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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All -

I am a relatively new Armada owner. I have a 2012 platinum with 199k. I've put about 2k miles on it. Overall, the truck is solid. However, I am not happy with the ride, especially when towing our travel trailer, which is a 21' box and a little under 5k lbs loaded.

As far as I can tell, the front and rear shocks are original. In the rear, the air shocks do function. The compressor kicks on when I connect my trailer and levels out nicely. But, as I said, the ride is wobly and not very secure, even keeping to 55 or 60 mph.

I have no interest in raising or lowering, unless a modest lowering would improve ride quality. Please give me some recommendations!

For the front, it seems like bilstein 4600s are the standard recomendation. Should I use existing springs, if not what?

For the rear, should I replace with new air shocks, or is that approach just inherently wobbly? I really want to firm up the rear so that handling while towing is improved.

Thanks!
 

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Welcome Runtn! I have a 2011 Platinum and we also have a 21’ travel trailer. Probably similar in weight if not lighter than yours when loaded. Regardless I have OEM air shocks in the rear, and have swapped my oem rusty front shocks for the oem 2016 Nissan Titan Pro4x Bilstiens. When I tow our travel trailer it feels really good and I don’t get that wobbly feeling.
How does your vehicle ride when you’re not pulling your trailer?
Have you considered putting on a weight distribution hitch?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Rock_Lee! Thanks for the response.

As an update, I just put Bilstien 4600s on the front today. I definitely notice an improvement. Maybe there is some placebo, but the front feels way better. The back still seems bouncy. No towing yet.

I debated extensively on doing the switch to conventional or replacing the rear with new OEM...I ordered the OEM. They were on sale for like $98 each. I will update when I install them.

Also, I am using an Anderson no-sway WDH.

Thanks again!
 

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Hi Rock_Lee! Thanks for the response.

As an update, I just put Bilstien 4600s on the front today. I definitely notice an improvement. Maybe there is some placebo, but the front feels way better. The back still seems bouncy. No towing yet.

I debated extensively on doing the switch to conventional or replacing the rear with new OEM...I ordered the OEM. They were on sale for like $98 each. I will update when I install them.

Also, I am using an Anderson no-sway WDH.

Thanks again!
Nice deal on the oem rear shocks! Let me know where you found them lol I may need to get a set.
 

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2012 Nissan Armada SL
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I got a free shipping code by signing up for a Nissan account.
I couldn't pass that deal up!

Might help tighten out your ride in the rear. Mine feels firmer:

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I couldn't pass that deal up!

Might help tighten out your ride in the rear. Mine feels firmer:

Thanks. I will try the new OEM shocks first and possibly add those bags. It seems like an inexpensive easy way to increase the stiffness on the springs!
 

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That's a good deal for the OEM shocks and will probably make you happy. What likely is happening is even though the air still works, the shock inside the air shock still wears out like any other conventional shock...you end up with a level ride but there's very little dampening happening because the shock is just plain worn out. If you still want to add stiffness after replacing the shocks, the Firestones are cool, but I recommend replacing the rear springs with the springs off of the non-air model...I like them very much and find I almost never use the Firestones now!
 

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2012 Nissan Armada SL
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Fun side note:

UPS dropped off my shocks today in 2 identical boxes with 2 exceptions.

1) One had a hole
2) The other had a shock absorber.

I called the dealer and am wait to hear back from them. Since it was less than 15 minutes between the drop off and me opening the door I went to find the UPS driver and handed them back an empty box. She didn't seem to give a shit and said she'd mark it as a refusal.

sigh.

Plant Wood Flooring Gas Art
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's a good deal for the OEM shocks and will probably make you happy. What likely is happening is even though the air still works, the shock inside the air shock still wears out like any other conventional shock...you end up with a level ride but there's very little dampening happening because the shock is just plain worn out. If you still want to add stiffness after replacing the shocks, the Firestones are cool, but I recommend replacing the rear springs with the springs off of the non-air model...I like them very much and find I almost never use the Firestones now!
Thanks for the insight. I think you are exactly right. I received the OEM and replaced. I drove around tonight and the inload ride is MUCH improved. No more extra bouncing and wobble. I will hitch up the trailer after the new year. If it is still too unstable, I will definitely try the Firestones or stiffer springs. But for now, I am much happier with the vehicle!

Fun side note:

UPS dropped off my shocks today in 2 identical boxes with 2 exceptions.

1) One had a hole
2) The other had a shock absorber.

I called the dealer and am wait to hear back from them. Since it was less than 15 minutes between the drop off and me opening the door I went to find the UPS driver and handed them back an empty box. She didn't seem to give a shit and said she'd mark it as a refusal.

sigh.

View attachment 51083
Oh man, that really stinks! I hope it is resolved quickly for you. Mine took nearly 2 weeks to arrive, but I go them today. Installation was incredibly easy and there is a definite improvement! I am happy for now!
 

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That's a good deal for the OEM shocks and will probably make you happy. What likely is happening is even though the air still works, the shock inside the air shock still wears out like any other conventional shock...you end up with a level ride but there's very little dampening happening because the shock is just plain worn out. If you still want to add stiffness after replacing the shocks, the Firestones are cool, but I recommend replacing the rear springs with the springs off of the non-air model...I like them very much and find I almost never use the Firestones now!
Can you elaborate on this? I've got almost 150k (2007 LE 4x4) and the rear is brutal. I replaced the fronts with Bilstein years ago and that was a huge improvement but the rear has never been great. Now it is just brutal over bumps.

Should I be replacing the rears? I've got the OEM auto leveling which still works.

Well I figured I would order the shocks and 4 new bolts just in case - $260 shipped after a 10% coupon at Bosh Nissan South (online). Not quite the OP's deal, but not too bad.

I think Nissan was running a sale before Christmas but didn't realize I was replacing the shocks when I placed my order for the power steering hose.


 

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Can you elaborate on this?
My best understanding of the rear shock is that it's really two mechanical components merged into one. The shock on the inside performs like any other standard shock. Then there's the airbag, it actually surrounds the shock. It supplements the coil spring in supporting additional weight as it's added to the vehicle. That's why your airbag function can work just find for load leveling but still have horrible bouncing and handling characteristics due to the inside shock being just plain worn out.

Getting the new bolts is a smart move as often the originals will be seized inside the bushings of the shocks.
 

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My best understanding of the rear shock is that it's really two mechanical components merged into one. The shock on the inside performs like any other standard shock. Then there's the airbag, it actually surrounds the shock. It supplements the coil spring in supporting additional weight as it's added to the vehicle. That's why your airbag function can work just find for load leveling but still have horrible bouncing and handling characteristics due to the inside shock being just plain worn out.

Getting the new bolts is a smart move as often the originals will be seized inside the bushings of the shocks.
Thanks for the info! The only part of this job that scares me is having one of the bolts snap. I'm pretty confident I can muscle them out with a breaker bar, but what do I do if it snaps?

I wonder if I should heat them up first after spraying with PB Blaster?

One more question, are the nuts which hold the bolts part of the frame?

From what I have seen online, this is a fairly simple job. But considering my Armada has been on the road 14 years/145k miles (with snow/salt), I'd imagine the bottom bolts are going to be a challenge.

Edited to add: I was paying attention to the ride and it is definitely bouncy in the rear so I believe that the shocks are shot. At first I thought I was just comparing to the ride of my other new car, but just yesterday I hit a bump on the highway and the entire rear end jumped.

It has been bad in the rear for years now - probably should have replaced them earlier.

It's making me think about my Bilstein 4600's in the front which now have about 100k on them. Wondering if they are end of life as well?
 

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Thanks for the info! The only part of this job that scares me is having one of the bolts snap. I'm pretty confident I can muscle them out with a breaker bar, but what do I do if it snaps?

I wonder if I should heat them up first after spraying with PB Blaster?

One more question, are the nuts which hold the bolts part of the frame?

From what I have seen online, this is a fairly simple job. But considering my Armada has been on the road 14 years/145k miles (with snow/salt), I'd imagine the bottom bolts are going to be a challenge.
If I recall correctly, the nuts are part of the frame. It really is a simple job. I unfortunately had one bolt so stuck (not to the nut but the inside of the bushing), I finally had to pay a nearby shop to torch the thing off!

My vehicle did spend a few years in the Chicago are where it was also exposed to road salt.
 

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If I recall correctly, the nuts are part of the frame. It really is a simple job. I unfortunately had one bolt so stuck (not to the nut but the inside of the bushing), I finally had to pay a nearby shop to torch the thing off!

My vehicle did spend a few years in the Chicago are where it was also exposed to road salt.
Ugh - hope I don't have the same issue but thanks for the head's up. I think I may hit these with PB Blaster before I start the job to give them time to penetrate. I see this taking 2 hours or a few days depending on the condition of the lower bolts lol.

Shocks and bolts came in today and were very securely packaged (double boxed). I really like this Boch place; wish they were in my state.

I hit the bolts on the truck with PB Blaster and plan to do the install tomorrow. Plan is to park the truck where I will be doing the work to allow the pressure to seep out of the lines overnight since I do not have a way to bleed the pressure manually.

Interesting, this (air loss overnight) has always happened since new so I guess normal but I would expect the air to remain for longer than that.

Will post back with results!
 

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2012 Nissan Armada SL
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2nd shock is in route and hopefully will be in the box this time.
 

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2nd shock is in route and hopefully will be in the box this time.
May be a good time to spray the bolts with rust penetrant (y)

Thanks for the insight. I think you are exactly right. I received the OEM and replaced. I drove around tonight and the inload ride is MUCH improved. No more extra bouncing and wobble. I will hitch up the trailer after the new year. If it is still too unstable, I will definitely try the Firestones or stiffer springs. But for now, I am much happier with the vehicle!


Oh man, that really stinks! I hope it is resolved quickly for you. Mine took nearly 2 weeks to arrive, but I go them today. Installation was incredibly easy and there is a definite improvement! I am happy for now!
Hey runtn - Did you ever end up replacing the fronts?

I installed Bilsteins in the front (4600 model at the time) and the difference was literally night and day. The truck felt unsafe on the road with the OEM suspension from new.

I've had them on for many years now and wondering if I should replace them. Tire rack seems to have the best price (better than shock warehouse for me where I purchased them originally).

I listened to the recommendations and kept the OEM front springs. I had to rent (actually borrow as they were free) spring compressors from AutoZone. The Armada springs are so huge I recall the compressors being almost too small but a few of them (can't remember if it was 2 or 3) worked along with my air gun.

Last time I checked, the sales rep said they should be good for 150k miles but I'm sure that is an average. I had to replace one of them due to oil leaking and the guy at shock warehouse said it could have been a bad pothole (I think I remember which one lol) but they swapped it out for free.

Here is the shock at TireRack and Shock Warehouse:


Some thread references to the front shock install for those interested:


What a nightmare!!! o_O

So I went to replace the rear air shocks and what was supposed to be the easiest part (removing of the air line) turned into the hardest and added several hours to an otherwise simple procedure.

Apparently the road salt/water of NY (or is this an air dryer problem???) fused the brass collar that releases the air line not only to its self, but also to the plastic nipple which goes into the shock. I must be doing something wrong I thought because all the videos shows this as a non-event.

After trying to press the orange piece with a screw driver and then a panel removal tool which fit perfectly around the white nipple, the orange piece was crushed.

No problem, I'll just push on the brass collar. Nope. I pressed and pressed but it was fused. I even went as far to put the tip of my screwdriver on it and tap it with a rubber mallet to knock it loose. Then a piece of the brass collar went flying off.

Ugh. So next step was to get my dremmel with the cutting wheel to cut the entire thing off of the shock with the hose still attached. I did pretty well with it until I tried to remove the brass collar from the white hose nipple and twisted and snapped the plastic piece off the hose. Doh!! :poop:

At this point I figured it was toast so I had to replace it so I unplugged the part that goes into the compressor with the same attachment. Popped right off!

I had to do the same procedure on the other side and was able to get the air hose nipple out without breaking it but I went ahead an ordered two new air lines. That sucks because it is only the plastic nipple which is broken. But better to do it right than deal with this again (after I deal with it again).

I unplugged the compressor harness under the truck so it won't run and die (that was a PITA as well).

Interestingly, although the bottom bolts were tight/fused I was able to break them loose with a breaker bar and some muscle. Then finished off with an impact gun to speed it along. No drama.

At the end, I have both shocks installed (that part was only like 10 min per side), one plugged into air line, the other not. 129 ft/lbs per the service manual and slathered anti-seize all over the bolt before I put it in (and myself apparently lol).

As I went to turn around in my street I could immediately feel the difference of the shocks - they were actually working. Not only that, but the rear end was not sagging like it does after sitting over night. The driver's side shock was weak under compression, the passenger side compressed and never came back! So both needed replacing probably 50k ago.

Just to be double sure, I put silicone grease on the one good nipple and tried a few times to put it in/out. Yep, works like a charm.

I also had water in the shocks which I'm sure lead to this mess. I'm tempted to put some green grease on the shock air intake to prevent water from getting in and doing the same.

See attached pics of my fun day!

Automotive tire Musical instrument Motor vehicle Tire Wheel
Gas Rim Automotive wheel system Circle Metal
Water Automotive tire Motor vehicle Sculpture Gas
Vertebrate Automotive tire Mammal Wood Gas
Household hardware Automotive wheel system Gas Wood Plumbing
 

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2012 Nissan Armada SL
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Hart Nissan got me the replacement, no questions asked. The box did have a hole in it though. Not sure what that's all about.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

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Hart Nissan got me the replacement, no questions asked. The box did have a hole in it though. Not sure what that's all about.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
Venting. lol

Did you install yet?

Because of all the water that got in my shocks (apparently the air dryer is after the compressor, not before to prevent it from getting in) I ordered a new dryer from Suncore ($30).

But looking at my rusted compressor, I figured I would splurge and get a new on ($160 https://www.suncoreindustries.com/p...-w-cage-infiniti-qx56-nissan-armada#questions).

Reading on here it seems to be a better unit than the original and I figure (hope) this will prevent any air leaks by having all new connections from the compressor to the shocks.

My concern is the rusted mounting screws - really don't want to break them in the holes.
 

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Venting. lol
LOL, I think someone in their parts department thinks box cutters and tape is too much effort and Karate finger punches them. Pretty sure the original empty box was because the computer said there was one on the shelf but some Tech probably needed a shock and "finger punched" it, LOL. Then whoever pulled it off the shelf to ship either was in IDGAF mode or a complete idiot. Either way it was made right.

Did you install yet?
The ones on there already are okay, just got these for the good price. Probably will wait till Spring (which should be next week here in the South) to do this. Not sure if I want to change out the springs for something else while I'm back there or not.

Because of all the water that got in my shocks (apparently the air dryer is after the compressor, not before to prevent it from getting in) I ordered a new dryer from Suncore ($30).

But looking at my rusted compressor, I figured I would splurge and get a new on ($160 https://www.suncoreindustries.com/p...-w-cage-infiniti-qx56-nissan-armada#questions).

Reading on here it seems to be a better unit than the original and I figure (hope) this will prevent any air leaks by having all new connections from the compressor to the shocks.
Ah rust. Glad we don't see a lot of that down here.

Not sure where you live but if it's in snow country or the coast do yourself a favor and order that new hardware.

My concern is the rusted mounting screws - really don't want to break them in the holes.
Woodworking saying: Measure twice and cut once.

Here's a paraphrase for this situation:

PB Blast six times and turn once. Impact and a breaker bar are a must. If all else fails clean off the petro-chemicals and start with the heat gun and if you must graduate to the torch.

Good luck!
 
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