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Problems/Service/Maintenance Do you have problems with your new 2.0, 2.2, or 2.4L? What kind of service did you have done?

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Old 04-01-2007, 12:45 AM   #1
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Front end / steering vibration while at highway speeds

Hello everyone. This thread started with my trying to figure out what was causing this problem. We have since figured it out. So hopefully this might help you if you have the same issue. The actual problem is covered near the end of the thread. It started as follows...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In the past week I've had an issue that I can't figure out. Here are the symptoms.

I get a vibration in the steering wheel at a frequency equal to wheel rotation speed. (Wait, it's not an out-of-balance wheel)

It only occurs at speeds above 50 MPH. It is worst at around 65. It fades above 75.

It takes about 10-15 minutes at this speed before it starts.

When I apply the brakes, it gets much worse (again, wait, its not a warped rotor)
------------------------

Its NOT an out of balance wheel. If it was, that is a static condition that is always there. I would feel it at any speed, and it wouldn't take 10 minutes before it started.

Its NOT a warped rotor. There is no pulsation in the brake pedal at all. If is was a rotor, I would feel the vibration at any speed.

I believe it is heat related. Since it takes a few minutes at speed for it develop, I think something is warming up and coming loose. I just drove home in a driving rain, and the problem didn't occur at all. I think the rain kept whatever it is cool.
-------------------------

My best guess so far is a bad wheel hub/bearing. The bearing heats up at speed and somehow is wobbeling. Other possibilities are control arm bushings and attach points, or something loose in the steering rack.

I'm going to look into it on Monday. I have all day to take it apart. I'll let you know if anything is discovered.

Last edited by Halfcent; 05-23-2007 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:50 AM   #2
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Sounds like a bearing. Same thing happened to me a couple months back when someone ran me off the road into the median. It would only happen on the highway and was very noticable when I declerated. Your problem sounds just like it.
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:51 AM   #3
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Sticking caliper causing the brakes to start binding? Have you checked to see if the calipers slide freely?
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:00 AM   #4
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I will. Brake inspection will be part of my stuff on Monday. I have to take them off anyway to inspect the hub.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:06 AM   #5
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While your down there htis is a long shot BUT I've heard of it once or twice. Check your axles, there may be a small weight on them or rather you may see where a small weight WAS! This can cause a similer issue and unless you look on the axle (which come on NO ONE would think to! ) you'll drive yourself nutz!

BTW as a great trick to play on your friends is to take a small weight and duct tape it to thier axle! It's all nice and calm till they get to speed and then it vibrates the steering wheel!

Has any of YOUR FRIENDS been under your car latly? Hmmmmm?
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:11 AM   #6
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I'll say it since no one else has, bad tire? as in broken steel belt. No idea the symptons that those cause tho. Hub bearing will usually start making a humming sound when they go and eventually throw an ABS light on cause they eat up the ABS reluctor ring in the hub. If its a hub bearing, before you pull the lug nuts off or even loosen them, raise the vehicle on jacks and grab the tire with both hands opposite of each other and try to wiggle the wheel back and forth.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:30 AM   #7
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I have considered the possibility of a bad tire. And it would react to heat. One of my troubleshooting steps is a simple rotation to see if it moves to the rear axle.

Do you know of any specific way to actually check a tire for a broken band? I don't know of one.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:37 AM   #8
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Spin the tire slowly and run your hand over the tread area as it rotates, if it has a broken or bad belt you'll feel a lump or bulge in the tread where the belt broke. If its real bad you can actualy see it.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:43 AM   #9
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I'd say a bad hub/bearing.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:47 AM   #10
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Sounds more like a bearing than a tire. A broken belt will also give a slow speed wobble, and you will feel it all the time. I agree with the wheel bearing problem. Something like that would fit with what you are describing. Try to see if the wheel does have any play in it when you first jack the car up.
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:08 PM   #11
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Another way to have the tire checked for a broken belt is to tale it to a higher end tire shop and have them road force balance them. I would also explain to them the problem and see iff the will test each tire a couple of times to be sure, you can also over-inflate the tire when doing this as it would magnify the problem.

What tires do you have? I have seen alot of Goodyears do this as well as some Eagles and a few Coopers.

Good luck
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Old 04-01-2007, 03:44 PM   #12
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Take it to the dealer if its still under warranty,could possibly be your drive by wire part of the steeering(speed sensitive steering.)
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:01 PM   #13
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might sound wierd, but did it sit in snow for a bit. minr did, the tire needed some air when i started driving it again and mine did the same thing, turns out it had water on the inside, didn't notice it till higher speeds. had about 2 cups of water in it when i took the tire off.
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canuckSS View Post
might sound wierd, but did it sit in snow for a bit. minr did, the tire needed some air when i started driving it again and mine did the same thing, turns out it had water on the inside, didn't notice it till higher speeds. had about 2 cups of water in it when i took the tire off.
Hahaha that's friggin' awesome.
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Old 04-03-2007, 06:17 PM   #15
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Well I got called into work yesterday so I didn't get to work on it. But I did today. Here's what I got so far:

19500 miles

Tire rotation and inspection. Cleaned all debris out of tread. Tread wear is excellent, more then half life remains. Completely uniform on all 4 tires. All balancing weights appear normal, none appear missing.

Brake inspection. Wear is excellent, more then half life remains. Uniform wear on all 4 pads. Rotors are clean, no warp indicated.

Front suspension inspected. No problems found. Al attachment hardware is torqued. Steering rods have normal torsional rotation with no binding. Hardware checked:
Stablizer bar attach points and clamps
All knuckle attach points (strut, brake, hub, control arm, steering tie rod)
Control arm to frame attachment
----------------------------------

The ONLY thing I found wrong was a small oil leak from my turbo oil return AN fitting in my oil pan. It has a slow leak and a small amount of oil is depositing on the right control arm forward attachment point. But I hardly doubt that could be causing my issue.

But as Spock says "Eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, however improbable, is the answer."

I haven't road tested it yet. It's rush hour here and I wouldn't be able to maintain 60 MPH for 10 minutes on any road right now. I'll try it tonight.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:50 PM   #16
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Ball joint play perhaps, those rusty rivets shifting around, we've had 2 in the shop for that. AKA suspenstion clunk. Jack up the Control arm to keep the suspension loaded, and shake the tire front to back and top to bottom.
That was one thing some techs missed with ball joints, they were unloading the suspension (just lifting the vehicle) and they missed bad balljoints and inner tie rod ends.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:57 PM   #17
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Road test results:

Very interesting. The problem is GONE. There is no vibration in the car anywhere. And the only change made was the tire rotation. SOOOooooo.....

The problem is in a wheel/tire. That tire is now on the rear axle. The solid axle isn't letting the wheel vibrate the way the front axle can, so I'm not feeling it. I still don't think its an out of balance wheel, because that can't be variable. I'm leaning toward the bad band in a tire theory.

The heat from high speed driving builds on the tire slowly until the band gets loose within the tire. The bad section is small, so when the tire is cool, the area is tight and doesn't vibrate.

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.

So I'm going to go to the shop and have all the wheels rebalanced (to eliminate it as a suspect) and rotated back. If it's a bad tire, the vibration should return. Then I'll rotate just one side to figure out which wheel is it exactly.

I'm just glad it's not the suspension.
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:48 AM   #18
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See, there ya go. Just throw some KDWs on there and call it a day!!
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halfcent View Post
Road test results:

Very interesting. The problem is GONE. There is no vibration in the car anywhere. And the only change made was the tire rotation. SOOOooooo.....

The problem is in a wheel/tire. That tire is now on the rear axle. The solid axle isn't letting the wheel vibrate the way the front axle can, so I'm not feeling it. I still don't think its an out of balance wheel, because that can't be variable. I'm leaning toward the bad band in a tire theory.

The heat from high speed driving builds on the tire slowly until the band gets loose within the tire. The bad section is small, so when the tire is cool, the area is tight and doesn't vibrate.

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.

So I'm going to go to the shop and have all the wheels rebalanced (to eliminate it as a suspect) and rotated back. If it's a bad tire, the vibration should return. Then I'll rotate just one side to figure out which wheel is it exactly.

I'm just glad it's not the suspension.
Re balancing will be a wast of money if it is a band in a tire. Rotating one side at a time would be your best bet. Also, the rear axle is a twist beam not solid.
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:16 AM   #20
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my friend had a cavy and he had the same symptoms. his problem was a broken bearing. however as it worsened u could hear it at all speeds and his bearings were shot. also, a similar problem happened to a buddy in a neon, he slightly bent his rim, and he only felt it when he went faster. idk. just tryin to help ya, since uve helped me numerous times.

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Old 04-10-2007, 06:32 PM   #21
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Balance and rotation accomplished today. My wheels and tires so far where unchanged for the stock condition they where delivered in new. When they balanced them today, they of course started by removing all of the old weights. Two of the wheels required NO weights to be reinstalled. So there was an imbalance at least, which has now been eliminated. The wheels are rotated back to their original position when the problem started, so now we'll see if the vibration comes back. If so, it's either a bad tire, or water in the wheel.

Last edited by Halfcent; 04-17-2007 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:56 PM   #22
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Wheel balancing did not fix the problem, hence reducing it to a bad tire. I have rotated one side of the car today to find which side it is. I'll know more after I drive it tomorrow.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:50 PM   #23
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we had a dent in a rim on the Yellow car, caused it to wobble and then one night leak all the air out. It was on the inside edge of the rim.

Although I'm leaning towards the water in the wheel, I think I had that problem earlier this year...
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:34 PM   #24
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The one-side rotation has now identified the bad wheel. Currently it is on my right rear. Next step is to have the tire unmounted and inspected. I should be able to do that this week.
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Old 04-23-2007, 12:50 PM   #25
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Five bucks says its a flat spot. Do any hard braking before this started happening?

Other possibility may be a small bubble or separation in tread. A big one is easily noticeable, and would have been seen upon rotate and balance.
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