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I can't figure out this suspension problem...(95 S14)

Old 05-23-2007, 12:38 PM
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I can't figure out this suspension problem...(95 S14)

EDIT: Update further down. Hooray Club240 for your recommendations. :P


I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but a lot has gone on with my 240, and I'm reaching the end of my patience despite my love for the car. :sad:

I have a 1995 240sx base model, which I purchased about 3 years ago with ~115,000 miles on it. The car had KYB GR2 shocks and stock springs when I purchased it, and generally ran extremely well for its age. I have since added a CAI, Whiteline springs, and buddy club racing P2 wheels with low profile ES100 tires. As I did not need the car up at school, I kept it garaged and have only driven it in the summer. I followed the basics for removing a car from storage, flushing and replacing the fluids, etc.

About a year ago, when I started driving it again for the summer, I began to notice a severe loss of power in 1st gear accompanied by a loud <clunk> when I depressed the clutch to shift to second. The other gears seemed to be fine. At first I thought it might be a transmission or clutch issue, but the other gears worked so well I couldn't figure it out. After some more troubleshooting driving around the neighborhood and town, I noticed the rear end felt really lose.

I took the car to a midas to check it out, and they explained that the clutch and transmission seemed fine, but the rear subframe bushings were completely shot, and needed to be replaced. As this work requires the rear end to be removed and disassembled, I had a very difficult time finding a local shop willing to do the work. I finally found a restoration shop that agreed to do it, and asked them to install some Whiteline springs I had purchased along with the bushing replacements (nismo bushings).

They installed the springs, but refused to install the bushings, because "it was too much work." I begrudgingly paid a far-too-high bill for the spring installation ($400!!) expressed my frustration, and took my car home.

As the summer was close to a close by the time this was all sorted out, I put the car back in storage, and my father, fairly experienced in automotive work, said he'd work on it when he had the time.

He informed me when I returned home several weeks ago that he had checked all the bushings, and they seemed completely fine. He used some bushing-repair gel in the bushings just to be sure, and said he noticed a very lose bolt on the differential, which he tightened.

Last night we jacked up the car and checked out all the bushings and bolts again, and everything seemed fine. I noticed that two of the bushings seemed to extend far out of their sockets, but my father said that was a result of the car being jacked up. While driving the car around afterward, it seemed much better than it had been, and we credited the lose bolt or possibly the spare tire, which we found was unsecured, for the previous issues.

While driving today, the first serious driving I've done on the Whiteline springs, the clunk returned when I depressed the clutch to shift from 4th to 5th at about 50 mph. It happened several other times during various shifts, but always ocurred when the clutch is fully depressed. When I turn hard (took a right angle at about 30 mph, but wide), the whole car shudders and feels like it's skidding. During normal driving, the car simply feels less poised and secure than I feel it should. The rear end does seem a bit loose, but not nearly as bad as before. 1st gear power seems fine compared to when the problems first started.

Any ideas as to what might be wrong? Does it sound like my father was wrong, and the bushings really did need replacing? Might the issue turning hard be wheelrub? Anyone know any good nissan mechanics near south New Jersey/Philadelphia area?

Any and all help is appreciated!

Last edited by zippycut; 07-06-2007 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 05-23-2007, 12:57 PM
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still sounds like subframe bushings, i am having a simalar problem.
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:48 AM
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Good be subframe bushings, but other likely possibilities are the differential bushings or driveshaft carrier bearing(big center support).

One way to check is to crank up the parking brake and put it in gear and load up the drivetrain a little while someone look underneither from behind to see if anything is moving too much. When you quick release the clutch, it should clunk. If the parking brake is not strong enough, you may have to hold you toe on the brake hard while using your heal to give just a little gas. Durring this you never fully engage the clutch.

If it is the subframe bushings, you could always go with subfram collars like the megan racing units. These are easier to instal then new bushings and do not even require the full removal of the subframe. Since they are solid (aluminum), the is a bit more noise and vibration transfered through the car.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:07 AM
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Thanks a whole lot ZippyCut - this info is invaluable to me! I am having precisely the same issue with my 95 240SX (also a base model). I have yet to do anything about it, however. I guess my problem hasn't progressed as far as yours has (yet).

I know I will usually get a thud/clunk when shifting from 1st to 2nd, sometimes 2nd to 3rd, and any time that I do a fast/hard shift. It also happens if I stab the throttle abruptly.

I was told that the rear subframe bushings in my 240SX were worn when I had my car checked out by a Nissan garage late last year. They also said that they would need to replace the entire rear subframe just because of the bushings! ($1,400 CAD!)

ZippCut, do certainly let us know what you end up doing!

If it is the subframe bushings, you could always go with subfram collars like the megan racing units. These are easier to instal then new bushings and do not even require the full removal of the subframe. Since they are solid (aluminum), the is a bit more noise and vibration transfered through the car.
I'm a young guy, so ride comfort is of little importance to me

Will doing something like this inherit the functionality of the bushings and will it keep the back end from coming loose?
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by epp_b View Post

Will doing something like this inherit the functionality of the bushings and will it keep the back end from coming loose?
Just the opposite....it locks it in place makes it significantly more solid. We are using these on the Club240 time attack car. They only downside is increaded vibration and noise
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:42 AM
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^ Oh, I see. Will they keep the back end solid and in check with the chassis? (as in, not coming lose from worn bushings)
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:44 AM
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Yes, its the same as if it were part of the chassis. There will still be two diff bushings for the front of the diff, but since the rear of the diff is straight bolted in, it will still transfer some driveline vibration.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:32 PM
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If you're not willing to drop the entire subframe to replace the bushings then you could do the subframe collars, an easy install for even the most amateur shadetree mechanic http://www.club240.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38437 This is for a S13 but you get the basic idea.
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:39 PM
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...it will still transfer some driveline vibration.
Like I said I don't really care. And, hey, harder setups mean better handling
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Old 07-06-2007, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
If you're not willing to drop the entire subframe to replace the bushings then you could do the subframe collars, an easy install for even the most amateur shadetree mechanic http://www.club240.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38437 This is for a S13 but you get the basic idea.

A couple weeks ago, I went ahead and installed the subframe bushing collars, which I got from SPL Parts.

It took about 6 more hours than the 1 it should have because the bushing bolts were so tight that I broke two socket wrenches trying to loosen them!! The socket nut sheared sideways, and came completely off on one of them. Part of those 6 hours were spent driving to my friends house in my mom's truck and bringing back his brother's air compressor with corresponding air-wrench, but even that couldn't handle the bolts. Unfortunately, the set's impact wrench was in Buffalo, with his brother.

My dad and I finally agreed that budget socket sets just do not cut it, and we hopped over to Sears and got a legit Craftsman set w/Warranty ($79 down from $169, so not too bad a hit to the bank), and finally, with the aid of a 5 foot section of piping for some added torque (thank god for high school physics and Rotational Equilibrium) we got the damn things loose.


The last third of those unnecessary six hours was spent extracting the silicon gel from the bushing housing. The left rear bushing was so bad that by the time we got it out, I saw that the gel had formed a near-perfect ring about 1/2 inch thick all the way around. You could even read the serial number of the bushing housing, which had imprinted on the gel as it solidified.


In any event: The problem is almost completely gone!! There are no more clunks at all, and the ride is greatly improved!! The noise isn't nearly as bad as I expected, but I also usually listen to music at a decent loudness. Going over bumps on the highway is certainly more tactile and louder, but not annoyingly so.

Unfortunately, the left bushing--as evidenced by the massive gel donut we extracted--is almost completely shot, so this may only prove a temporary solution. I am considering going through the process again, and re-filling the space underneath the bushing collar with more silicon gel (I know, I know) to see if that helps a bit.


I'm still getting some slightly scary rear-end hop around fast turns, but I'm fairly sure it's mostly from the rear shocks being pretty shot. I tried the bumper test by pushing down hard on the bumper and watching the oscillation of the rear of the car: it goes up and down sevreal times before settling. I don't know who told me this test, but I recall them saying that functional shocks prevent the corresponding end of the car to bounce up and down more than once or twice before settling. (Correct me if I'm wrong)

So the next thing is to get some decent performance shocks for cheap (looking at KYB AGX right now, unless someone has a better suggestion for a budget of <500$)

Are shocks fairly difficult to install?
I have a factory service manual, but not a lot of experience. I am competent enough to do this bushing collar work, but it's the most I've ever done to the car. The depths of my poor memory inform me that I'll need to borrow a Spring Tensioner, and perhaps some more specific tools.


I don't know if epp b has tried this problem yet, but hopefully it will work out as well for you as it did for me! (It sounds like your bushings are still decent, so it'll probably work even better)
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:23 PM
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Installing new struts/shocks is a simple bolt-on bolt-off procedure. The hardest part is compressing your springs and transferring them from one set of struts/shocks to the next and that is not very difficult at all just take your time and do it correctly. If you can put on subframe collars then you can put on struts/shocks also.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:18 AM
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i have done 3 sets of springs in one day before its easy bro.. it would help if you have either a electric/air impact becuase cranking the spring compressors by hand blows..

spring compressors are only about 30 bucks.
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Old 07-07-2007, 02:49 PM
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Are shocks fairly difficult to install?
I have a factory service manual, but not a lot of experience. I am competent enough to do this bushing collar work, but it's the most I've ever done to the car. The depths of my poor memory inform me that I'll need to borrow a Spring Tensioner, and perhaps some more specific tools.
You'll need a spring compressor if you get separate springs and struts. If you get coil-overs, apparently all you need to do is unbolt the old suspension, and bolt on the coil-overs (which is what my eventual plan is).

I don't know if epp b has tried this problem yet, but hopefully it will work out as well for you as it did for me! (It sounds like your bushings are still decent, so it'll probably work even better)
After reading about your collar install, I hope so. Now I'm really revved and excited that it worked for you so well! I can't wait!

I have a few less miles on my car than you do, so hopefully, it will be a bit easier get the old suckers off.
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:27 AM
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I cant believe you paid some guy $400 for spring installation. When I fist got into tuning, the shop charged my $80 for installing springs on my MR2. I would got to the better bussiness bureou and show them that reciept!
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Old 07-09-2007, 05:57 AM
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Your remaining handling problems are definitely your shocks. If they are as blow as you just described, the back will definitely hop around corners. I do not know what bushing you are talking about still being dead, but if its ones of the subframe bushings, it shouldn't matter as the collars basically eliminate the function of the subframe bushings and they can be completely shot and still not matter. There are two other big things that can cause a clunk which are the diff bushings and the driveshaft/carrier bearing.
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