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Sunday, April 30, 2006


Nuts can drive you crazy

My wife and I switched cars for last week so I could haul some things back from my house before it sold. Her Nissan Pathfinder had a problem with the rear suspension shaking, like a giant hand had grabbed the rear bumper. A little bounce test suggested that the rear shocks were toast. So I figured that was the problem. Looked like an easy enough job - they're only held on with one nut at the top and one bolt at the bottom. You don't even have to lift up the car to get to them. I bought a pair of Monroe Sensatracks from Pep Boys and went to work.

Well, remember what I said about working on the suspension? Road grime and water are bad for threads, and there's always a stuck fastener in every suspension job. In this case, the nut at the top somehow got into a situation where I could turn it but it wouldn't come off. Hoping that there was a way to salvage things, I asked on the Grassroots Motorsports board, but the response was pretty much unanimous: The nut was stripped, and the only way to get things finished was to destroy the nut. So I sliced it in two with a cut-off wheel and a chisel.

As you can see, the nut was missing a considerable length of thread. I also had to hack off a short length of the stud, which had equally damaged threads. Luckily, there's still enough left to hold on the replacement nut.

Unfortunately, while the new shocks seem to damp out a bit of the vibration, the problem is still there. Seems like there was some other issue and the blown shocks made it worse.

An odd link path brought me to your website...I posted the racing story on Evil Editor's blog - and appreciated that your comment on racing being expensive supported my plot a little!

I was too chicken to post my name over there!

We had a really bad problem like the one you're describing with your pathfinder on our old Dodge Grand Caravan. Rattled over every bump like the shocks were bad - we replaced the shocks and the struts, and it never improved...still a mystery since the transmission went out (again!) and we traded it off.

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