I have a 2004 Nissan Xterra. When I am at speed, usually in 3rd or so, and I am coming to a stop, I disengage the clutch, brake, and coast to a stop, with the shifter still in gear. As I do this, shortly after disengaging the clutch I hear a grinding/whirring sound that is pretty dramatic as the car's speed falls below the gear's range.
If I recreate the sound, it does cease when I pop it into neutral. I can either disengage or engage the clutch at this point; it doesn't seem to make a difference.
Thinking that I was having a cluth-dragging problem, I replaced both cylinders and put in new fluid (the play in the clutch pedal warranted the change anyways). While fixing a soft clutch-pedal issue, it did not fix the problem with coasting.
I was thinking that the synchro gear was going, but wanted to have a second opinion. Any chance that I can simply avoid leaving it in gear while coasting down and avoid having to get this fixed ($$$?)? What did I do to cause this thing to go bad?
The question simply put is: what is the problem, and can I go for long with it the way it is?