04 LS palpitations, drivetrain problems

New Topics Forums General Discussion 2004 – 2009 Nissan Quest 04 LS palpitations, drivetrain problems

This topic contains 12 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  cirrus 11 years, 2 months ago.

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    i got one of the first new quests in late 03. within the first 3 months (and sporadically since) it developed a random problem that nobody has been able to diagnose or solve. at odd moments when i’m going 55 or above, the steering wheel will start to rapidly oscillate back and forth, sort of shimmying. the faster i go the worse the shimmy becomes. when i take my hands off the steering wheel the car continues to go straight ahead, so i don’t think the shimmy is actually originating in the wheels–or if it is, it’s not affecting the car’s trajectory. when i brake, the steering wheel vibrates violently, but if i get down to 25 mph or below and then reaccelerate, the shimmy disappears. when i’ve described this to the dealer they usually blame a bad tire balancing or wheel alignment, but one of the times this problem reoccurred was the day after the wheels were rotated, aligned, and balanced. any ideas?

    the second problem has become very apparent within the last two weeks. the car just got a 30,000 mile checkup-including a cleanout of the fuel injectors. just before the servicing the car suddenly lost power on the highway, the engine made a loud groaning sound and the check engine light started flashing. i had to floor it to keep it at around 60 mph, and there was no power to maintain speed on an upgrade. when i slowed down the car felt like it never downshifted, so when i would try to accelerate from a full stop i’d be starting from what felt like 3rd gear. at idle the car would jiggle and vibrate excessively. right after the 30,000-mile service ($1200 dollars worth) the car felt ok, but a week later the problem has reappeared and in fact gotten worse. now the check engine light is either lit steadily or flashes, and the car never seems to be starting from first gear. the pickup is lousy, there’s no power at highway speeds, and i go through a half-tank of gas in 60 miles. is this a transmission problem? is this related to the shimmying thing? is this just a bad computer sensor or catalytic convertor? everything’s still under warranty, at least…



    Well as far as the shimmy is concerned I’d take it to a reliable tire place and have them confirm in writing the tires are OK. I’d also have it checked for a sticking caliper, if you have the brake rotor issue that I have read about, that combined with a stickey caliper would give the symptoms you are describing. A knowledgable tire and brake service shop should be able to diagnose that very easily.

    Now for your other issue, I’d take it back to the dealer and have them service it again. It sounds like that could be a very expensive issue to deal with, but if it’s still under warranty, by all means get it back in the shop ASAP.

    Let us know what was determined to be the issue.

    Good luck on your Quest for answers.

    Some cars are fast, some cars are fun…. …my Miata is not fast.



    I also have a 04 Quest SL which I purchased end of 03. I experience all 3 problems you mentioned. I will just tell you what were my findings (not saying the same thing will fix your issues).

    Problem – steering wheel vibration while driving at highway speed
    Findings – the dealer balanced my factory wheels 3 times and the first balancing helped reduce the vibration but the problem never went away; finally replaced all 4 factory tires with Toyo tires (at 30k) and problem is gone.

    Problem – I experienced no acceleration while driving at slow speed (felt like it was stuck in 1st gear where RPM reved but car hardly moved)
    Findings – Found a TSB on this problem and it recommends replacing the Transmission control module (TCM) and this was done under warranty, since then no more problem

    Problem – steering wheel shake while braking
    Findings – I have read many posts about this issue and the dealer will typically recommend resurfacing the front rotors, then the problem would go away and come back several thousand miles later, then they recommend resurfacing them again and eventually they will tell you its too thin and you need to replace them at your expense; I spoke with a friend that work at a Nissan service dept and he tells me many Nissan cars have warped rotor issues and that the rotors are just not very good; I myself have never let the dealer resurface my rotors as I strongly believe that making them thinner will just make rotor warping worst; so this weekend I went ahead and replaced my front rotors with ones from Frozen rotors and put in Raybestos QS ceramic pads, also replaced the rear pads with Raybestos QS ceramic pads; all this was done at 33k and let me tell you the rear pads definitely got worn down much more than the fronts and the rear had only about 1/8″ pad left; all the parts mentioned above came to $367, and I did the work myself; I will have to drive it for several weeks and see if these new brakes are that much better



    Bummer about the rotors. Mine were warped off the lot with less than 20 miles on the odometer. I had them turned under warranty 4 times. Finally they were under spec and they replaced them for free at about 20,000 miles. Since then the rotors have stayed true. Maybe they have improved the design of the rotors? The new ones seem to be very beefy but I don’t remember what the old ones looked like.



    I have a similar problem with our 05 Quest. The van has been in the shop 8 times to fix this problem since we bought it new. They force balance the tires each time, and have turned the rotors 4 times. Everytime it gets better, but returns gradually until it drives you crazy after about 6000 miles.

    I have had 3 open tickets with Nissan North America, and im sorry to say that they are not willing to address the root of the problem. It seems they are only addressing the symptoms but not the cause. I think that most owners are drawn past the limitations of their states lemon laws with this issue since they can fix the problem, but in our case it invaribly returns. Then they either trade or suck it up.

    Im really on my last leg with the van. Im very reluctlant to invest in new tires or rotors, just to have the same problem crop back up in 6 months.

    Has anyone beaten the steerning wheel shimmy problem yet?



    We recently purchased a set of Yokohama AVID for our ’04 SE and have loved them. Last week, we rotated the tires and wound-up with a shimmy and a pull to the left. The alignment was fine, but discovered that a tire (previously in the rear) was bad. Replaced the tire – problem solved. (We hope! We’re leaving in the morning for our annual Christmas trip to CT from VA.)



    Mine turned out to be a partially-freezing rear piston on each of the front calipers (they are two-piston, horizontal floating calipers). The pistons were slightly smaller than spec, which allowed them to “wedge” as pressure was applied sometimes. Eventually vibration or otherwise would set them free, but they would stay stuck long enough to warp the rotors. If you look at the pads and notice chips only on one half of the friction surface, that might be your problem as well.

    I replaced both my calipers, rotors, and brake pads with high-quality replacement, and have not had a problem since. Unfortunately it happened at 12k, but I did not like the dealer’s solution and just dealt with it myself. 58k at the moment and it goes and stops without vibration, unlike a lot of other 04’s I hear about.

    I sort of wonder if the ABS could be part of the problem. The quick pulsation could wear the pistons or bores if they were originally too thin and could not deal with the rapid amount of heat. Anyway, I rambled on too long, hope something I said helps out 🙂



    Would be the soft brake hoses…newer ones have added burst protection by having basically a hose within a hose. Then if the inside one bursts , pressure can still get to the caliper to stop the vehicle. However, in this failure mode, the fluid takes awhile to retreat and free the caliper, which can overheat and warp the rotors. The electronics usually notice this because the fluid level will drop rapidly as it now has to fill the larger diameter exterior hose, but that is not guaranteed.

    You would of course have to replace pads and rotors as well.



    Did you only replace the front rotors? Our 2004 SE seems to have the cyclical humming sound from the rear wheels?
    How have the new ones held up so far, did it ‘fix’ the problem (no shaky breaking)?



    Our van was pulling to the left, so it was assumed that the LF tire was the problem. It was replaced, and rotated left to right. The van the pulled to the right! So, the other front tire was replaced…and now the problem is solved. We just drove about 800 miles with no pull or vibration.

    P.S. We got 24.9 mpg on the highway with premium and 23.8 on the highway with regular. Hmmm. Also, the tire mfg warranty covered the defect in the tire.



    I have only replaced the fronts. Its about time to check out the back, but they are not making any noise yet. Still no stopping or shaking problems for me.

    Luckily the rear rotors and pads are a lot easier to come by than the fronts, shouldn’t be that bad of a job if you have to do it.



    rapjlp – I only replaced the fronts because the shaking is felt from the front rotors. Also good rotors aren’t cheap, so this is why I left the rear rotors alone. It’s been almost 2 months now and put on about 1,000 miles and the braking is very smooth. I am starting to enjoy driving the van again.



    Here are some pictures of the front and rear brake job.


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