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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there, first post here.

Trying to bring this 2001 Frontier 4x4 SE back to life. My dad brought it to me with 2 qts low on engine oil, very little antifreeze, Less than 1 mm on the brake pads, and a weird creaking sound from the front passenger side wheel. My dad is hard on this pickup and its only relief is when I see it.

I changed the oil and filter and fixed a hole in the overflow radiator tank. Then I jacked up front end and found the brakes almost gone. Never seen brakes that far gone but not into the metal.

Wheel clunks in and out when my hands are on the 12 and 6 position. Not as much if at all in the horizontal position. I also see a tear in the boot on the lower ball joint. Are these related?? I was thinking bearings so I bought some and the grease. Will need to do some more wiggling to see whats going on there.

My dad says the 4x4 feels like its engaged while in 2wd and this truck has manual hubs. Didnt these come with auto hubs? Its a used truck and he bought it this way last year. Im wondering if the manual hubs are bad. I guess I need help on diagnosing lower ball joints vs bearings and or bad hubs. How can I test the hubs? Also, I will need new gaskets that are under the locking hubs. Does anyone have a link because I cant find those by themselves!!
 

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It obviously needs a new ball joint due to the torn boot. This is most likely the cause of the creak and the movement of the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
And would a new lower control arm be the way to go since its less work and similar cost?
 

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That's up to you. I'm not sure it's less work. The lower arm has the torsion bar, shock absorber, and sway bar mounts in addition to the 2 bolts holding it to the frame. The lower ball joint has one large nut and then you press it out with a ball joint tool and then press in the new one.
 

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And would a new lower control arm be the way to go since its less work and similar cost?
YES, just change the control arm. You'll get new bushings and ball joint. If thats the original control arm all that rubber is 20 years old but hopefully the bolts that hold that arm on aren't seized which isn't un common on those. I changed my original control arms that were 20 years old and the bolts came right out.

For the hub you may want to pull it apart, clean, and re grease everything.
 
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That's up to you. I'm not sure it's less work. The lower arm has the torsion bar, shock absorber, and sway bar mounts in addition to the 2 bolts holding it to the frame. The lower ball joint has one large nut and then you press it out with a ball joint tool and then press in the new one.
You know what, thats a good point. NIssan designed this truck to be fixed on the trail and lower ball joint has a nut on it. I did see a chick just fix hers on an Xterra, if she can do it then avg dude can for sure. I just changed my whole control arm so everyting would be new tho.

Shock Absorber is pretty easy to deal with imo tho. The torsion bar can be a challenge if you don't know what you're doing. But again, i stumbled on this chicks channel and she did everything. Lifted the Xterra with new arms, Sway Bars, etc...

 
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Check The FSM on Torsion Bars:
Indexing and Re Indexing the Torsion Bars Can Be A Pain bc there's a learning curve if you've never done it. I got to the point that i can Re Index My Torsions in just minutes now though. The Factory Service Manual Has The Directions in the "Front Axle & Front Suspension" Chapter Nissan Service Manuals - NICOclub

This Guy shows you how to deal with your torsions:


 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This truck was totaled in an accident and I dont see my dad driving it that much longer. Id rather just replace the ball joint before the insurance company hauls it away. That video was really enjoyable though. Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There is a seal or paper gasket under the 4x4 hub that came out in pieces. I cant seem to find this seal by an internet search. Im not using the right words. Can someone help?
 

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Whats the brand, maybe contact the company. I think you can go and buy paper gaskets at the autoparts store and cut your own.
That chick had the same problem. Paper Gasket was wrong. She just used silicone. Don't know if that's right or not but makes sense it would work or at least work for the time being. Maybe somebody that's more familiar with the manual hubs can chime in. What she doesn't do is torque those hubs down properly which can cause problems like a wobble and wear your bearings out or even worse have a wheel fly off.

Depending on how far you go this tool is needed to do the job correctly:

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks like Rugged Ridge. I do have some gasket maker, id rather buy the part, looking online now. Just watched the video, yeah RTV it is!!! Guess what? That 2.25" spindle nut driver I bought was not even needed. IT WAS LOOSE ON THE SPINDLE!!!
 

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Looks like Rugged Ridge. I do have some gasket maker, id rather buy the part, looking online now. Just watched the video, yeah RTV it is!!! Guess what? That 2.25" spindle nut driver I bought was not even needed. IT WAS LOOSE ON THE SPINDLE!!!
Woahhh Loose huh? Good thing you caught it.
 
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I did see a chick just fix hers on an Xterra, if she can do it then avg dude can for sure.
I bet she can get a guy's help anytime she wants it !!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
For the life of me I can get this off! My snap rings dont have enough travel. Ideas? I want to get at those holes to put some wire through them and twist the wire to the opposite sides until it comes off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thats what happened, got the top out but the lower ball joint wont let go of the ball stud. Castle nut came off ok. Going to try some heat and a BFH.
 

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Thats what happened, got the top out but the lower ball joint wont let go of the ball stud. Castle nut came off ok. Going to try some heat and a BFH.
Yeah, smack the knuckle with the BFH and you'll get it off.
 
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