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Pelon12018

Pelon12018 10/8/2012

2003 Nissan Pathfinder LE 6 Cyl 3.5L

Transmissions & Drivetrains

At 40 mph starts to vibrate like driving on highway driver-alert ribs. Certain speeds 45-65 can feel it vibrate seat.

Front wheels with new tires moved to back, & back tires with barely used same tires pushed to front. Still vibrates at same speeds. Nothing in contact with tires except road. Steers straight. Brakes straight. No more shock dip than I expect for 128K miles. Steering suspension part? Shock(s)? Drive shaft? U-joint(s)? Brake disc(s)? Bought it used 3 wks ago with a tire shop claim that the right front tire was worn badly enough to cause - not the problem.

4 Answers


HouseCallAuto

HouseCallAuto 10/8/2012

Your cause is either a front or a rear driveshaft issue. That means that either u-joints in either shaft are bad, just takes one bad joint. You could try removing the front driveshaft and test drive it. if the vibration is gone, replace the front driveshaft u-joints and then balance the driveshaft (or have a driveshaft specialty shop do both the joints and balancing) If the vibration is still present with the front shaft removed then you have an issue with the rear shaft, in this case replace the u-joints and balance the shaft. Probability here is greater than 75%.

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HouseCallAuto

Pelon12018 10/15/2012

Thanks for your response! My first sense was front-end, but then with the seat vibration all bets were off. However, the front drive-shaft is about directly below the front seats. Once I looked under the car I realized I'll need a pro to tackle the trouble-shooting. Accessing the bolt/nuts holding the u-joints requires some specialized adapters for the 1/2" drive socket tools, and it would be more efficient to have the car totally off the ground. I'll be taking it to a shop soon. Thx!

HouseCallAuto

HouseCallAuto 10/15/2012

Buy the sockets and / or universal sockets you need and do it yourself and save like $300 or more. Not hard to remove the shaft at all.

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HouseCallAuto

Pelon12018 10/15/2012

How would I be able to get the front drive shaft to turn free? That seems to be the best condition. If I can do that I'd be down to crowfeet and a breaker bar, I expect. Thanks for the push!

HouseCallAuto

Pelon12018 11/5/2012

Replaced the U-joints on the front drive-shaft, problem solved! I hadn't tackled this kind of work in a few decades, so I was timid. I went out and bought some specialized sockets, and needed none of them. I did buy a new floor jack, and that helped tremendously. With a 14 mm box wrench, and leverage provided by a 19 mm box wrench nested on the free open end, and muscle power, I broke the nuts free. Oh, the shaft turns free with one side of the vehicle off the ground. Thx AutoMD!

JustAGirl

JustAGirl 10/16/2012

Have transmission shop test drive vehicle, check for antifreeze contamination. It sounds like a torque converter chatter.

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JustAGirl

Pelon12018 10/16/2012

Hadn't thought of that as a possibility. Would that still be a cause when the vibration remains constant (vibe rate increases with increased speed, actually) after reaching 40 mph, and never stops until slowing down below 40?

JustAGirl

JustAGirl 10/17/2012

Your first post said 40-65, so I thought you meant it went away. Also, drive alert ribs are a classic description of lock up apply issues. If it doesn't go away I'd agree with HouseCallAuto's response. I'd check the rear shaft joints first because you said you felt it in the seat.

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