New Guy have a Diagnosing Suspension issue Question ? - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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2012 Xterra S 4x4
 
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New Guy have a Diagnosing Suspension issue Question ?

Hi all, so I've owned an Xterra for about 6 years now, but I got mine shortly after my first kid was born, so many of the plans I had for it haven't been possible. However, I'm at the point in my life where I'm starting to have both the time and financial resources to start doing some work on the truck.

A suspension issue has lately raised its head, so that seemed like a good place to start, but I currently lack the expertise to correctly identify the issue and take the appropriate action. That's why I'm here.

Symptoms: The vehicle is a 2011 Xterra, 4WD, but not the pro4x model, about 70,000 miles, mostly city streets and highway, with some less developed roads. The past few months I feel like I've noticed more and more sway in the vehicle. It feels like it sways more than in memory when turning at highway speeds. Additionally, I'm feeling bumps in the road more strongly. In memory, the truck used to have more of a bouncy response to larger bumps in the road, but feeling like it was held in place by the suspension. Now it feels like it hits them harder, with a bit of jostle as the vehicle settles on its own. It doesn't feel like it's held in place solidly. My other car is a Honda Fit, which rides obviously much differently, but there is an interesting contrast. When I first got the Xterra, the Fit had a harder ride, feeling most of the bumps in the road, but cornered much better (no duh). Now the Xterra has a similarly hard ride, and corners even worse than it used to.

So having laid this out, are there any tests I should do that could help further identify the source of the issue? There's some followup questions about the right replacement equipment, but that should probably wait until the issue is diagnosed.

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 12:51 PM
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At 70k miles you probably just need new shocks. If you're planning on staying stock new shocks are not that expensive (~$100 each) and they are fairly easy to replace (tons of great How-to's on this site). You also might want to take a look at your front sway bar links and bushings. Also cheap and easy to replace and could freshen up the handling performance of the X. The next thing I can think of is check the rear leaf springs for sag. These are notorious for sagging and losing strength/performance not too far into the life of the Xterra.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 03:20 PM
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Cheapest place to start would be the sway bar bushings, go OEM, less than $30 total iirc. While you're replacing them check the end links for obvious play/lose nuts.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 04:04 PM
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^^^This. They're cheap and they really do make a difference if you have the swaybar. Also what condition are your tires in and what are you running?


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2019, 09:20 PM
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If you do replace the shocks, might as well put on shocks for the Pro 4.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks a ton for the advice, everyone.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Tires are a few months old, but the issue was noticed before the switch. The tires are Cooper Discoverer AT tires.

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Originally Posted by General_Tarfun View Post
^^^THIS. They're cheap and they really do make a difference if you have the swaybar. Also what condition are your tires in and what are you running?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 04:30 PM
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Biophysical: Good advice here. Am about to switch out the swaybar bushings soon here.


I would guess that your best return in your quest to reduce vehicle sway would come from adding an extra leaf to your rear leaf springs and get a shop to re-arc your leaf springs.
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---
Night armour Xterra 2006 Off-Road, after-market Bilstein shocks, 5th rear leaf spring, Michelin LTX M/S^2 4-season tires, Pennzoil Platinum 5W30 motor oil, JVC GPS/Receiver, otherwise stock. 205,000 km/127,000 miles. Handles steep loose rock very well.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 10:35 AM
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I'd agree with new shocks and possibly rear leafs as well, esp if its bottoming out on the bump stops over speed bumps/ pot holes.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 04:14 PM
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Take things in steps.

1. Replace your sway bar bushings
2. Check and or replace end links.
3. Replace shocks
4. Measure the distance from the ground to your rear fenders to determine if your having any spring sag.
(Someone will post the expected distance very shortly )

5. Replace rear springs if necessary

I suspect you will find several minor issues which are working together to cause your problem.

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