Nissan Z - ZX 1970-1988 Repair Guide

Front End Alignment


Alignment should be checked after it has been verified that all parts of the steering and suspension systems are in good condition. Tire pressures must be correct with tires cold.

Camber and caster angles are determined by the basic geometry of the suspension and cannot be adjusted except through repair of faulty or bent components. Ride height also is nonadjustable and if the vehicle is not level, a replacement spring of appropriate length must be substituted for a weak one.


Toe is the amount, measured in a fraction of an inch, that the front wheels are closer together at one end than the other. Toe-in means that the front wheels are closer together at the front of the tire than at the rear of the tire; toe-out means that the rear of the tires are closer together than the front. The Z and ZX are designed to have a slight amount of toe-in. Toe-in compensates for the tendency of the front wheels to be forced outwards when the vehicle is moving forward.

Toe-in adjusted by turning the tie rods, which have right-hand threads on one side and left-hand threads on the other. You can make this adjustment if you make very careful measurements, although it is recommended that the adjustment be made by your dealer or a qualified shop. The wheels must be dead straight-ahead. The vehicle must have a full tank of gas, all fluids must be at their proper levels, the wheel bearings must be properly adjusted and the tires must be properly inflated to their cold specification.


See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

  1. Raise the front of the vehicle, then mark a vertical line on each tire which will serve as a base reference line for your measurements.

If the tread pattern on your vehicle's tires makes this impossible, measure between the edges of the wheel rims but be sure to move the vehicle forward and measure in a couple of places to avoid errors caused by bent rims or wheel run-out.

  1. With the wheels in the straight-ahead position, lower the vehicle.

After lowering the vehicle, jounce it up and down to eliminate the friction.

  1. If the measurement is not within specification, loosen the locknuts at both tie rods (except on 1979-81 models with power steering), or loosen the clamp nuts for 1979-81 models with power steering.
  3. Turn the tie rods (or the adjusting sleeve on 1979-81 models with power steering), equally in opposite directions until toe-in is correct.
  5. Measure the toe-in and make the necessary adjustments. The toe-in is equal to the distance at the rear minus the distance at the front; it should be 6-16 in. (15-41cm) on both sides.
  7. Tighten the locknuts or clamp nuts and recheck the adjustment.

After the adjustment is made, be sure that the tie rod threads are engaged into the steering rack ends to a depth of at least 1 in. (25mm) for all models except 1979-81 with power steering, or 1.4 in. (35mm) for 1979-81 models with power steering. On the 1979-81 power steering models, the side rod clip should be held within 0.08-0.16 in. (2-4mm) from the end of the adjusting bar and the side rod clamp bolts MUST face toward the rear of the vehicle.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Mark the wheels with a base line reference mark

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Determine the distance between the front wheels, then subtract this figure from the distance between the rear wheels

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Location of locknut (1) and adjuster nut (2)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: On 1979-81 power steering equipped models, the side rod can be adjusted