Alignment/Car Drifts to Right

General information about the first-generation Nissan Maxima in the US. What was the Datsun 810 became the luxury leader Maxima in the US in 1981.

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Carimbo
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Joined: 14 years ago

Alignment/Car Drifts to Right

#1

Post by Carimbo » 14 years ago

Hi,

My '82 Diesel Sedan continually drifts to the right. The FSM states that the only adjustment is toe. I think that alignment shops increase caster slightly on the RH side to compensate for road crown, but if caster is non-adjustable how does one restore a car to track straight?

Tires are Bridgestone Potenza RE900, 15,000 miles, worn evenly.

No apparent accident damage.

Need to measure/compare the ride height of the L/R sides, think I remember the left side 1" higher.

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asavage
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#2

Post by asavage » 14 years ago

Camber is non-adjustable (via factory-supplied methods), but caster is. You use the "tension rods" that run from the front crossmember to the lower control arms. See Pg FA-5 in the 1982 FSM, and a better picture is SFA276 on pg. FA-9.

Camber can be adjusted slightly by ovalling the upper strut mount holes. But in general camber doesn't change much and most alignment shops won't go to the bother unless it's way off, and then only for an add'l charge.

However, for pulling issues, always swap the front tires from side to side and retest, prior to doing anything else. I used to work in a shop that performed alignments, and in about half (!) the cases of pull, it was the tires. No obvious sign in most cases, but you swap tires and the pull would often follow the tires. Give it a go first.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

Carimbo
Posts: 459
Joined: 14 years ago

#3

Post by Carimbo » 14 years ago

Thanks, will swap front tires and note results. Suppose I could swap the rears also. Used to be they advised against reversing rotation of radial tires but those days are long gone...

Carimbo
Posts: 459
Joined: 14 years ago

#4

Post by Carimbo » 14 years ago

Works!

Al's timely tip I did try
Worked a treat, and that's no lie
Swapped the tires, left to right
Tightened the lugnuts good and tight
Took to the roads, seemed like we flew
Because now the car tracks straight and true

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asavage
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Posts: 5347
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Location: Duvall, Wash.
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#5

Post by asavage » 14 years ago

Periodic alignment is a Good Idea, but yours was drifting due to some tire anomoly. As I mentioned, it's not uncommon. I recommend budgeting for a pair of tires, as the usual implication of tire pull is a damaged cord or cord separation, and it does sometimes get worse. If you budget for a pair of tires, at least you'll be prepared if it gets a lot worse in a hurry.

Alignment is most effective for curing abnormal tire wear. Pulling or drifting is usually worn out suspension parts or tires (unless someone's been in there and has the alignment way off, or the car's been hit or something). That's just what I've seen, anyway.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.

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