Lateral Torque - Nissan Forums : Nissan Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-13-2019, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Lateral Torque

Hello All,

Has anyone seen this? Lateral Torque is the best way I can come up with to describe this issue.

Here it is: About 2 months ago, I started noticing a slight pull to the left when accelerating from mid-to highway speed. By that, I mean if I hit the gas at 40 or so, it would gently drift left until I let go of the throttle.

Last week, it got a little worse. Well, a lot worse. I always looked at the right side of the car thinking it was originating there because it felt like it was "pushing" more than pulling. Only when the front/left tire wore down on the inside did I even think to look at the left. I know... "Duh".

The left ball joint was shot. Right side OK. That must be it? Right? Wrong! Replaced the swing arm and had a 4 wheel alignment done on a really good alignment rack. I may need some sway bar connectors on the back, but nothing to toss a fit over.

Fixed? Nope. At 40 mph if I accelerate through 60 MPH, I have to make sure I am ready to turn the wheel 5 degrees right or I will drift over to the left lane. If I am at 60 MPH and hit the gas, it wiggles a little but it doesn't drift. Possibly due to back pressure of the speed.

Anyone ever seen/heard/imagined this? This car has always run fantastic and is well taken car of. This one has myself and a few car-geek friends a little stumped.

GL

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post #2 of 9 Old 05-13-2019, 08:41 PM
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Tire pressure or circumference deltas? If you are out by a more than a couple of pounds difference, the softer tire will 'drag' more than the other and cause tire to pull to that side. If you have tires with different mileage/wear on the same 'axle' then that too can cause a pull under acceleration. So too, loose tie rod ends...but the alignment guy should have caught that. Worn control arm bushings..will align fine at rest, but could change geometry under acceleration. If your differential was really worn, or one side was really dragging (brakes, soft tire, different circumference, bad alignment) then under acceleration you could be forcing the differential to drive only one side....but I think you'd see this kind of problem manifest itself with heat, smell and crap mileage. Unfortunatey, a lot of things can cause this effect...you just have to work your way through them....

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-14-2019, 12:16 AM
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X2 all of it. Don't discount that the alignment machine is only as good as the person working it. Static alignment in no way resembles the alignment as the car travels dynamically down the road but the alignment people don't get that part at all.

Why I haven't used an alignment machine in 45 years and do all my aligning myself.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-14-2019, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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This was the very first alinment I actually didn't do myself. I figured that maybe I was doing something wrong. I have an appointment this morning then working from home today. I think I'll spend an hour putting a couple jack stands under it and grabbing hold of a few bolts with some wrenches to make sure everything is tight. I just don't want to be suddenly driving on 3 wheels at 70 MPH.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-15-2019, 03:56 AM
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Do both a 3 and 9 and a 12 and 6 yank on both wheels in the air and manhandle it doing so while looking for loose parts. You positively cannot line up any car with loose parts but the alignment people do them by the thousands. They piss around while doing loose part checks, the industry is in no way similar to what it was in the past and why they sell the lifetime alignment services as they simply throw cars up on the plate with no regard as to whether the parts are loose or not. In the old days if the car was loose they would not align at all but of course the shop loses money like that and why the change to get money even for a crap job now.

One learns to look for that in a Trump world.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-15-2019, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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OK, so I removed the front right tire. While the thread looked OK while bending down to inspect, it was worn at an angle. The tire would not even roll a couple of feet without falling over. So, out came the compressor, bead breaker and bubble balance. Put on a new tire. About 50% of the torque-pull went away.

Also, you know how the swing arm makes a "L"? The ball joint on the top of the L. It looked good. The corner is one bushing and it also looks good. But, the bushing on the short side of the L that is behind that steel plate, it appears to be beat. The standard movements we all use to check the swing arm focus on the ball joint. I got under it with a short bar and was able to flex the swing arm at that bushing. I should not have been able to do that (especially at my age). Sticking my finger to feel the bushing is why I think it's beat. Cracks and spaces where there should not have been anything. This should fix it. I hope.

Thanks to all who offered ideas!
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-16-2019, 01:24 AM
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'The standard movements we all use to check the swing arm focus on the ball joint.'

Or the 12 and 6 thing. The 3 and 9 are for tie ends and what you just found bad, or LCA bushings gone away.

Many brand new tires will fall over when fresh installed on wheels, they are ballooned out when off the car. Means nothing. Just sayin'.

Visible tread wear that is wonky, that's another thing. FYI, most cars on the planet will show front tire wear on the edges with high use, it comes from the way MacPherson struts angle the tire as they turn to maintain ackerman. Even if the suspension and align is fine. Why when tires are dead you simply change tires to often get car back to tracking fine before going crazy getting car re-aligned, a definite mistake with worn tires.

If you change one front you should change the other. Driving with one used tire on front is a mistake, the difference in rollout cycles the spider gears in diff to more wear and also can cause torque breakaway issues in heavy rain. Put any used ones on the back instead. On FWD cars 90% of all driving sureness comes from the front only except in ice where the rear then comes into play. Otherwise the rear simply tracks back in line with the front like a semi-trailer does with its' tractor after a corner. The rear really adds little but one effect all FWD cars do that I never see mentioned anywhere is that rear tires wear whoppingly out of round due to oscillation at highway speed, there is no longer any rear end weight to damp it out like RWD cars had. Meaning, if you rotate tires you are adding another problem to the front when deeper in tire life, the out of round back tire then acts wonky up front and worse the older the tires are. You absolutely cannot rebalance to cure an out of round condition and why I buy tires in pairs only to put them up front and the old fronts which are still round then go to the back. I NEVER rotate yet I get rated mileage almost all the time.

No tire shop on the planet acknowledges that last part but every FWD car I've ever owned did it. They don't say because rotation causes the whole set of 4 to go bad faster than they do in pairs and it sells more tires as many think you change all 4 at once and a big money waster.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-16-2019, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I always put the new tires on front. And, around 8/32 they go on back. I found this works best. Of course, this time with the weird wear, my plans changed and now all 4 are within 3k miles.

My tire of choice since I bought the car back in 2010 is 215/55R17 Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus 94V. I drive 72 miles each way to work, and along the SC Coast, afternoon thunderstorms are common August to mid-October. These tires seem to be better in the rain and give me decent wear. And since the car just hit 365,000 miles it seems like if I were to change the brand of tire now, it might get ticked off. Really hoping to get to 500k miles and I have no doubt it will make it.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-16-2019, 02:35 PM
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Yes, sometimes the nails or other change your tire scheduling plans.

You certainly got you money's worth with that car..........here someone will hit you before you can ever get that far.
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  Nissan Forums : Nissan Forum > Nissanclub.com Nissan - Infiniti Enthusiast Forums > NISSAN ALTIMA FORUMS > 2007-2012 Nissan Altima Forums > 2008+ Nissan Altima COUPE Discussion

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