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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. I want to preface this by saying I am not a mechanic or a gearhead by any stretch of the imagination. But I do like to try to fix things myself, so figured I would post here and see if someone could help. I have been exploring the forum and have found a few posts that describe some of the issues I'm having, but either get a little too technical for me to follow or don't post the ultimate solution and result (leaving wondering what actually worked). If this is not the right place to post this, let me know and I will move it.

I have a 2009 LE Frontier. Bought private party about 2 years ago. The truck is right at 100,000 miles right now. There are two primary issues which seem related but I suppose could be separate issues altogether.

1. The first issue is a wa-wa-wa-wa sound that I get, only on highway speeds, and only when curving left. It's kind of slow, and low pitched. The sound seems fairly constant, meaning it doesn't seem to speed up or slow down based on my speed, but I'm not positive on that. I'm not sure exactly what speed this starts at, but I usually hear it at 50mph+. This problem was present when I bought the truck.

2. The second, and more worrisome issue, is a significant shaking that occurs. Seemed to get worse over that first year I owned it. This becomes noticeable at about 40mph, and seems at its worse at about 65mph. It still happens at 70+, but seems less noticeable. The shaking can definitely be felt in the steering wheel, though sometimes in the seat. I'd say the shaking is consistent about 70% of the time, but on occasion does seem to lessen for no apparent reason. Not only does the steering wheel shake, but it feels a little loose as well, if that makes sense.

Some additional info:
-I suffered the problem long enough and finally took to the dealer about a year ago. They found the front right CV joint was worn and leaking grease. They also found an irregular wear pattern on one tire. They thought the one caused the other. They replaced the CV joint, but I couldn't afford new tires, so they moved the worn tire to the back. I believe this lessened the shaking as I hadn't noticed it as much over the past year, but did not affect the wa-wa-wa sound on curves.
-I finally got new tires just recently, and an alignment. I figured this would fix the wa-wa-wa issues, but it didn't.
-When installing the new tires, the tech noticed that one wheel was bent. He wondered if the truck had been hit on the wheel at some point. (Whatever he saw is not noticeable from the outside). He said he had a very hard time getting the tire to balance, but ultimately did. He also said it was far out of alignment. He said he moved the tire with the bent wheel to the back (not sure why as I hadn't told him about the shaking). Now the shaking appears to be back as bad or worse than before, even on new tires.
-Throughout the process of getting new tires I did realize that there is a small lift on the vehicle. I would guess the 2.5 inch spacers on the front struts and shackles in the back, though I haven't measured.

Like I said I am not a mechanic. I realize that I probably let these issues go longer than I should. I also realize I will likely need to check more than one thing. So what I am really looking for is a suggestion on a progression of things to check/replace.

My current guess on the wa-wa noise, considering it only occurs when curving left, is that it must be something with the front right suspension/wheel assembly. If I had to guess right now I’d guess the wheel bearings. I have no idea on the shaking issue. But since it seems worse now that the bent wheel is moved to the back, I wonder if that has something to do with it. Of course, if there was an impact at some point, I guess any number of things could be wrong.

Looking forward to your suggestions. I promise to update with any results. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I guess I'll have to narrate this. I switched the supposed bad wheel from back to front, and the shaking seemed less. Then I had it changed out altogether to the spare wheel and no further improvement. My next stop will be the wheel bearings.

At some point I'm guessing I need to look at suspension. I get a clunking sound occasionally on the left front suspension. It has coilovers with a bump stop, but still clunking. So wondering if this may be contributing to the problem at highway speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you looked at the condition of the ball joints and also wheel bearings? How about front diff fluid?
No, some direction like that is what I was hoping for. Like I said in OP, I am not a mechanic. Somewhere on this site I recently saw a diagram of all the different suspension parts labels on a pic of the undercarriage of the front suspension. If someone can direct me to that again that would be helpful. I plan on getting a set of jack stands this weekend so I can do some further inspection. Thanks for the direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Have you looked at the condition of the ball joints and also wheel bearings? How about front diff fluid?
I did check condition of ball joints. They looked good. Wheel bearings had no play in them while up on the lift, but there is sufficient noise when curving at highways speeds that I will look to replace these. Though I am not sure this would create the amount of shaking I am getting, even at just 40mph.

I did take into a tire shop (local Les Schwab here in the Portland, OR area). They checked tire balance and everything looked good. Alignment looked good. I mentioned a creaking/sometimes clunking I get from what sounds like front left suspension. I get this most often at slow speeds, with some downward force and turning to the right. Such as pulling out of a parking lot at a slight decline, onto the level street and turning right. Tire shop guys suggested this noise was coming from the differential and was an "internal" noise, rather than something from the front suspension. I read up a bit on the differential, but not sure if how much water what they're saying hold. I haven't checked the differential fluid and think I should now do that. I read somewhere about a magnet that collects metal fragments. Anything else i should be looking for when I check this?

Thanks
 
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