Mechanics

LOUD GRINDING NOISE

2002 Nissan Altima

Noises problem
2002 Nissan Altima 6 cyl Manual

My car has been making a loud grinding noise that comes from the front right wheel for the past month! I know it couldnt be the brakes being I just replaced them (all 4) about 1 1/2 months ago. I also notice the noise gets louder when I let go of the accelarator and when the car is loosing speed. When Iam backing up and turning the wheel to the right, the car makes a hollowed clunking noise. I also notice small oil stains on the ground that seem to be coming from somewhere of the right side of the inner right wheel when ever the car has been parked. Any information as to what the problem(s) might be would be greatly appreciated.
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Ponchoandsasha
September 24, 2010.



I used to have an Altima 3.5 too.
There are a few possibilities from what you are describing.
Since there is an oil leak near the area in question, there are 3 things that contain oil/grease that also fit the symptoms, although I find the grinding noise unusual.
The first thing that I would check is the right axle. It does contain a heavier grease, but will still leave oil spots. Lok at the boot on either end, probably the boot near the brake, and see if there is oil that has been slung around the area. It will get to the brake and cause problems with it. The clunking noise makes me think it is the axle as well.
Second, the motor mounts on Altimas are oil filled and have tiny motors on them that increase pressure and stiffen the mount as the cars speed increases. They will fail and leak oil and casue vibration and possibly the clunking noise as the motor and tranny torqu over in a direction that will lift the motor on that side and then when it drops back into place it can make a clanking sound. If the motor is misaligned, that could exlain the grinding noise as something might be rubbing somewhere that it should not be.
Lastly, The strut is probably in need of replacement by now and they leak oil as well, but I don't think it is the issue.
It might be a combination of a few things as I know that the manual Altimas go through axles and motor mounts quickly.
A few questions; Does the grinding noise seem to be concurrent with wheel speed or the motro RPMS. Meaning does the noise change as your speed changes or does it change with the motor RPMs?
If you make a tight u-turn are there any clicking noises or do you feel any strange steering wheel movements?

A last piiece of advice. When my motor mounts failed on my Altima, I replaced the front one twice as they fail first, I had INNOVATIVE ENGINEERING take brand new Altima motor mounts and they used them to make a CAD?CAM CNC model for Polyeuethane mounts. I got a free set of mounts for my trouble. They do not list them on their web site, but if you call tham and tell them they did an R& D set, tthey will make a set for you. Replace all at once no matter what as the others will fail from carrying extra load.
The INNOVATIVE mounts will outlast the car.

Last question. How hard do you drive the car?

Hello, thank you for responding to my question I really appreciate it. Here are the answes to your question. The grinding noise seems to be concurrent with wheel speed in particular when I let go of the accelarator and the car starts loosing speed. It makes sort of a te te te te te te sound, and as its starts slowing down it goes from the te te noise into the grunting noise ( that gets louder and louder as the speed drops) until finally making this hallow loud grunt when I come to a full stop. It kind of sounds like an old heavy steel ship that has trouble moving around. Sound is only heard at low speeds. When going at high speeds ( 35 and above) the noise stops and nothing is heard. Also when iam backing up and turning at the same time, the loud hallowed grunt is also heard. I really depend on my car, as Iam a bussy mom and use it to run errands around town alot. If the problem turns out to be one of the problems you mention, how safe is it to be driving the car around?

Tiny
Ponchoandsasha
Oct 1, 2010.
It is hard to say for sure how safe the car is and I would not make any judgement from just the correspondence we have had. However, When brakes are involved and possibly axels or maybe even wheel bearing, I would not let it ride.
I am a perfectionist, but letting it go is only going to cost you more money. It is hard to find someone that I trust to touch my car. There are just some things that I do not have the diagnostic equipment or specialty tools for. I found a guy by word of mouth who does not advertise and you could never find his shop because he does not have a street sign to signify where his shop is.
I know that is probably not what you want to hear, but the old saying, "a$100 in maintenence is going to save you $1000 in repairs", is absolutly true.

So, check to general forums on this site and ask for people who live in your area to reccomend someone in this area or try the same on a Nissan froum. I used to go to http://www.nissan.net If you can find someone good it is going to be through a forum like this one first and then through an enthusiast forum. The best way to also judge if a shop is good is finding a word of mouth shop because if they are thriving that waythey are good. Number 2, when you check out the place, see how clean it is and if they have the latest in diagnostic equipment. The guy i let touvh my car starts a file on customers and takes digital photographs of repairs before during and after if it is applicable for his future reference and to show you what was done. Also very rare but the best guide to a good shop is somewhere that pays technicians salary instead of flat rate. Flat rate is when they get 3.o hours to say remove and replace a power steering rack. They always try to beat the time to make up for the inevitable broken bolt or dister that makes a 3.0 hour job 6 hours long.

Even if your issue can be fixed through this forum, start searching for somone you trust if you don't have one.

Anyway, I digress. One thing I would check is the heat shield that is behind the brake rotor. When brakes are replaced they are easily bent to where they ar touching the rotor and will make a great deal of noise and sound different in reverse as opposed to forward motion. Check the clearance all the way around and just pull it away from the rotor where it is rubbing. But remeber when you are doing this it is affecting other areas of the shield so re-checck clearance as you do this.
Sometimes, and this is rare, if you did pads and not rotors especially, brake pads might not seat in corectly or even get a comtaminent on the pad that makes noise. I had an old LeMans that had brakes that would grind and eventually found that a broken pad retaining spring was rubbing the rotor.
These are the thin metal clips that are between the pads and caliper to kepp them in plave and give the pades a smoth surface to move on.

So, in closing, check for anything that might be rubbing against the rotors. Since it started right after the brakes were done, if I understand corectly, that is my first intinct and probably has something to do with it.

Do one thing at a time so you can eliminate the suspects that are causing the problem as it may happen again and it is simply a god practice for many reasons.
Good luck!
Let me know how it goes.

Just to let you know, I will be travelling and cill not be checking posts until Monday. I will try to, but I doubt I can.

Thanx! I'll let you know what happens.

Tiny
Ponchoandsasha
Oct 1, 2010.