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I purchased my first Xterra 4wd 6 months ago so I'm not all too familiar with any unusual noises that are common with these. About 100 miles ago, I notice a whining noise coming form somehwere in the rear. I've read on pleanty of forums that the Xterras have rear end problems that usually begin with a whining sound. I've had two different mechanics look at it. The first mechanic said he couldn't hear anything out of the ordinary and the second said he heard the whining noise and that it was normal for the age of the vehicle. I have a hard time believing that what I'm hearing is normal. If I'm going under 35mph, the whining is somewhat audible but gets louder when I let my foot off the gas and coast down to 30mph. If I continue to coast down the road, the whining gets quieter when my speed drops below 30mph. If I'm going over 45mph it gets really loud. As I accelerate from 40mph to 50mph, it become increasingly louder but when I let my foot off the gas, the sound goes away. I'm kind of at a loss of what to do. I have 3 hours of diagnostics in it so far with no answers. I'm sure this isnt a normal noise these get with age. Any suggestions?
 

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2004 Xterra XE 4WD Auto 3.3L NA V6
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What you describe sounds like the ring and pinion gears in the rear axle are worn excessively. Possibly from lack of maintenance and/or a leak.

I'm pretty sure the transfer case just goes straight through without any gears involved when in 2WD, so that's not likely a contributor.
 

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I purchased my first Xterra 4wd 6 months ago so I'm not all too familiar with any unusual noises that are common with these. About 100 miles ago, I notice a whining noise coming form somehwere in the rear. I've read on pleanty of forums that the Xterras have rear end problems that usually begin with a whining sound. I've had two different mechanics look at it. The first mechanic said he couldn't hear anything out of the ordinary and the second said he heard the whining noise and that it was normal for the age of the vehicle. I have a hard time believing that what I'm hearing is normal. If I'm going under 35mph, the whining is somewhat audible but gets louder when I let my foot off the gas and coast down to 30mph. If I continue to coast down the road, the whining gets quieter when my speed drops below 30mph. If I'm going over 45mph it gets really loud. As I accelerate from 40mph to 50mph, it become increasingly louder but when I let my foot off the gas, the sound goes away. I'm kind of at a loss of what to do. I have 3 hours of diagnostics in it so far with no answers. I'm sure this isnt a normal noise these get with age. Any suggestions?
I'm guessing a wheel bearing.
 
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