'83 300DT noise

First noticed it a couple days ago, but my wife says its been making noise forever. At slow speeds and primarily in reverse, there was a clicking sound from the read passenger wheel (Yep, that time of year
we drive with the windows down). At speed, she's finejust the usual high speed buzz it's always had. So, I jack up the offending corner and it's clunking like crazy when I spin it. Seems to be the half axle. It catches, clunks, then keeps going. When I spin the wheel with all the speed I can by hand, it settles right down.     Obviously, the axle is headin' south. In my experience with Japanese cars, when a CV goes, it goes fast and with a pyrotechnic flare. Better have the cell on hand cause you're gonna need a ride. The tone I get by doing a search of this group is that these joints can go on and on before total failure. I thought I'd ask outright: How long do the half axles suffer through their demise before it's AAA time?     Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!
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I think the real question is what mileage you have on your car now? My friend's car with 280K miles have no problem... that's what most people means by on and on...
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It has about 180k Miles. Boots on the CVs are ugly, but not leaking. Very slight end play when I pull on the wheel. No up and down play. Driver's side is soild with no play or vibration. I just did a 220 mile run to the airport and it was unnoticable until i pulled into my drive way. Thanks!
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You know... I think it is your wheel bearing... not the CV... these CV are not like front wheel drive CV... front wheel CV moves in all 4 directions and are smaller... where MB is only up and down which is why it is very rare to replace these.
When you jack up your wheel... you said it is clunking... do you mean when you rock the wheel up and down... and sideways? It is most common for rear wheel bearing to go bad... especially the right side because that's where our worse road side is.
If it is wheel bearing... replace only that one... left side don't need to be replaced.
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I had a clunking sound in my 300TD and it turned out to be a WAY out of adjustment e-brake cable (like broken). It was really bad when backing up.

rare
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I have a similar noise (left rear) on a 1984 300DT. It is loudest in neutral (coasting) and under very slight acceleration, and seems to disappear with harder acceleration, braking, and higher speed. I suspect bearing noise would not change in this way, that's why I've been suspecting a CV joint. My mechanic checked it out and found no problem. However he's deaf from years of noise and can't hear the light tap-tap-tapping. Any suggestions?
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Could be brake related, but if it happens when coasting you may get lucky and be able to jack the rear end and run it to see what is happening without a load on it. You may also find something just jacknig it and moving the wheel back and forth.
I wouldn't rule out a CV joint. CV joints are probably one of the most difficult things to diagnose because it takes them a while to give up the ghost, especially on a rear axle where there isn't much movement beyond up and down a few inches.

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