The Definitive "CLICKING NOISE FROM FRONT OR REAR AXLE DURING TAKE-OFF/ACCELERATION" list

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My 16000 mile 2020 SV has some clicking on the left front. The dealer took care of it on my friend's 2022 SV+ under warranty. I cannot get a straight answer from the dealer service service guy on how much it would cost me out of pocket. What will happen if I ignore it for 5000 miles or so? TY
Normal sound axle shaft play in the hub bearing assembly. There are 2 TSB's: NTB12-055I & NTB19-105C from Nissan on the "fix" which involves application of grease on the axleshaft splines and retorque of the axle nut and wheel lug nuts. Unfortunately this is a maintenance issue that must be repeated. All Nissan vehicles are included in the TSB but the Leaf, being so quiet, is particularly mentioned because of the objectionable "clicking."
 
Normal sound axle shaft play in the hub bearing assembly. There are 2 TSB's: NTB12-055I & NTB19-105C from Nissan on the "fix" which involves application of grease on the axleshaft splines and retorque of the axle nut and wheel lug nuts. Unfortunately this is a maintenance issue that must be repeated. All Nissan vehicles are included in the TSB but the Leaf, being so quiet, is particularly mentioned because of the objectionable "clicking."
What exactly is a cape chisel unstaking tool?
 
That doesn’t make sense - since this splined axle setup just about every vehicle out there uses (including EVs that have regen brakes).

If you have a look at the TSB it mentions vehicles going back all the way to 2006.

If you google “Nissan axle click” the top hit is the 350Z UK forum, with someone describing loosely the steps in the TSB. The second hit is the 370Z forum.

Clearly this isn’t some sort of issue specific to EVs or regen brakes.

I found this undocumented fix guaranteed to work 100% of the time though - crank the stereo! :D

What exactly is a cape chisel unstaking tool?
It is just a chisel that is a specific shape allowing you to hammer it into the channel where the nut has a cutout for removing the bend.

Something like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/154930651770

There’s even a specific tool for it that is available to Nissan dealerships. But as long as you’re careful it can be removed with a normal chisel of appropriate width but it must be fully unstaked before removing the nut or else it’ll destroy the threads on the way out.

Edit, I priced up replacement axles. They’re quite pricy if you want to go original Nissan parts. I think for now I’m just going to leave it.
 
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Just reading the TSB referenced in the 1st post again, the one dated March 29, 2023. It says:

For 370Z, LEAF, NV200, and 2013-2019 Sentra vehicles: Install the washer listed in
the PARTS INFORMATION before installing the new Lock Nut.


And a screenshot of the 'PARTS INFORMATION' section:

1711936075500.png

So, does this mean you're supposed to install them if they weren't originally so fitted?

Based on what I've seen there appear to be two kinds of axle retention on these - one is a normal nut + cotter pin setup. It appears these were in use until at least 2017, at which point they changed to a staked nut type setup (so no cotter pin).

But it is not really clear if it means the washer is to be added. There is no exception there stating that this step should be skipped for ZE1 Leafs.
 
It's inherent in a spline shaft design, where the torque is constantly reversed.
I think that's key here in an EV, where the regen braking always applies reverse torque thru the splines. ICE cars' disk brakes work on the rotor OD, not the spline.
 
What I know so far is some people have achieved a resolution simply by tightening the hub nut.
I guess this is not possible with the staked nut? Can you unstake, tighten and restake? If it's tightened then a new spot on the nut is available to stake. I like the cotter pin or castle nut cotter pin methods much better. 😆
 
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Just get the new nut — it’s relatively inexpensive.

Also, it appears there may be some misunderstanding here about what is actually making the noise.

Initially, based on videos I saw on the ol’ ‘tube, I thought the issue was the splines - where the axle is loading and unloading under acceleration and regen braking.

But it appears this isn’t the case. Refer to the image attached - it’s a screen grab from the latest (2023) TSB for this issue.

It states “bearing surface

Bearing surface refers to where the “collar” of the CV joint interfaces to the back of the hub.

If it were splines, they would’ve said splines - right?

1712048834803.png

Anyway, I’ve greased the splines AND the collar/“bearing surface” and torqued to 120 (which is what the torque spec calls for). No improvement. The noise is driving me up the wall but at this stage it doesn’t appear that I have a choice other than living with it.
 
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The noise is driving me up the wall but at this stage it doesn’t appear that I have a choice other than living with it.
Even with the radio on fairly loud (I'm still cranking classic rock lol) I can hear the clicks from one or more bearings every time I stop or start. I think 3 are doing it but it is hard to tell. Like you, I don't like it - a positive point of an EV is the nice quiet ride and now it's not so quiet. No bearings were doing this 4-6 weeks ago and it seems like they all started doing this close together which I find hard to believe.
 
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I hope I'm not obtuse but I don't see any torque setting for a non 2013 Leaf. The list in NTB12-055J following not for Leaf 2013 and 2007-2019 Versa doesn't include Leaf. To me this means the torque is unspecified, or, is it assumed to be 133 ft-lb like the other non 2013 Leafs?

To me, if over-tightening the axle nut can cause the clicking, then should it be backed off until the clicking stops? The problem with this is you need to isolate one wheel to do a test. I would consider not staking the nut and reducing the torque until it stops. Because as it reads increasing the torque is going to only make it worse.
 
No, you’re correct. I’ve not yet been able to find official documentation for the axle but torque values for the leaf asides from YouTube videos.

But then again, these guys are actually greasing the splines and not the collar so take that with a grain of salt.

There is so much misinformation out there it’s making my head spin.

This video for instance claims it is 89 ft lbs which is 120 Nm:

But at the same time, the guy lubes the ever living hell out of the thread AND the front contact surface (ie where the nut touches).

Im sure you’re not supposed to do this (specifically, greasing the threads themselves), because the figure quoted is the “dry torque”. Adding any kind of lubricant to the threads changes the torque value, unless the torque wrench has been calibrated to compensate (a cheap harbor freight one definitely won't be). And on the same video, one of the comments claims “Nissan now torques to 150 ft-lb” which is 200 Nm.

Then in this next video
The guy claims also spends a lot of time lubing the splines, largely ignoring the actual “collar” or “bearing surface” area. He then torqued to 200 Nm as well.

He also claims he did the repair first with the handbrake and e-pedal on, which didn’t fix the issue. Apparently, what did fix it is disengaging the handbrake and the e-pedal, THEN tightening to 200 Nm (150 ft-lbs).


Both videos claim the clicking issues are fixed.

However mines still not fixed. I tried torquing to 200 Nm too. Maybe I have some other issue? But the sound it makes matches exactly. So far I’ve only worked on my right axle. I’ll try the left again when I get to a state where it’s starting to get on my nerves too much!
 
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In the first video he keeps claiming this is what Nissan does. I doubt they're greasing up the axle threads as you mentioned! In the second video, the fellow does push grease from the outside axle into the slot. I don't know if this is effective. Does it reach the bearing? He sure does chew up the nut staking it.

He also claims he did the repair first with the handbrake and e-pedal on, which didn’t fix the issue. Apparently, what did fix it is disengaging the handbrake and the e-pedal, THEN tightening to 200 Nm (150 ft-lbs).
Does this make any sense to you? Does going to park in e-pedal leave the brake engaged (makes sense but I hadn't noticed)? It's not too much force on the parking pin? He mentions turning off ECO mode. That makes no sense to me also.

What bothers me is my back wheel(s) is(are) doing this. I don't e-pedal stop enough to engage the brakes, so I don't see how the backs have any back force to cause the clicking.

The TSB mentions adding the washer. It doesn't qualify that with the year so again, there is unclear information in this TSB.
 
Yes staking the nut does damage it a bit but that’s kind of the point. Should be OK.

No, it doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t matter how the wheel is immobilized - be it brake, handbrake or the parking pawl in the transmission. Stopped is stopped, and tight is tight.

I’m not sure about the washer. I’ve probably watched 5+ videos about this. Not only do most of them only grease the splines and claim it’s fixed, but not a single one adds the washer.

It is odd that the rear wheels are doing it. From what I understand (and what is in the TSB) this issue specifically relates to the CV drive shaft mating surface.

Perhaps visiting a wheel & suspension shop is advisable?
 
It is odd that the rear wheels are doing it. From what I understand (and what is in the TSB) this issue specifically relates to the CV drive shaft mating surface.
Ok, so I did more testing e-pedal off, B mode so I could control the braking. The noise from the back is the brakes - something shifting. The clunk noise sure sounds like the front axle clunk. Also, the fronts were barely doing it today. Now that it's gotten significantly colder from a few weeks ago temperature might be the reason. If it's worse when warmer then I'm back to wondering if this clicking occurs because the torque is too high?

Does anyone know what makes the 2013 Leaf so special? What's different between the 2012 and 2014 versus the 2013 sandwiched in between.
 
This was posted in the comments section of a YouTube video regarding applying the grease to stop the clicking.


"It's caused by the machining process where the splines are cut slightly smaller. When you give it throttle or let off. You are hearing the axle spline "bump" the hub spline. The grease closes this gap and keeps moisture out so it doesn't seize up. Now I did fine out the new ones [model years] are effected too. And the use of Moly-kote grease you will not have to keep doing it. If you use regular grease you will have to repeat about every year. Moly kote is a grease with molibdinum in it which is an anti wear additive."

Edit: In the comments the guy who made the video says he used to work for Nissan. This leads me to believe this video is how it should be done! He is also greasing the outside of the bearing as well as the inside.
 
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New 2013 Leaf owner here. It's a great and cheap run about but I think I do have this issue. Does it sound like a torque wrench clicking about a quarter to a half second after accelerating or applying hard regen? I hear and maybe feel a slight single click from time to time. I thought it was some sort of solenoid in the power-train. Is it just an annoyance for some or do we really need to grease it to avoid failure in the short term?
 
Normal sound axle shaft play in the hub bearing assembly. There are 2 TSB's: NTB12-055I & NTB19-105C from Nissan on the "fix" which involves application of grease on the axleshaft splines and retorque of the axle nut and wheel lug nuts. Unfortunately this is a maintenance issue that must be repeated. All Nissan vehicles are included in the TSB but the Leaf, being so quiet, is particularly mentioned because of the objectionable "clicking."
Yes, that's the conclusion!
 
There is no doubt in my mind that there are multiple things going on here, ranging from play coming within the transmission (reduction gear) to bad CV axles with too much horizontal play to the actual issue that the TSB supposedly addresses.

Here is a video of the noise I have on mine. It’s a 2018 ZE1 model with approx 80k miles.

In the video, I’m setting off at a normal pace, e-pedal & eco on. Then in letting off the accelerator pedal, and then jabbing at it sharply again.

There is some wind noise as the car picks up speed, but four distinct clicks can be heard. From within the cabin, these sound even more subdued but definitely clearly audible.

Can you guys tell me if your axle noise sounds like this?

This is my left axle, which haven’t done any work on (waiting on parts) my right axle does the same thing, but that one I greased (both the “bearing surface” AND the spines). I was careful not to get any grease on the actual threads so as not to interfere with the torque value.

I didn’t do any cleaning between the axle surface and the back of the wheel bearing surface. That may have invalidated my repair. When I do my left axle, I’ll make an effort to do that (maybe polish it with a dremel type tool just to get it ultra clean) before re-greasing.

It’s driving me nuts.
 

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Hi guys, I bought a used ZE1 at 30,000kms and it was doing this. Front right hand spindle was loose. Tightening it solved the problem. Torque shouldn't vary between years much since it is the same parts regardless of year.
Almost all front wheel drives can and do, do this (Honda's Toyota's etc), so not unique to the Leaf.
It isn't clicking due to lack of grease, it is clicking from being mechanically loose. (come on, the grease gets squeezed out, and lube is designed to promote movement, not inhibit it!) However the grease is an anti-seize agent, to enable easy disassembly in future (ie promote movement!).
 
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