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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, so I have a 05 Pathfinder which has about 55K miles on it. I am the second owner and just recently noticed that when I put the car in 4wd and make turns, the car shakes and has a very un-smooth(is that even a word?) and jagged-like motion to it. It does not do this in 2wd. I took it to the mechanic and he said my differential is completely shot.

Is this possible for a car this relatively new to have such a major differential problem? From what I know it's never been in an accident. HELP :confused::confused:

Thank you all,

Nikki
 

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not sure exactly if this is what you are feeling but when you are in 4 hi the car will not operate smoothly and will be difficult to steer when moving slowly navigating close quarters (like parking lots, etc.) or when backing up - this is normal.
 

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Kone is correct...

The 4wd system will keep all wheels turning at the same rate. Things will begin to lurk and jerk in tighter turns especially on dry pavement because the wheels in the inside of the turn are trying to move at a different speed than the outside.
 

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It should do it when the pavement is dry. The mechanic wants your money, forget about him.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
the car does jerk when turning and a little might be normal, but i feel like lately it jerks so much that it feels like the car almost lunges forward when turning slowly. it's gotten to the point where i am scared to parallel park because i feel like i'm going to hit the car behind and in front of me. also, the mechanic said the differential oil was almost black.....whats that all about?!?! i'm so confused...

thank you guys for your help.

Nikki
 

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Maybe you have a problem, maybe not. First of all, 4WD is NOT for dry pavement, ever. It will bind and buck like a bastard when turning.

Diff fluid black is not good. It should (ideally) be clean motor oil colored, the color of Coors Light. Darker colors indicate metal shavings, possibly from operation on dry pavement.

Third, front diffs on R51 Pathfinders are not an uncommon failure. It's by no means notorious, but it happens.

Absent any other info, I'd suggest a fluid change on the diff. See how it feels (and looks) a few months after, and if you still have a problem, deal with it then.
 

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At 30k I changed my rear diff oil and it looked terrible - black and full of crap. If it hasn't been changed at 55k, I wouldn't be surprised if the differential was shot (or at least the fluid needs a change). Nonetheless, you probably need to take it out of 4WD to isolate the rear.
 

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i never changed the diff fluid in my volvo for well over 120k

it was thick black molasses-like crap, but the diff was still fine.

Change the diff fluid and call it a day. I wouldn't worry.

As for parking in 4wd, unless there is quite a bit of ice / snow on the ground, the jerking is completely normal. Just stick it in 2wd when parking.
 

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vrefron: On a 2001 Pathy LE 4WD, I changed all of the 4WD fluids at 60k miles. Now have 113 k miles: Should I do it again? Just check it for condition? Or is it a condition of "if it ain't broke........

Other than replacing the Sparkplugs & filters for a tune up, anything else needs to be done at this point IYO?
 

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vrefron: On a 2001 Pathy LE 4WD, I changed all of the 4WD fluids at 60k miles. Now have 113 k miles: Should I do it again? Just check it for condition? Or is it a condition of "if it ain't broke........

Other than replacing the Sparkplugs & filters for a tune up, anything else needs to be done at this point IYO?
you should change the fluids as recommended by the manufacturer. this is set for a guideline. this especially goes for diffs with a LSD in it.

you could play the "if its not broke..." but you will end up paying for it sooner or later, at a price you will not be happy with.

change the fluids in the pathy, all of them, diffs, t/case etc. it will be a little costly, but you will know when it was serviced last. if you have a LSD be sure to have the additive added to it. if its not added the LSD will be toast.

diff fluid will turn black after 5k miles regardless, its normal, there shouldnt be any shavings in it though. shavings are generally bearings going bad and will score the gears.

as it was stated before, if the pavement is DRY, DO NOT have it in 4WD, axle gears are set up to be a tad different. i.e. 4.10 in the front and 4.11 in the rear. this is so the frt can pull, this is why it bucks/ jumps when turning. if you continue to drive on dry pavement you will damage the transfer case. this is a costly repair.

hope this sheds some light.
 

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they are right

First of all, most are right on here. Someone is pulling one over your head. You should not use 4wd on the dry pavement. All the wheels are trying to turn at the same rate and when you turn they continue to want to do it making it feel like it didn't want to turn. In the snow or mud the tires will slip a little, but on the dry asphalt it puts stress on the transmission differential, drive shafts. Don't do it. I changed the rear diff, transfer case, and automatic trans. fluid in the 05 pathfinder I have. I didn't change the front diff due to the fact I hardly use the 4wd system and according to some the front shaft does not turn in 2wd?????
Word to the wise, USE THE NISSAN TRANSMISSION FLUID! I HEARD NOT USING IT WILL SCREW UP THE TRANSMISSION. The other fluids you can get at any auto shop. The dealer even told me that to save me money. The darn AT fluid was like 16 dollars a quart. A drain and fill didn't empty the entire system. I got 5 quarts out of it and replaced it with the exact amount I took out. The sucky part was that the manual said to replace the drain washer. Those darn things were expensive. I think 5 dollars each (I needed 6). I don't if there are cheaper places to find these items. I had to buy a cheap pump to get the fluid in the diff and transfer case reservoirs. It was pretty easy to do though. I did this because I pull a camper with this vehicle and plan on doing it every 30K miles.
 
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