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Old 05-20-2008, 06:03 PM   #1
methodmix
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2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

When I purchased my Altima GLE used in 2004, it had about 67k miles, and I noticed the steering was a little loose and tended to sway at moderate to high speeds when encountering bumps in the road. Now my vehicle has 106k miles and the problem has slightly worsened. Every little road bump seems to give "feedback" to my steering wheel (i.e. the wheel begins to turn slightly to the left if my left front tire hits a bump, or slightly to the right if the right front tire hits a bump); so to compensate, I must ensure that I have a very tight grip on my steering wheel, otherwise my car begins to sway substantially. I've driven many other cars and have never experienced this type of problem before.

Is this a common issue with Altimas? How can I resolve this? Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:43 PM   #2
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

you need to check steering linkage something is worn out possibly ball joint or tie rod by the way you discribe.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:45 PM   #3
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

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Originally Posted by inafogg
you need to check steering linkage something is worn out possibly ball joint or tie rod by the way you discribe.
Thanks! What is the best way to check for wear on these items?
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Old 05-21-2008, 02:34 PM   #4
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

you'll need to jack up put jack stand under frame or body lip.frame is about 18'' in from side of car you'll see 1 1/2 frame rail or jack from body about 6'' from side when looking under car from drivers door or passenger side.jacking at these points take the weight off bj.grab tire at 12/6 o clock move tire in/out should be no play have some 1 help Grab wheel at 3/9 O clock & check steering linkage.make sure the play if any is from steering & not a loose wh bearing ect.hope this helps
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:45 PM   #5
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

Quote:
Originally Posted by inafogg
you'll need to jack up put jack stand under frame or body lip.frame is about 18'' in from side of car you'll see 1 1/2 frame rail or jack from body about 6'' from side when looking under car from drivers door or passenger side.jacking at these points take the weight off bj.grab tire at 12/6 o clock move tire in/out should be no play have some 1 help Grab wheel at 3/9 O clock & check steering linkage.make sure the play if any is from steering & not a loose wh bearing ect.hope this helps
Ok, thank you very much! Now I've read that the tie rod ends are usually what start to wear out first, and these can also lead to steering play. How do I know if it's a tie rod issue versus a ball joint issue?
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

when you rock steering via tire have someone look if you feel play., there should not be any movement!!if play in steering is present looking under car at the steering linkage.you will see the movement in the worn part as you rock the wheel.
BTW YOU ONLY NEED TO MOVE/ROCK TIRE A LITTLE AS YOU DONT WANT OTHER TIRE TO MOVE YOU'RE ONLY LOOKING FOR MOVEMENT IN LINKAGE
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Old 05-22-2008, 04:28 PM   #7
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

Quote:
Originally Posted by inafogg
when you rock steering via tire have someone look if you feel play., there should not be any movement!!if play in steering is present looking under car at the steering linkage.you will see the movement in the worn part as you rock the wheel.
BTW YOU ONLY NEED TO MOVE/ROCK TIRE A LITTLE AS YOU DONT WANT OTHER TIRE TO MOVE YOU'RE ONLY LOOKING FOR MOVEMENT IN LINKAGE
Ok, thanks for the detailed instructions! I'll try and check this tomorrow and let you know what I find.
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:37 PM   #8
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

The same day that I had both of my front-end CV joints/axles replaced, I had the mechanic do a road test and a thorough underbody inspection to see if my ball-joints or tie rods were out of wack. Turns out, the ball joints and the tie rods were good. However, after inquiring about this further with the mechanic (a really old guy by the way, and he really knows his stuff) stated that this is a common problem with older Altimas, and the steering feedback I am noticing is related to the components in the rack and pinion steering assembly.

He said he could try to diagnose this issue further, but it would require a thorough replacement of various components that could add up to a lot of $$. Does anyone know where to begin with checking issues related to the rack and pinion assembly?

Thanks! opcorn:
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

hello again,when were cv's done??in may or sept.??as far as rack goes the inner tie rods should be ok atleast thats what they said when they checked.the inner tie rods are part of the rack & pinion so if there are no leaks thats about all the DIY can do.it is possible there is an internal problem with the rack but if so you'd have to replace the rack.if inner tie rods are bad(& are replacable) you will have play in wheel but you will notice this when checking front end
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:04 PM   #10
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

Quote:
Originally Posted by inafogg
hello again,when were cv's done??in may or sept.??as far as rack goes the inner tie rods should be ok atleast thats what they said when they checked.the inner tie rods are part of the rack & pinion so if there are no leaks thats about all the DIY can do.it is possible there is an internal problem with the rack but if so you'd have to replace the rack.if inner tie rods are bad(& are replacable) you will have play in wheel but you will notice this when checking front end
Hi, thanks for the follow-up. The CV's were replaced last Friday, and I do notice slightly better handling at highway speeds (i.e., a little less play in the steering). You mentioned the inner tie rod sockets (also known as bellows), which I think could be a potential issue since I don't think the mechanic took the time to check these. It is also worth noting that the rattling noise in my front-end is still audible when traveling over hard bumps at highway speeds.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:34 PM   #11
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

the bellows you are speaking of ?? the bellows are the black hard rubber boots that cover the inner ends of rack.normally not a part that wears out often.hows the senitive steering when hitting bump/rutt in road?? mike
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Old 10-01-2008, 03:51 PM   #12
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

Ok, thanks for clarifying that. What in your opinion wears out faster?

The steering is a little better, but there is still a noticeable sway in the steering when going over bumps, but not as bad as before. One issue that exacerbated the steering sway over bumps was that I had my tires maxed out to 44 PSI, so I felt every bump and the steering response was very dramatic. After lowering my tire pressure to 35 PSI on all tires, the steering response is less dramatic, but there is still occasional sway over certain bumps and potholes.
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:19 AM   #13
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Re: 2000 Altima GLE: Steering is Loose

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodmix View Post
Ok, thanks for clarifying that. What in your opinion
wears out faster?

The steering is a little better, but there is still a noticeable sway in the
steering when going over bumps, but not as bad as before. One issue
that exacerbated the steering sway over bumps was that I had my tires
maxed out to 44 PSI, so I felt every bump and the steering response
was very dramatic. After lowering my tire pressure to 35 PSI on all tires,
the steering response is less dramatic, but there is still occasional sway
over certain bumps and potholes.
You did the best you could! Welcome to the world of Nissan steering - soft, with no defined center.

I test drove a low-mileage 2013 Altima in the summer of 2016, correct tire pressures, at Enterprise car sales. Same thing, loosy-goosey steering, albeit with moderate road feel.

My 2010 Accord feels like a 5-series by comparison!

Last edited by RidingOnRailz; 11-27-2020 at 10:18 AM.
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