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Mike V.
Mike V., Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 25312
Experience:  Nissan factory trained and Certified Subaru Technician.
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Nissan/Datsun Xterra Off-Road: I have a 2006 Nissan Xterra

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I have a 2006 Nissan Xterra with 51,000 miles. I've been noticing a tapping/clicking noise when I'm climbing a hill, or accelerating. It's only when I'm applying more throttle than normal. Regular street driving, or consistent highway driving, does not create the noise. I'm thinking it could be an exhaust leak, as I owned a 67 Mustang that made a similar noise when the doughnut gasket was bad. Also, seems like my MPG has dropped a little. Any ideas?
Hi there,
Is your check engine light coming on?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, just making the sound during harder acceleration.

Ok, it's pretty common for these to break exhaust manifolds. This can also affect the fuel economy because the O2 sensor might see a lean mix and add fuel.
You can pull the heat shields off the manifolds to check for leaks. There would not be a check engine light because the computer is happy as long as it sees the input from the O2 sensor. It doesn't care if it's the right input, just that there is one. Then it calculates he mixture accordingly
Hope this helps!
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Thank You
Mike V. and other Nissan Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok, thanks for confirming. So is there just one manifold? If so, what side of the engine is it? Also, how do I check for leaks?

There are 2 exhaust manifolds, the left and the right side of the engine. These are under shields right on the sides of the engine. You can pull them and see if one of them are cracked.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok I will give it a look. Also, if this turns out to be a cracked manifold, is it a job that I can do on my own? I'm sure it will require applying a new gasket and removing some bolts. Will it require to remove the exhaust system from the manifold? Better to take this to an exhaust shop, or the dealer?

Honestly, this is not a very easy job. The manifolds don't have much clearance and it's difficult to access all the bolts without special tools.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, I'm dealing with that now. The bolts covering the manifold don't want to come off, so before I cause more damage, I will probably need to take it in. Ok, thanks for your help. Will be rating you now.