Dynamic response of a gear pair subjected to input and output torque or velocity fluctuations is examined analytically. Such motions are commonly observed in various powertrain systems and identified as gear rattle or hammering motions with severe noise and durability consequences. A reduced-order torsional model is proposed along with a computationally efficient piecewise-linear solution methodology to characterize the system response including its sensitivity to excitation parameters. Validity of the proposed model is established through comparisons of its predictions to measurements from a gear rattle experimental setup. A wide array of nonlinear behavior is demonstrated through presentation of periodic and chaotic responses in the forms of phase plots, Poincaré maps, and bifurcation diagrams. The severity of the resultant impacts on the noise outcome is also assessed through a rattle severity index defined by using the impact velocities.