Steering wobble - Page 2 - Nissan Versa Forums
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post #11 of 27 Old 06-08-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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I honestly feel like there are other issues at play here...Just the past few days, my car has started wobbling (shaking - car not steering wheel) at around 60km/h which is approx 35mph. It evens out again shortly after that and then everything starts shaking (including steering wheel) when I get up to 85km/h (50mph). It will even out again around 60mph but then came back strong past 70mph. It does not even out after that, just gets worse. Here's the funny thing, my brakes (new front rotors and pads as of a month ago, rears are drum brakes - they are new as of a year ago), have started violently shaking when braking from hwy speeds...But only when they have heated up. Once that starts happening, I get vibrations while stopping at any speed. The vibration I feel is felt mostly in the car and steering wheel, but never the brake pedal itself.

I am going today to have my rims and tires re-balanced (again) using road force. If they pass and get balanced correctly, I will then need to bring it in to a mechanic (not a dealership). My thoughts are:

* Bent rim...Or defective tire.
* A bad wheel bearing (front driver side)
* Motor mount or transmission mount
* CV Joint
* Warped rotor and/or seized caliper

By the way, the car only has 64,000 miles on it but is already past warranty (of course)
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post #12 of 27 Old 06-09-2017, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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So....The cause of the varying vibrations has been found. During the road force balancing, it was discovered that one rim was completely out of round and a second rim, bent. Also noted, the steel rims were not OEM, but universal...They showed me the spacing between hub and rim. Unfortunately, spacers apparently can't be used on steelies? At any rate, they did the best they could to rebalance and looks like I'll be forking over some dough on hub centric rims.

What is still happening:

* Steering wheel wobble when slightly turning side to side...Does not happen when stopped, only when in motion over 35mph.
* Brake pulsation only when they have warmed up. Rotors and pads are only 1 mth old...I am suspecting either a seized caliper piston or cheap rotors and pads.
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post #13 of 27 Old 06-09-2017, 01:40 PM
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Bummer! At least the culprit has been found. Wish I had a good excuse to shop for new rims, I mean not really because I don't have the money... but still. Its too bad the new brakes are already giving trouble, hate it when that happens.
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post #14 of 27 Old 06-09-2017, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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LOL...Yeah, me neither. But to avoid ruining suspension components over time, hub centric rims are the only way to go.

Have an appt. with the shop that did the brake job on Monday. I think it's cheap rotors and pads...They suspect debris between pad and rotor
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post #15 of 27 Old 06-09-2017, 05:57 PM
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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.
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post #16 of 27 Old 06-09-2017, 06:55 PM
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They SAY the problem has been found................after 40+ years of 100% fixing my own cars I've found that you don't allude to the problem being found until you have driven the car long enough that you are sure it is GONE.
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post #17 of 27 Old 06-13-2017, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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It seems like there may be some confusion here. The wobble I am talking about is not a wander...It is more like a pulsation in the steering wheel when I turn it from the center position to approx .5 of an inch in either direction and then again as it returns back to center. When the pulsation is present, a vibration in the front end which matches the pulsation of the steering wheel is felt.

If I turn the steering wheel past the .5 inch 'zone', the pulsation disappears but then is felt again as the steering wheel is brought back to center (from the .5 inch 'zone' to center position).

To answer your question, tie rods are not the issue...There is no play in the front wheels when I shake them front to back. Also, all the front end components are snug and tight. Besides, the pulsation that is felt does not feel like something is loose, it feels more mechanical than loose components.

In regards to lug centric vs. hub centric rims, I won't get into the differences of the two as I can tell you know your stuff. What I will provide is my own personal experience with the two. Before the Versa, I had a Ford Focus...I had put on some pretty sweet aftermarket (lug centric) wheels on it. Unfortunately, the shop that did this didn't add spacers to them and the car shook to high heaven. They too said that spacers were not needed, so I sought a second opinion. The next place I brought it to (a performance aftermarket wheel specialist shop) added the correct spacers and just like that, smooth as glass. Nothing else was done, just spacers added.

It's great that you are able to 100% repair your own vehicles, but I do not have that skill, the tools nor the extra time to do so. I do have an above average knowledge of vehicles but obviously not to the extent that others have which is why I am here asking for advice with other versa owners who may have been experiencing what I've been describing. Yes, I rely a lot on shops to help me but sometimes you have to do what you can given available resources. I get that shops/dealerships are out to make money (it's their bread and butter), but not all places are there to scam you. I try to avoid those independent shops who are actually part of a bigger chain, and try to find those truly independent shops who are there to honestly try to help. Anyways, that's my two cents.
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post #18 of 27 Old 06-13-2017, 05:28 PM
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Yours and do as you will................

I too have switched to Nissan and two Foci which I still have and millstones around my neck if ever there was such a thing.

Now that you have zeroed in closer on the problem, this.........

'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.'

'Wander' was actually the wrong word for me to use there. Read on.

That 'pulse' may well be the initial stages of what later turns into a seeming locking of the steering like it is trying to hang up. Rack wear. The million impacts that the dead straight ahead position then transfers to the rack to gear interface to then wear right at that one tooth location only. Any rocking of the wheel away from it results in feeling the wear spot then the hang as the gear tooth edge hangs on the end of the wear notch due to rack preload. The preload even being low can make funny feelings there too. On earlier racks I have 'rebuilt' them free of that issue by intentionally mistiming the pinion back into the rack by 180 degrees to then have at least one of the surfaces new so that the combined wear lockup could not happen any more. I had to re-index the steering column in to the new rack stem location of course. But it worked fine, like new.

A way to test for that and possible longer term cure too would be to run one tie in a ways and then the other side in the same way to chase that first move, the steering wheel then stays in same position then but you have moved the wear spot to a point away from that .5 inch and the problem there is gone. Past close in like that commonly any bigger moves in steering are the whopping big ones like corner turning and those happen so fast you power right through that wear spot again and may not feel it at all.

You may be feeling normal road force there due to rack wear right at the very center. Where they will wear the most. Check the rack pinion preload, it's supposed to damp most of that out. Wouldn't hurt to look at rack mountings. A small degree of toe-in may help there too if right dead on neutral (0); it's easier to feel a looseness like that, the toe damps it out.

A rare thing but certainly possible............if new tires the tread pattern depending on type could lend to it. A lot of tread running the same direction as the car when moving plus certain types of road finish can add up to produce slight directional pulsing or hunting, you feel it. With light movement of the wheel the tread then argues with the slight difference in angle it finds on the road.

Any u-joints in the steering column? Wear there could do it. Or whatever holds the column firmly in place, saw that once when a Focus broke the column mounting.

Last edited by amc49; 06-13-2017 at 05:43 PM.
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post #19 of 27 Old 06-14-2017, 12:58 AM
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My bad if electric PS, I haven't messed with one yet but eventually I will be. Whatever method used on those to stabilize at any given point, and what happens when you move in the tiniest of movements off that will be linked possibly to the issue. .5 inch to either side of a steering wheel is technically just taking up slack before the real move begins. Electric would have to have some provision for that as well or the cars would be impossibly touchy to steer.
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post #20 of 27 Old 07-03-2017, 02:47 AM
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All of the Versa's I've ridden in recently have bad front struts, some also have bad strut mounts. Maybe try a set of quick-struts but have a good mechanic go over it.
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