Who's problem?

Asked by May 17, 2009 at 08:43 PM about the 1989 Nissan Sentra

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I needed a decent set of wheels at little cost to get me from point A to point B so I bought a 1989 Nissan Sentra 4 cylindar 4 speed. Having really used it hard for about 4 days now I have noticed what may be a couple of problems, one is the car the other may be me. I hope somebody here will know.  

1. When you take a right turn sometimes there is a clicking/ratcheting sound from the front end. The alignment seems to be good and the tires are new.

2. When you accelerate from a stop the car wants to buck/lurch. I'm not sure if it's my gas/shifting technique or the car. I have managed to train myself to keep this to a minimum but it still wants to do it.  

11 Answers


Both maybe the same problem You need a front drive axle to one of the front wheels Usually visually seeable with a broken boot and no grease left in the CV joint.

1 people found this helpful.

Thanx Mike. I suspected the clicking was along those lines. I looked and didn't see anything but then I wasn't under it either. How could it cause the car to lurch? Couldn't that be a fuel problem?

Okay. I seem to have gotten rid of the surge problem. I did a tuneup on it and have since improved my shifting technique. Now I've run into a problem with the drive axle. There doesn't seem to be a way to get it out without taking off the whole strut assembly and brake caliper and rotor. Here are some pics.


Sorry about the last, needs to be flipped.

So on to the question. Do I have to remove the strut and brake assembly? The axle will move back and forth freely but not enough to manipulate the assembly and remove it in one piece. If the struts and brake assemblies are removed it will work just fine. The lower "L" shaped suspension arm will be separated from the ball joint also as can the tie rod, I don't want to spend a fortune in tools I will only use once. Any advice?


Nope just have to split the balljoint and make sure the tie rod on the side you are working on is all the way out Undo the center axle nut and use a suitable hammer to push the axle through its bearing. The strut assembly and knuckle when diassemble in this fashion will stretch enough to get the axle out.

Okay this is turning out to be real fun. I went to a friends house to borrow pickle fork and lo and behold as I was leaving his place the car began to have spasms again, lurching and bucking, losing power when you stepped on the gas. It finally died all together. I got my friend and we went to my place and got the towing gear and got it back to my place. We discussed it and just for laughs I tried to start the car. It started right up for about 5 minutes and then died. Refusing to start afterwards. We took off the fuel filter upstream hose. It was pressurized as my friend found out, this could have been bad but wasn't. With the hose in one of my wifes glass vases he turned the key to the on position, one or 2 spurts of gasoline came out then stopped. This pic is the gas that came out, nothing more. I have the back seat out now and access to the sending unit in the tank. I haven't checked the FP relay. Is there any other way I can check to be sure it is the sending unit? It's 200 dollars. This is the pic of the gas. What would you do?

Well I would look into your gas tank my friend. it may be old gas and you'll either have to flush it or get a new tank or get some heet or something. And as far as your cv axles are concerned, all you have to do is remove 4 bolts total. the center bold for the axle itself, which is a 31mm and the three bolts for the control arm from the bottom of the car. its super easy and takes about 20 mins at the most for each side. you'll also want to make sure that you're putting at least 10/40 oil in the motor otherwise you'll ruin it and 15/40 in the summer. Hope this helps. if you have any more questions you can reach me at nick.a.winter@gmail.com


My 89 sentra had the same exact bucking and surging problem. I'm a mechanic so don't think this is bs. It is most likely the mass air flow sensor. These cars are NOTORIOUS for corrosion building up on the connector to the MAF sensor. It is really relevant when the check engine light comes on and the car acts up and then the light turns off and the car acts normal. I thought it was my fuel pump to. Just remove the air cleaner assembly and take the connector off Tue MAF sensor which is on the left hand side of the throttle body. The connector is rectangular shape and there is a metal clip on the connector just pop it off with a pick. If you see green goop and powder just use electrical cleaner and a dremel to scrape it off. If you have a small bit clean the inside of the terminals to. If its really bad you need a new connector and or terminals. And replacing the terminals is not an easy task. So you are better off just trying to clean them. I hope that helps you out.

2 people found this helpful.

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