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Discussion Starter #1
I've been getting a clunking noise from my front end of my 2005 recently and also notice I'm getting outside tire wear. So I checked my suspension and the ball joints and tie rods looked okay. I assumed bad control arm bushings which led to faulty camber. So I ordered upper and lower arms and sway bar links while I was at it. During the week long process of spraying all the fasteners down with Kroil I came to notice another issue I overlooked before. On top of the Bilstein 4600s I replaced 18 months ago I noticed a gap between the top of the strut mount and the bottom of the mounting screw on the shock absorber. At the time of replacement I did not replace either the rubber bushing on top of the shock or the coil springs. The springs simple becuase I thought they looked okay and didn't think I needed them. The rubber bushing didnt get replaced because I assumed the shocks would come with one and they didn't. Once I had the spring compressed and shocks off I didn't have the opportunity to go to the parts store for new ones. Now its come back to bite me. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the noise I'm hearing. But I'm sure I needed new control arms anyway considering the outside tire wear. (I DID get an alignment done after the shock absorber install).

Anyway, Do you think this is due to old worn out coil springs or a faulty rubber bushing? Hopefully just the bushing. I despise removing those spring and do t want to do it again. If its just the bushing I can replace that without removing the shock assembly. Guess it couldn't hurt to replace the bushing first for $5 and see if that fixes it. I'm sure ill have enough problems removing those control arms so I don't want any added PITA of dealing with shocks again.
 

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Fairly common.
When you installed the the shocks, you forgot/ did not install the collar. When you do not have this, eventually the shock shaft will punch through the lower washer and bushing which is exactly what happened. The collar is usually a sizeable spacer looking thing that hold the boot on, but its primary function is to distribute the loads the shock is putting out on to the lower washer. Many think that the lower washer alone can handle this, but there is simply not enough surface area relative to the step on the shock shaft.

The fix is the remove and disassemble the coilover, then rebuild the upper bushing stack correctly with new lower washers, collars, and bushings.

This is the correct order from bottom to top:
collar->lower washer->lower bushing->top hat->upper bushing->upper washer->nut
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Fairly common.
When you installed the the shocks, you forgot/ did not install the collar. When you do not have this, eventually the shock shaft will punch through the lower washer and bushing which is exactly what happened. The collar is usually a sizeable spacer looking thing that hold the boot on, but its primary function is to distribute the loads the shock is putting out on to the lower washer. Many think that the lower washer alone can handle this, but there is simply not enough surface area relative to the step on the shock shaft.

The fix is the remove and disassemble the coilover, then rebuild the upper bushing stack correctly with new lower washers, collars, and bushings.

This is the correct order from bottom to top:
collar->lower washer->lower bushing->top hat->upper bushing->upper washer->nut
Urggh.....

Thanks for responding. That is not what I was hoping hear. I really hate the thought of disassembling the coilover. Do you happen to have a link to the correct upper bushing replacement stack? If I have to disassemble everything I may as well buy new springs too. Crud. I may have just bought new control arms without actually needing them.

Maybe ill just buy new assembled coil overs and scrap the 18 month old Bilsteins
 

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These are the correct bushings and washers you need:
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/bsn-b4kt1z097a00/overview/

As for the collars, unless you still have them somewhere you'll probably need to call Bilstein to get them. I am not aware of a place that sells them by themselves.

You are correct about probably not needing control arms to fix this problem, but depending on the mileage you have on the truck they will freshen up the front end considerably. New bushings and ball joints goes a long way to a tighter front end feel.

Also, don't be too intimidated by coilover disassembly. Its really not that bad. You should be able to fix this issue in a day even if you are new to wrenching. We are here to help as well if you get stuck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looking at this kit you linked to it appears that kit is for one shock? I didn't realize each shock took 2 rubber bushings and washers? I replaced the factory shocks and I'm sure they didnt have that much hardware. I do remember the collars and I'm pretty sure I put them back on.

I did the original shock replacement at 100k miles. The truck was 10 years old and the bolts were rusted and seized. And I played he'll getting everything installed. Wasn't overly excited about using coil spring compressors either bit I did it none the less. I guess after only 18 months everyrhing would come out pretty easily. But in general that was one job I didn't enjoy doing. With the rusty bolts it took me an entire day.
 

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Is your ride height where it should be. If it is, you don't need new springs.
Chris , got the material. They are going to weigh quite a lot. I can make them lighter but it would increase the cost, although I am just doing it for fun.
Also,that 1.575 height dim. says adjustable.
Should I just use that number?
 

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Looking at this kit you linked to it appears that kit is for one shock? I didn't realize each shock took 2 rubber bushings and washers? I replaced the factory shocks and I'm sure they didnt have that much hardware. I do remember the collars and I'm pretty sure I put them back on.

I did the original shock replacement at 100k miles. The truck was 10 years old and the bolts were rusted and seized. And I played he'll getting everything installed. Wasn't overly excited about using coil spring compressors either bit I did it none the less. I guess after only 18 months everyrhing would come out pretty easily. But in general that was one job I didn't enjoy doing. With the rusty bolts it took me an entire day.
Correct, that kit is one shock. The factory ones should be the exact same setup unless someone installed them wrong before you. If you did install the collars, maybe you are just missing the lower bushings then? That would produce a similar result.
 

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The Bilstein hardware kit isn't exactly identical to the factory setup. Nissan combined the upper spring insulator and the lower shock bushing into one big rubber assembly. When assembling you would have the lower washer, the insulator/bushing, the upper spring/strut mount, upper bushing, slip the sleeve in, upper washer and then the nut.
Sounds as though the lower washer went missing during the reassembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok thanks for clearing that up guys. I'm going to order a couple bushing kits. That spring are $62 for a pair so do you suggest I replace them? The ride height seems fine as far as I can tell. But I feel like if i only want to mess with these shocks one more time and if I have them unassembled I should replace the springs. Only potential issue is that if the new springs could raise the front end up too much if the old springs have sagged.
 

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I'd say if your springs have over 100k miles on them, its probably not a bad idea to replace them. You don't have to though, as springs just tend to sag over time and never really pose any danger unless they are physically damaged by rust or otherwise. If you do choose to replace them, the ride height will probably go up a bit and expose that the rear springs are a bit sagged as well. Choice is yours.

Remember, if you change suspension components that effect ride height at all, you need to get a alignment again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks. I definitely plan to get an alignment. I ordered the springs. I have 115k miles on the 12 year old truck. I also ordered new insulators as I couldn't remember if I replaced the old ones before. As I mentioned, I want this to be the last time I ever take those Damn shocks apart.

At this point I have all of the parts to have an entirely new front suspension.
 

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Should be sweet!

Something else to consider if you have not changed them already would be tie rods. If you are going for an alignment anyways and they are still original it makes sense to change them at your mileage. Cost is only $60-75 more. This would be the last link to doing a full front end refresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Should be sweet!

Something else to consider if you have not changed them already would be tie rods. If you are going for an alignment anyways and they are still original it makes sense to change them at your mileage. Cost is only $60-75 more. This would be the last link to doing a full front end refresh.
Oh what the hell, good call! Lol. May as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In have one more question before I tackle all of this.

It relates to the lower control arms. During my week long pre treatment of suspension fasteners it appears the LCA bolts are in the roughest shape out of the bunch. I'm afraid this might end up being another big problem. Read a few guides that make think I'm going to have to cut them out. I have the replacement Moog LCA but don't have replacement bolts. I'm not familiar with cam bolts but these appear to be what ill need as replacement bolts. Are these the correct replacement bolts? https://m.summitracing.com/parts/mog-k80276
 

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Those will work in the event you need to cut the old ones out. The OEM Nissan cam bolts are the best quality available. You'll need 4 total, looks like the kit you linked only cam with 2.
 

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I took apart my struts and springs about a year and a half ago, I'd buy the assembled replacements rather than waste the time to take it apart again. I did that and rear axle seals and bearings then traded it for a new Frontier, should have saved all that time and money and gone straight to this new truck. Hey, at least the new owner got a great riding truck, lol.
As far as the camber bolts go be prepared for battle When my 2010 was under 6 months old there was a control arm recall due to possible poor welds, the truck was at the shop to replace them and they called and said the bolts were stubbornly seized in the sleeves and may need to keep it over night. Imagine that, a brand new truck and the dealer was having a tough time with it in the air on a lift.
Good luck, hope it all turns out perfect.

Clint
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I started to project today. I got the passenger side done. It was a pain in the butt. The Bilstein shock kit listed earlier in the thread is not the correct one. The washers, bushings and nut were all too tight to fit the shock shaft. I had to use my existing nut and use a step drill to resize the hole in the washers. The rubber bushing could be stretched to press over the shaft but could not fit over the collar. So I had to drill out the rubber bushing a little to get them to fit.

As for the lower arm, I was able to drive out the bolt with a hammer but the rear bolt would cooperate. So I had to saw them. I used the new 2x Lenox blades and they made easy work of the grade 8 bolt. I made two cuts and went slow and used thread cutting oil and did not even damage the blade. I bought a 5 pack and only used 1.

I ran into some other problems too. Had major difficulty getting the bolt removed from the lower ball joint. Ill have to run to town tomorrow to buy new bolts. Also the new springs had more coils that the factory springs. When I compressed them I couldn't get the clamps out of the springs. Had to take the bar end of a cresant wrench and use it to pry apart the coils in order to remove the clamps. Does anyone know how right the top but should be tightened on the coil over? Should it be tightened until it hits the collar? Or should it tighten until it starts compressing the bushings?

Last problem is that the small grease zerk included with the Moog tie rod end for the passenger side would not screw into the tie rod. For the life of me I don't understand why they would not pre install that zero. Ill habe to try running a tap into the existinf hole or maybe even install a different zerk.

Dreading dealing with drivers side tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Another issue I forgot to mention was that during the process of using a Pittman arm pulled to remove the lower ball joint that axle pulled out. Is there no physical connection that keeps the axle in place? I was able to push it right back in but having never removed a cv axle I was kind of expecting that I would have to unbolt something for it to pull out like that.

I suppose I didn't take everything apart in the proper order. I started by disconnecting the tie rod and removing it. Then the seat bar link. Followed by the coil over then the puppet ball joint mount. Suppose I should done the bottom first. Then I removed the UCA which came out easily. Then lastly the LCA.
 

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Your fine, the axle will fall out like you mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
The job is complete. Had about 10 total hours in it. On the drivers side I had to cut the lowers out again and had a hell of a time getting the top nut off of the strut. Also had to go to the dealer and get new pinch bolts for the lower ball joint. It is quite a pain to get the ball joint back into the spindle without removing the axle. The ball joint wants to hit the bottom of the axle. The other problem I ran into was removing the bolt on the upper right side of the control arm. It wasn't rusted but the steering rack was in the way. I disconnected the rack but it still wouldn't swing out of the way. I ended up cutting the bolt which sucked because I didn't have a replacement.

I took the truck for a test drive on a rough road and it drove great. Felt like new again. It did raise the front end about 3/4 inch but it helped level the truck a bit. I always felt it had too much rake anyway.

I had purchased some akebono pads and rotors I had planned to install but this job wiped me out. My back is hsmmshot. Maybe ill install the brakes next weekend.

Lastly, can't say enough about the Lenox 2x 18-tooth blades. I only used one blade. And I made 7 cuts through M14 grade 10.9 bolts. Blade teeth still look new.
 
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