2004 Nissan 350Z Front-end Problem-pre-mature tire wear

tires
350z

#1

We bought a new 2004 Nissan 350Z as a 2nd car and it now has 6600 miles on it. It is already exhibiting well known problems of front tire wear on the inside edge which after some time causes tire growl and eventually tires wear completely. The presumed fault is that the upper control arms have no camber adjustment and whatever is “built-in” from the fattory causes the problem. There are a couple of aftermarket upper controla rms that have camber adjustment.

Has anyone installed those?

If so, what has been the cost?

What has been the experience, has it stopped the tire wear problem?


#2

Have you had the alignment checked yet?


#3

Inside tire wear can also be caused by toe out and your upper control arms may be adjustable, but they have to be just about removed in order to install the shims.

You need to have the alignment checked before jumping to conclusions.


#4

I agree with Craig and Keith. Get the alignment checked as toe-out can cause this and camber may have nothing at all to do with it.


#5

It is already exhibiting well known problems of front tire wear on the inside edge which after some time causes tire growl and eventually tires wear completely.
That can be confirmed at least 3 years after from now, but not now.

As for the “upper link”, you’d be suprised how it affects the bump steer/caster/camber if you replace it with such a adjustable parts. Another factor to bear in mind is that, the multi link suspension is the result of compromise so upper link alone is not going to solve the issue you descrided. If I were you, I’d replace the bushings with new one(all of them) and see what happens on the alignment tester. You should be okay unless the car have bent arm/link/member. Good luck.


#6

Since the car only has a measly 6k+ miles on it I would not think any bushings would be worn nor should anything be bent unless the car hit a severe pothole.

It’s entirely possible the alignment was off since the day the car was built. They’re not going to spend a lot of time at the factory performing alignments.
It’s going to be here, close enough, and roll it out.

When I used to work for dealers only a very few car brands actually specified an alignment check before the car was sold. SAAB was one that did and sometimes one would find a new SAAB that was out of whack.
This alignment was paid for by SAAB for instance, and was part of the PDI (pre-delivery inspection) that was performed on all new cars.

The difference was that VW, Honda, Fiat, Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, etc., did not specify an alignment check nor did any of the new cars get an alignment check before they were sold.

Law of averages says there’s going to be a few in each group that are off. The OP happened to get one; assuming they’re pothole and railroad track free. :slight_smile:


#7

They’re not going to spend a lot of time at the factory performing alignments.
It’s going to be here, close enough, and roll it out
You might be right. After Renault’s buyout they became a subsidiary selling cheap junk at high price. it’s sad but true.


#8

Thanks for the replies so far.
This car has never been driven hard and has not hit anything (pothole or otherwise), so the front end shouldn’t have anything bent.
When the car wetn in for service at 6600 miles to replace rear hatch gas-filled struts, the dealer called us and said they were doing a front-end alignment beacuse the tires were exhibiting wear but it was covered because Nissan extended a front-end warranty for the 2004 model year.
If you read some other forums and the class-action lawsuit you will see this is not an isolated incident. According to reports, it also affects the Infiniti G35 for the same model years. Apparently a long term test by a well-known organization or auto magazine like Car & Driver but that may not be the one (I’m having a senior moment) reported the tire feathering problem also for the 2003 model year. According to other reports, what Nissan has tried as a remedy for this, other than admitting some sort of fundamental defect is, 1)tell you it’s the way you drive, 2)when they’ve decided to replace tires they replaced them with a harder rubber compound and blamed it on the original softer compound, 3)do repeated front-end alignments.
It appears to be shotgunning and fixing symptoms rather than the root cause.


#9

I was not aware of this chronic problem with the 350Z.

However, I did notice there is a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) out on this problem and also a corporate communique.

In a nutshell, Nissan says that camber is NOT an issue. They state that incorrect toe from the factory is the problem and this is why a front alignment was extended for warranty purposes.

Nissan also states that once the toe is PROPERLY set there will be no more problems. They are telling the alignment techs do not go by any colored GO/NO GO markers on an alignment rack; use ONLY the exact numbers given as the toe is extremely critical on these cars.

Any continued problems after being reset seems to mean the toe was not correctly set down to the last few minutes. (a minute being 1/60th of a degree)

Nissan also says that if your vehicle has less than 20k miles on it then you’re entitled to new front tires; over 20k miles they’re pro-rated.

Sounds like a trip to the Nissan dealer is in order for new tires and a proper alignment. If the dealer balks then call the regional office right then and there.

Hope some of that helps anyway.


#10

This might offer more detail than I gave. There’s a phone number at the bottom and Nissan seems to think that the toe may not be set properly even after the alignment.

Here 'tis.
http://www.freshalloy.com/site/cars/nissan/2004/z/tsb/home.shtml


#11

Thanks very much for that info. They even provide an explanation why repeated problems may occur (dealers not calibrating alignment equipment, using go/no-go indication). I hope this in fact is the answer.