By on October 12, 2011



TTAC Commentator Benderofbows writes:


I always enjoy reading Piston Slap and want to ask about my truck, a 2007 Nissan Frontier with the VQ40DE (4.0L V6), 6-speed manual, and 42k miles. Sometimes the truck will rattle while accelerating at around 2200 RPMS. This only happens after completing a long freeway run (an hour or more) and occurs in every gear regardless of throttle position. The noise goes away after a few shifts or always after the truck has been shut off and restarted. It has been going on for 6 months or more (it took me that long to figure out how to duplicate it) and doesn’t seem to be getting any worse, plus it doesn’t trip any check engine lights. I can’t imagine how to replicate the noise for the dealership service department. Any ideas? Computer issue with the air/fuel mix maybe?

Sajeev answers:

I hate being the armchair quarterback at times. That said, I’m putting all my chips on a transmission problem, not an engine issue. That rattle sounds like a bad throwout bearing, pressure plate or clutch. Or maybe it all needs to be replaced when going in there for a look-see.

Keep in mind the number of moving parts inside a manual transmission required to connect/disconnect with the engine. If one of them is a bit out of spec, something could throw a little rattle at a certain frequency: like maybe 2200rpm?

And this is where I stop patting my smart ass on the back and do some actual research. Lo and behold, a full 60 seconds of Googling netted a thread that completely addresses your issue. The solution? You need a new clutch and new flywheel and someone who can install them to the correct torque specs.

Good luck.

Send your queries to [email protected] . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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15 Comments on “Piston Slap: There’s a Rattle on the Frontier!...”

  • avatar

    Hey, this is smokeydadog from the thread that Sajeev posted. I had this same issue with my truck and never did get it fixed under warranty. Two different dealerships gave me the run-around, including making me pay for a rental car out of my pocket for a week and damaging my truck while performing a separate TSB. Repeated calls to Nissan’s consumer affairs accomplished nothing. I ended up trading the vehicle and swearing off Nissans for good. I also learned just how useless a warranty can be if dealerships refuse to honor it. Luckily my next car (which I’m still driving) has been flawless for nearly 5 years now. I don’t mean to discourage you and I hope you have better luck with your truck. If you want to read more about my issues you can check out the following threads at Club Frontier: and

    Again, I wish you the best with your ride. Aside from all the problems I had, I really loved my truck and had a great time with it. I just had to draw the line at some point. Let us know how it works out for you!

    • 0 avatar

      You’ve learned important lessons about Nissans and warranties. Unfortunately, they seem to be lessons that everyone has to learn for themselves. There are reasons certain manufacturers don’t need long warranties to sell their cars. There are reasons why I’ll never buy another car based on the length of its warranty too.

      • 0 avatar

        My father had an Nx2000 that he bought used in the early 90’s. On a long road trip the nut holding the pulley to the alternator came off and wrecked the engine. The local Nissan dealer took it in for repairs. After his steno job was finished he went back to the dealer. All of his bills for the trip were paid for because the nut should have never come off. Maybe Nissan has changed since then?

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, thank you for sharing! The Internet really is a small, small world.

    • 0 avatar

      Sajeev> Ha ha, yes it is. I’ve been reading this site for years, even before I owned the Frontier.

      CJinSD> You’re exactly right. When I bought the car I have now, I researched for months before making my decision. I checked the usual sources such as Consumer Reports of course, but also joined user forums for the top three or four vehicles I was considering. It’s amazing how many problems are well known at user forums but never make it into the mainstream. This issue with the Frontier is a good example. I also have a lot of respect for what Mr. Karesh is doing with his site and have found it very useful as well.

      The willingness of a manufacturer/dealership to resolve problems with a vehicle is the big unknown with a new car purchase. I had a Dodge once that seemed to have a new problem every day. However, the local dealership was always a pleasure to deal with and fixed everything right the first time. When my head gasket blew after the warranty had expired, the dealership fixed it at a reduced cost and helped me get partial coverage from Dodge to further alleviate the expense. They even offered a loaner car for several days at no charge. Even after the problems I had with this car, I still bought another Dodge several years later and would buy one today. Contrast this with my Nissan experience where I couldn’t even get my truck fixed under warranty and corporate couldn’t care less, and it’s obvious which company is scratched off my list for future purchases. A less than perfect vehicles is acceptable only if the warranty actually means something. Otherwise I’m going with boring but reliable every time.

  • avatar

    Clutch at 42K miles???

    Are you telling me Nissan manual trannys are steaming piles of crap too?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Given the mention of “correct torque” I’m gonna guess that the dang thing wasn’t torqued right at the factory to start with. That would be a quality control issue.

    • 0 avatar

      They certainly were back in 86 when i had my last one! I see they are keeping the same quality that they always have!

      (and all my syncros went out the first time at 26k, note I said first time)

  • avatar

    Check the heat shields on the exhaust.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……..any of the above plus a possible disintegrating cat, or some other sympathetic vibration that will one day just disappear………one thing for sure……don’t spend any serious money ’til the issue becomes obvious…..and try the cheap fixes first.

    • 0 avatar

      Old co-worker of mine had a Ford Ranger with a disintegrated cat. The internal element had rusted, vibrated, whatever from the outer housing. He hypermiled all the time and the truck would rattle at a low rpm in every gear.

  • avatar

    It’s difficult. When I was looking to buy a “small” truck (I got the Frontier) there weren’t many reliable options to choose from. Tacoma had a lot of issues, Frontier had a lot of issues, any GM small truck was falling apart after 60k miles, etc. Ranger is actually a joke compared to competition.

    All cars now have their problems. Even when buying Honda you cannot say “It will run forever” any more. So you choose safest option for the money. The length of the warranty should not be a major point when choosing the car.

    Club Frontier is a great place to hang out at if you own Frontier. A lot of good advices and info.

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