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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a 07 verse sl. Bought it new, has 130,000 miles now. 3 weeks while driving home from work. I noticed a slight wobble in steering wheel. Thought might be the road but then it got a lot worse. I also smelled a funny smell. So I pulled over and turned car off. I expected to see a flat tire or smoke rolling out from under the hood. No flat, under the hood looked normal. I sat for a few minutes. I started the car after not smelling the odd smell. The smell was not rubber or electrical. I’ve never smelled something like that before. Car started fine. I pulled out on the road to get home and car drove completely fine. I was leaving for Tennessee the next morning for a week. Wife drove the versa back n forth to work with no issues. 2 weeks later I am back driving the versa back n forth to work with no issues. Monday the 13th I am driving home on a different route. All of sudden car starts a soft wobble and gets worse. I pull over when I can and put in park and then proceed to drive home. Car still wobbling. I pull phone out to record wobble. I notice seat next to me and backseat slightly vibrating. I slow down and speed up to see effects. I put in neutral while moving to see if has any effect. Wobble pretty bad, not to many places to pull over on this particular road. I pull over again, reverse to turn around, car still wobbles when up to speed. Around 50mph is all the wobble I can handle. Do not recall going over that. Still driving to just gather any info. I pull over again but do not turn car off, no difference. Finally I decide to find a street to pull over and turn off the car. I do notice that smell at that time. I decide to start back up, reverse to pull in a driveway and turn around. Proceed to turn right back on the road I was on and the shaking is gone. Clean smooth road back home about 8 miles of 55-60mph driving. Like it never happened!
Can anyone explain this to me. Car is in the shop now, dropped off the day after.

Ted
 

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The only thing I can think of that may be happening is a front brake dragging. The smell might be an over heated brake (caliber stuck, not fully releasing & cooked the brake pads & rotor) That action warped the front rotor, thus causing a wobble in the steering.

This is just a guess, as I'm trying to account for the smell you noticed and since you said it was not an electrical, nor rubber smell, I'm leaning towards overheated brake, you are smelling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The only thing I can think of that may be happening is a front brake dragging. The smell might be an over heated brake (caliber stuck, not fully releasing & cooked the brake pads & rotor) That action warped the front rotor, thus causing a wobble in the steering.

This is just a guess, as I'm trying to account for the smell you noticed and since you said it was not an electrical, nor rubber smell, I'm leaning towards overheated brake, you are smelling.
I am no car mechanic so what I say is just observing. I didn’t think about brakes. Each time it has happen I have been in a area of little braking. Wouldn’t my brake feel crappy when I brake though? Then when coming to a stop but not turning off, the wobble was still there. But when turning the ignition off and restart the wobble is gone. I’ve been thinking the transmission this entire time.
 

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Make sure lug nuts are tight.
Had a mechanic leave them loose, and front would shake bad occaisonally.
 

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Why would turning the car off have anything to do with the shaking? When you turn the car off and start again the shaking stops.
So the car is stopped, but the engine in running and there is a lot of vibration/shaking, now I'm thinking engine or transmission mount is broke or worn out.
My girlfriend's Dodge had two bad mounts, it would shake/vibrate at a stop light. Once I replaced the two broken mounts the shaking stopped.
The problem is that doesn't account for the "funny smell"... The smell could be completed unrelated, like a plastic grocery bag or something similar got got up on the exhaust system??
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So the car is stopped, but the engine in running and there is a lot of vibration/shaking, now I'm thinking engine or transmission mount is broke or worn out.
My girlfriend's Dodge had two bad mounts, it would shake/vibrate at a stop light. Once I replaced the two broken mounts the shaking stopped.
The problem is that doesn't account for the "funny smell"... The smell could be completed unrelated, like a plastic grocery bag or something similar got got up on the exhaust system??
while driving car starts to shake, and made a odd smell. Pulled over and turned car off. Checked tires for heat and under the hood. Nothing out of the norm. Got back in the car and started up to drive off. Shaking was not there anymore. That was the first time it happened.

second time was driving and started to shake. Pulled over a couple of times, put in park or reverse. Took back off and shaking was still there. Pulled over to turn vehicle off and this time noticed the smell. started car and turned around. turned right and shaking was no more.

smell and turning car off is linked.
 

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I'm thinking when you turn the car off, there is a sensor that gets reset and the computer starts at a base value. As things warm up this sensor is sending erroneous information to the engine computer and making the mixture too rich, the engine sputters and (perhaps) you are smelling unburnt fuel.
This is just a wild guess, without live data, fuel trims, etc. before, during and after the event, it would be hard to even hazard a guess as to what is happening.
 

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OP, next time you have that smell, pull over and manually touch the front calipers and rear drums (be careful, they maybe very hot). I had the smell when years ago the rear drum brake was locking up and overheating.
 

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hinking that turning the car off is unrelated. Could just happen to be that the time spent to stop and start is enough for something to cool down or something else is changing.

When you say wobble, I'm thinking the wheel oscillates. That's tires, front brakes, control arm bushings (under heavy acceleration), or maybe an axle. Or an unprecedented issue with the electronic steering. Loose lug nuts can do it, but there's usually a knocking noise if they're loose enough to impact the steering wheel.

The burning smell knocks a lot of those out right away though, so you want to be sure that it is not just a coincidence.

I'm leaning toward brake issue too, with the information we have. What did the shop say? Maybe couldn't reproduce it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hinking that turning the car off is unrelated. Could just happen to be that the time spent to stop and start is enough for something to cool down or something else is changing.

When you say wobble, I'm thinking the wheel oscillates. That's tires, front brakes, control arm bushings (under heavy acceleration), or maybe an axle. Or an unprecedented issue with the electronic steering. Loose lug nuts can do it, but there's usually a knocking noise if they're loose enough to impact the steering wheel.

The burning smell knocks a lot of those out right away though, so you want to be sure that it is not just a coincidence.

I'm leaning toward brake issue too, with the information we have. What did the shop say? Maybe couldn't reproduce it?
You mention some good stuff. Loose lug nuts is not it. I have experienced those before and they don’t go away until you tighten them down. I’ve pulled over and sat without car off. And problem still there. It’s only happened twice in 3 weeks. So I am afraid they won’t be able to replicate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OP, next time you have that smell, pull over and manually touch the front calipers and rear drums (be careful, they maybe very hot). I had the smell when years ago the rear drum brake was locking up and overheating.
I touched the tires the first time it was happening. It’s in the shop, hoping to fix the problem. But if not I’ll definitely put my mitts all over the brakes. I know to be careful.
 

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The lug nuts can come and go, usually based on accel, Coast, decell conditions. It's weird, but once you've felt and heard it, you don't forget it.

Yeah, hopefully they can reproduce it. If a brake is sticking, you won't even have to touch anything. The heat will just radiate right off of the rotor.
 
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