Pathfinder sways - Nissan Forum
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#1 Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 12:25 PM
Rick Schuster
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Pathfinder sways

I have a 1996 Pathfinder 4 wheel drive with 120,000 miles on it that has a "sway" problem. The sway can occur at any time but usually on the highway (at any speed). The body starts rocking side to side and if the speed is maintained, it gets gets worse. Letting off the gas or increasing speed will make it stop. The truck has new shocks and struts (adjustable suspension feature) but the problem has not improved. The front end was just aligned and checked for suspension wear. Tires have been balanced and rotated. Has any one else exhibited this problem or have any ideas?
Thanks,
Rick
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#2 Old Oct 9th, 2002, 09:44 AM
Powerslide
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I have a friend that has been asking me about this exact same problem. Right now he is not driving it due to the concern.
Have you found anything yet?
He has changed tire, shocks/struts, alignment, etc with no luck.
I looked for recall info with no luck as well.
Any suggestions?
#3 Old Oct 10th, 2002, 06:08 AM
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Rick,

I had the same problem with my 1996 Pathfinder. I, like you chased after the sway by replacing the front struts, the rear shocks and having a four wheel alignment performed. I called my dealer to ask if they have seen similar ‘sway’ issues in other Pathfinders. From their response I gathered that this is a common problem with the Pathfinders. The fix for me was to replace 8 bushings in the rear suspension. Because these trucks have coil springs in the rear, they use upper and lower trailing arms (one upper and one lower on each side of the truck) to hold the rear axle under the truck. There is also a panhard bar, but I didn’t replace the bushings in it.

To have the dealer replace the bushings is a bit salty to say the least. The dealer will not replace the bushings. They will replace the entire control arm, 4 in all. I can’t remember the exact price, but I think that the upper arms were around $130 each and the lower arms were something like $170 each plus the labor to install them. I opted to buy the 8 bushings and install them myself. Each bushing was less than $20.

I will warn you that changing the bushings, although not complicated, is not an easy task. The bushings are a press fit into the control arm. A shop press of at least 20 tons is required to remove and install each bushing. I have access to a full machine shop so I was able to fabricate custom punches and holders for the control arms. Had I not had these holders and punches I would have likely bent the control arms and or destroyed the new bushings during their installation. I suspect that the dealer replaces the entire arm because it can be quite difficult and time consuming to remove the bushings and install new ones.

I hope that this was helpful.

Good luck,
Jason
#4 Old Oct 11th, 2002, 07:32 AM
Powerslide
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Thanks alot.
I'm copying my friend with the same vehicle problem.
Thanks to your response he is now preparing to contact Nissan, NHTSA, and ultimately however, he now can replace the control arms if no other action is taken.
Chris
#5 Old Oct 11th, 2002, 08:30 AM
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I’m not sure that NHTSA needs to be contacted. Suspensions do wear out and require periodic servicing which I am sure is not limited to struts and shocks.
Good luck with the control arm replacement.
Jason
#6 Old Oct 27th, 2002, 08:55 PM
circusmanager
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sway problem

for your information nissan has had a service bulliten for this problem for years its a easy but costly fix replace the 4 links in the rear and the problem is gone
by the way im a nissan service manager
#7 Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 06:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by circusmanager
for your information nissan has had a service bulliten for this problem for years its a easy but costly fix replace the 4 links in the rear and the problem is gone
by the way im a nissan service manager

Question: I have a 1997 pathfinder with a steering shimmy @ 60mph,
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
s.tanenbaum@comcast.net
#8 Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanen8871
Question: I have a 1997 pathfinder with a steering shimmy @ 60mph,
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
s.tanenbaum@comcast.net
Any reputable alignment shop should be able to fix your shimmy. It may be due to unbalanced tires, bad ball joint, bad tie rod end or just out of alignment due to wear or impact. Normally not a hard fix. A broken belt in a tire may also do it.

Aaron Ford
95 2WD Nissan PU E
2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue GX
"The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch" Scott Glenn in The Hunt for Red October
#9 Old Aug 27th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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Been there done that!!!

My 1996 Pathfinder would sway all over the road and actually was difficult to drive because of this problem. I replaced the struts, shocks and had an alignment done, all without solving the problem. I them discovered the bushings in the sway bars (all four of them) were shot and that was the cause of the problem.
This it how I fixed the problem for $150:
First I purchased all 8 of the bushings from my not so local Nissan dealer. Then I measured the size of the outer metal casing of the bushings while in the sway bar. I then took a ATV piston I had laying around which was almost the correct size and turned it down to the correct size. I then counter sunk a spot on the center of the piston after drilling a hole in the top the size of the bolt that holds the sway bar on my Pathfinder. I then secured a bolt of that size in the center of the pistom that stuck out about three inches. That center bolt is important, as it keeps the piston straght when pressing out the bushings and especially when you are pressing them in. Nissan in their wisdom seems to have used loctite on the original bushings, so I used low heat to soften the loctite while pressing them out with a 20 ton press. Then it is just a simple process of pressing the new bushings in and then putting the sway bars back on the Pathfinder. I saved almost $800 over what the dealer wanted to do the same job and it took me about two hours to do the job myself. My Pathfinder is from CA (I am in WI) so rust was not much of an issue with the project, which would make the job about twice as long if you had to deal with that.
My 1996 Pathfinder now rides like new and handles as good as my 2002 does. I feel that this is a real problem with the Pathfinder suspension and that Nissan should have some sort of recall on it.
Hope this is a help to others!
#10 Old Mar 3rd, 2005, 04:10 PM
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greetings all. i am responding to a few posts hoping someone subscribed to them. i bought my moms pathfinder that is in great shape, but this "rocking" is driving me crazy and is SCARY. can someone help me but explaing why are the rear OEM busings different, but the 4x4parts ones all the same. im ready to order these and change them SOON!!

thanks,
Bob in Cleveland
#11 Old Sep 27th, 2005, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westy66
greetings all. i am responding to a few posts hoping someone subscribed to them. i bought my moms pathfinder that is in great shape, but this "rocking" is driving me crazy and is SCARY. can someone help me but explaing why are the rear OEM busings different, but the 4x4parts ones all the same. im ready to order these and change them SOON!!

thanks,
Bob in Cleveland
Did you get an answer ?
My 2003 seems to have this problem and I want to know the options on replacement bushings.

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!!
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
2001 Sunny N16 RHD from new (N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy) Sold
#12 Old Dec 16th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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I have the same issue right now with my 1998 Pathfinder SE. How long does this process take for the average guy with a manual? Are there any tools that by not owning, would limit the ability to complete the replacement of these bushings? I'm on a very limited budget.
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#13 Old Dec 17th, 2007, 03:32 PM
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i replaced all of my struts and it cured about 95% of the problem. i bought KYB's, not any Chinese junk from AutoZone. the rear suspension bushings looked ok, but now two years later shes still ok.
#14 Old Aug 19th, 2008, 10:29 PM
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Just bought all 8 at my local nissan dealer for $209.00!
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#15 Old Aug 20th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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did anyone find out about the non OEM replacement bushings in the question above ?
Do these just replace the rubber only, other urethane bushings I have seen you burn out the rubber and insert the replacement bushing in the outer casing thats pressed in.

2003 Pathfinder from 2004 SE 4WD
1997 SER 5sp Manual from new Rear Ended 2009 !!
Gone to the Knacker yard...
New ride 3.0 manual RWD not a Nissan !!!
1997 Sentra GXE from new .... Sold 2008
2001 Sunny N16 RHD from new (N16 Nissan Bluebird Sylphy) Sold
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