Steering Wheels Shakes at Highway Speeds - Maxima Forums



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Steering Wheels Shakes at Highway Speeds

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Old 07-16-2017, 05:48 PM   #1
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Steering Wheels Shakes at Highway Speeds

Yes, I have read all the threads regarding this. They say to get the tires balanced, check the rotors, tie rods, etc. However, those threads pertained to a vibration in the steering wheel. At highway speeds (55-75 and above that it only vibrates a little), my steering wheel will shake, almost violently, to where you can feel it in the entire car: sitting down, in the gas pedal, etc.

When I went on my road trip a couple of days ago and I hit the brakes, the wheel shook more violently, leading me to believe it's warped rotors. But would that alone cause such a heavy and drastic shake at highway speeds?

New tie rods are the cheapest thing to try at the moment. Should I buy the cheapest rotors and see if it fixes it?
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:13 PM   #2
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Could be many things. Bad LCA bushings can vibrate when driving and braking. On our cars, the bushings fail due to a leaking HPPS hose. Jack the car up and thoroughly check the suspension & axles.

Failing tires with separated belts & bent rims can also cause a shimmy.

Last edited by mclasser; 07-16-2017 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:38 PM   #3
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Could be many things. Bad LCA bushings can vibrate when driving and braking. On our cars, the bushings fail due to a leaking HPPS hose. Jack the car up and thoroughly check the suspension & axles.

Failing tires with separated belts & bent rims can also cause a shimmy.
With the different possibilities, what would you recommend be the first step? I have already jacked the car up and checked suspension components and nothing seems out of the ordinary except for 1 loose tie rod. After I replace that, then move onto what?
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:56 PM   #4
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1st step would be outer tie rod ends. That's the most likely culprit from what you're describing. They can cause a lot of vibration, especially when breaking. More than you'd expect from warped rotors.

Bad LCA will usually give a nice clunk when coming to a stop, starting up or shifting weight.

You'll need an alignment afterwords.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:01 AM   #5
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I get this vibration at 55 to 60 and sometimes its so bad the entire car shakes, just did lower control arm, outer and inner tie rod ends on both sides, new hub and cv joint ect. Didnt get it aligned yet but im sure that a bad alignment wont cause this vibration. At higher speeds of 70 and up the vibration is gone.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:55 AM   #6
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1st step would be outer tie rod ends. That's the most likely culprit from what you're describing. They can cause a lot of vibration, especially when breaking. More than you'd expect from warped rotors.

Bad LCA will usually give a nice clunk when coming to a stop, starting up or shifting weight.

You'll need an alignment afterwords.
Not getting any clunks from the suspension, so I think my LCA bushings are ok. I'll buy some high quality outter tie rods to start with and see how it goes from there. I'm really hoping this is the only thing causing my issue.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:56 AM   #7
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I get this vibration at 55 to 60 and sometimes its so bad the entire car shakes, just did lower control arm, outer and inner tie rod ends on both sides, new hub and cv joint ect. Didnt get it aligned yet but im sure that a bad alignment wont cause this vibration. At higher speeds of 70 and up the vibration is gone.
Yeah once I get going at like 80+ there is little shaking, only a slight vibration. Too bad I don't drive at that speed and wouldn't have an issue
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:53 AM   #8
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I get this vibration at 55 to 60 and sometimes its so bad the entire car shakes, just did lower control arm, outer and inner tie rod ends on both sides, new hub and cv joint ect. Didnt get it aligned yet but im sure that a bad alignment wont cause this vibration. At higher speeds of 70 and up the vibration is gone.
That sounds like a tire out of balance.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:00 AM   #9
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You didn't mention the loose tie rod in the OP. Yeah, take care of that first.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:13 AM   #10
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My bad, I will get that switched out. The other side has already been replaced, but I'll just buy 2 new ones so they are the same.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:59 PM   #11
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My bad, I will get that switched out. The other side has already been replaced, but I'll just buy 2 new ones so they are the same.
You don't have to get two. If one is good keep it.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:08 PM   #12
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You don't have to get two. If one is good keep it.
OCD won't let that happen hahaha
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:18 PM   #13
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Just ordered the tie rod ends (I did both just to be safe). Hopefully that will cure the shaking!
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Old 08-10-2017, 12:35 PM   #14
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Subway - I recommend that before you start replacing parts (unless said part is creating another symptom that is common to failure of said part), that you re-focus on tire balance.

I've had my Maxima since 04 and have constantly battled vibrations - always due tire balance. FWD uni-body cars like these are not very structurally stiff, so it only takes a small amount out of balance to generate a noticeable vibration that woudln't be felt in a car with a stiffer structure (Infiniti, BMW, etc).

When i get new tires, I have to find a shop that specializes in Road Force balancing which is more involved than standard balancing. And even then, it can take a couple of iterations to get it dialed in.
http://www.hunter.com/Portals/0/Media/4159-T.pdf

Good luck!
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:01 PM   #15
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I already ordered the tie rod ends because one of them was bad anyway. If that doesn't work, I will get a simple tire balance done and see if there's any difference. If that doesn't do anything, then I'll take it into a shop to get diagnosed.
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Old 08-10-2017, 05:15 PM   #16
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I already ordered the tie rod ends because one of them was bad anyway. If that doesn't work, I will get a simple tire balance done and see if there's any difference. If that doesn't do anything, then I'll take it into a shop to get diagnosed.
sometimes you can tell if the tie rod is bad by grabbing the wheel at the 9 and 3 oclock position to see if there is any play in it, there should not be much if any play at all. I had to really figure out why my car was shaking like crazy around 55-60 mph. So i did the exact same thing and lo and behold the pass side outer tie rod was bad, very loose. So i replaced it. Not as bad a vibration as before so now i know to get the tires balanced. Steering is tight and more responsive now
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:02 PM   #17
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sometimes you can tell if the tie rod is bad by grabbing the wheel at the 9 and 3 oclock position to see if there is any play in it, there should not be much if any play at all. I had to really figure out why my car was shaking like crazy around 55-60 mph. So i did the exact same thing and lo and behold the pass side outer tie rod was bad, very loose. So i replaced it. Not as bad a vibration as before so now i know to get the tires balanced. Steering is tight and more responsive now
Thanks for the input. My driver side tie rod was already replaced prior to purchasing the car, but I grabbed the passenger side one and was able to move it by hand with ease. So once they get replaced, I will see how bad the vibration is.
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Old 08-12-2017, 02:01 PM   #18
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Finally got around to installing the new tie rods. I thought the hardest part would be getting the castle nut loose, but it was getting the lock nut loose. Long story short, I didn't. I tried penetrating oil and using a heavy hammer, but nothing worked. Probably gonna buy a propane torch or something, but I'm open to any other ideas.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:35 PM   #19
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just making sure but are you breaking the nut in the correct direction.
it's been a year or so when I changed mine and I think I remember they break loose opposite of each other.
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Old 08-12-2017, 04:01 PM   #20
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Yep, turning the lock nut clockwise. I tried going the other way because sometimes tightening it more sometimes breaks it loose, but that didn't work either.
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:19 AM   #21
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Yep, turning the lock nut clockwise. I tried going the other way because sometimes tightening it more sometimes breaks it loose, but that didn't work either.
Yeah sometimes they can be a B$$$$ to remove. My driver side outer tie rod castle nut was siezed and had to cut the tie rod off.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:56 AM   #22
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Went out and bought a propane torch, heated up the nut and it broke loose. I thought the hard part was over. I was wrong. The tie rod end itself was also stuck in place. Took an hour to finally get it off. The driver side took less than 5 minutes to get done. After all this, the shimmy is still there. Now I need an alignment, but will also get the tires balanced.

You may think this was all a waste, but both tie rods needed to be replaced anyway (one could move by hand and the other was leaking grease everywhere).
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:47 PM   #23
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Try having the rotors cut. If you pull them and bring them to a shop you can have them cut for $10-$20 each. Call around.

It's cheap and easy. If the shimmy gets worse with braking this is the first thing I'd try now. The stock rotors suck and are easy to warp.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:58 PM   #24
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Every time I go to Nissan parts window tgey have boxes of new rotors stacked to the ceiling.
I bet your local Nissan dealer will have new ones in stock.
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:11 PM   #25
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Every time I go to Nissan parts window tgey have boxes of new rotors stacked to the ceiling.
I bet your local Nissan dealer will have new ones in stock.
I'm sure they would. I wouldn't recommend Ni$$an for the rotors. Too many better choices for less money.
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Old 08-13-2017, 06:08 PM   #26
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The shimmy doesn't get worse or better with braking, it all depends on the road condition. One thing I have found to be consistent, is that the shimmy goes during turning at highway speeds. Country roads are best to achieve this, as some of the turns are kind of tight, but you keep the same speed. Not sure if this information helps or not.
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Old 08-14-2017, 07:23 AM   #27
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The shimmy doesn't get worse or better with braking, it all depends on the road condition. One thing I have found to be consistent, is that the shimmy goes during turning at highway speeds. Country roads are best to achieve this, as some of the turns are kind of tight, but you keep the same speed. Not sure if this information helps or not.
That is important info. Does it matter which way you turn?
When you're turning it loads weight on one side of the suspension and unloads the other. It kind of rules out a simple balance issue. I'd be looking at control arm bushings, ball joints, maybe even bad struts. Check for loose bolts from previous work. There's really a lot that could be causing it.

Since you swapped the tie rod end you need an alignment no matter what. Find a good shop that does "road force" balancing and get them to do your alignment. Describe the issue to them and have then diagnose it.

Road force balancing goes beyond just balancing the wheel on a machine. A shop that does road force will be operating at a higher level than a basic tire and alignment shop. It'll cost a little more but you could burn a lot of time and money guessing at parts to swap. It's also going to eat your tires and could be dangerous. Also also, you need to pay for an alignment every time you swap a part hoping it fixes it. Sometimes it makes sense to pay for a good diagnosis.

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Old 08-14-2017, 07:46 AM   #28
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Direction turning does not matter, will go away regardless.

Hmmmmm, all the bushings looked good when I replaced the tie rods. I checked for play in the inner tie rod as well and found none.

The car is going in tomorrow for a simple alignment and balance, as well as getting the muffler reattached. If the shimmy still happens, I will just live with it at that point. It's not doing any harm, just annoying.
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:27 PM   #29
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Got the car back from the shop, guy said the front two rims were slightly bent. After putting the rear tires in the front and getting an alignment, the steering wheel shake is virtually nonexistent. And now that my exhaust is hooked up, my car is so quiet lol.
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