drive shaft, retested and noise is gone. “

Hope that helps somewhat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is a video I saw for 64kwh Leaf on how to grease the driveshaft. Might be useful if you want to investigate yourself.

This is what Nissan main dealer wrote on the warranty claim receipt when I bought my 24kwh at just under 3 years old (2017) and had them fix the knock.
“Knocking noise when driving and braking - Tech found noise to be coming from the drive shaft. Re-tightened drive shaft, retested and noise is gone. “

Hope that helps somewhat.
Yeah I'm aware of the clicking issue as I mentioned - I've actually done the "fix" for this issue recommended by the Nissan bulletin already several weeks ago and it made no difference to the single click on tip in and tip out that was already present since I've had the car.

However this is something else altogether, it's a continuous noise like spinning a ratchet backwards when the car is coasting or regen braking but silent when accelerating. I'll be very surprised if it isn't a CV joint failure. Unfortunately I think it's a coincidence and unrelated to the clicking issue cause by the spline.
 

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Back in the day when front wheel drives became common it also became common for the CV's to fail. Especially with the Mini. The classic test to confirm diagnosis was to reverse on full lock in each direction to cause the grinding/knocking to be easily heard. Does this simple procedure still work? Or does it only make itself heard running without a forward load on the system?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Back in the day when front wheel drives became common it also became common for the CV's to fail. Especially with the Mini. The classic test to confirm diagnosis was to reverse on full lock in each direction to cause the grinding/knocking to be easily heard. Does this simple procedure still work? Or does it only make itself heard running without a forward load on the system?
You're thinking of an outer CV failure - which typically only manifests on a lock because straight ahead the balls in the joint don't have to slide around in the cage much compared to when the car is on a lock. If it gets worse on tighter lock its an outer CV joint failure.

However if it's the same going straight ahead or turning (which it seems to be here) that's usually an inner CV joint failure on the gearbox end. I suspect this is what I have.
 

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When my Leaf had the driveshaft TSB done there was the odd click on tip-in/tip-out, but the bigger deal was that when I made a full-lock turn in a carpark I got a continuous "click-click-click-click" whilst turning on full lock.

Nissan did the TSB under warranty a few days later and mentioned nothing untoward. The noise was gone after that. Hopefully for you it is something related (which given that what you did a few weeks ago did not alter the tip-in/out behaviour when nissan doing the TSB did for me, maybe suggests it wasn't quite tensioned correctly or something?) rather than an outright failure (but I do not doubt your ability to diagnose things.

Can't comment on longevity as it was within a few days before I sold the car.

A shame that our departed Leaf expert isn't here to tell you that this doesn't happen with Leafs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When my Leaf had the driveshaft TSB done there was the odd click on tip-in/tip-out, but the bigger deal was that when I made a full-lock turn in a carpark I got a continuous "click-click-click-click" whilst turning on full lock.

Nissan did the TSB under warranty a few days later and mentioned nothing untoward. The noise was gone after that.
That suggests they replaced your entire driveshaft as a continuous clicking on full lock would definitely be an internally faulty outer CV joint, but that is a separate issue to the tip-in/out click which is supposed to be the stub axle spline turning slightly in the spline in the hub. (Mine has always had the tip-in/out click, but never clicked on full lock)

In short they probably did the grease between the joint and hub in the TSB, found it didn't fix the click (as it didn't for me when I did it) then moved to replace the entire driveshaft, fixing both the click and the faulty CV joint in the process.
 

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Given the argument that I had with that dealer (tried to tell me that driveshafts are just "wear and tear items") I think it unlikely that they'd have done any more than the minimum possible. However, I received no paperwork on it so who knows. They tried to sell me new brakes because one of the pads was seized.
 

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This is a video I saw for 64kwh Leaf on how to grease the driveshaft. Might be useful if you want to investigate yourself.

This is what Nissan main dealer wrote on the warranty claim receipt when I bought my 24kwh at just under 3 years old (2017) and had them fix the knock.
“Knocking noise when driving and braking - Tech found noise to be coming from the drive shaft. Re-tightened drive shaft, retested and noise is gone. “

Hope that helps somewhat.
That's same wording they gave me when mine went in for the clicking last month. Needless to say, the clicking has started again but not as often or as loud so I'll ignore it until it gets worse and then have a go with the grease myself.
 

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That suggests they replaced your entire driveshaft as a continuous clicking on full lock would definitely be an internally faulty outer CV joint, but that is a separate issue to the tip-in/out click which is supposed to be the stub axle spline turning slightly in the spline in the hub. (Mine has always had the tip-in/out click, but never clicked on full lock)

In short they probably did the grease between the joint and hub in the TSB, found it didn't fix the click (as it didn't for me when I did it) then moved to replace the entire driveshaft, fixing both the click and the faulty CV joint in the process.
Sorry to hear about the problem but I cannot visualise what can cause the noise only with reverse torque - very strange.
Does it change if you brake lightly while using regen braking?
 

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Over in another thread I was discussing the infamous driveshaft clicking that many Leaf's seem to experience, mine has had this click on acceleration and regen ever since I've had it however today something nasty seems to have gone wrong. :(

In short there is a continuous clicking like turning a ratchet when the car is coasting or decelerating under regen, (including while driving straight ahead) but it is silent and smooth while under positive forward power, so rocking the accelerator will make the noise come and go. It happened out of nowhere a few miles from home on the way to work so I crept back home carefully and took the ICE to work while I consider my options.

To me it sounds like one of the driveshaft joints has failed internally quite spectacularly - I can't see how the symptoms of this noise fit in with the usual clicking noise which is supposedly the stub axle moving slightly in the hub. That would not cause a continuous ratchet noise, but a chip out of one of the driving faces in one of the CV joints in the reverse load direction would.

Has anyone heard of full blown CV joint failure in a Leaf before ? Unfortunately google results are drowned out with the usual single click on direction change issue.

The car is four (outside manufacturers warranty) and has only done 35k miles. In the 30 years I've been driving I've only had one CV joint failure - and that was in a car that was about 18 years old with over 100k miles on it which had been a bit knocked around prior to me buying it.

While it's outside warranty four years and 35k miles seems so low for a driveshaft failure to be bordering on "not fit for purpose" ? What are my options here ?

And I was just thinking things were going so well with the Leaf...
You might try the electron garage in Glenrothes - not wildly too far away ? They do conversions as well as servicing of EVs - might have done a Leaf CV joint before (?).

 

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That's same wording they gave me when mine went in for the clicking last month. Needless to say, the clicking has started again but not as often or as loud so I'll ignore it until it gets worse and then have a go with the grease myself.
Yep, it will come back. It's been over 3 years since. I can faintly hear the click from about 2019, I'm not sure if it has gotten louder or not over the last few years.


But I understand OP's issue is completely different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Sorry to hear about the problem but I cannot visualise what can cause the noise only with reverse torque - very strange.
Inner driveshaft joints at the gearbox end are usually "tripod" joints which look like this:

146311


There are precision machined curved grooves in the housing which the three rollers can slide along and all the torque is transmitted through these rollers. (Which themselves have needle roller bearings between the roller and the pegs they rest on)

If there is a chip out of one of the grooves in the housing it will only cause a clicking when the torque is in the right direction to apply force between the roller and that face. Apply the torque the other direction and the roller is pressing against the opposite, undamaged face so no clicking.

Most cars have some height offset between gearbox and the centre of the wheel (gearbox being higher) so the inner joint is always driving at a small angle at normal ride height, thus the rollers are always sliding back and forth under load on the groove to some degree.

Outer CV joints are usually Rzeppa joints which look like this:
146312


This time you have balls which slide up and down in a cage, but the same thing can happen - if you got a chip break off one side of one of the grooves in the centre piece above, the ball would be rolling around pressing against the chipped side with torque in one direction but pressing against an undamaged side with torque in the other direction, hence clicking in one direction only. (All the torque is transmitted between faces via the balls)

To be fair on this type of joint the usual failure mode is chips on the surface hardening of the balls themselves which causes them to click and crunch on full lock in either turning direction, as the damaged part of the ball(s) roll around randomly changing orientation.
Does it change if you brake lightly while using regen braking?
The noise is there during both braking and regen, it only goes away when I am accelerating forwards.
 

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Inner driveshaft joints at the gearbox end are usually "tripod" joints which look like this:

View attachment 146311

There are precision machined curved grooves in the housing which the three rollers can slide along and all the torque is transmitted through these rollers. (Which themselves have needle roller bearings between the roller and the pegs they rest on)

If there is a chip out of one of the grooves in the housing it will only cause a clicking when the torque is in the right direction to apply force between the roller and that face. Apply the torque the other direction and the roller is pressing against the opposite, undamaged face so no clicking.

Most cars have some height offset between gearbox and the centre of the wheel (gearbox being higher) so the inner joint is always driving at a small angle at normal ride height, thus the rollers are always sliding back and forth under load on the groove to some degree.

Outer CV joints are usually Rzeppa joints which look like this:
View attachment 146312

This time you have balls which slide up and down in a cage, but the same thing can happen - if you got a chip break off one side of one of the grooves in the centre piece above, the ball would be rolling around pressing against the chipped side with torque in one direction but pressing against an undamaged side with torque in the other direction, hence clicking in one direction only. (All the torque is transmitted between faces via the balls)

To be fair on this type of joint the usual failure mode is chips on the surface hardening of the balls themselves which causes them to click and crunch on full lock in either turning direction, as the damaged part of the ball(s) roll around randomly changing orientation.

The noise is there during both braking and regen, it only goes away when I am accelerating forwards.
That makes sense and it would be interesting if you disassembled the joints and found the chip.

So might this mean the fancy grease or extra greasing is intended to cushion the contact and reduce the clicking i.e. it's not a cure but a bodge which might work, but probably not for long, especially on a sometimes hard driven E+?
 

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Inner
Over in another thread I was discussing the infamous driveshaft clicking that many Leaf's seem to experience, mine has had this click on acceleration and regen ever since I've had it however today something nasty seems to have gone wrong. :(

In short there is a continuous clicking like turning a ratchet when the car is coasting or decelerating under regen, (including while driving straight ahead) but it is silent and smooth while under positive forward power, so rocking the accelerator will make the noise come and go. It happened out of nowhere a few miles from home on the way to work so I crept back home carefully and took the ICE to work while I consider my options.

To me it sounds like one of the driveshaft joints has failed internally quite spectacularly - I can't see how the symptoms of this noise fit in with the usual clicking noise which is supposedly the stub axle moving slightly in the hub. That would not cause a continuous ratchet noise, but a chip out of one of the driving faces in one of the CV joints in the reverse load direction would.

Has anyone heard of full blown CV joint failure in a Leaf before ? Unfortunately google results are drowned out with the usual single click on direction change issue.

The car is four (outside manufacturers warranty) and has only done 35k miles. In the 30 years I've been driving I've only had one CV joint failure - and that was in a car that was about 18 years old with over 100k miles on it which had been a bit knocked around prior to me buying it.

While it's outside warranty four years and 35k miles seems so low for a driveshaft failure to be bordering on "not fit for purpose" ? What are my options here ?

And I was just thinking things were going so well with the Leaf...
Inner or Outer joint?
Can you Jack up the front end and spin the wheels.
 
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