This was a VERY easy and satisfying repair. My 1986 720 is 2WD and has 215K miles. I had some vibration in the steering which turned out to be a bad tire. However, I discovered along the way that I had a lot of slop in the steering linkage. I checked prices on parts and was surprised how cheap they are. You will need a front end alignment after this repair, so keep that in mind for the budget.
Check the steering linkage for too much play. Jack the passenger (right) front wheel off the ground, leaving the driver side wheel in contact with the pavement. Grab the right front tire at 3 and 9 o’clock and wiggle the tire in a left turn – right turn fashion. If there is much wiggle, then have a helper observe the tie rod ends, idler arm and pitman arm joints for laxity. If you can wobble the wheel and the driver side wheel stays still, that’s a sign of worn out tie rod, idler arm or center link joints… or ALL OF THE ABOVE. Chances are that if you have 200K miles on the parts, then you are due for this repair. Other symptoms are uneven tire wear, wandering in the steering and vibration that varies with the speed.
I got great prices on these parts at Rockauto.com.
Inner Tie Rods were $11.41 ea (you’ll need 2)
Outer Tie Rods were $10.23 ea (you’ll need 2)
Tie Rod Adjusting Sleeves were $6.80 ea (you’ll need 2)
Center Link was $45.79 (you need 1)
Idler Arm was $27.79 (you need 1)
Total = $130.46 plus shipping
You will disconnect the steering linkage at only 4 places.
1. The passenger side Outer Tie Rod end from the Knuckle Arm
2. The driver side Outer Tie Rod end from the Knuckle Arm
3. The Idler Arm from the Frame
4. The Center Link from the Pitman Arm.
Follow along with the photos, and you’ll be amazed at how tight and precise your steering becomes!
If you have any questions or comments, here’s a discussion of the project! Nissan 720 Steering Linkage Replacement