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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,
So I read through a couple threads here via search, yet I still feel the need to ask questions, mostly due to the fact that it's specifically me.

So not more than 3 years ago I bought a whole kit of KYB shocks and struts to replace the OEM stuff on my Alti. I wasn't having any problems I had just read that you were supposed to do this at a certain mileage and the low hanging of the rear of my car has always bothered me.
I thought it was due to the shocks in the back not having enough pressure to keep the car balanced. If it weren't night right now I'd go take a pic for you guys and post it, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed. The front of my car has easily 3 inches between the front tire and the wheel well in contrast to the rear which has maybe an inch between the rear tire and the wheel well. On steep hills at a standing start, it's actually not too hard to spin the tires trying to get up to speed quickly to merge in with the flow of traffic.

So I replaced them all, thinking this would lift the rear of the car higher again and restore the OEM ride to the vehicle. I had bought the car used so I had no comparison. Once every thing was replaced I found absolutely ZERO difference in the ride or where the back of the car was sitting.

Still, I told myself I had taken care of some maintenance on the car and that this will last a lot longer than before. Not 6 months after I had them replaced I noticed a rattle and took it in. They then told me that one of the rear shocks had lost pressure and needed to be replaced. I bought a replacement and brought it back to be installed.

As I said when I started this thread, these shocks were replaced approximately 3 years ago and now I'm again having problems with the rear. On hard bumps they bottom out ( I only hear it on the DS) and just recently, smaller road bumps make the car squeak in the rear. I drive around my city fairly regular, but never long trips, I can't understand how the shocks can be worn out so fast.

What is going on with my car and is there a way to balance the ride height?
 

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09 Altima 3.5SE 6MT Sedan
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The springs hold the car up, not the shocks.

If you're sagging in the back, you need to replace the springs...and yes bad springs will kill your shocks faster than usual.
 

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Start The Show - Jet
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Couple of questions:

When you replaced the struts in the front, did you buy a whole KYB strut assembly (spring included)?

Are the rear springs the OEM originals? How many miles on your Alti?

The answer to those questions will help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BPuff57 to the strut question. I'm thinking "no". I only purchased the shock absorber portion for each wheel. I don't remember a spring being included with the set. Never really considered that the spring could wear out. I mean, it's a spring. The guy at the shop said the previous owner could have fatigued the springs by hauling lots of heavy loads. Yup, the springs in the rear are def OEM. Mileage? About 130K. As a follow-up I indeed learned just what Doug stated, that the springs hold up the vehicle... and "yes" I feel stupid, but lesson learned.

I went on Amazon and picked up some Moog springs for the car today I think it was about 50 bucks for the rear pair and my 3rd shock for the rear (KYB again) for about $33. Now if I could only find labor so cheap, haha. I just finished a thread in here recently stating that I paid $800 for 2 motor mounts and 2 CVJ rebuilds. This car is killin me. All this right around Christmas too.. sigh.. I'll be fine thanks anyway.
 

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Start The Show - Jet
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BPuff57 to the strut question. I'm thinking "no". I only purchased the shock absorber portion for each wheel. I don't remember a spring being included with the set. Never really considered that the spring could wear out. I mean, it's a spring. The guy at the shop said the previous owner could have fatigued the springs by hauling lots of heavy loads. Yup, the springs in the rear are def OEM. Mileage? About 130K. As a follow-up I indeed learned just what Doug stated, that the springs hold up the vehicle... and "yes" I feel stupid, but lesson learned.

I went on Amazon and picked up some Moog springs for the car today I think it was about 50 bucks for the rear pair and my 3rd shock for the rear (KYB again) for about $33. Now if I could only find labor so cheap, haha. I just finished a thread in here recently stating that I paid $800 for 2 motor mounts and 2 CVJ rebuilds. This car is killin me. All this right around Christmas too.. sigh.. I'll be fine thanks anyway.
Rear springs aren't that hard - here's a great DIY video.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
BPuff57 I appreciate you gettin my skills up to do this job myself. I just thought I'd update this.

Just as soon as I was ready to roll on all of the above. Out of curiosity I looked up in my wheel well one evening only at the top of the strut mount that was squeaking to find the nut on one side was missing. I was pissed, but I figured no bigs I'll just get another nut put on.

Problem IS, not so much that the nut is missing, but the last person to work on this shock (I'm imagining my target) snapped the whole bolt off. Thus the squeaking sound (mount rubs against wheel well as it encounters road vibration). To make matters worse the bolt is welded on from the factory. I've been all through my car in the back, pulling off the seats and such, but can't find the top of that bolt or where it would come out if I drill out the stub left over and place a new one.

Just when I thought I caught a break being able to take care of my issues myself, I run into this. If I can't find the area above where the bolts are welded, I'll have to have someone else weld a headless bolt in the pre-drilled and tapped location. Any welders I know are about 100 bucks an hour though. Sure ain't my year...
 

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RAIDERS !!!!
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Not sure if it could be related but Im having squeeking/tapping too and have come to find the bushings for the lower shock mounts are torn. Are these replaceable? My car has 215k so may not be your issue but may be worth a check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No, it's not. I just finished saying that one of my factory welded strut mount bolts has been snapped off, but thanks for playing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Not sure if it could be related but Im having squeeking/tapping too and have come to find the bushings for the lower shock mounts are torn. Are these replaceable? My car has 215k so may not be your issue but may be worth a check.
I was doing a bit of surveillance in my bolt issue and remembered your post. So while I had the rear shock off and I was doing my thing which I'll talk more about in my next post I looked into your bushing. There's a schematic floating around here somewhere on this forum with torque specs for the bolts all in that area. It shows the bushing and the surrounding metal as one piece. But honestly if it were me. I'd call Nissan parts and work with the guy there to see if you 2 couldn't isolate the parts necessary. I'm not really sure if they sell this rubber piece as a separate part or not. If you can get a more specific name for it, you may even be able to find something aftermarket. It's the best I can do for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
So after writing a handful of fellas on this forum only one of them replied back and he was the least involved with the issue. So I sucked it up and took my rear shock off with some bravery assistance from my buddy. I couldn't find the top of the welded bolt in the wheel well from inside the car. But then again I didn't do a full tear down of the rear interior which included the rear speaker deck and the side pillar cover. I stopped just shy of there because I really didn't want to take away more than I had to. From the inside of the car looking down there seemed to be a partitioned area that just remained inaccessible no matter how much got taken out of the car. I was pretty down about it, it was looking like Nissan had left me no clear way to save my $hlt without paying out bookoo bucks.

I studied over these guys on here from 2007-08 postings. One of the posts introduced the idea of not going at this issue from the inside of the car but from inside of the strut nipple cavity. The indention that is cut out in the car to allow the top of the strut to fit in. That was my GOLD. Upon removing the shock complete with mount which obscured the view in there, I found that it's actually roomy enough to work a bolt through up there downward after one would drill out the leftover snapped off stud.

I purchased some JB Weld today just to keep the bolt from rotating, but still need some pretty specific hardware to do this job right. I want to tap the hole I drill out so that it aids in retaining the bolt, but if not I have also plans to add a threaded washer to keep the bolt from pushing back up through the hole. It's my first ray of light for weeks now, since I'm really too broke to bring it anywhere. I tried Lowes today, but I really need more specialty hardware than what is on-hand there. They suggested an autoparts store. Are they all the same or does one specialize in bolts and washers more than another? Yeah, that's a serious question, I've never gone to an auto parts store for bolts, nuts and washers.
 

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Glad you figured out your issue, not glad what the issue was though cause broken bolts esp due to a previous mechanics work sucks big time. I found the parts online by searching "lower shock mount bushing", dealer says $150 labor to replace. Looking into getting all new rubber installed since my car does have nearly 200k lowered miles on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good info thanks, glad you can replace only that part as I'm sure it'd be a major PIA to have to take the knuckle off, along with the calipers and the hub. Is it a warranty issue? Just curious why you're getting the dealer to do this work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
And the hell continues..

So I formulated some ideas and went back to Nissan to get as much of the hardware there as I could. I summoned some more courage and spent most of the day yesterday drilling out the broken shock stud. As a disclaimer at this time I'd like to state that I am I.T. and while mechanically inclined do not prefer this kind of thing. That said, after removing the shock this time it appears I've hit the limits of my ability as the stud that was keeping my shock mounted to my car has apparently cracked at the base creating a bit of play on the bolt itself. Even cutting off and drilling this stud wouldn't help at this point because the area around it is cracked. Driving on it further will just eventually pull it through the bottom. So I'm boned. Mechanics can be such dicks.

Such a simple problem at the beginning and not 1 person that looked at my car since 2007 could figure out what I eventually had to myself. Add to it that the people that worked on my vehicle are really the ones that borked it up into the situation I'm in now. I have no idea how long I drove my car in that condition, but a couple years for sure. Now I'll need to pay hundreds to try and undo what was done with me, none-the wiser.

If you're still with me here is your reward, a photo of what happens when you drive for an extended time with only one rear shock mount stud.

 
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