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Old 09-18-2019, 02:05 PM   #1
SmokesLetsGo
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Default Front end highway speed wheel shake: Time to load up the parts cannon

So I've been battling this problem for the past 3 months.

A bunch of pretext: Ball joints, outer tie rods, and wheel bearings are still fresh and not loose at all. Steering rack doesn't have slop, nor does it leak. Zero play. Newer style all-in-one power steering pump and brackets from STS machining. Brakes are new, still lots of life left in them, doesn't vibrate under braking.

Vibration is definitely in the front, rear feels completely solid.

Strut mounts are solid kaplhenke spherical bearing ones, under some homebuilt coilovers with luxesteer roller bearing tops. All fine and not loose either. Struts are GAZ set at medium on 250lbs springs.

I swapped out the adapters for my style 5 wheels with hub centric 20mm model, with centering rings from adapter to wheel. The steering wheel started to shake. Checked runout on adapters, brake rotors, etc. Everything was within spec.

Took wheels to get balanced, found out they were all bent. Went out and got a different set of wheels, which are round. New tires, too. Still shakes, but now only at high speed.

Took tires to get rebalanced (again). Shaking got "better" but now it goes in and out even while maintaining speed. Wheels were confirmed by discount tire to be completely roadforce balanced.

With a little poking and prodding, I replaced the inner tie rod on the drivers side because it was worn out. Still shakes (still need an alignment, have one scheduled for later this week).

Went back in and found the gland nut on the same side had loosened itself. Went in and tightened it as well as a more thorough inspection of all the joints except for the control arm bushings. Still shakes.

Replaced the worst control arm bushing (passenger rear bushing) still shakes, but now a little worse between 60-70mph. Still intermittent, phases in and out, sometimes at lower speeds, sometimes not at all.

So far the only things left are the control arm bushing fronts, driver's control arm bushing rear, swaybar endlink bottom bushings, and an alignment. After that, I would have gone through the entire front end.

I'm at my wits end, and it's getting pretty frustrating dealing with this vague problem.

I've seen lots of threads with these phantom vibrations and even after more work than I've done, nobody seems to ever fix this (at least not written in the threads).

Anybody have any experience with something like this? Could a tire shop really just not balance out a wheel multiple times like that? Am I missing something?

Thanks for your help, TB!

Addendum: I've heard that it could be a bent or warped hub, but I would assume it would cause constant vibration at any speed, right?
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:38 PM   #2
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Is it a shake at a constant speed? I have had an ignition related shake at 50-55 that was a minor misfire. Replaced the ignition power stage shake was gone.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:44 PM   #3
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You can balance a triangle. Spin the tires and check for run out. You may even have a separation going on in one of the tires.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by masswrecker View Post
Is it a shake at a constant speed? I have had an ignition related shake at 50-55 that was a minor misfire. Replaced the ignition power stage shake was gone.
Shake kinda jumps around to random higher speeds, and phases in and out with no timing or anything. Mechanically everything is sound (at least as sound as a T bricker can make these cars )

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You can balance a triangle. Spin the tires and check for run out. You may even have a separation going on in one of the tires.
Even if they're new? They did roadforce balance them to check for any sort of runout/abnormalities. I also did spin them and noticed nothing out crazy, but that was just by eye.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:05 PM   #5
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I have had new tires that were defective. If you have the same size front to rear, swap them and see if the vibration moves with them.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:22 PM   #6
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What size tires/rims and what pressure?
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by VB242 View Post
What size tires/rims and what pressure?
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I have had new tires that were defective. If you have the same size front to rear, swap them and see if the vibration moves with them.
unfortunately they're staggered (BMW style 66) on a square set of tires. 235/45/17's at 38PSI all around.

I'll try swapping the fronts and rears across to the opposite side and see if that shifts anything, but the vibration feels exactly the same as it did on the old wheels that were bent.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:55 PM   #8
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With a vibration at highway speed my inclination is always tires, especially if they were cheap.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:07 PM   #9
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Restore to stock offet/known good 14" tires with proper alignment?

ZF rack or wandery cam with shot passenger side guide bushings like basically all of the '87+ style racks are by now?

205/55-16 20ET geminis with everything tight/perfect / stock height / front/rear squat is about the limit for having one of these cars actually drive no fuss.

Assuming your tires aren't defective or cheapies that don't balance that well in the first place, whatever the balancing method
You can have a tire "balance," but if the tread/rubber isn't laid over the steel cords to precise tolerances, it won't roll straight like the best quality controlled michelins/contis etc of their day used to (not that brand carries a lot of weight anymore).

They really didn't have wider/more poked out rubber band tires in mind when they built these skinny sweden gravel road cars/tractors.

They already were compromising from 140/164/1800 that took 165/175/185 tires by making the rear wheels inboard with the 200 series strut suspension cars and the more commonly available (at the time) 185-14" tires also used in those sizes on the small mopars etc for the american market, especially.

That said, may well be able to get it to drive more or less right with the rubber bands/ heavy giant wheels for shake at some minimal level.

Most modern cars look a lot different underneath to take the giant wheels/wide rubber bands.

Condolences on self-inflicted 1st world problems?
Buy a BMW/similar?

Before this game's up with the state of our 240s/american roads we'll all be driving around on/ seeking 185R14C Vanagon michelins / early 245 14" steels that are nearly impossible to bend to get something that runs straight/no fuss!
(& NOS hubs/non-bent passenger-side strut housings/spindles (import RHD driver side housings??) & maybe diesel/overload springs for good measure
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by SmokesLetsGo View Post

Even if they're new? They did roadforce balance them to check for any sort of runout/abnormalities. I also did spin them and noticed nothing out crazy, but that was just by eye.
To call out the tire dealer BS, have him remove your tires and balance your bare rims. If they blow a "zero" and there is no visible bead pocket runout (also can be measured with a dial indicator, but takes time) then his crapola tires are to blame. You didn't list the brand and model of tire here either.......
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kjets On a Plane View Post
Restore to stock offet/known good 14" tires with proper alignment?

ZF rack or wandery cam with shot passenger side guide bushings like basically all of the '87+ style racks are by now?

205/55-16 20ET geminis with everything tight/perfect / stock height / front/rear squat is about the limit for having one of these cars actually drive no fuss.

Assuming your tires aren't defective or cheapies that don't balance that well in the first place, whatever the balancing method
You can have a tire "balance," but if the tread/rubber isn't laid over the steel cords to precise tolerances, it won't roll straight like the best quality controlled michelins/contis etc of their day used to (not that brand carries a lot of weight anymore).

They really didn't have wider/more poked out rubber band tires in mind when they built these skinny sweden gravel road cars/tractors.

They already were compromising from 140/164/1800 that took 165/175/185 tires by making the rear wheels inboard with the 200 series strut suspension cars and the more commonly available (at the time) 185-14" tires also used in those sizes on the small mopars etc for the american market, especially.

That said, may well be able to get it to drive more or less right with the rubber bands/ heavy giant wheels for shake at some minimal level.

Most modern cars look a lot different underneath to take the giant wheels/wide rubber bands.

Condolences on self-inflicted 1st world problems?
Buy a BMW/similar?

Before this game's up with the state of our 240s/american roads we'll all be driving around on/ seeking 185R14C Vanagon michelins / early 245 14" steels that are nearly impossible to bend to get something that runs straight/no fuss!
(& NOS hubs/non-bent passenger-side strut housings/spindles (import RHD driver side housings??) & maybe diesel/overload springs for good measure
May as well crush and buy a reasonable camry or corolla.

Regardless, the larger wheels in my experience haven't had any issues up until the point that I swapped out adapters. I was able to try a different set of adapters, but that didn't fix anything either, so maybe I'm just noticing it now, or the suddenly centered wheels are causing a shift in the suspension and taking out the weakest links.

I still need to try some standard wheels and see if that cures it and if it does, then the tires are most likely to blame.

I will say that I still haven't replaced the driver's side control arm bushings, so that is gonna be the first thing I do when I get home tonight.

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To call out the tire dealer BS, have him remove your tires and balance your bare rims. If they blow a "zero" and there is no visible bead pocket runout (also can be measured with a dial indicator, but takes time) then his crapola tires are to blame. You didn't list the brand and model of tire here either.......
Tires are some decent kumho ecsta pa51's. So they're not completely off-brand garbage. But they're not LionHarts or Nankang or some other cheap(er) garbage. I got them online because poor T bricker life.

I'm getting them checked out tomorrow by a 3rd party shop and they're gonna do an alignment on my car as well (not that an alignment will fix the problem...). They should be able to tell me if the tires are ****, and if they are I'll return them and get some better ones.
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:34 PM   #12
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Why did you swap out the (what I assume were functional) adapters for the hub-centric jawns?

There is way more science to wheel offset with regard to how it relates to the rest of the suspension than most give credit to. When I worked at the BMW store just outside Philly we got this all the time: "I put RIMZ on my '92 E34 off a 745Li and now the front end shakes" or similar. The only fix was to undo what had been done.
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:42 PM   #13
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Why did you swap out the (what I assume were functional) adapters for the hub-centric jawns?

There is way more science to wheel offset with regard to how it relates to the rest of the suspension than most give credit to. When I worked at the BMW store just outside Philly we got this all the time: "I put RIMZ on my '92 E34 off a 745Li and now the front end shakes" or similar. The only fix was to undo what had been done.
Offset is overrated on TB, plenty of folks on here run ET 0, whether they actually drive their cars or not I don't know.

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Old 09-19-2019, 04:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SmokesLetsGo View Post
unfortunately they're staggered (BMW style 66) on a square set of tires. 235/45/17's at 38PSI all around.

I'll try swapping the fronts and rears across to the opposite side and see if that shifts anything, but the vibration feels exactly the same as it did on the old wheels that were bent.
Try 30 psi and see how they drive, that's way too high for what you've got going on.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:02 PM   #15
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Volvo knew about the sensitivity and used cushy bushings to help. The problem with them is that they failed sooner causing the same or other problems. So they came out with the solid rear control arm bushings. They wrote in the service bulletin that should move the vibration up to the 85mph zone. Where most people don't drive. lol.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:14 PM   #16
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So a quick update: Alignment is done and the shop narrowed it down to the adapters not being true hubcentric. They said everything else was tip-top and tight, including the wheels. I'll take their word for it and get measurements for some very thin hubcentric rings (I'm estimating that it's within 1> mm, since I couldn't really tell by feel/eye. In the meantime, I'm gonna go over everything else with a microscope on the suspension side of things (hubs slightly bent? etc), as the wheels were cleared as straight and balanced, and the tires were fine as well.

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Originally Posted by shoestring View Post
Why did you swap out the (what I assume were functional) adapters for the hub-centric jawns?

There is way more science to wheel offset with regard to how it relates to the rest of the suspension than most give credit to. When I worked at the BMW store just outside Philly we got this all the time: "I put RIMZ on my '92 E34 off a 745Li and now the front end shakes" or similar. The only fix was to undo what had been done.
I wanted to run larger tires, but to negate the poke and actually sink the wheels in flush, I needed thinner adapters.

The adapters I got were actually of "better" quality, and the old adapters were definitely lug centric, but balanced fine, even with +5mm spacing.

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Try 30 psi and see how they drive, that's way too high for what you've got going on.
I'll give that a shot before I leave work today.
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Old 09-27-2019, 07:17 PM   #17
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Volvo knew about the sensitivity and used cushy bushings to help. The problem with them is that they failed sooner causing the same or other problems. So they came out with the solid rear control arm bushings. They wrote in the service bulletin that should move the vibration up to the 85mph zone. Where most people don't drive. lol.
Interesting. I've swapped both out with the solid variant. It helped with some tracking and stopping issues because the pass side was definitely roached, but I still have that cursed vibration
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:23 PM   #18
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Default Brake rotors?

I know, pretty basic...

Just don't recall you mentioning discs.

It has been a few days since I've read through this thread, but as usual, your description of the symptom, vibration at highway speeds, reminds me of a learning situation of my own, with a 240. Stock 240, daily driver, nothing "upgraded" or fancy.

I've replaced enough tie rods, tie rod ends, ball joints, rear control arm bushings to know when they are needed. Put a tie rod on it anyway, right side. Bearings nice the way I like them. I do my own laser alignments. No improvement in the shaky front.

I tried the rear wheels on the front, and two completely different sets of Corona wheels, snows, and some 16" Bourbet alloys with Kumho something-or-another on them. Slowly becoming proficient with the bubble balancer. Nothing changed, but always the wishful thinking.

After a 2000 mile trip living with this annoying phase-in-and-out shimmy, I spent some time with the dial indicator on the rotors, which were just short of a year old with only 7K on them, and Volvo blue box as always. (I know, made in China.) Found only 0.1mm on the right, and half that on the left according to my notes. The soft Volvo pads were fairly good matches inner vs outer. I figured to give it a new set of rotors before replacing the calipers, but I really wanted to know what the cause was, so I did one thing at a time, driving it to verify with each swap.

Didn't get much further with the investigation, because the first thing I did was put a new rotor on that right (0.1mm runout) side. No issues with crud on the hub, and the thickness with the swap went from 21.7 to 22.0mm. This fixed it. Night vs day. Just the one side. Surprised me!

I'm still learning with this stuff, so my guess was the old rotor was a lot more out of true when it got warm and had weight on it. This all occurred in Aug. of '18, and on our daily with 337K on it at the time. I probably still need to get new calipers on there (damned aftermarket dust seals on the remans) but it drives so smoothly now I'm being lazy.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:37 PM   #19
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I too have this issue with my 82 turbo. There are new brake rotors and pads going on it soon. So that may help me out. My 93 wagon has also recently started with this but only on a very small level. That car is due for a front end rebuild soon. Along with calipers and rotors. Looking forward to check it out when done. The 93 has the original tie rods and ends on there and over 14 year old bushings and ball joints. 427k miles.
The 93 just doesn't feel planted on the road like it used to.
Thanks for the information!
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:11 PM   #20
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Dave, wasn't that you who gave me some pointers on using the bubble balancer?

https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1244727

These are the only two pics I took.



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Old 09-28-2019, 09:36 AM   #21
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Not this Dave. But I would like to do more of this kind of thing at home.
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