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2002 Maxima - Brakes/Rotors

I replaced the pads and rotors on the front end of my 2002 maxima (it had a shudder when braking from speed). By mistake, I did loosen the spindle nut, but retightened it. Braking is smooth, but I am plagued by noise. Used CRC on the back of the pads, have pulled the tires/wheels 3-4 times looking for looseness, mistakes, etc…. This is a pretty simple job – right? Even had the front wheel off my other 2002 (yes – I have 2…love this year/model) and compared them.

Did I cause an issue with the loosening and retightening of the spindle? Is this just a spline? I have it “wrench” tight and it had not loosened up even with 500 miles driving. There is not any play in the wheels mounted to the axle… What do I need to look at next?

Before anyone can comment you need to describe the noise and the conditions under which the noise occurs.

Sorry - I left that out when retyping after a session time out…

After acceleration (coasting…) is the worst.

Noise is a rub that corresponds to the wheel diameter (once per revolution)

You need to retorque that spindle nut to factory specs. Many of them also require you to use a punch tool to bash a dimple into it that fits into a notch on the spindle itself to provide extra insurance against the nut backing out. You don’t want it to work loose when you’re on the highway.

Why did you loosen the spindle nut?

Many spindle nuts can’t be reused. Once they are torqued down the first time they have to be replaced. You should find out - now - if yours is of that type.

@cigroller - as noted it was a mistake…

It does not seem to be the one and done type (can you send a link with the difference?) …and has a cotter key to avoid falling out.

So…noise without acceleration…worse when starting out (cold brakes)…

I have found that the metal dust cover can get bent and rub against the rotor.
If you jack the tire up and rotate the wheel (while car is in neutral and wheels are chocked) you should be able to see and hear where it is rubbing.
i have to do this every time I change my rotors and pads because the metal is so thin and it bends easy, not to mention it rusts quickly. so on the inside of the rotor look for the metal protector cover and see if its rubbing.

Wrench tight is not the correct torque spec for the spindle nut. It must be torqued and the torque is critical. You may have damaged the wheel bearing, but tighten the spindle nut to the correct torque just to see if the noise goes away. You might get lucky.

The reason the spindle nut is considered a consumable is that it is slightly tapered at the top so it acts like a lock nut. The torque is not repeatable on this nut, that is the same torque applied the second time can result in higher clamping pressure on the bearing.

Since yours uses a cotter pin, it may be the reusable type. The locknut type are usually hit with a punch on the outside edge over the groove instead of using a cotter pin. If yours has been “punched”, you realign the punch with the groove and you might be OK.

Thanks - will do both and check. Dust covers are close on this one…