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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all, I am fairly new here. I looked up my situations on google and here, I think I know the area but not specific, so, decided to post my own for assistance.

My SE-R has 143k on it, just got it back from Nissan shop. It was in for pre-cats and motor mounts common issues. I picked up the RacingLine cats/Ypipe and Red Lion Nylatron mounts and had them put them in for me.

During that work, they took care of the 2 accy belts and passenger side tierod.

Mostly all is great, feels like a new car! However, I noticed there is a metal on metal slight clunking sound coming from the steering hardware or thereabouts. It only happens when turning the wheel moving at low speeds around 10-20mph, left or right, and seems to always be in the same point of the wheel turning. The tech raised it up and showed me that all looks fine. He made sure all was tight and has no idea where it is coming from. He mentioned, and I read, that it could just be the U-Joint and it needs greasing or something, right? I just think it is odd that it started after they did all this work and replaced tierod. I know with the solid mounts that everything is getting vibrated around more, but I feel like this should ne be happening. Also, I noticed the car wants to pull to the left a bit, and the pull becomes really bad sometimes when braking. I mean I have to fight it back to the right bad. Sounds like I need to take it back in to have them fix something with the alignment, right? Or does someone know something else that it could be related to them replacing the opposite side tierod?

Then, the other issue is with a noise coming from the alternator area. I am thinking it is the alt, had it replaced a few years ago under warranty but can't remember exact issues now.

I hear a weird winding-type sound and then yesterday the car would not start. It tried to turnover and then just rapid clicking coming from the dash area. I assume the relays? I turned the headlights on to see if battery, they turned on, but then would not turn off. Weird right? Some type of electrical issue it seems??? Anyways, when I jumped it it started up and I had AutoZone test everything, all was fine.

I want to say this happened many years ago and it was the alternator. However, the strangest thing is the power surges when I turn on the AC. When in idle & drive the RPMs and volts drop and recover, surge, together. When I turn the AC off, it goes back to "normal" again. Any ideas if this could be the alternator most likely, or maybe could be related to the AC or the dealer screwing up tightening the belts? The AC uses a different belt than the alternator, right? Or is it most likely a short again? I had issues with shorts that was taken care of under warranty a few years ago, as well. I know there is a short in the radio/speakers when it is on, but that has been there for over year and never killed the battery. I ordered the grounding kit from RLP, btw. :)

I am wondering if I should just get a different brand alternator since the OEM seems to be crap only lasting 2-3 years. Any suggestions on which to get if that is most likely culprit?

Thanks guys, any guidance is most appreciated! Sorry for the long-winded post :laugh I just got the car back and already have issues.

In the great words of Number Johnny Five, "Cars, dumb machines."
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Ok, so, I greased the U-joint for steering shaft. No change... Anyone have any ideas?

I am taking it back to shop Thursday. Seems to be more frequent now.

It seems the noise is coming from around the left wheel or right wheel area, depending on which way I turn, and will be in the same spot on 1/4 or more turn.

The alignment is pulling to the left. Could this be due to the tie-rod work? I will have them redo the alignment. But I feel like I am within my rights to demand they find out where this noise is coming from. It was not there before they worked on it. I know my car is old, 143k miles, etc. But, seems related as they just worked on it there. Am I wrong?

Not sure what is up with the power surge, really bad when AC is on...maybe the alternator again??? Arrrgh!

Any input would be appreciated. :D
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Pull could absolutely be the tie rod..could also be a seizing caliper or bracket, or tire inflations. If brakes are good an alignment should resolve.

Suspect your electrical issues are the ground strap from the tranny to the chassis....have that done...it's about $30 for the part...even at the dealer, and a heckuva lot cheaper than a(nother)new alternator (which bad grounds help to kill dead)...especially on the 3.5! See bad ground in my .sig for more info/tests.

What do you mean by power surge? Usually the ECU will increase RPMs a little when the AC is on so it doesn't stall/vibrate at idle. No codes?

PS I absolutely recommend the '25 Things that Whent' wrong thread for new Gen3 owners...read to end, skip over the insulation stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for reply, appreciate your input.

I will look into the ground replacement. I also have the grounding kit from RLP to install still...

No codes
I mean a surge, where the voltage meter on dash actually drops quite a bit and recovers. Then drops quite a bit and recovers, etc. While the ac is on. RPMS drop along with the volts. Not just when I first turn on ac, all the while it is on and noticed mostly when at idle in drive. I say surge since you can "feel" and hear the drop in power, if that makes sense.
I am aware of the first drop when you turn it on and this is not normal.

Thanks for the link and I will look for the 25 things... post
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the ground strap tip, it is bad. Having them replace it since it is there. Hope that solves the power issues.

As for the noise, tech thinks it could be with the steering shaft and/or the bushings for the engine cradle. The bushings are cracked and he thinks that the solid motor mounts vibrated them loose enough to have the cradle move during turns.

Have you or anyone else dealt with this or replaced steering shaft? Seems like I can deal with this later since it'll be fine to leave it.

Thanks again for your input d0ug much appreciated!
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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You're very welcome! Thanks for letting us know the outcome of your diagnostic assessment...should definitely help others that come along later. Pretty sure your surge problem will be gone now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I hope it does help someone else, I've had so much assistance from this site I'd be glad to pay it forward.


Another update:

Tech now says the noises are the steering rack, needs to be replaced. They want 1600 parts and 700 labor. Wtf I can get the rack/pinion and steer shaft from Rock for 350...

Anyone else deal with the rack replacement? I'll start searching the forums for it.

The ground seemed to have fixed the power issues. Time will tell but seems good. Thanks again d0ug!
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Someone once told me my rack needed replacing...but that's another story. That said I did $1600 worth of web research before deciding to leave my particular problem (small seep) well enough alone.

Do you homework...and be very wary of reman racks...sometimes they're worse than what comes out. Horror stories of bushing blowing and drowning your drive in PS fluid. Maybe things have got better...but I doubt it. I'd almost rather take a chance on a clean recycled rack than a rebuilt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, I saw the thread where you mentioned that. Crazy! Almost as crazy as Nissan wanting 1300 just for the rack, 1687 with the shaft, parts only. F that.
There is no way it is worth 4x the amount.

The one I am looking at on Rock is 215 for a new one with tie-rod ends, 95 for the shaft with upper joint. The remans are more money and I don't wanna deal with core charge.
I think I will just do it, my friend said he can help me do it no problem. He just did that with his Mustang, probably similar.

Have you dealt with RockAuto? Here are the parts I am looking at getting:

RACK

SHAFT

The Dorman shaft is actually 70, there is a PERFECT FIT JCAL04 one that has upper joint, too. That is 95. Do you think I need the upper joint, too?

Thanks for your time, RESPECT!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Also, as for the subframe bushings, have you replaced the bushings with solid ones? Nissan says I have to replace the whole subframe, that is their answer to everything.

Can't I just get solid bushings? I was looking into it and seems Red Lion may make them and that the swap is a real PITA... LMAO. I PM'd him about it but just curious if you encountered this work???
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Rockauto is straight up. They don't oem or brand anything themselves, so you can choose your parts on the basis of the part's manufacturer or whatever. Prices are consistently competitive, not necessarily the cheapest, but I've never been gouged. just have to watch the shipping...sometimes the warehouse of the part you really need determines the brand you pick for that part you want, if you know what I mean.

For the kind of money you're talking, I'd take a chance on the PerfectFit new rack too. I'd also splurge the $50 or $70 or whatever it is and replace the steering column u-joint/shaft that goes bad so often on these L32 models.

The subframe is a more interesting question. Are the bushing(s) truly shot? Again I'd lean towards a good used part...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The bushings are pretty bad, yeah. The tech showed me them when the car was up in the air. The pass side one is all rotted/broken, the drivers is half broken. We feel it is better to repair or replace since the solid mounts cause a lot more vibrations, etc. Tech said it is not a priority, however, if me and my friend are going to be taking the rack/shaft out may as well mess with that, too. But then I saw it is pretty involved to take the subframe/crossmember/k-frame/engine cradle out. LOL so many names for the same thing. Red Lion replied and does have the bushings available. May as well do that with my cradle, right? He said it is best to take the cradle out to swap bushings, but can be done w/o taking it out. I was considering getting a used cradle on feeBay to do the bushing swap on, then we can just switch them out. Also, there is one from a Maxima that only had 70k miles but was in bad accident. Still, has half the miles mine does...

I found some new cradles for around 600...bah, I'll worry about it next summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quick update the noise turned out to be the subframe moving. I replaced the bushings with red lion Nylatron and all is good. A bit more vibration but I should get use to it.

I think after replacement of main ground strap and now the grounding kit from RLP, the power surges are pretty much gone.

After 6mos and around 5k I think I should be able to get another 4yrs out of my SER. I hope anyways...
 

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Quick update the noise turned out to be the subframe moving. I replaced the bushings with red lion Nylatron and all is good. A bit more vibration but I should get use to it.

I think after replacement of main ground strap and now the grounding kit from RLP, the power surges are pretty much gone.

After 6mos and around 5k I think I should be able to get another 4yrs out of my SER. I hope anyways...
Cheaper than buying a new car!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Haha, yes BP that is what I was thinking. I was not expecting that many things to go wrong, but at least I don't have a car payment...

After replacing the steering rack & shaft I started noticing what seems like a dead spot in the wheel at higher speeds. Gotta look into that now. Probably the shaft? I didn't replace the upper U-joint but maybe should have?
 
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