Nissan X-Trail Suspension Issues Explained(+5 Tips)

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

Top 6 most common suspension issues in the Nissan X-Trail? 

The most common suspension issues seen in the Nissan X-Trail are:

  • Front Strut Top Mount Bearing Failure
  • Front Lower Control Arm Bushing Failure
  • Anti Roll Bar Drop Link Failure
  • Anti Roll Bar D-Bush Wear
  • Rear Shock Absorber Failure
  • Front Shock Absorber Failure
  • Front Subframe mounting bush failure

What suspension does the Nissan X-Trail have?

The first Nissan X-Trail or T-30 (2000-2006) shared its platform and design with the Nissan Almera and the Nissan Primera.

The second generation of X-Trail or T-31 (2007-2012) was based on the Renault–Nissan C platform.

The third generation of X-trail or T-32 (2013-2020) was based on an all-new CMF-CD platform shared with the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Koleos.

Front Suspension

The Front suspension in the Nissan X-Trail is a MacPherson Strut and Lower control Arm with Anti-roll bar. This arrangement is mounted onto the front subframe.

Rear Suspension

The Nissan X-Trail T-30 (first generation) has a 3-link rear suspension set-up with a Trailing Arm, Lower control arm and Toe Control arm. Instead of an Upper control arm, the rear has a MacPherson Strut to fix the Castor and Camber of the wheel. Roll stiffness is taken care of by an Anti Roll Bar.

Front Strut Top Mount Bearing Failure

Symptoms:

  • Knocking Noise while going over Rough Road Patches
  • Bumping/Knocking Noises when trying the lock steering in parking
  • Explained as seen on the first generation Nissan X-trail T30 (2000-2006 model years)

Troubleshooting Front Strut Top Mount Bearing Failure

  • In a MacPherson Strut Type of suspension, the Top Strut Mount contains a bushing, that provide isolation from suspension loads, and a bearing that allows the strut and wheel to rotate while steering
  • When the Top Strut mount is damaged, the bearing also fails and restricts the strut from rotation during steering. This is what causes the knock and creak noises.
  • The Strut top mount also takes vertical suspension loads. Hence, a failed Top Strut Mount becomes noisy while driving over rough roads.
  • In order to replace a failed strut mount, you will need to use a safe and reliable spring compressor.

Pro Tip

  • In the interest of safety, Always use a Hydraulic or a Pneumatic Strut removal fixture to compress and Decompress the Spring whilst dismantling the front strut assembly.
  • If a strut removal fixture isn’t available, then use a Lead-Screw Type of Spring Compressor that is a heavy-duty design. The important safety point is that the compressor spring jaws are sturdy enough and properly seat onto the spring. Use a Bench Vise to secure the strut for added safety.
  • In low quality spring compressors, the spring hooks have a risk of slipping out of the spring leading to potential damage and injury since the spring is likely to burst out due its pre-load.

Front Lower Control Arm Failure

Symptoms:

  • The car seems to be drifting
  • 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 is outside of the recommended settings. But this is still a symptom.
  • The cause for alignment change points to the Lower control arm Bushings and Ball-joints that may have got worn or damaged

Troubleshooting Front Lower Control Arm Bushing Failure: Lower Control Arm Bushing

  • Lower Control Arm bushing wears out over time and cracks due to age
  • When inspecting the Lower control arm after removal, it is clear that there are tears and cracks in the rubber portion

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

  • The lower 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 Lower control arm since it comes with 2 new bushings and 1 new ball-joint all pre-assembled

Symptoms:

  • Clunking Noise while normal driving
  • Noise gets worse when going over a rough patch
  • Clunking noises, in most passenger cars, almost always point to the Anti-roll bar linkages
  • The noise is due to the play in the joints of the Anti Roll Bar Drop links.
  • One good way to diagnose this problem is to hold the Anti-roll Bar and Push and Pull it hard.
  • If you see the ball-joint separating and moving along with a knocking noise, then you have found the root cause for Clunking Noise
  • Once you remove the Drop Link, you can check the ball-joints by hand the see if they move with play

Anti Roll Bar D-Bush Failure / Dryness

Symptoms:

  • Squeak Noises while driving
  • Noise is more apparent when going over a rough patch

Troubleshooting Anti Roll Bar D-BushFailure

  • Squeaks and Creaks generally relate to metallic Spring elements within the suspension, namely, the Coil Spring and the Anti-Roll Bar
  • If the noise is more apparent on a rough road one could be more suspicious of the Anti Roll Bar
  • In order to confirm this, you can try rotating the Anti-roll Bar by hand after removing the Drop-link ball joint.
  • If you hear the Creaking Noise, then it’s confirmed that the Anti-roll bar was indeed the issue.
  • When you rotate the Anti Roll Bar, it does so on the support of a D-Bush Rubber (or Polymer) Bearing that connects the the Anti-roll bar to the Chassis frame
  • The Anti roll bar metal rod rotates within this bush and rubs itself on the inner surface of the bushing. This causes considerable friction or wear.
  • If this D-Bush is of harder Polymer-based material then it requires lubrication. There are Anti-roll bar mounting grease products available in the market which you could use.
  • Or refer to the manufacturer’s Service Instructions to see if there is a particular product recommended

Front/Rear Shock Absorber Failure

Symptoms:

  • Rattling Noise going over any rough patches
  • Front end bouncier than normal
  • Changes in handling behaviour; Vehicle not feeling stable at high speed cornering
  • Explained as seen on the T-30 (2000-2006) MacPherson strut type of rear suspension
  • Suspension feels floaty as if losing grip over rough patches

Troubleshooting Front/Rear 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/Rear 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.
  • The front and rear shock absorbers in the X-trail T-30 are both of MacPherson strut type. Hence the procedure for replacement is nearly the same. The difference is only in the top mount access procedure for the rear strut.
  • The rear strut top mount is accessible only from the inside of the cabin behind the rear seats. A plastic trim panel needs to be removed in order to access the strut top mounting bolts.

Front Subframe mounting bush failure

Symptoms:

  • Knocking noises while normal driving
  • The noise is mostly not correlated to going over a bump
  • Explained as seen on the X-trail T-31 (second generation 2008-2018)

Troubleshooting Front Subframe Bushing Failure

  • It would be a good thing to go through all the bushings and ball-joints first
  • Once it is confirmed that there are no suspension joints in question, the next thing to look at is the suspension subframe-to-body mounting bushes
  • The subframe bushes tend to wear out beyond 60K miles and generally need to be replaced. When they are fully worn, they start to create Knocking noises

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different Nissan X-Trail 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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