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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all!

Unfortunately, I am having some issues with my 2013 Altima. Most of the problems have a solution, but I can't figure out this darn steering wheel shimmy!
The car has brand new Michelin Primacy tires, brand new rotors and pads, the alignment and balance on all 4 wheels has been checked and verified and the tire pressure is where it should be.
The odd thing is the shimmy is intermittent. Today, I didn't feel any shaking but it might return tomorrow. It always occurs between 60 and 75mph and can be enhanced by turning the wheel back and forth. You can feel the wheel vibrating as it returns to center. If it was alignment, balance, or tire related shouldn't it be occurring all the time?
At this point, I'm chalking it up to the poorly designed suspension and steering system in the 2013 Altima. I have the infamous power steering whine, drifting all over the road at highway speeds and at times and the random loose steering at highway speeds as well.

Has anyone else experienced a shimmy at those speeds that was never solved or that was determined to be part of the steering system? If I have to listen to my dealer tell me one more time that what I am experiencing is "normal", I'm going to flip out and call corporate.

Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks!

Edit #1 - Car has 33,000 miles
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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I had a similar problem, similar new tires, (re)-balanced a bunch of times--still shaking at highway speeds but dead smooth at city speeds. It turned out to be a (bent) rim issue, but one that wasn't optically noticeable....so maybe the plane of the bolt holes was out relative to the plane of the rim edge? Try swapping front to back or put a set of snows on and see if problem stays the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had a similar problem, similar new tires, (re)-balanced a bunch of times--still shaking at highway speeds but dead smooth at city speeds. It turned out to be a (bent) rim issue, but one that wasn't optically noticeable....so maybe the plane of the bolt holes was out relative to the plane of the rim edge? Try swapping front to back or put a set of snows on and see if problem stays the same.
Thanks! I hadn't thought of that. I'll try rotating the wheels out when I get a chance and I'll report back with my findings.
 

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I had the same thing on my Altima. It started around 70, then got worse in the few weeks I was driving myself nuts trying to figure it out. Eventually 55 was my max speed. Tried new tires, rotated the tires in every configuration possible including a 5 full sized spare.

I'm only using deduction on this and have no study to quote from... The centrifugal force while making a turn puts a downward pressure onto the strut and lateral force on the lower ball joint. This makes the the tire quiver when turning. I replaced the axles (CV joints), ball joints/control arms and all struts/shocks. The car is like new. If you could not afford to do everything, I'd start with the struts. All of these parts should cost about $500 to $600, depending on your exact model. Plus labor. I used The Axle Store out of Georgia for parts. Retail, spend 2x as much.

Don't let a garage give you "book" price because they will claim 6+ hours. It only takes about 3 hours for one man (me, who only did it once before), working on a concrete driveway with a floor jack (and stands!) to do everything, including the back shocks. Air tools and a lift... maybe 2.5 hours.

My Altima now can do 80+ without a bit of vibration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I had the same thing on my Altima. It started around 70, then got worse in the few weeks I was driving myself nuts trying to figure it out. Eventually 55 was my max speed. Tried new tires, rotated the tires in every configuration possible including a 5 full sized spare.

I'm only using deduction on this and have no study to quote from... The centrifugal force while making a turn puts a downward pressure onto the strut and lateral force on the lower ball joint. This makes the the tire quiver when turning. I replaced the axles (CV joints), ball joints/control arms and all struts/shocks. The car is like new. If you could not afford to do everything, I'd start with the struts. All of these parts should cost about $500 to $600, depending on your exact model. Plus labor. I used The Axle Store out of Georgia for parts. Retail, spend 2x as much.

Don't let a garage give you "book" price because they will claim 6+ hours. It only takes about 3 hours for one man (me, who only did it once before), working on a concrete driveway with a floor jack (and stands!) to do everything, including the back shocks. Air tools and a lift... maybe 2.5 hours.

My Altima now can do 80+ without a bit of vibration.
Wow, that's quite interesting and sad at the same time... I'm sorry you had to go through all of that to fix it.
I can't necessarily afford to replace all of that and I don't really have the means to do it myself. However, yesterday I purchased the Racingline strut tower brace. I wonder if that will maybe provide enough stabilization to stop the vibration if the suspension is the issue... I bought it to help with the excessive sway at highway speeds (yet another dumb issue that shouldn't have made it past the assembly line). I think i'm going to rotate the wheels before the bar comes in. Then i'll install the bar, and if that doesn't fix it I'll start replacing suspension parts as I can afford it.

Thanks for your help.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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I have the front strut bar and it won't do a thing if you have bent rims, worn drive shafts, or a loose ball joint or bushing.

For the body roll issues you really want to upgrade the sway bar in the back...I have an RL rear sway bar and some new Moog endlinks going in imminently...just had some other life issues that pre-empted doing this any sooner. Front strut bar just gives me a little more crispness in fast turns/rough road conditions. I'm hoping the two together will get me closer to how my old Gen3 handled.

I really like @2008Coupe3.5 's thinking and may look into that as well in the spring (assuming nothing gets raised in my (also upcoming) alignment).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have the front strut bar and it won't do a thing if you have bent rims, worn drive shafts, or a loose ball joint or bushing.

For the body roll issues you really want to upgrade the sway bar in the back...I have an RL rear sway bar and some new Moog endlinks going in imminently...just had some other life issues that pre-empted doing this any sooner. Front strut bar just gives me a little more crispness in fast turns/rough road conditions. I'm hoping the two together will get me closer to how my old Gen3 handled.

I really like @2008Coupe3.5 's thinking and may look into that as well in the spring (assuming nothing gets raised in my (also upcoming) alignment).
Thanks! Let us know how the upgrades are and if you notice a difference :)
I already purchased the strut bar, unfortunately, so I'll install that and go from there. I'm up for anything that helps with the stability. Some days the car feels downright dangerous. We have a lot of windy days here in Buffalo as well.
I guess I'll look into replacing suspension parts over time, as much as I don't want to. My little Scion TC drove much better! I'm sorry to say that I will never purchase another Nissan product (unless I become rich and buy a GTR, haha).
 

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No need to feel bad. The car needed all of this. I have 221,000 miles on it and this is the first set of shocks or any suspension parts I ever put on. As a follow-up, this past weekend I put on new drilled and slotted rotors. Took it up to 92MPH this morning between exits (no cops). Not a bit of vibration or shimmy. Note: At 92MPH I was NOT the fastest car on the interstate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey guys. Here's a follow up to getting the strut tower brace installed.

No change in the wheel vibration (didn't think it would), however, the car does corner noticeably better and the vehicle sway isn't as bad.
My next step might be the struts and the rear sway bar. Wheels were rotated and there was no change in the vibration and handling, so I am pretty positive it isn't tire/wheel related.
We'll see, I am quite fed up with this car and am ready to give up. Paying it off as quickly as possible and buying a Toyota seems like the only way out.
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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Finally got the RL rear sway and MOOG endlinks installed this week. Definitely handles more like something german now... Front brace and rear sway make a definite, noticeable improvement in handling...can't wait to try them out with the summers next year...
 
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