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Old 07-27-2008, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
4,229 posts, read 16,200,947 times
Reputation: 2302

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I have a 91 Maxima SE and I noticed a weird feeling to my steering in early May. So I took it in to a mechanic and he said everything looked fine and he did a front end alignment. So I took it home and noticed it was still acting weird, there was play in the wheel. My Nissan use to move slightly when you turned the wheel slightly. It had nice tight steering. So I took it back to the mechanic and he said he would look it again.

So he looked at it again and he noticed the lower ball joints were bad so they were fixed. He didn't do another alignment though. So I have went the last two months driving it with the new lower ball joints. I think it was a couple of weeks ago where I noticed there is a bit of play in the wheel. So I had my stepdad, who is the prior owner of my Maxima test drive it. He said it did feel different. He also said that it may need an alignment? Originally when I got the car fixed I asked a friend why he thought the car had play in the wheel and he had this kinda odd answer, he said that it was because the ball joints are new and that they're not worn in so they don't absorb the ride. I don't find that believable though?


My brother mentioned maybe tie rod ends. Idk what to do?

Could it maybe need just an alignment? Will an alignment get rid of the play? It does pull off to the right a little more than expected.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
4,229 posts, read 16,200,947 times
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Can anyone think of any ideas as to why it's doing this?
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
15,296 posts, read 48,886,982 times
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If there is play in the wheel, first thing to do is get a helper to turn the wheel while you look at parts, starting with the steering shaft, and see what moves and what does not move. You should not need the engine running to do this.
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Old 07-28-2008, 06:53 PM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,474 posts, read 21,215,348 times
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I would take it to a good front end specialists. It sounds like your guy doesn't know what he is doing. He should have checked out the suspension to see if it had any worn parts before alignment. Then he finds a problem after your return? And doesn't realign it after replacing the ball joints? Go find a tech that knows what he is doing....
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
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Thanks guys!
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:50 AM
 
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Don't think i'd be taking the car back to that fella, but if another mech says idler, tie rod & such are tight then if it has lots o slop in the wheel it's your rack & pinion.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
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I would like to revise what I originally posted. When I hit a bump or anything where there is a change in the surface of the road the car pulls. As well as the play in the wheel. My brother thinks it may be an alignment.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
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If you have one tire worn down from mis-alignment, or cone shaped a bit, that will make it pull to the side with the worn tire, particularly on the brakes.

Did you try to see where the play actually is per my previous post?

Donn2390 is right, the guy who replaced your ball joints without re-doing the alignment is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. If you have ever seen a good alignment man work, in the final adjustment, they are not moving the adjustment very much. A good front end that's tight can be set up with a good bit of precision. Re-doing ball joints removes slack from the system and moves things around, and that does not include anything that was moved during the install. I see you are in rust country - I doubt the old ball joints just popped right out.
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Old 07-31-2008, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Middleton, Wisconsin
4,229 posts, read 16,200,947 times
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Mitch, I the tires rotated and balanced this morning and I noticed that instead of pulling to the right as it did prior to balance and rotation of tires in now pulls left. I'm now assuming it is a unevenly worn tire. I took it to a different guy today.

Wish Me luck, and a little repair bill. lol
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Old 07-31-2008, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
15,296 posts, read 48,886,982 times
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The re-balance was probably unnecessary and a waste of money. You could have moved the tires around yourself for free, and would know which tire went where. A lot of tire shops still hold to the old rule of not reversing direction of rotation on a radial tire - pretty much accepted to be an old wive's tale now.

The Tire Rack chart has specific moves that you should make, 2 tires at a time, to figure out which one has the problem, and what the problem is.

If you can't/won't invest in a shop type floor jack and some basic hand tools (I bought mine when I was 15, now I'm 50, they are still as good as the day I bought them...) you really need to beat the bushes and find yourself a good shop that will do right by you...Usually this will be a "1-Man" shop, one of the best that I knew about in your neck of the woods was actually a "1-Gal" shop (Jenny who still writes a column in Roundel, the BMW-CCA magazine) but I think she's retired. A lone owner-operator won't BS you, you look 'em in the eye and say what your symptoms are, soon thereafter they look you in the eye, and say what's broke and give a cost/schedule to repair.

As it is, you are doing the only thing worse than "Easter-Egging" yourself, you are paying first one then another shop to "Easter-Egg" for you.
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