Why is my X Squirrely when Driving at Higher Speeds on the Highway? - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Why is my X Squirrely when Driving at Higher Speeds on the Highway?

I have noticed that my X gets squirrely when going 80 mph on highway. Not sure if this has something to do with the 33's I have on the truck. I feel like it is all over the place even though the alignment and balancing has been completed and on par. The same applies when driving 70-75 mph at times or if passing an 18 wheeler or when they pass me. I have seen other SUV's out on the hwy and they seem to be handling just fine, I could be wrong though. I have a Camaro as a weekend driver and it handles so much better than the X at highway speeds and I know you cannot compare. Is there a fix for this?

Also what kind of brakes do you all use on your X's? I have Brembos on my Camaro and it stops on a dime. I wish my X could do the same. Is there a brake upgrade kit I could get for the X? Not trying to turn the X into a speed monster... just want something that feels safer when out on the hwy when sometimes speeding up and slowing down in a short amount of time is necessary.

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 09:35 PM
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After I put coilovers, Moog sway bar bushings and Moog sway bar end links on my X I had what I described as not planted feeling at 65-80mph. Putting on OEM sway bar bushings fixed the problem for me.

https://www.thenewx.org/forum/14-sus...ompressed.html

The X is starting to feel not as planted again sometimes, I'll likely replace the sway bar end links with OEM when it gets a little warmer here and see if that helps.

For the brakes short answer is I've remained impressed with the Raybestos EHT pads, buy those. Long answer is in this thread for all the available options I'm aware of.

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Last edited by Longboardr; 03-07-2019 at 09:37 PM.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Longboardr View Post
After I put coilovers, Moog sway bar bushings and Moog sway bar end links on my X I had what I described as not planted feeling at 65-80mph. Putting on OEM sway bar bushings fixed the problem for me.

https://www.thenewx.org/forum/14-sus...ompressed.html

The X is starting to feel not as planted again sometimes, I'll likely replace the sway bar end links with OEM when it gets a little warmer here and see if that helps.

For the brakes short answer is I've remained impressed with the Raybestos EHT pads, buy those. Long answer is in this thread for all the available options I'm aware of.

Thanks for the link on the brake pads. I will look into it. Are there aftermarket replacement calipers for our X's as well? As for sway bar end links etc... My PRO 4X is all stock. It has not even been lifted yet other than the 33's I put on it. Truck currently has 57k miles on it now. Would you suppose the OEM sway bar end links on it now need replacing?

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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by RedBrawnX View Post
Thanks for the link on the brake pads. I will look into it. Are there aftermarket replacement calipers for our X's as well? As for sway bar end links etc... My PRO 4X is all stock. It has not even been lifted yet other than the 33's I put on it. Truck currently has 57k miles on it now. Would you suppose the OEM sway bar end links on it now need replacing?
I think someone talks about a big brake kit that was $2k in the thread I linked, could be wrong. Otherwise I haven't heard of any caliper upgrades.

I'd guess at your X's age and mileage the sway bar hardware is fine, but it's worth taking a look to see if there's an obvious problem. My X's swaybar hardware was still good at 146k, I replaced it because I was pulling the swaybar to put on the coilovers. It was the aftermarket hardware that caused problems for me.

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Last edited by Longboardr; 03-07-2019 at 09:58 PM.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Longboardr View Post
I think someone talks about a big brake kit that was $2k in the thread I linked, could be wrong. Otherwise I haven't heard of any caliper upgrades.

I'd guess at your X's age and mileage the sway bar hardware is fine, but it's worth taking a look to see if there's an obvious problem. My X's swaybar hardware was still good at 146k, I replaced it because I was pulling the swaybar to put on the coilovers. It was the aftermarket hardware that caused problems for me.
Thanks for that. Will def look into the the thread.

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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 08:03 AM
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Longboardr's answers are all correct. You can add to that to check your tie rod ends while your there.

However what tires did you go from and what do you have now. If you go from a primarily highway tire like the OEM BFG tires to an aggressive AT or something, your going to feel the difference. It won't track as well.

Also, worn front and rear springs will make cross winds more of an issue. The winds are able to push the truck over slightly more which changes the center of gravity suddenly and can make the truck feel like its taking off on you.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 08:37 AM
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So everyone has covered the front, in the rear you may want to also look into adding a helper. There are multiple options. Sumospring(what I use), Timbrens, hellwig helper springs, airbags are all options.
I like the Sumospring, it definitely limits body roll on highway. and has made the rear end feel much more connected to the road. I drive 70-75 most of the time and it was a night and day difference after the addition at higher speeds when changing lanes and hitting bumps, also will end your bottoming out. Guessing the timbrens do generally the same thing and both have good reviews on here.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 12:55 PM
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How's the air pressure in the tires? Consistent and not too low?

Does it do it on all freeways?
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 01:28 PM
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In the last few months I've started having problems with wandering and tracking on the highway, if the road surface is remotely uneven. Sections of the right lane where trucks have cupped the road are very twitchy. I've been tossed around pretty good at times. I've found through experimenting that my tires are the culprit. They are nearing the end of their life(maybe 30% tread left) and have become insanely sensitive to tire pressure. I've got about a 2psi window where they track well. And with daily temps fluctuating a lot this time of year, its impossible to keep within that window. I basically have to choose whether it steers good at 6am or at 4pm. Every day is an adventure to and from work right now.


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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 03-08-2019, 04:24 PM
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There's not really a simple answer as to why it's handling that way but it's pretty common with the X honestly although that normally applies to lifted rigs. Yours being mostly stock should handle pretty good so something has to be worn. At the miles you have I lean more towards tires than anything else, what kind are you running? Also do you have spacers or offset wheels? IME highway tread patterns that look lame feel the best on the road, AT's which have bigger, softer treads feel squishy and follow road defects like crazy. It wouldn't hurt to replace the front sway bar mount bushings, I do mine annually now because they are cheap and really do make a huge difference in handling when they wear out. Everything else I would just inspect for now, outer tie rod ends, upper control arm balljoints, lower conrol arm balljoints, sway bar endlinks, that said they should be fine at 57k but worth checking. Also make sure your tires are the correct psi, do the chalk test to find out what they need to be at the number on the door is great for highway tires but not AT's I've found.


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