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Discussion Starter #1
First, I have a lot of experience with both [real] 4WD and AWD drivetrains owning many vehicles over the years and most recently a 2014 Rogue AWD.

But my 2016 Nismo RS AWD (just got it a few weeks ago) is making a noise that is a little troubling. It sounds like a "growling" sound as if there's a robotic lion in the rear of the car. It has less than 40,000 miles.

Here's what I've determined so far:
  1. It happens in AWD and AWD-V but never in 2WD (when the AWD drives modes are not selected).
  2. It doesn't seem to happen when the vehicle is cold and get's worse as the vehicle runs a while. And that's not the engine temperature, but the internal temperature of the drivetrain components. For example, "warming-up" the engine prior to driving makes no difference, it's just driving a mile or so does.
  3. It's not the tires. They have been replaced and the noise existed before and after that. It needed new tires.
  4. It's not the brakes. Both the rear pads and rotors have been replaced with new Nissan parts and the noise existed before and after that work. Note the brakes needed replaced anyway as a prior owner allowed the pads to wear-out and damage the rotor.
  5. The sound appears between 5-20 MPH. It might happen at higher speeds but is not noticeable due to wind and road noise.
  6. Due to the classic rattling noise from the back of the vehicle and investigation into that, it's not the license plate frame, spare tire, jack, rear seats, loose rear seatbelts (internal seatbelt mechanism is still a possibility) but that rattling noise is very different than the AWD noise described above.
My next step is to take it into Nissan for a diagnostic but before I did, I thought I would check to see if any others have had this issue or could offer insights into this issue.
 

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Some owners have reported noise from the cargo area due to fuel pump on the passenger side. Try putting the seats down and seeing if that helps pinpoint? Maybe with a passenger on an isolated and safe road.
 

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Possibly a wheel bearing. I’ve had wheel bearings sound like helicopters and like straight cut gears. But those sounds usually persist regardless of speed. My guess is transfer case. Get the fluid changed first then see what sounds it makes.
 

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If it is the rear of the car. Maybe one of the magnetic clutch packs.
 

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My 2016 RS growls/whines when cold at low speed on the up ramps from the underground parking.
Not all the time though. And not when warmed-up out on the road. I keep my drive mode in V.

The 60 month is up in March so I care less. I assumed my case could be low CVT fluid on upgrades. Soon to be history.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nissan diagnosed the noise and installed (under warranty) part number 383001KD0C "Final Drive Assembly - Rear" which is the rear differential and drive axles. I'll report back if the noise continues (meaning it did not fix the problem).
 

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