Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rear HICAS tie rod balljoint

Pic 1: The ER34 rear left wheel can wobble left and right

A while ago when I drove on smooth cement roads, i.e in carparks and such, there's a tiny metallic sound coming from the rear wheel. Thinking I got a nail on the tyres, I took the ER34 to the tyre shop for an inspection. Somehow there’s no nail on the tyres BUT one shocking thing I discovered is that the left rear wheel are able to wobble left and right.

Yea, you read that right, a wheel that can wobble is not something you would want to have in your ride. Trust me. The amount of confidence while driving suddenly drops to zero! I consulted a few reputable mechanics and the issue was identified as a faulty HICAS tie rod balljoint. Initially I was searching high and low to replace the whole HICAS tie rod. I thought it comes in a set together with the balljoint. Luckily for me, I found out that one can just get the balljoint thus eliminating the need to change the whole tie rod.

Phew.....there must be some savings there. :P

Pic 2: The faulty balljoint joining the HICAS tie rod to the knuckle

Pic 3: The balljoint with the HICAS tie rod end removed

Pic 4: This is how bad the state of the balljoint is

The trouble with driving a JDM is the difficulty in finding replacement parts for wear and tear items. Performance parts are almost everywhere but wear and tear parts are a scarcity. :( 

After delaying for 2 weeks I finally found someone with a spare rear knucke of the ER34. This lucky find eliminates my backup plans of ordering the balljoint from overseas. The knuckle is made of aluminum and it's amazing that a car introduced 10 years ago already have it; what more in a mass produced vehicle.  

Pic 5: The donor knuckle

Pic 6: Balljoint is in a very good condition
To change the balljoint, a whole lot of stuffs got to be removed. The wheel, brake caliper, rotor, wheel hub, wheel bearing, tie rod, etc... all have to be taken out. Gosh, this is probably the 5th time this was done.

After taking out the knuckle, it's apparent how bad it was; the rubber bush was torn exposing the insides, and the free play is beyond tolerable amount. The donor balljoint was in a pretty good nick and in it goes into my knuckle. Everything was assembled back and a quick shake of the wheel indicates no more wobbles. Finally I got another headache fixed.

After a quick alignment job, the ER34 is back to it's old form and ready to rip the road again.

Yay!!! :)

Pic 7: So many stuffs have got to be removed out

Pic 8: With the 'new' balljoint installed....finally

Pic 9: The 'wasted' balljoint


  1. bro, glad to hear your headache has been fixed.... You are right about the confidence level going all the way down to zero.. I can relate to that entirely...

  2. thats why...when i buy sports car

    the shaft,steering rack,tie rod end,bushes

    everything related to handling must be available in malaysia

    or else i have to keep spare of them all the time

    hehe because i wack it everyday

    any gtr/er34 goldmine halfcut shop yet?

  3. joethurr, yea bro. Finally got it fixed. :P

    erm, didn't come across any 'loaded' R34 halfcuts. The only one I found was blogged sometime back.

  4. hi ej

    its seems like u did spent a lots lately for ur dear honey....

    hhhmmm...nt tat bad ,gd to hear that ur probs solve...

    enjoy boosting.


  5. That's a funny tie rod for your rear and it looks like a steering tie rod with a rubber sleeve at the opposite end. Is it meant for steering of your rear wheel? I didn't know ER34 is a 4 wheel steer car.. !! :o

  6. astroboy, yes the ER34 has a rear wheel steering system. HICAS is what Nissan calls it.

    It stands for "High Capacity Actively Controlled Suspension".

  7. they r easy to replace you go to any nissan dealer are order the part. get it.
    freeze the ball joint over niight.
    use an air hammer to pound out the old ball joint. then heat up the knockel and then just tap in the frozen ball joint.

  8. Anonymous=--freezing the ball joint before installing is a good idea. But heating up the knuckle will counteract the freezing. (the metal in the knuckle expands uniformly, making the hole for the ball joint smaller.)

    Better would be leaving the knuckle at ambient temperature, or if you're having real difficulty, throw the knuckle in a garbage bag and freeze it along with the ball joint.

    The reason heating up a threaded fastener like a bolt works to aid removal is thatthe fastener lengthens as it heats up effectively removing compression from the threads and the fastener.

    But the ball joint is a press-fit, close-tolerance thing, which is a different story altogether.


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