Bought Xterra with mismatched gearing?

Dduvall Nov 8, 2017

  1. Dduvall

    Dduvall Test Drive

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    6
    Hey guys, I bought an 04 XE with 104,000 miles with a messed up 4x4 system. 2wd, drives perfect. When driving in a straight line on pavement in 4hi or 4lo, the vehicle violently shakes and vibrates. 0-5 mph and immediately starts shaking the entire vehicle. Feels as if the system is in a bind and have to force it to move forward. The 4x4 works fine in dirt and if all tires are in the air. When in the air with axle locked 4hi, the front wheel spins slightly more than the rear. The front turn about 10-15 degrees more than the rear.



    I am thinking someone rebuilt or swapped the front diff with the wrong gears. Am I on the right track? Has anyone ran into this issue? By counting axle rotations, I estimate a 4.6 front and 4.9 rear.

    I have been searching for days for relatable issues and this is the best I can come up with. I have checked most of the 4x4 system

    Also, If this IS the problem should I regear the front to match the back, or buy a used LSD that matches the front?
     
  2. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

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    I'd say thats exactly what you've got going on. What does your door tag say about the axles? Toward the bottom of the door tag there should be an axle code. It should read HG46 or HG49. That stands for the 4.60s or the 4.90s respectively. That will tell you which axle was swapped.

    Based on your video your video the rear wheel rotated once, which made the driveshaft rotate 4.9 times. That same input of 4.9 times on the front drive shaft made the front wheel turn past even because that axle only needed 4.6 turns of the driveshaft to line up. So driving it in 4WD will destroy something. And whatever person did that to the truck deserves a special place in hell.

    Please tell me you got a really good deal on it because the person who sold it to you said "Something is wrong w/ the 4WD system and I don't know what it is, but I just want to get rid of the truck."
     
  3. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

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    Also, welcome to XN!
     
  4. Dduvall

    Dduvall Test Drive

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    In Boise, ID xterra's are way over priced but I still got a decent deal on it. I paid $4,000 for 104k miles and timing belt already replaced. The closest comparable sale was $6,000 for 150k miles.

    Door says 4.9.
    I agree, this is really that last thing I was hoping it would be. Idk what moron goes through all of the trouble to install the wrong gear diff.

    Can I turn this into a positive and throw in a 4.6 rear LSD? I dont have the time, knowledge, or tools to tackle a gearing swap and the shop will drain my wallet.
     
  5. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

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    You totally could. And that would be the easiest solution. However, allow me to devils advocate this. Replace the front diff with a used R200A that has the proper 4.90 gears. Because the 4.60s are a downgrade from the 4.90's. The H233B rear axle is ufcking indestructible And while the R200A is no slouch either, it'll break before the rear in the case of crazy wheeling. This gives you a spare R200A that you can regear at your leisure with it out of the truck so ti'll be cheaper on the wallet. The front diff will probably be cheaper to buy. With guys to solid axle swaps on 1st gens, there's actually quite a few R200s available at any given time. You don't have to risk buying an H233 that someone tells you is a limited slip and its an open diff. Since all the R200s are open diffs its a moot point.
     
    1stGENXterra likes this.
  6. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

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    If the rest of the truck is clean, that's a pretty good deal still. Especially for it already having the timing work done.
     
  7. Dduvall

    Dduvall Test Drive

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    6
    Thanks for the welcome. I lurk on forums and search for days until I need help or I want to share something to help other people. I was very active in Saab forums. Don't ever buy a 1999+ Saab...

    I might go with the front. Since the front more likely was chewed up from this. Plus the front diff has a slight pinion seal leak. I guess it depends on whats available in my area.
     
  8. Cptpackrat

    Cptpackrat Need Bigger Tires Supporting Member

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    Gillette WY
    I second what prime says. Look as far as Denver, there has been alot of SAS projects going on down there and the is undoubtedly going to be a front diff you can get ahold of prety reasonable. I sold my 4.6 Lokka'd diff to a buddy for $250 and bought a 5.13 Lokka'd diff for $300. Just shop around and certainly dont be afraid to travel a bit
     
  9. The Evil Chip

    The Evil Chip Bought an X

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    Tidewater, VA
    Welcome to the voyage of the damned, errrr Xterra Nation!
     
  10. granitex

    granitex Skid Plates Lifetime Member Founding Member

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    If by any chance you do want to do the 4.63 in the back I will have a set that is coming out in the very new future. switching to 5.13 in the very near future.
     
  11. Dduvall

    Dduvall Test Drive

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    Ordered a 4.9 front diff off eBay. I think I'll order some new cv's as well. One has a tiny amount of slop. I figure these would be super easy to change with the diff out.
     
    Cptpackrat likes this.
  12. granitex

    granitex Skid Plates Lifetime Member Founding Member

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    you have to disconect them to change it anyway so while you are in there it would never hurt, Just keep them as trail spares.
     
  13. bigjim247365

    bigjim247365 Titan Swapped / SAS'd Supporting Member

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    well this is a first.
     
  14. Dduvall

    Dduvall Test Drive

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    Well I can confirm that the gearing was mismatched. I bought a used 4.9 diff off ebay and installed it this weekend. 4x4 works great now. I can put it in 4x4, drive in a straight line, and take it up to 30mph on pavement with no problems. Posting results to help someone with a future search.

    To recap, putting the Xterra in 4x4, both 4hi or 4lo, caused violent shaking when driving at no more than 5mph. No grinding, squealing, etc, Just shaking throughout the entire car. I felt as if you were trying to take off with the parking brake on. With the X in the air or driving in loose dirt, 4x4 worked fine.

    While I was in there, I replaced the CV axles. Even with the diff out, You still need to disconnect the upper ball joint or entire arm from the frame. I disconnected the arm from the frame and stupidly did not mark where the alignment was... So had to learn how to adjust the wheels from > to =. Going to buy new tires so I will get it professionally aligned then. I had planned to replace the u-joints but those seem okay and its easy to fix later if i have problems.

    FYI The front diff is super awkward and heavy! It is hard to find the center of gravity and when I was lowering the bad diff, it slid off my 2x4 platform, landed on the drivers side axle and started puking oil out of the seal. The oil was had very obvious metallic flakes so I'm excited to remove the cover and see what damage it has. I will post results of that if its significant.
     
  15. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin

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    Nice! Glad you got it sorted.
     
  16. granitex

    granitex Skid Plates Lifetime Member Founding Member

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    Location:
    Columbus OH
    there is a cheap tranny jack that you can get at harbor freight, I welded a nut to the top of a floor jack that the cradle threads into. makes the drop a solid one man job.
     

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