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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had a vibration in my steering wheel and can't seem to narrow down the cause. it happens at speeds >55 mph. it’s a slight vibration and if not for my daily highway drives might not have been noticed unless taking a long drive on freeway

I’m posting because most of the searches I’ve done have found all sorts of different answers to this issue, balancing tires, rotors, CV axle is bent, LCA ball joints, strut bearing etc

I’ll run thru what I have done to the car pertaining to front end
38K new front brakes, upgrade to 11.6 rotors
42K 10/6/2007 front & rear struts (strut bearing was not changed….long story), end links, outer tie rods, wheel alignment
47.4K 2/8/08 new tires BF Goodrich Traction T/A
somewhere in here I think I picked up brake material on rotors causing a shimmy at high speeds & when braking. It would improve when I “bedded brakes” but would always come back. Unfortunately time did not allow me to fix issue till later
64K tires balanced
89K 8/13/10 tires balanced, MASSIVE inner wear both front tires, switch tires front to back
90.1K 9/11/10 lifetime wheel align @ firestone
? early spring 2011 slid into curb hitting RH side wheel (snow)
103K 6/14/11 front brakes/rotors –paid shade tree mech
105.7 8/10/11 wheel align
106.4 9/4/11 replaced front rotors myself due to warped rotors again. Bedded brakes in this time. Car does not display warped rotor issues.
This is when I could tell I had another different type of shimmy. Much less than the warped rotor issue and not when braking
Balanced tires, inner wear still on any tires I put in the front
107.5K 10/7/11 new tires Michelin MXV4
108.5 10/28/11 new inner & outer tie rods & wheel alignment
still have the vibration

it doesn’t get worse with speed. I don’t have a roaring/growling sound as if it’s a wheel bearing. I do get a clicking sound from front end when turning at slow speeds in parking lot but if I'm not mistaken that's the strut bearing and/or end links??

The inners didn’t seem too bad but the LH side did seem to droop when the outer was taken off. There didn’t seem to be any play in the 3 & 9 position prior. Both tires moved about 3/16” back and forth when pushing/pulling a single tire. This was with both tires off ground. I figured this was normal rack & pinion slop, I haven't checked since the new inner/outers were put on. I feel no play in 12 & 6 position.

I’m considering replacing the CV axle. I think it might have been bent when hitting the curb. I hit the curb on the side of the wheel NOT head on. I also am now thinking the vibration might be in the entire vehicle and not just steering wheel but it is more noticeable in steering wheel.

tire guys said thy didn't see bent rim but I've swithced ties front to back andit didn't change anything so I tink that rules that out.

It’s hard to pinpoint because the vibration seems to come and go. It also “seems” to happen more on grooved freeways and less on smooth brand new asphalted ones. I also did a turn around on the freeway (changing direction in the police turn around) and floored it WOT and seemed to feel vibrations at the higher ends of the RPM. I never felt this before but don’t go WOT often. I’ve since tried to duplicate it and it never seems as such a violent vibration as the one time I did that.

Any thoughts would be appreciated as I don’t want to throw additional time & money into the car unnecessarily. I’m leaning toward the CV axle being the culprit. If I get into the knuckle while doing the CV axle I’m thinking it would be a good time to change LCA bearing but then I think it could be good time to do front struts (especially since I never changed bearing when it was done and car has orig strut bearing @ 108K miles) but that leads me to want to spend even more since I’ve had this larger front sway bar in garage for like ever…..then the whole project gets more timely and begins to cost more J as I start to look into frame bushings, sway bar end links & possible even LCA bushings (to frame).
 

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I did hit a curb sideways in the same manner once upon a time (with front passenger wheel on a Ford Escort) and did damage the wheel (small dent on side) and the bering hub (it was at some 100k miles).
Also shortly after, the transmission differential started to have a rumbling noise - don't know why and how, but it did.

I gave away that car for free (got the Sable), so I don't know what happend after that.
 

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clicking while turning could very easily be a CV joint on the way out. when you had your 3/16" movement, was it equal movement in both tires? if yes, then I'd say rack. If no, tie rod. vibrations/drifting that comes and goes is also a sign of tie rod play.

Do you still have the printout from your last align? Inner wear like you're describing could be toe wear (tie rod play), or negative camber wear (taurii seem to be notorious). since I don't know your set-up: Have you had the strut plates moved?


Sonic: Hitting the curb like that could very well have popped the CV alxe into the trans pretty hard, bending something and eventually causing trans failure. Just a bit of a guess on my part tho
 

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Both tires moved about 3/16” back and forth when pushing/pulling a single tire. This was with both tires off ground. I figured this was normal rack & pinion slop, I haven't checked since the new inner/outers were put on. I feel no play in 12 & 6 position.
The way to check ball joints tie-rods is to jack the car up both front wheels off the ground. For ball joints grab the tire at 4:30 and 10:30 (clock positions) then tug back and forth. you will feel the movement. Some (little) can be expected. For tie-rods grab the tire at 9:00 3:00 positions.
I might just have another garage slowly spin the wheels again checking the rims inside and out for any bends.
Generally the shaking in the steering wheel is attributed to front end. Tie-rod ball joints even wheel weights. You can loose a weight from a pothole RR crossings.

BTW worn wheel bearings will create a sound much like winter tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
clicking while turning could very easily be a CV joint on the way out. when you had your 3/16" movement, was it equal movement in both tires? if yes, then I'd say rack. If no, tie rod. vibrations/drifting that comes and goes is also a sign of tie rod play.

Do you still have the printout from your last align? \
yes same 3/16" on both sides

when the CV goes bad is it clicking while turning the car a circle or whle turning the wheel? I had a single click when turning the steering wheel both Left & Right but once I'm no longer turning the actual steering wheel (but the car is continually turning in a circle) I don't hear additional turning.

Yes have all printouts. I can post the toe numbers in a bit.
 

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yes same 3/16" on both sides

when the CV goes bad is it clicking while turning the car a circle or whle turning the wheel? I had a single click when turning the steering wheel both Left & Right but once I'm no longer turning the actual steering wheel (but the car is continually turning in a circle) I don't hear additional turning.

Yes have all printouts. I can post the toe numbers in a bit.
okay... a click in the steering wheel is probably minor, if anything. a constant popping would be a CV pop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
info below is for Front TOE

DATE Side Actual Before
10-23-07 L 0" +1/4"
10-23-07 R 0" +5/32"
10-23-07 Total 0" +13/32"
was told car needed frt rt lower ball joint (.010" play) -I've never been able to get any play out of this

9-17-10 L -.10 -.20
9-17-10 R -.10 .10
9-17-10 Total -.20 -.1

8-10-11 L -.05 -.11
8-10-11 R -.15 -.17
8-10-11 Total -.20 -.29

10-29-11 L -.10 -.16 after doing inner/outers
10-29-11 R -.11 .80
10-29-11 total -.21 .63
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yes it's not a contstant clicking sound while going around a corner. it only clicks in one location each way while turning the steering wheel. the noise does not come from the steering wheel (nor steering column) but from the front end. I only hear it when windows are down and turning slwly in parking lot.

is this what people call the parking lot clunk?

I turned the steering knuckle side to side when it was loose & outertie rod was off. I got what sounded like (to me) the sound I get above.

I also get clunk when coming to a really HARD complete stop

when I had the tie rod off I tried to move the Right axle side to side. I couldn't see it move but I could hear it hitting on the end I was moving it towards as if there was movement.

I'm trying to describe these things as best asI can. I took video of the wheel shaking today, hopefully I can post that tomorrow if that would help
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
since I don't know your set-up: Have you had the strut plates moved?
if you mean the upper plate (same color as outer body) where the 3 small bolts attach the strut , then no. I kno guys have talked about drilling the welds out and putting something else in but I have not.

srry for missing letters, kids appearantly were eatingcrackers over key board and about ever third keystroke doesnt register..... sux:angry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
also forgot I only got the minor play in CV joint when tie rod was off. I checked the other side (drivers) and it had no play when outer tie rod was on but had the same play as passenger side when I took tie rod off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
well I've replaced everything I think possible in the front end. New shocks, hubs, drive axles, inner & outer tie rods, LCA balljoints. Took it out this past sunday & all was fine w/ some minor exceptions. Driving home last night the intermiten wobble began again.

I'm posting hoping someone will be able to help w/ some insight as to how tight the dia's of he hubs are supposed to be when inserting them into the knuckle

when I did the drvrs side I had to use the bolts to bring it into the knuckle. On the pass side it just plopped right in. Not a tight fit at all. Does this seem normal or is my knuckle hole too large or the dia on the timken hub bearing I received just too small??

if this seems normal then it's off to the wheel align shop (firestone lifetime) 3his fri to see if this all works....otherwise I think I'm done and will have to live with it or sell
 

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well I've replaced everything I think possible in the front end. New shocks, hubs, drive axles, inner & outer tie rods, LCA ball-joints. Took it out this past Sunday & all was fine w/ some minor exceptions. Driving home last night the intermittent wobble began again.

I'm posting hoping someone will be able to help w/ some insight as to how tight the dia's of he hubs are supposed to be when inserting them into the knuckle

when I did the drvrs side I had to use the bolts to bring it into the knuckle. On the pass side it just plopped right in. Not a tight fit at all. Does this seem normal or is my knuckle hole too large or the dia on the timken hub bearing I received just too small??

if this seems normal then it's off to the wheel align shop (firestone lifetime) this fri to see if this all works....otherwise I think I'm done and will have to live with it or sell

as far as the Hub bearings go, i assume you cleaned out the knuckle well
of old grease and debris before installing the new parts? I would not worry
about one side being a little tight going in as long as the screws torqued it
back firmly into the knuckle.

Did you take the rotors off, clean out all the vent holes of rust and
debris,and clean out the inside of the rotor hub?

I am smelling a balance issue of some sort. sounds like you changed out
most of the other possible offender. Did replacing the clicking CV make
any change at all?

So, swapping the tires front to rear made no difference either?
Were they spin balanced?

One other issue. do your rotors have ANY ridge on the outside edge?
If so, file or grind it off and see if it helps.

Was there any asymmetrical wear on your brake pads L to R? Are your
caliper pins are freely moving? it could also be you have a sticking caliper
or stuck or binding caliper mount pins.

If you have not done so, i would remove the caliper pins, clean out the
bores, and put fresh caliper pin lube on them and re install.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
put new rotors on about 10k ago then about 5K again. Old tires were balanced & rotated, new tires about 5K were put on.

I'll look into stuck/binding caliper o pins next. I didn't think of measuring pad wear when I had them off but sounds like that will give a good idea of whether or not brakes are the issue.

I check for bent rim w/ both tires up & rotating w/car in gear & I didn't see anything from my inexperienced eyes

yes also cleaned out dia in knuckle where hub goes in
 

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put new rotors on about 10k ago then about 5K again. Old tires were balanced & rotated, new tires about 5K were put on.

I'll look into stuck/binding caliper o pins next. I didn't think of measuring pad wear when I had them off but sounds like that will give a good idea of whether or not brakes are the issue.

I check for bent rim w/ both tires up & rotating w/car in gear & I didn't see anything from my inexperienced eyes

yes also cleaned out dia in knuckle where hub goes in
I have to ask the question, do you beat the hell out of your brakes?
if you have gone through that many sets of large diameter rotors,
there must be some issue there. If your not abusing them, maybe there
is some issue with cooling the rotors which was not quite right when
you did your swap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I changed the rotors about 60-70K ago. I parked the car w/ hot roors and assumed I got brake material on them...they shimmied everytime I hit the brakes @ hi speeds. I neglected the issue due to not being able to spend time fixing them (started side business & had twins toddlers @home).

I bit the bullet & had a backyard mechanic do frnt & rr brakes about 10K ago. I almost immediately began to have the shimy when braking @hi speeds & got new rotors & redid them -AZ rotors so it was free & I chaulked it up to a bad manufactured set.

I've checked a few times braking @ hi speeds during daily commute & I haven't had the shimmy issue.
 

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New rotors warping quickly?
I pulled my hair out on that, lubed & free caliper pins, repl. calipers and still had rotor warping. Repl brake hoses, Inst. premium rotors, warped again. End result was bad hub bearing. It was not making any noise at all but was loose enough to cause pad drag warping the rotor. Since the bearing was quiet I never checked for a loose bearing, now I check them at every brake job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
that's why I threw so many parts @ it. After tearing it down that far ( both sides for second time!) I figured the cost in parts was worth not having to break it down again that far another time again (i did LCA ball joints 3-4 weeks ago, then struts & hub bearings this past weekend). I did ea side separate so by the time I was on the last (4th) spindle I can now break it all down in like an hour LOL.

also I learned you won't rip the grease boot on the ball joints if you wrap then in duct tape when reassembling knuckle in.

the old drvrs side hub spun much more freely than the old pass side or new ones I put in so that pry needed it anyway
 

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a couple suggestions,,, check your motor mounts, then check the rear out... I had a vibration and went over the front end, replaced tires, tie rods, ball joints and it was still there.. went to the rear and found a bad drum.
3 people thought it was the front end....
a click when turning can be from the engine shifting weight on a bad mount,, doesnt happen often But i have seen it 2x over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
thanks, I had wife rev engine while applying brakes last weekend. It moved, but nothing I felt wasexscesive. I'll check again & locate mounts while she does it again...after spending the weekend working on it I didn't feel like looking further.

wheels will also get rotated this fri w/alignment.

thanks everyone for help & suggestions on my wild goose chase :) :-s
 
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