Vibration under load - Nissan Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old Feb 8th, 2006, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Vibration under load

Picked up an older 5spd 91 H/B 4x4 recently. It's got about 158k on it. Runs great but has a vibration under load. Did a search, but didn't see any matches. At around 35 mph to about 50 mph, the truck vibrates. If you pop it into neutral the vibration goes away. You feel the vibration through the steering wheel. My mechanic's not sure what's up. He didn't see anything wrong in the drivetrain or engine. I haven't tried a tire balance yet. It does have some rust on the undercarriage (from 6 years on the east coast). Any ideas?
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post #2 of 18 Old Feb 8th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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In my experience, a steering wheel vibration usually indicates unbalanced wheels/tires or some other loose front end parts (i.e. ball joints, tierod ends, bearings, etc.). However, I would not expect this vibration to go away when in neutral, because the wheels are still rotating more-or-less at the same speed.

You could check the wheel balance thing by simply swapping the fronts to the back and taking a test drive. If the vibration moves from the steering wheel into the seat of your pants, I'd say you wheels/tires are at least part of your problem.

One other thing....

You mention that the vehicle has "some rust on the undercarriage". I suggest that you check the right and left frame rails at the back of the vehicle - specifically where the frame rails "hump" up and over the rear axle tube. Early 90's Pathfinders are notorious for these frame rails rusting, especially in this location. Last spring I found that the outer side of both frame rails on our '92 were completed rusted away for about 2 feet, right over this "hump". I didn't see it until I removed what was left of the rust coating on the frame. What I found scared the crap out of me. I had it repaired at a body shop for almost $2,000 (Canadian). The body shop confirmed that this is a very common Pathfinder ailment, but that mine was the worst they had ever seen. I don't mean to panic you, just giving you a head's-up. I strongly suggest you take a look at yours.

Good luck.

Zilverado
1992 Pathfinder V6-SE 4wd
post #3 of 18 Old Feb 8th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nw_91_4x4
Picked up an older 5spd 91 H/B 4x4 recently. It's got about 158k on it. Runs great but has a vibration under load. Did a search, but didn't see any matches. At around 35 mph to about 50 mph, the truck vibrates. If you pop it into neutral the vibration goes away. You feel the vibration through the steering wheel. My mechanic's not sure what's up. He didn't see anything wrong in the drivetrain or engine. I haven't tried a tire balance yet. It does have some rust on the undercarriage (from 6 years on the east coast). Any ideas?
Definitely check the structural integrity of the frame, but I'd check out the motor and trans mounts too.


Jerry
2004 Frontier, King Cab, XE, 4x1, 4-cyl, 5-spd
post #4 of 18 Old Feb 8th, 2006, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerryp58
Definitely check the structural integrity of the frame, but I'd check out the motor and trans mounts too.
I've inspected the frame rails. They look pretty good. Just surface rust. I'll look at them again though.

I'm thinking motor or tranny mounts too. Truck isn't perfect. It's mainly a beater truck for yard work and mountain trips.
post #5 of 18 Old Feb 8th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nw_91_4x4
I've inspected the frame rails. They look pretty good. Just surface rust. I'll look at them again though...
I would definitely suggest you do that. Like I said earlier, my rails "looked" good as well until I removed the rust coating. I found that what I thought was a metal side wall of the tubular frame, was infact just the rustpoof coating - - nothing behind it.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm harping, but since I found my damage, I've actually checked other Pathy's when I get a chance (even in parking lots). I've found a number of them that have similar damage. None as bad as mine, but I wish someone had warned me about 5 yrs ago, when the rust was starting. I could have taken preventative measures and avoided the HUGE repair bill.

Have fun.

Zilverado
1992 Pathfinder V6-SE 4wd
post #6 of 18 Old Feb 8th, 2006, 08:06 PM
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check your u-joints

Dave
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post #7 of 18 Old Feb 9th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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Does it have a two piece driveshaft? If so, you might want to check the rubber mount for the center bearing where the two shaft pieces meet.

My center bearing is in need of replacement. But it only vibrates with a decent amount of weight in the bed and hard acceleration.
post #8 of 18 Old Feb 9th, 2006, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the suggestions

I'll check it out this weekend. I was thinking u-joints too. Think it is a 2-piece drive shaft. At least I can get under the truck easier than my Miata. :-)

I'm use to the Miata 65mph shake. Was going to get a Hunter balance when I get new tires/wheels for the Miata. May have to do the same for the Nissan.

Eric
91 XE Reg Cab 4x4
93 Mazda Miata
02 Mazda P5

Last edited by nw_91_4x4; Feb 9th, 2006 at 07:06 PM.
post #9 of 18 Old Feb 13th, 2006, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Checked it out this weekend...

In the sunny 60 degree weather.

Frame rails are fine. U-joints looked good. Nothing obvious. It's a one-piece driveshaft. It does feel like the vibration is in the rear, but that's just a guess. Didn't get a chance to rotate the tires. I'll do that next. It really does feel drivetrain related. If you let it coast, the vibration isn't there.

I know the clutch will have to be done at some point, since there's some clutch chatter. Probably the plate was resurfaced when the last clutch job was done at 125k.

It did run rough for a bit at idle. Odd thing was it ran rough when I put it in reverse. Seemed to smooth out as I drove it for a bit.

Eric
91 XE Reg Cab 4x4
93 Mazda Miata
02 Mazda P5
post #10 of 18 Old Feb 13th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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One other thing you could check is the drive shaft itself. Mine is a one-piece shaft as well and I noticed a while ago that one of the weights (welded on for balancing) appears to have been thrown. I can clearly see the rectangular spot on the shaft where the the weight was, but it's gone. The size and shape of the spot matches exactly with another weight that's welded on just slightly further forward. So, I assume this is the cause for my slight rearend vibration at similar speeds (never tried the "coasting" thing to see if it goes away). Haven't had time to remove the shaft to bring it in for balancing yet.

Keep looking - - you'll find it, and when you do, tell us about it.

Zilverado
1992 Pathfinder V6-SE 4wd
post #11 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2006, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Where do I look for the driveshaft balancing weights?

Eric
91 XE Reg Cab 4x4
93 Mazda Miata
02 Mazda P5
post #12 of 18 Old Feb 17th, 2006, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nw_91_4x4
Where do I look for the driveshaft balancing weights?
I think most of the ones I've noticed are typically at the ends, but I don't see any reason they couldn't be anywhere along the length of the shaft. If you lost one, and you're lucky (well, OK, if you lost one you wouldn't really be lucky ), you'll still be able to see a "clean" spot where the weight used to be.


Jerry
2004 Frontier, King Cab, XE, 4x1, 4-cyl, 5-spd
post #13 of 18 Old Feb 18th, 2006, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerryp58
I think most of the ones I've noticed are typically at the ends, but I don't see any reason they couldn't be anywhere along the length of the shaft. If you lost one, and you're lucky (well, OK, if you lost one you wouldn't really be lucky ), you'll still be able to see a "clean" spot where the weight used to be.
BINGO - he's exactly right.

The weights on mine are simply located along the barrel of the shaft. Just slide under there and check it out. They're pretty easy to spot. And a missing one will likely show as a discolored area on the shaft wall.

Zilverado
1992 Pathfinder V6-SE 4wd
post #14 of 18 Old Feb 20th, 2006, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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some photos

Here are some photos.

Rear weight.



Front. Is this the weight?



Or, is this where the front weight should be?



Let me know what you think.

Thanks.

Eric
91 XE Reg Cab 4x4
93 Mazda Miata
02 Mazda P5
post #15 of 18 Old Feb 20th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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Well, those last 2 photos don't tweek to me, but the first one is definitely a balancing weight. On mine I have some weights like these around mid-length on the shaft. I can clearly see where one is missing because of the rectangular-shaped spot on the shaft.

Hopefully someone else can comment on those other 2 photos.

Just one other thing... Is that front u-joint the greasable kind? 'Cause the cups look like they're bleeding a little.

Zilverado
1992 Pathfinder V6-SE 4wd
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