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Eliminating Cowl Shake

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  • Eliminating Cowl Shake

    It could be struts, it could be bushings, it could be a lot of things, but either way, when I hit even the smallest road imperfections the front of my car feels like something is about to fall off. I don't have rubber band tires (stock), I don't have coilovers...and I'm half nervous to run stiffer suspension for fear that my ride is degraded even more.

    What is the most cost effective way of eliminating cowl shake, or do you think this is just a case of bad dampers?

    I'm not looking at a cage or seem welding (though it'd be cheap), more at what type of braces are out there that might help with this.

  • #2
    IF you have a large amount of cowl shake, I would suspect a problem in your suspension somehow. Even when my car was bone stock, it never had cowl shake, even going over some nasty bumps. Chassis is MUCH stiffer by design than my old Maxima.

    It could be worn out bushings or struts, or even low air pressure in your tires. I'd look at maintenance before I'd look at mods.
    Originally posted by SoSideways
    I don't care what color they are as long as they are LONG AND HARD.
    '04 G35 Sedan 6MT- The DD
    '96 240SX- The Track Toy

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    • #3
      BTW I'm talking about a 1989 S13 Coupe here, with some front frame rust issues. Frames have been filled with foam, but the rust is bad enough that I'd want to fix it if I had a welder and a DD.

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      • #4
        I would have to agree with Matt.

        My 91 has 195K miles on it and the car doesn't feel like it has more than 30K miles on it. Of course the car has new bushings (what's left) throughout, new wheel bearings, new rebuilt steering rack, and etc.
        -Monty

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        • #5
          I'd guess maybe tension rod bushings, plus all your ball joints are toast if they're original.
          '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


          DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!
          http://www.nissanroadracing.com/showthread.php?t=5902

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          • #6
            as I was previously employed at an inspection shop and can get the car on a lift whenever, the ball joints really aren't that bad, neither are the tension rod bushings.

            It wouldn't hurt to start with struts/springs first and see what the result is.

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            • #7
              Don't forget the FLCA bushings could have degraded as well.
              http://sosideways.wordpress.com/

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              • #8
                If they are the original balljoints and tension rod bushings they ARE bad. You absolutely cannot tell if the the balljoints are bad on the car without pulling the spindle off and testing for play and rotating and turning breakaway torque values. The bushings can be completely worn out and much softer than a stock bushing and still not be ripped apart.

                The average inspection shop probably just taught you to look at the boots on the balljoints, which don't tell anything about the actual condition of the joint. You can still have good boots and an absolutely toasted ball joint, in fact that's the norm rather than the exception.
                '18 Chevrolet Volt - Electric fun hatch for DD duty!


                DefSport Koni Sleeve and Spring Perch Buy!!!
                http://www.nissanroadracing.com/showthread.php?t=5902

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                • #9
                  the only s13 i ever owned that had cowl shake was a convertible, and the issue boiled down to the hood reinforcement having been prepped for paint, was un bonded from the underside of the hood, that allowed the hood to shake and twist instead of staying flat, commonly this occurrence is called cowl shake, other than that you have a FLCA or tension rod bushing failure, but do me a favor and make sure hood and hood bracing are still glued together,
                  I am SKULLWORKS

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