Level VI Member
Join Date: Jan 2017
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You guys (and your shops as well) are KILLING me.
Check the tie rods. Wheel up in the air and grab it at 9 and 3 o'clock and forcibly move back and forth trying to find any looseness. Both sides and NOT up and down, only side to side. I don't know what passes for inner tie rod on electric PS but something similar there too but may have to change entire rack to get that part. The new world where they make you pay 900X for what part you actually need by including it in much bigger assemblies.
Past that, whatever in that type rack that also holds the rack in the straight ahead neutral position, on oldschool it was the rack long gear to the pinion gear contact point, wear there even in the slightest can let that wander happen. There may be some sort of steering-at-neutral preload adjustment there too.
One way to tell if ties may be that already assuming car at light throttle when OP sees the problem, start a check by having the car under more power like accelerating and check for the same wobble and another opposite check for same wobble while slowing down with more than just light normal brake. FWD tightens up any looseness/clearance there to wobble less or none either way as the space flips through being loaded, you should be able to tell some difference, that points at ties. More power has the wheels try to get closer together, more brake pulls them further apart. Either way eats up the loose play to disappear. At light mainly cruise speeds the slack shows up.
Be careful and use some common sense doing any testing like that of course.
Balance? I haven't balanced tires in over 10 years and 4 cars. Not that. A bent wheel should show even in straight driving doing nothing. The normal wheel runout can be up to .125" yet the shops will look for that and anything they find becomes the 'problem'. I agree that spacers should not be used at all but they can be if properly vetted. I did spacers on 200+ mph race cars. Unfortunately for most shops that means overtightening them with the air rachets, never mind looking at how they fit. I've driven tires for years that were up to one inch out of round. Simply to use the tire up, they make noise but do not wander in the least, in fact, it's a commonly overlooked FWD issue that most every shop I have ever run across has zero clue to even existing. Tire rotation covers up much of it but then the tire rotation past a point makes it worse to where they get you to cave in to buy all 4 new tires when you really only need two. I haven't bought 4 new tires at once in 20 years and again on 4 cars. One of the great scams of the industry. FYI, you absolutely CANNOT balance a bent or out of round wheel at all, when you apply road-force you are actually negating some of your zero force balancing. That's another scam to me. You either have a round true tire and wheel or you don't and never the twain should meet. Most especially in balancing giveaways.
Warped rotor? I can cut one to be within .002" TIR and then mount it on car and then find .005" in it instantly, then throw it back up on the exact same disc cutting machine to show it had miraculously gotten warped without even being run or even had a wheel tightened on it. Another one of the industries' big scams. The machines are predesigned to be able to show customers 'warp' right there on the machine. Thus firmly convincing him they've 'found the problem'.
Brake parts? If the brakes are not on and the car still does it............care to explain how that can make any sense? 'Debris between pad and rotor', what a laugh riot. We're now essentially saying the car cannot be driven in a normal environment. Cheap rotors and pads? I use the cheapest of the cheap and no issues ever.
Strut mounts? The wobble described is WAY too little to be from the type of turning arc that would show at a strut mount issue. Besides that they commonly show first by banging hard like bad shocks on freeway expansion joints way before you feel any looseness in them. I myself catch it early and simply rebuild them to work fine and zero cost. The bearings are easily regreased. More money thrown away. A simple washer can shim them back tight if designed to be able to. BTDT.
Caster? Nope, but no reasons why, most would not grasp it anyway. Begin with no.1, caster has nothing to do with looseness, which you must have to wobble. Wobble is back to back quick wander from one extreme to another, you have to have something loose to have two extremes. Parts tightly in place cannot wobble, any caster variance then turns into a pull to one side or the self centering either increases or decreases. I should point out I align all of my cars and not using any machine to do it. The machines CAN do it but typically the payscale of the operator stops that right there. It COULD be basic tracking out of square, like what you see done by the alignment guys where the front of the car has drifted one way to be out of line with the back end, you can easily see that when behind someone, there are hundreds of cars here like that. That setup can easily throw the vehicle into a wander when the steering wheel gets moved so much as a little. Depending on the degree it may wander just for a moment or continue to do so for a while.
Not CV joints either, I could tell you why but.........this post is long enough.
Last edited by amc49; 06-09-2017 at 07:00 PM.