Whole chassis vibration at mid to high speed (over 55MPH)

New Topics Forums General Discussion 1999 – 2002 Nissan Quest Whole chassis vibration at mid to high speed (over 55MPH)

This topic contains 13 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  prgonzalez 7 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    This is a 99 Quest with 156K+ miles. I use it for communiting to work and normally use 35MPH roads. So, I cannot say when this whole problem started. I noticed the high speed vibration a few weeks ago. First, I thought it the shake started happening at 55MPH and over. However, I can say the car vibrates even at 40MPH.

    I started by replacing obvious worn out parts to the less obvious but still original parts due to the high mileage.

    Replaced so far:

    1. Ball joints L and R
    2. Struts L and R, including strut mounts and strut bearings.
    3. Outer and Inner tie rods L and R
    4. Driver side CV axle (two years ago or approx 30K miles ago)
    5. Passanger side CV axle (supporting bearing of inner CV joint worn out. CV Joints in good shape)
    6. Sway bar links and bushings L and R
    7. Steering rack bushings
    8. Engine mounts checked and still on good shape (four years ago or approx 50K miles ago).
    9. Driver side wheel bearing
    10. Front rotors L and R (twice due to suspect warped rotors)
    11. Rear drums L & R
    12. Four new tires, vendor replace two front tires to show it was not tires replated. Frame still shakes. All tires are balanced.
    13. Wheel alignment done.

    The shake of the whole chassis still happens, it is very noticeable at 55MPH and over.

    Only good thing I can say is most of the front noises are pretty much gone and the handling is almost like brand new.

    Thinking about changing:

    1. Lower control arms L & R. Not replaced yet since bushings seem to be fine from visual inspection.
    2. Engine mounts. Not replaced yet since rubber is in good shape as unmounted and visually inspected last week.

    Any ideas or has someone experience this problem?




    Does it shake on acceleration or whenever you are at speed. Mine shake a lot, but it’s on acceleration and mainly after long drives. Balanced tires, but that’s not it. Hopefully someone has an answer for it.



    Mine vibrates during acceleration and while cruising once the 55MPH is passed. I have taken the car up to 80 and still shakes.

    After further internet reading … my problem could be the transmission, signs of a torque converter failure. 🙁

    Latetest research … The problem is not the torque converter. The problem is in the left differential bearing. The inner race does not move anymore causing the axle shaft to wear the inside surface of the bearing race thus incrementing the tolerances or play of the inner CV joint.
    The play of the CV joint in the bearing is about 1/32″ to 1/16″.

    The solution is to change the bearing, however with 158K+ miles, it is more cost effective to rebuild the transmission or perhaps just replace it with a rebuilt one. I need to check some prices about this job.

    Hope it helps someone else with a similar problem.



    Took the van to a honest mechanic whom said drove the van for a while and inspected the bearing and left side axle play in the bearing.

    His diagnostic is the transmission is in good condition and the play of the CV axle, even though is not as desired, is still within specifications. The problem is comming from the rear tires due to bad shocks. The tires are not rounded anymore. So, square one to the tire shop.



    My car also vibrates a lot during high speeds during acceleration and to a slightly lesser degree when coasting. Your mechanic found the issue to be the rear shocks? When you had the vibration do you feel it a lot in the steering wheel?




    Well, my story is not over yet. I took the van to another transmission mechanic whom test drove the van with me. He did some maneuvers to test engine mounts, differential bearings, and other stuff. His final word was slightly different than the first mechanic. He recommended me to replace CV axle that I replaced about two years ago, the left side. Both mechanics coincided in that they don’t see anything wrong with the transmission or differential at this time. So, I had one good common diagnostic about the transmission and two possible causes: tires and shocks, or left axle. I started with shocks and tires. I replaced the rear shocks and tires and the vibration is still there. Today, I will replace the left side axle.

    On your problem, I have read a lot over the internet (correct and wrong) and talking to the mechanics about this problem. The difficulty here is the symptoms are similar between different causes: engine mounts, inner CV joints, tires unbalanced, wheel bearings, tires out of round and bad struts/chocks, etc. In my case, I started replacing parts I new were worn out because they were original parts with 156K+ miles. Parts I knew I had to replace this year. What’s the mileage on your van? Which parts do you know are worn out?

    I will post the results of the change of the left axle.



    Well, after replacing the left CV axle, the vibration persisted. I took the van to Nissan for a thorough diagnostic. After three days in the shop, they found the problem. It was one of the new rear drums that was out of balance.

    Some how, the vibration was traveling all the way from the back to the front of the van, shaking the whole chassis around 60MPH. The vibration persisted all the way to 80 MPH but at higher frequency. So, I would have to turn the original drums and forget the idea of using new drums.

    Hope this helps other owners.


    quest 4 fun

    I’ve read a few postings recently that the cheaper aftermarket brake drums available for the older Quests can cause bad vibrations, and that it would be very wise to invest in the most premium brake drum available is the wise choice. Alternately, resurfacing the original drums is more wise than replacing with cheapo/inexpensive aftermarkets.



    My quest vibrates when accelarating over 55 changed tie rod ends, rack n pinion alignment and balancing please help




    What we have documented in this forum is that when we replaced the rear break drums with aftermarket parts, these were not really well balanced. As a result, they produced vibration that was felt in the front of the van creating a big confusion of the source of the vibration.

    Thus, the first question to you would be, have you replaced the rear break drums with aftermarket drums?

    If your van still has the original drums, then I would look at the ball-joints, inner tie-rods (I am assuming you replaced the outer tie-rods), the rubber bushings that hold the steering rack, lower arms bushings, front stab-bar bushings and links. Except for the lower arms bushings, when my van had 160,000 miles, I replaced all other parts due to wear and tear. I also replaced the passenger side axle which had the support bearing in the middle of the bar worn out too.

    My van has now 182,200 and rides smoothly.



    I read the following post on line, hope this is helpful.

    Had the same shake. It was lower control arm bushings and tie rod ends worn out, especially the bushings. The reason the shake quits when coasting at 60 is that you aren’t loading the tires against the suspension. Under acceleration the pull of the wheels forces the slack in the suspension one way, and puts the front end parts out of alignment, so the tires are fighting each other (the toe-in changes). It’s the harmonic point of the suspension. That’s why you’re getting cupping and/or uneven wear on the edges of the tires. Above 60 the misalignment changes to lessen the harmonics and the shake goes away (and it’s scary as can be to get past that shaking point…been there). If left as-is, the wear to the bushings will continue, and the shake will start
    at lower and lower speeds.



    Hi zensea,

    The shaking problem went away after reinstalling the original break drums and replacing all other suspension and steering worn parts last year. It’s been over a year with the van running smoothly as new. What a pleasure to drive a van like that. Perfect wheel alignment.

    The control arm bushings is something I will do soon due to high mileage. My van is now 185,900+ miles and I can see the same uneven wear on the edges of the front tires after 60,000+ miles on my current set. My current set of tires is rated for 80,000 miles.



    Prgonzales thank you very much sir for your dedicated and detailed posts that are very thorough and well updated. I too love my quest van don’t want to get another one as I have kept up on most anything that went bad on this van so , until recently it has been in tip top shape, everything worked perfectly like new. But your posts here help and the fact that you updated them throughout instead of disappearing like most do who only come here to fix their issue. So I thank you sir.



    Thanks, Pedro

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