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Suspension noise with sharp bumps

Old 01-02-2019, 02:30 PM
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Suspension noise with sharp bumps

I've never driven another Maxima and got my 97 when it was 17 years old already so I'm not sure what the 4th gen ride quality is supposed to be like.
What is bothering me is the sharp noise I get when hitting sharp bumps like ------_-----_---- (think idiotic raised lane markings or broken pavement); it's not a clunk and it's not a thud, so I'm going to call it a sharp thunk. Other mellow road irregularities like -----~-----~--- do not prompt the thunk (only the squeaking of ES bushings if the amplitude is great enough).
In my mind, the sharp bumps should produce a subdued thud, which would be acceptable. The thunk is worse with higher tire inflation pressures (I'm running 30 psi front, 28 psi back for the time being).
Was this (thunk) how the 4th gen rode when new?
I'm running 205/65R15 tires, the front strut/coil assembly should be original. ES bushings were installed for the control arms, sway bar and sway bar end links.

Last edited by marianm; 01-02-2019 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:29 PM
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I installed ES bushings, and one of them tore after a couple of months - you might want to inspect them. I moved back to OEM.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:06 PM
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I haven't had one tear yet, but I'll be keeping an eye out.
The thunk isn't a new development, it was like this when I bought the car - all 17 year old stock suspension.
It isn't a noise inspiring imminent failure, more like a lack of bushing insulation - my hunch is the subframe bushings. I'm hoping someone remebers how the car rode when new.
If I drive a newer car, then get back in the Maxima I notice it right away.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:32 PM
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Are the struts and strut mounts 17 years old? Is the car an SE, GLE, or GXE?
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:38 PM
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My suspension was making loud popping/creaking noises at lower speeds/bumps. Ended up being the strut mounts.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by CS_AR View Post
Are the struts and strut mounts 17 years old? Is the car an SE, GLE, or GXE?
I believe they are 21 years old now, they'll be 22 in 2 months
The car is a 97 GXE auto.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by marianm View Post
I believe they are 21 years old now, they'll be 22 in 2 months ...
Undoubtedly, the cause/root of your suspension noise is this.

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Old 01-03-2019, 11:57 AM
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22 years is asking way too much for struts to keep going forever for 4th Gens.

IOW.... You're way OVERDUE! LOL

If you're going to keep the car for a longer time, don't let yourself be drawn to the dark side and use "Quick type Struts".

Rebuild yours with OEM parts. The only other than OEM parts acceptable (for another 22 years) are quality Struts and Springs. Everything else OEM.

Whichever model you have, use the OEM parts for the "SE" model. It's only one different part (front, each side) that costs $12 more and it's considerably better.

CS_AR and I use different Spring Insulator material as well for the ultimate setup. You might want to consider that for the extra quiet. Rebuilding is expensive with OEM parts, but once done RIGHT, you'll be so glad you did! And if you do it yourself, you'll save hundreds of dollars.

Hope this helps!

BTW, if your struts haven't been done, you probably need to look at Lower Control Arm Assemblies (two for front) ffor a complete refresh.
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Old 01-03-2019, 11:02 PM
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Thanks for the replies!
I'm running the original LCAs, but the bushings are ES (done 6 months ago).
I assume you mean Tein for Spring Insulator material. I will be keeping the original springs, so the only place I would use them would be at the lower contact to the strut.
I have been intending to change the struts, that is why I started this thread, to see what extras I might need.
The strut mounts look OK, no cracks on the top rubber, and there's minimal movement of the rubber when bouncing the car.
I know about Craig's KYB bump stop thread, and I guess this question is for him: would the SE strut mount fit on the GXE/GLE basket and bearing?

I'd like to change only the rubber parts:
-struts
-rubber top spring insulator
-Tein or maybe just some Home Depot clear hose for the spring to bottom of strut contact
-Fel-Pro 3157 DIY gaskets

I haven't decided whether to also change the strut mounts and strut boots (some people don't seem to think the boots are that important).

Is there anyone that has used the Gabriel Ultra front struts? As you might know, the bottom holes that mount to the knuckle are elongated presenting a challenge regarding camber.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by marianm View Post
As you might know, the bottom holes that mount to the knuckle are elongated presenting a challenge regarding camber.
I'm not sure where you got this ... camber is non-adjustable on the 4th Gen.

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Old 01-04-2019, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by marianm View Post
Thanks for the replies!
I'm running the original LCAs, but the bushings are ES (done 6 months ago).
I assume you mean Tein for Spring Insulator material. I will be keeping the original springs, so the only place I would use them would be at the lower contact to the strut.
I have been intending to change the struts, that is why I started this thread, to see what extras I might need.
The strut mounts look OK, no cracks on the top rubber, and there's minimal movement of the rubber when bouncing the car.
I know about Craig's KYB bump stop thread, and I guess this question is for him: would the SE strut mount fit on the GXE/GLE basket and bearing?

I'd like to change only the rubber parts:
-struts
-rubber top spring insulator
-Tein or maybe just some Home Depot clear hose for the spring to bottom of strut contact
-Fel-Pro 3157 DIY gaskets

I haven't decided whether to also change the strut mounts and strut boots (some people don't seem to think the boots are that important).

Is there anyone that has used the Gabriel Ultra front struts? As you might know, the bottom holes that mount to the knuckle are elongated presenting a challenge regarding camber.
KP and I use a special shrink wrap material on our latest Koni projects. It is some very tough material. KP has the source for it. Installation is not for the faint of heart. I am using the Tein insulators on one of my 4th gens without issue. Be sure to avoid the "small size" Tein -- it's for coilovers.

Due to the extra rubber, I recommend the SE / Touring (I30) mounts for any installation.






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Old 01-04-2019, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Turbobink View Post
I'm not sure where you got this ... camber is non-adjustable on the 4th Gen.

This is what I mean:

Attached Thumbnails Suspension noise with sharp bumps-gabriel-strut-holes.jpg  
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Old 01-04-2019, 01:03 PM
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So this is what CS_AR and I used on the Coil Springs as Insulators. Bulletproof!:
Amazon Amazon

Here's the thread about what we did using the Koni STR-T (orange) struts. I got all four for a steal. Like $275 for all four using a rebate and shopping around. HIGHLY recommended!

https://maxima.org/forums/4th-genera...op-bottom.html

We also used 1/8" Neoprene and made them ourselves, for Strut Gaskets to quiet the suspension even more.
Amazon Amazon

This really is the ultimate option with better handling and yet still comfortable ride and quietest roads.

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:25 PM
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Quick struts are awesome

Monroe quick struts are about $300 for the set of 4. Very easy to install, and you don't have to mess with a spring compressor! They are the best choice if you just want OE replacement for regular everyday driving.

If you prefer something high performance, you can get the Tokico Illumina on eBay for about $400 for the set of 4.
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Old 01-05-2019, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by maximaxi View Post
... you can get the Tokico Illumina on eBay for about $400 for the set of 4.
I donít think this is accurate but if you want to go that way, these are available.

https://maxima.org/forums/4th-genera...-shipping.html
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Old 01-05-2019, 08:24 AM
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@Turbobink, ebay item #251668926730
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Old 01-05-2019, 06:26 PM
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Do yourself a favor in whatever you do. Do NOT install the Monroe quick struts.

Ask me how I know.
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MichMaxFan View Post
Do yourself a favor in whatever you do. Do NOT install the Monroe quick struts.

Ask me how I know.
I guess in recent years a design spec changed for the upper spring mount. I went through a headache with a MOOG upper mount where the shape slightly changed in recent years. I don't remember having this issue 7+ years ago. Note the MOOG and Monroe are owned by the same parent company now.

The metal part of the spring mount will rub the plate for the strut mount as shown in the picture below. So I ended up having to refurbish some OEM mounts that I picked up from a salvage yard. Then I used the rubber ring from the new mounts. There are very few aftermarket strut components that I've been able to successfully use for the long-term when building a suspension. It's OEM except for the strut unit and spring insulators.

When I try to use aftermarket bearings and insulators, they don't last. The bearings started making noise. Then I had to rework the job. On and on and on.

Just beware of the condition in the picture below.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by KP11520 View Post
So this is what CS_AR and I used on the Coil Springs as Insulators. Bulletproof!: https://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Shrink-...ustomerReviews

Here's the thread about what we did using the Koni STR-T (orange) struts. I got all four for a steal. Like $275 for all four using a rebate and shopping around. HIGHLY recommended!

https://maxima.org/forums/4th-genera...op-bottom.html

We also used 1/8" Neoprene and made them ourselves, for Strut Gaskets to quiet the suspension even more. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This really is the ultimate option with better handling and yet still comfortable ride and quietest roads.

Hope this helps!
Thank you for the links!
Instead of installing one foot piece and wrestling with heat shrink tubing, why didn't you cut it into sections? I imagine it would have been easier to install.

Can someone with SE springs please measure the diameter of the coil wire?
I'm only doing the fronts (I replaced the rear struts 4 years ago with Gabriel struts) and will be keeping the stock springs so no lowering. I'm leaning towards KYB Excel-G struts, as I can get both front ones for the price of one Koni STR.T or Tokico Illumina. The Tokico HP seem like unicorns at this point.
For strut mounts, it seems like the Nissan ones are $53 (yikes) at Courtesy, do you know of any cheaper dealers?
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Old 01-08-2019, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by marianm View Post
Thank you for the links!
Instead of installing one foot piece and wrestling with heat shrink tubing, why didn't you cut it into sections? I imagine it would have been easier to install.

Can someone with SE springs please measure the diameter of the coil wire?
I'm only doing the fronts (I replaced the rear struts 4 years ago with Gabriel struts) and will be keeping the stock springs so no lowering. I'm leaning towards KYB Excel-G struts, as I can get both front ones for the price of one Koni STR.T or Tokico Illumina. The Tokico HP seem like unicorns at this point.
For strut mounts, it seems like the Nissan ones are $53 (yikes) at Courtesy, do you know of any cheaper dealers?
The reason I didn't cut the tubing into shorter lengths is because I'm a perfectionist and wanted zero chance for it to fail sooner. The front top and bottom pieces of heat shrink tubing were 33" long each for the front on OEM SE Springs.

Amazon has the Front Koni STR-T struts for $121.38 each shipped. Koni has a lifetime warranty.

SE Strut Mounts:
Amazon Amazon
Always take the "Nissan and Part number" (Nissan 54320-40U02) and enter it into Google and find best shipped price for OEM.

You also need OEM Strut Bearings Nissan 54325-5V000. You need two so shop for best price delivered to your location.

And new OEM other rubber parts for a brand new feel. Anything with rubber, no matter how much we want to believe they are fine, are truly a consumable and need replacing when strut assemblies need rebuilding. Bearings too. All Consumable. And that means new OEM bellows too.

A year and a half ago, "93SCMax" had a set of 98 SE springs for sale that are as clean as you can ever hope for. PM him if you want them. He might still have them.

By the time I was done with new everything, a spring compressor kit, used springs from CS_AR (very reasonable), the total cost was approaching 4900 with me doing everything myself all four corners. I spent way more than that buying three rounds of noisy and failing crap to get there. Money well spent..... FINALLY. Better than new. GR2s were the first time around. Rode like solid poles with no absorption. The mechanic replaced them free after he drove it after over 1 year. Hopefully those KYBs aren't like the GR2s. HORRIBLE!

When you're done, hopefully you'll have this:



Last edited by KP11520; 01-08-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:46 PM
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So, my gritty springs coils are a measured 14.1 mm, which rhymes with the 13.9 mm specified in the FSM for Auto springs. I can't find anything in the FSM about the SE having diferent springs. The driver side ride height seems to be 1/4" lower than the passenger side, I'll switch the springs side to side.

@KP11520 for heatshring tubing I would go with the larger size, to hopefully save hours on the install
Amazon Amazon
.


For the gasket, I want to use the more affordable
Amazon Amazon

Last edited by marianm; 01-10-2019 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:39 PM
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I used the 0750 and 1100 Canusa Heat shrink tubing. When done, they looked identical. The 1100 was harder to manage as it took more heat to shrink to the smaller size and keep twists from happening.

Gasket material? Go for it. So far the Neoprene I bought did my car and CS_AR's with no problems. Maybe find a smaller piece. Neoprene is a little more resistant to oil and gasoline. A little.

Driver's side spring being shorter means you weigh too much! LOL (J/K)

Good for you! Quiet and short bump noise rules! Better handling as well.

Originally Posted by marianm View Post
So, my gritty springs coils are a measured 14.1 mm, which rhymes with the 13.9 mm specified in the FSM for Auto springs. I can't find anything in the FSM about the SE having diferent springs. The driver side ride height seems to be 1/4" lower than the passenger side, I'll switch the springs side to side.

@KP11520 for heatshring tubing I would go with the larger size, to hopefully save hours on the install https://www.amazon.com/156145-Canusa.../dp/B00HR2376I.


For the gasket, I want to use the more affordable https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0075DXMAK

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Old 01-14-2019, 12:51 PM
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Thanks for all the replies and help!

So far I have ordered:
OEM SE strut mounts ($78 for the pair)
NOS Sachs from ebay ($50 for the pair)
rubber gasket sheet ($8)
8ft 3/4" heavy heat shrink tubing ($20) https://www.ebay.com/itm/4-Feet-Heav...53.m2749.l2649

I still haven't ordered the strut bearings, bellows and spring seat insulators (what a racket these are).

As far as the bellows are concerned, it seems GXE are specced with 54050-31U02, while GLE and SE are specced with 54050-38U02. All versions are specced with the same 54040-31U02 spring seat. Kind of weird.

54050-31U02 seems to have the integrated bumpstop - I still have those on the car, the bumpstops are broken and cracked, just like the bellows.
54050-38U02 seems to have a separate bumpstop judging from Craig's photos.

Update: I ordered 2x the strut bearings, 54050-38U02 bellows and spring seat insulators ($138 shipped)

Last edited by marianm; 01-14-2019 at 03:04 PM. Reason: update
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Old Yesterday, 01:48 AM
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For installing the heat shrink tubing, I took a shortcut and put mine in a hot oven for a few minutes. You can watch the material start to shrink up get to where you can work with it and stretch it around the spring.
Then I used some thick leather gloves to stretch the tubing into place over the spring. You've got to be careful and keep a close eye on it to keep it from melting too fast. But it sure can speed up the process.
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