Nissan Navara D22 Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Tips)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different Nissan Navara D22 Suspension problems, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

Top 5 most common suspension issues in the Nissan Navara D22? 

The most common suspension issues seen in the Nissan Navara D22 are:

  • Front Upper Control Arm Bush Failure
  • Tie Rod Failure
  • Leafspring Breakage
  • Leafspring Misalignment
  • Rear Shock Absorber Failure

What suspension does the Nissan Navara D22 have?

The Nissan Navara is the brand name given to Nissan Pickup Trucks’ D21, D22, D40 and D23 generations. In the America’s the Navara is sold under the name Nissan Frontier or Nissan NP300.

The Nissan Navara D22 was manufactured from 1997 to 2004, and was also called as the ‘First Generation’ of the Navara Truck Line-up.

Front Suspension

The Front suspension in the Nissan Navara is a Double Wishbone Set-up with Upper & Lower control Arms, Torsion-Beam Spring, Shock Absorber and Anti-roll bar. This arrangement is mounted directly onto the chassis frame with Chassis mounting brackets.

Rear Suspension

From the initial launch of the Navara, up until 2014, the Rear suspension has always been a Live-Axle leaf spring set-up.

Front Upper Control Arm Failure

Symptoms:

  • In normal running, the truck seems to be drifting to one side
  • Steering seems vague while Lane Changing
  • Uneven Tire Wear pattern
  • Knocking Noises while going over Rough Patches

Root Cause:

  • Due to a Tire wear issue, it can be inferred that the alignment of the front suspension alignment settings are outside of the recommended settings. But this is still only another symptom of the underlying problem.
  • The cause for alignment change points to the Upper control arm Bushings and Ball-joints that may have got worn or damaged

Troubleshooting Front Upper Control Arm Failure: Upper Control Arm Bushing

  • Upper Control Arm bushing wears out over time and cracks due to age
  • Most of the time Control Arm bushes would not be easily visible on the vehicle. There is one easy way to check the condition of Control arm bushes. Use a Pry-bar and insert it in between the Upper control arm and the subframe. Now try to move the control arm by leveraging the Pry-bar and observe how much is the movement at the bushing location. If the Control arm easily moves then it means that the bushings have worn out and are due for replacement.
  • When inspecting the Upper control arm after removal, it is clear that there are tears and cracks in the rubber portion.

Troubleshooting Front Upper Control Arm Bushing Failure: Upper Control Arm Ball-Joint

  • The Upper control arm ball-joints are also subject to wear and tear.
  • The deterioration is usually initiated as a crack or rupture in the rubber boot around the ball-joint
  • This leads to loss of lubrication and finally to complete wear out
  • The wear out causes play or movement accompanied by knocking noise. The play in the ball-joint is one of the reasons for the vehicle steering feeling value
  • The best course of action would be to replace the whole Upper control arm since it comes with 2 new bushings and 1 new ball-joint all pre-assembled

Tie Rod Failure

Symptoms:

  • Steering feels vague
  • Knocking/ Popping noise while going on a rough patch of road.

TroubleShooting Tie Rod Failure

  • An easy way to assess Tie-rod condition is to take the vehicle up on a lift and then, keeping the steering wheel locked, try to rotate the wheel with both your arms. While doing this, if you hear knocking then it is definitely a ball-joint that has an issue.
  • One more way to assess Tie-rod damage is to hold the Tie-rod and try to shake it with your hand. If this gives knocking noises then it is definitely the Tie-rod ends that have an issue.
  • Adjust the length of the new Tie Rod to match the old one that was removed. This must be done before fitting the new tie rod.

Nissan Navara Leafspring Breakage

Symptoms:

  • Vehicle ride height will be low on one side
  • Noisy Rear end. Squeaks and Rattles mostly.

Troubleshooting Nissan Navara Leafspring Breakage

  • Examine both sides of the rear suspension.
  • A Sudden reduction in ride height on one side is a clear sign of spring breakage. When a leaf breaks, it reduces the spring rate on that side. So for the same load, the broken spring side sags more than the normal spring side.
  • Generally, at this point the springs would need to be replaced.

Pro Tip

  • Always have identical springs on the Left hand and right hand side of the rear axle. Avoid fitting Original and aftermarket springs at the same time.
  • While the springs are in dismantled condition, take the time to grease the spaces in between the springs, where they contact. This will reduce “Squeaks” when the vehicle runs

Leafspring Misalignment with Rear Axle

Symptoms:

  • Rear axle is not straight. The Axle sits at an angle to the truck
  • Driving is difficult since the vehicle is steering from the rear

Root Cause:

  • Looseness in the Spring Clamp U-Bolts due to less-than-required torque applied
  • U-Bolt threads worn out

Troubleshooting Leafspring Misalignment 

  • In order to correct spring Misalignment, the spring clamps need to be dismantled.
  • Anchor a Ratchet Strap to a secure point on the front of the chassis and run it around the axle. 
  • Now tighten the strap until the axle is straight once again
  • To check axle straightness, you can measure the wheel center distance from any reference point on the body in the longitudinal direction.
  • Once you are satisfied the axle is straight again, you can re-clamp the springs

Pro Tip

  • Carefully examine the U-bolts and nuts for thread wear. Replace where necessary.
  • When applying the final tightening torque to the Spring Clamp U-Bolts, always use a suitable ‘Torque Wrench’ and set the torque to the recommended torque as per your Truck’s Service Instruction Manual

Rear Shock Absorber Failure

Symptoms:

  • Rattling Noise going over any rough patches
  • Rear end bouncier than normal
  • Changes in handling behaviour; Vehicle not feeling stable at high speed cornering

Troubleshooting Front Shock Absorber Failure

  • The Bouncy Ride symptom points to the Shock Absorber as a probable cause.
  • If your vehicle has crossed 50K miles, then it could be due for a shock replacement. Due to long-term internal wear, the shock starts becoming ineffective over time.
  • If the front strut shock has started leaking oil due to a failed oil-seal, then it means that the shock will no longer be effective.
  • One good way to tell if your shock has failed or not is to do a “Bounce Test”. Put all your weight on one of the front corners of the vehicle pushing it downwards. Keep oscillating the corner till you feel that it has reached its maximum height. Once you take your hands off the corner, observe how it settles. If it takes more than 2 oscillations to settle, that means the damper has failed.
  • Once the shock has been removed you can test whether it has fully failed by compressing it by hand. If it goes in easily and does not come back when you remove your hand, it means that the shock has completely failed.
  • You can compare the same with the new replacement shock. It will be much harder to compress by hand as compared to the old part. And once you release the pressure, it expands back on its own.

Pro Tip

  • When tightening the Shock bottom bolt, make sure that the vehicle is at its normal ride height.
  • If this bush is tightened at any other ride height, the Bush  always rests in a twisted condition at normal ride height and will result in a reduced Bush service life.

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Nissan Navara Suspension problems, what the causes are, and Troubleshooting Tips.

For any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch with us.

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