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Steering Wheel Shimmy at 30 MPH

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Old 03-03-2009, 05:25 PM   #1
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Unhappy Steering Wheel Shimmy at 30 MPH



Hello all.

Just bought a 1995 runnner at a good price, most of the body and interior was in pretty nice shape but there was some front end damage and the power steering pump is out. There is not a lot of damage, bumper, grill, valance are tweaked. The hood is fine and the electric fan has a very slight crease in the mesh covering it. The bottom front skid plate shows no sign of damage.

Driving it w/o the pump there is a violent (1 to 2 inches)wheel shimmy between 25 and 35 MPH that pretty much dissapears after that. When stopping it sometimes shows up buch much less.

Didn't see any apparent damage to the steering components. Due to the shaking I am pretty sure all the bushings are gone and I may as well replace all the tie rods, pitman arm, transverse link, and idler arm.

I have had to endure the use of a Expedition off road for the last few years, it never compared to my 86 4x pickup, of course I had that fixed up real nice until we sold it to buy our first home (1989). I have been toyota less (well except for my 86 pickup which we also bought brand new and still own) since. It would be nice if the only problems are in the steering.

Any thoughts from the experts here?
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:29 PM   #2
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one word...

alignment



you just got it; have you asked the previous owner if it did it before the wreck? may not even be related

Welcome to YT!

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Old 03-03-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
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^^^^^^^^^^ Got the same 35mph shakedown. Been tinkering with my alignment for some time now to try and get it stright.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
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x3 Alignment! Welcome to YT
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:38 AM   #5
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Sorry, but how does an alignment stop a shimmy?

Unless you mean while they are doing the alignment they check for worn parts?
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:26 AM   #6
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if everything is "alligned" than there wont be any wobble or shimmy
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:32 AM   #7
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Make sure the alignment is good, and check the tires..
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtnasty View Post
if everything is "alligned" than there wont be any wobble or shimmy
That's not right. If stuff is worn, yes.

Check wheel bearings as well as front tire balance and whether rims are bent along with front end components.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:04 PM   #9
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Im gonna have to disagree. Im gonna say that your idler arm (and possibly TRE's) is worn. Your wheel bearings might also be in need of a re-packing.

To check idler:

Get a friend to hop in the truck and turn the wheel side to side, watch for verticle movement of the idler arm.
If any is evident. Go to the dealer and get a set of bushings for $5.00 Then rebuild it (there is a write up in the tech secion)

To check wheelbearings:

Jack up wheel to test
Grab at 2 and 7 oclock posision, and try to wiggle the wheel/hub assembly. If there is movement then its time to repack/replace em
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:22 PM   #10
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In the motorcycle world (and I believe with Jeeps too) there's this thing often referred to as 'death wobble' and if the vehicle can't control it, the oscillations can become so great that the vehicle can careen out of control.
Motorcycles are far more susceptible to it since they have only one front wheel so the engineers can't use camber and caster to their advantage (the use rake, trail and steering axis inclination). And the way the MC world deals with it is through the use of steering dampeners.
Oddly enough, in the automotive world, they do the same thing- install a shock on the front suspension which dampens the oscillations... but they can also try to pit the front wheels against each other, so to speak, so that when one wheel wants to vibrate/oscillate in one direction, the opposing wheel wants to go the other way resulting in zero motion. One reason why you need the camber and caster on each front wheel set as close to identical as possible. If they're not, one wheel can pull more than the other resulting in vibrations at best, and loss of contol at worse.

So I'll agree with others above saying get the alignment checked after checking the wheel bearings, tie rod ends, ball joints, even suspension bushings... well actually everything that moves in the front end... and check your steering dampener (if you even have one).

Last edited by abecedarian; 03-04-2009 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:52 PM   #11
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misalignment can do strange things, not just pull to one side or the other, or cause inside or outside tire wear...

we cought some air in a friend of mine's 02 Wrangler (which was AWESOME btw ), and on the drive home after we hit the pavement, it had the exact symptoms you discribed; 0-20 no wobble, hit 25-35 and the whole freek'n vehicle shook badly and the steering wheel shook left to right a LOT, after about 40 it drove just fine... till you slowed down into the speed range again...

it wouldn't drift out of lanes or anything; it still tracked pretty straight, you just got the shaking of the steering wheel and the shimmy of the truck

he took it to get aligned the next day, found bent TRE's AND track bar... $300 later, she drove like a Caddy again

"Death wobble" as it's commonly reffered to can wind you up in another lane of traffic, hence the "death" in the name:

[YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj9PNNChVm4[/YOUTUBE]

on a second note, "Death Wobble" between cycles and 4 wheels vehicles are hardly related at all, in terms of what causes it; but don't get me wrong, neither are desirable and are very dangerous none the less

and thirdly, the "Death Wobble" on trucks is much more common on solid axles, mainly after a lift without setting the angle of the axle back the way it needs to be. This stands true for both leaf sprung front ends, and coil sprung front ends; Jeeps are notorious for it and their coil-sprung


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Old 03-04-2009, 04:56 PM   #12
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Also, check your tires for air bubbles. My roommate's mini van had just developed a shimmy at speeds above 20mph, and just got back from having her alignment checked, and she had a huge air bubble where the tread started to seperate, on the sidewall. She replaced the tire, and shimmy is gone.
Just something else to think on, and check as well.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:59 PM   #13
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Like I said, auto manufacturers can use two front wheels to mitigate the issue (each working in opposition to the other).
Doesn't mean it doesn't happen though, and typically, the cause is wheels with excessive backspacing or alignment angles that just don't work.

I should add that excess positive caster can also contribute to the problem.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:04 PM   #14
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Smile

Thank you all for your responses! After freting about it all night (I should know better) I decided to go get it aligned. As you folks stated, they wont do the alignment if there is a problem with the steering. Well, guess what? Jay 351 hit the nail on the head! I didn't see a problem but sure enough the tech did and pointed it out to me. They wanted $275 to fix but I am much tighter on capital these days than I would like so I will do it myself. New unit is only about $75 and should take an hour or so to install.

Next item I found is that Toyota has a recall on this generation of truck for the steering relay rod (instituted in 2005). After I get the idler replaced, I will have them replace the relay rod and of course they will have to do the alignment!

Thanks all, you saved me a ton of time, money and anxiety!
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30, 40, 70, death, front suspension, mh, mileshour, sas, shakes, shaking, shimmy, stearing, steering, steering shimmy, toyota, weel, wheel, wobble

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