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Top 5 Nissan Titan Rear Differential Upgrade in 11 Steps

The subject of getting a Nissan titan rear differential upgrade is not often discussed. Some drivers do not even know the exact functions of the rear differential in their automobiles.

That explains the perceived difficulty in sensing when an upgrade or replacement is due.

A simple way to describe their function is that the Nissan rear differential helps to balance the torque difference between the outside and inner rear wheels.

Therefore, they are essential components of the automobile system.

This article would aim to properly define them and give you more details on their functions.

You also understand the lookout signs for possible faults with the rear differential and a detailed replacement guide.


Top 5 Nissan Titan Rear Differential Replacement

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What is a Rear Differential?

When navigating a bend, the distance covered by the outer wheels is slightly higher than the inner ones since both wheels started on the same imaginary straight line.

The implication of this difference in distance covered should typically lead to an unbalance in produced torque and stability of the wheels that are still perfectly aligned.

However, that is not the case because another automobile component helps offset the slight variance in the distance.

That component is known as the rear differential. Hence, the rear differential can be defined as a mechanical component connected to the driveshaft to transmit appropriate amounts of engine power to a set of wheels on the same axle, allowing them to turn at different speeds.

What Does Rear Differential Do?

From the given definition, the primary function of a rear differential is simple. It is responsible for the smooth turning round a road bend.

A perfect illustration is the hot wheels car. It works well for straight-line movements but encounters difficulties in turning. Do you know why? The answer is simple: it does not have a rear differential.

However, your Nissan vehicle possesses one, and that’s why you navigate around bends easily. See the video below for more information on their working principle.

The rear differential decreases the speed of the inner wheel while slightly increasing that of the outer one.

The alterations in speed cancel out the differences and help to balance the torque on both wheels to achieve a successful turn.

The Symptoms if The Rear Differential is Not Working?

Identifying the following symptoms that connote a possible rear differential fault will enable you to work out a Nissan titan rear differential replacement quickly.

  • Irritating noise: depending on the type and extent of the fault, a bad rear differential will start to hum or make weird noise while turning around a bend.
  • Overheating: high working temperatures perceived from the wheels should not be ignored as it might be the rear differential. Probable causes are the use of an incompatible oil or poor lubrication of moving parts.
  • Handling difficulty: seek an expert to check your Nissan rear differential immediately you start experiencing complications with maneuvering the wheels around road corners.
  • Unwanted vibrations: worn-out differentials would eventually lead to vibration of the drive shafts that jeopardize car safety.

Nissan Titan Rear Differential Problems

Let’s say you noticed one of the symptoms explained above. How do you identify the exact type of rear differential problem?

That’s where a lot of drivers get stuck. The following are common problems that might prompt the rear differential to start giving warning signs of probable failure.

  • Worn-out carrier bearings: worn-out carrier bearings are one reason that might cause excessive noise anytime you accelerate or navigate a turn.
  • Loose pinion-bearing: as a first observation, a loose pinion-bearing connection might make you think the tires are bad. The loose bearings result in high howling sounds, especially during a gear change.
  • Damaged ring and pinion gear: a broken ring and pinion gear is another Nissan titan rear differential problem that causes loud, distinct sounds when driving. The pinion parts might break off from spinning tires when a car gets stuck on a muddy road. Reckless driving is another reason why the differential parts might break under usual driving conditions.
  • Loose fitted U-joints: the symptom of this kind of differential problem is excessive vibrations. They are unwanted and cause discomfort to both the driver and passengers. The vibrations even become more at higher speeds and increase the chances of an accident.
  • Bad cornering gears: like their name, these gears are supposed to ensure smooth power transmission from the engine to the wheels. They are also called “spider gears,” and damages to them would mean annoying banging sounds when driving your Nissan model.
  • Displaced driveshaft: another probable cause of vibration or jittering of your Nissan automobile at high speeds is the displacement of the driveshaft. An automatic imbalance in the wheels’ alignment affects the produced torque since the driveshaft is out of place.
  • Leaking differential: leaks in the rear differential is a problem that often leads to more complicated Nissan differential issues. Regardless of where the leak occurred, it results in correspondingly poor lubrication. Insufficient lubrication can then cause clunking noise whenever the vehicle navigates a road bend.

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Nissan Titan Rear Differential Replacement Cost

DIY cost: although not everyone would like to get Nissan titan rear differential displacement, it is cheaper considering you are not charged for labour.

However, the gravity of the repair job determines the cost. Essential replacement of some rear differential parts like the oil seals costs about $200 to $400.

Heavier replacements or a complete rear differential swap would be as expensive as $1000 to $4000.

Professional cost: the only difference in sourcing the replacement job to a professional is the additional labor cost of around $60 to $100.

It might be more depending on the extent of repair ad estimated time it requires. Complex or total differential parts swaps would take a longer time to complete and are more expensive.

Besides, you might be buying a new differential unit or a used one. Both are okay, except that the used Nissan titan ones have a shorter warranty period.

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Nissan Titan Rear Differential Replacement Step By Step Guide

Carefully read this section to learn how you can replace an under-performing or faulty Nissan titan rear differential.

Below are the set of tools you might want to try obtaining if you plan to do the replacement yourself.

Tools Required

  • Ratchet socket
  • Gasket scraper
  • Pan or containing vessel
  • Torque wrench
  • 3/8 inches drive ratchet extension
  • Combo box wrench

Step 1:

Park the vehicle in a safe area and ensure it is on level ground. When that’s done, use a hydraulic jack to lift the rear end of the Nissan automobile.

Proceed to support the raised automobile parts with two jack stands placed at each end of the rear wheels.

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Step 2:

Identify the Nissan titan rear differential and place a pan or container under it. The container will serve as the collector of the differential fluid when the lid is unlocked.

Use the 3/8 inches drive ratchet extension to loosen the drain bolt and wait for the oil to drain before proceeding.

Step 3:

Detach the Wheel Axle and Bearings. Unscrew the bolts on the flange that is protecting the axle seal. Due to metallic rust, the bolts might be challenging to come off.

Use a hammer to hit such bolts at the sides and try unbolting again.

When you are done unscrewing the bolts, the wheel axle should quickly come out just by pulling. Repeat these same procedures for the other rear wheel axle.

Step 4:

Remove the Rear Differential Carrier. With the aid of the ratchet, unlock the other bolts asides from the opened drain bolt.

Remove them one after the other and take note of the ones that might be farther on the inside and out of the ratchet’s reach.

That’s where the combo box wrench becomes useful. Apply it to remove the remaining blots and pull out the rear differential cover.

There is also the possibility that some bolts have been covered by settled dust or rusted metallic fillings.

Use the gasket scraper to get such bolt obstructions out of the way.

Most importantly, examine the removed differential for any physical damage or dent on the structure

Step 5:

Clean the Differential Housing. There is a high chance that the inside walls of the rear differential will be untidy with old sticky fluids that have been deposited over time.

The disadvantage is that the dirty oil layers prevent you from adequately evaluating the physical state of the rear differential.

Some of the faults to check for are worn-out ring and pinion bearings.

Depending on the state of the differential housing, a replacement with only another rear differential chamber might be the solution.

In addition, take note of the R and L sides of the differential unit to help with the assembly or installation of replacement parts.

Step 6:

Install the Nissan titan rear differential replacement. Examine the different components of the replacement units

Step 7:

Also, remember to reinstall the rear wheel axles for both ends carefully.

The installation should be straightforward as the axle is expected to seamlessly go into its tube the same way it was pulled out after unbolting.

From mere observation, you should be able to know if it’s adequately locked in with the gears.

Step 8:

Install the New Differential Cover. This step is part of the rounding-up procedures after you might have washed the differential housing or replaced it with a new one.

Start the installation by marking out the edges of the differential cover and applying a sealant to the bolt holes.

Carefully place it over the differential housing such that the respective halves of the cover and housing match for a perfect fit.

Press both sides over each other and apply the bolts immediately.

Step 9:

Ensure you are tightening the bolts according to how it was initially. Next, take your drain plug and return it to the drain hole.

Step 10:

Everything is almost done here. Add fresh new oil to the Nissan titan rear differential.

Verify that you are using only the recommended type of oil to prevent another issue with the new replacement unit.

Besides, discard the old engine fluid properly according to environmental safety standards.

Step 11:

Finally, test the vehicle on the road to evaluate changes in performance via the new differential replacement.

Confused about how to get started with that replacement? See this tutorial video:

Frequently Asked Questions About Nissan Titan Rear Differential Upgrade

How do you know if your differential is faulty?

A faulty differential will start to give off some irritating noise that hints to the driver of possible worn-out bearings and rings.

There might also be some difficulties with the handling, especially when taking sharp corners on the road.

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Can you manage a faulty differential on the road?

Yes, you can drive with a malfunctioning differential, but it is unsafe. It might even lead to more extreme and costly damages to the rear differential system.

Therefore, the only time you are expected to risk driving with a faulty differential is when it’s being taken to the repair shop.

Do faulty differentials have any effect on the transmission?

The purpose of the differential is to transmit power to the wheels for optimized handling and control.

Hence, any problem will cause an imbalance in transmission as the wheels experience different torques.

How frequently should you change the differential fluid?

With time, the fluid in the differential gets dirty and old and ultimately affects performance. It is recommended that the fluids be replaced after every 30,000 to 60,000 miles traveled.

Just ensure you are using the correct type of fluid.

What is the lifespan of a good rear differential?

A good differential is expected to work for at least 140,000 miles. It might be more depending on specific driving habits, maintenance schedules, and other driving practices.

What is the cost of changing the rear differential fluid?

There is no stipulated cost of the rear differential fluids. It varies depending on the oil grade specified by the manufacturer.

However, the price is usually within the range of $70 to $150.


A Nissan Titan rear differential upgrade is necessary when it starts exhibiting any of the symptoms highlighted in this article.

That’s why we thought it reasonable to outline the step-by-step procedures for such an upgrade carefully.

With the right set of tools and adherence to the instructional guides, you can confidently go ahead to troubleshoot the issues with your Nissan rear differential.