2002 SE steering mystery

EdB Jan 8, 2021

  1. EdB

    EdB Test Drive

    Messages:
    7
    Hello every1, Im new to the forum. After countless attempts to solve this myself and 4 different mechanic shops Ive decided to come to people that own an Xterra and see if any1 else has encountered this problem.
    So here goes, I encountered a wander about 8 weeks ago. Felt like a ball joint so I changed them all out, Didnt fix it. My next fix was inner and outer tie rods. No resolve, in the end the following work has been done to the front end and it hasnt gone away;
    Inner and outer tie rods
    Upper ball joints and upper bushings
    New lower control arms
    New stabilizer links
    New drag link
    New wheel bearings
    New tires
    New steering gear box.
    Any ideas as to what the hell is going on??

    Side note: No accidents in 9 years Ive owned it and had a clean accident report on carfax.
    OH and alignment was done yesterday, texh said alls good under there
     
    Slapdash Racing likes this.
  2. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin Super Moderator

    Messages:
    38,954
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    Have you done anything w/ the upper control arms? That is where the alignment is set on the 1st gen. If your bushing or excentric bolts are worn, it will cause a travel.
     
  3. EdB

    EdB Test Drive

    Messages:
    7
    Uppers go new bushings and new hardware
     
  4. EdB

    EdB Test Drive

    Messages:
    7
    I should add I get better handling in 4x4 if that helps any
     
  5. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,088
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Have you checked the idler arm?

    Also, what condition are your tires in?
     
  6. EdB

    EdB Test Drive

    Messages:
    7
    Tires are new AT3s Idler arm bushings seem tight. After the alignment I notice it quite a bit on uneven roads. It has bad wheel bearing feel to it If that makes sense
     
  7. TerryD

    TerryD Total Tease Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,088
    Location:
    Covington, Va
    Did the issue show up when you installed the AT3s? My 285s tend to grab ruts in the road and pull the vehicle into them. It has a wandering steering feeling when that happens. The wider the tire you run, the more pronounced it will be.
     
  8. EdB

    EdB Test Drive

    Messages:
    7
    The issue showed up on the old lower control arms.
    I didnt realize tires did that, I am running stock 265-17s
     
  9. Prime

    Prime Some Kind of In Charge? Admin Super Moderator

    Messages:
    38,954
    Location:
    Denver-ish
    Check your pitman arm and idler arm. Also the bushings in the center link
     
  10. EdB

    EdB Test Drive

    Messages:
    7
    I will definitely check those in the morning. Thanks
     
  11. Nick Nicolas

    Nick Nicolas Test Drive

    Messages:
    44
    did you change the lower/rear bushings in the frame? These trucks seem to follow the crown of the road more prominently than other vehicles I have owned but if this issue hasn't been noticed in your 9 yrs of ownership, it must be something that has failed. Could it be an auto locking hub? When they fail, they sometimes don't disengage fully and can make noises from a loud grinding to a barely perceptible groan, couldn't see this causing wandering though.
     
  12. EdB

    EdB Test Drive

    Messages:
    7
    I havent checked no. I have a slight bang over rail tracks in the rear end, bcuz its so cold here I assumed it was just a frozen shock.
     
  13. Nick Nicolas

    Nick Nicolas Test Drive

    Messages:
    44
    rear bushings for the front control arm. They are separate from the control arm.
     
    Slapdash Racing likes this.
  14. Slapdash Racing

    Slapdash Racing Bought an X

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Eastern CT
    What Nick said. These are a beeyotch to swap too. Good luck.
     

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