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My 1997 T-Bird sport has 159,000 miles on it. I am getting, at times, a strange VERY slight vibration that feels like it's in the steering wheel/front suspension. It only happens at highway speeds (around 65 and above) and sometimes is NOT there at all. I recently had to drive the car to NC to attend my grandmother's funeral (my wife's 2007 Pontiac G6 has a tire that has a bubble in the sidewall and I haven't been able to replace it yet) and I noticed that the vibration seems completely random - it will start gradually after a while, be present for a bit, then seem to go away. I thought it was a tire or two and I had the wheels/tires Road-Force balanced and, while that made a noticeable improvement, I still have that odd vibration (I also noticed this vibration decreased after I replaced the cheap NAPA strut-rod bushings I had on the car with the better Ford bushings). I do NOT believe it is wheel/tire related; I think it's caused by something other. Is it possible that a worn U-joint could cause a vibration that comes and goes, and would feel as if it's in the front-end of the car? Can anyone think of anything else that might cause this odd vibration? As I said, it's a very slight vibration, but I'm ultra-sensitive to vibrations that feel wheel/tire related!

In the last year, I have replaced the ENTIRE front supension on the car. Here is a list of all parts I have replaced:

Upper shock mounts
Shocks (KYB)
Coil springs (Vogtland .75" drop)
Upper control arms (Moog)
Lower control arms (TRW; they are the same as O.E., with the stiffer SuperCoupe pivot bushings)
Sway-bar end-links (Moog)
Strut-rod bushings (Ford O.E., both frame and LCA sides)
Inner tie-rods (Moog)
Outer tie-rods (Moog)
Wheel bearings (Timken)

I have also replaced the following rear suspension parts:

Shocks (KYB)
Springs (Vogtland .75" drop)

The following brake parts have also been replaced, BOTH front and rear:

Rotors (Raybestos)
Calipers
Pads (Morse ceramic)
Flexible brake hoses

I do think that my brake rotors are slightly warped as my steering wheel shakes ever so slightly when I apply my brakes (this wasn't happening until recently) - could this be causing that vibration? I do plan on taking them off soon to have them re-surfaced.

I have also had the front-end aligned FOUR different times in the last year (due to replacement of parts)!

Any input would be appreciated!

Dennis
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Only thing I can think of that doesn't relate to suspension would be the driveshaft, and on these cars driveshaft vibration is somewhat notorious...
 

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Only thing I can think of that doesn't relate to suspension would be the driveshaft, and on these cars driveshaft vibration is somewhat notorious...
Agreed. I had major issues; I replace the stock ones anytime I buy a new MN12.
 

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A while back Alan told someone that bad tranny crossmember bushings can cause a vibration. Just a thought.

Joe
 

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My father had an issue like that on his cougar. We found that the wheel was bent even after the tire shop told us that it was fine and balanced out ok.
 

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Holy Thread Revival Batman (Yes I'm guilty!) :D I seem to be having the same issue after my 5 speed swap, I can clearly see my stock crossmember bushings are cracked and heavily worn, and recently I've been getting weird knocking noises and vibrations through the floorpan around the crossmember area, it varys based on engine load and RPM, so is anyone willing to bet it's probably the bushings? I just bought a set of poly ones from Bill. Any input?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Holy Thread Revival Batman (Yes I'm guilty!) :D I seem to be having the same issue after my 5 speed swap, I can clearly see my stock crossmember bushings are cracked and heavily worn, and recently I've been getting weird knocking noises and vibrations through the floorpan around the crossmember area, it varys based on engine load and RPM, so is anyone willing to bet it's probably the bushings? I just bought a set of poly ones from Bill. Any input?
Yeah, wow - talk about thread revival!!

I'm actually the original poster; a lot has happened to me in the nearly 2 years since I started this thread - I changed jobs three times; my beautiful, sexy wife, the woman whom I thought I had waited ALL my life for, who had GORGEOUS, SEXY double-D breast implants (that, I might add, she got SPECIFICALLY for me!!), decided this past January that it would be cool to CHEAT ON ME with a guy she used to BABY-SIT as a teenager, and she left me for him & freaking DIVORCED me, and the pain of my once beautiful, sexy wife, now no longer my beautiful, sexy wife, but living in some other man's home, a mere 5 miles away, as his girlfriend, was SO great, I picked-up and moved from Cleveland, OH to Phoenix, AZ in an effort to get as far away from all that mess as possible!!

But, hey - I still have my T-Bird (thank GOD for that, since I have no car payment!!), and it STILL shakes sometimes on the road! I am convinced that it's NOT wheel-balance related, especially since I had the wheels & tires rebalanced twice (the last time with Hunter Road-Force wheel balancing, which is supposed to be better/more accurate), and there's been NO change in the vibration. I also noticed, just a couple of days ago. that I think the vibration is coming mostly through the steering column, but it is NOT a case of the steering wheel shaking side to side, as if the wheels/tires are out of balance. I'm starting to think that it's caused by some kind of bushings being shot somewhere on the car, and they're allowing more vibration tobe transmitted into the vehicle from the road than they otherwise would. I actually had my steering rack replaced just yesterday. It was damaged when I towed it out here from Ohio on a dolly, with just the front wheels off the ground, because like an idiot I left the steering column locked, and the lower steering shaft coupler and the shaft coming up out of the rack that it attaches to were both damaged (the splines got all chewed-up). I had to get a new coupler from a junkyard, because Ford (naturally) no longer sells it, and I noticed there's quite a bit of rubber on that piece, probably to dampen vibration coming up through the steering column. I didn't get a chance to drive the car much since I picked it up yesterday, but it did seem to be a little better as far as vibration goes. It's definitely feeling tighter now; all the "squirrely-ness" (did I even spell that right?!!) caused by the splines being damaged is gone!

I'll report back on my efforts to find the cause of the vibration, and let everyone know if it feels better (as far as vibration) as I have a chance to drive it more this coming week!

Dennis
 

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i had my rack come apart inside and start clunking in tune with the existing wheel vibration... before the clunks i always had a loose wobbly randomly vibrating steering wheel. turns out something inside the rack gearbox was rather worn :D nice and tight and not a vibration since i installed my ACdelco rebuild....

well re-reinstalled... had to drop it multiple times for severe leaks that turned out to be the cheep lines they made.. the compression fittings were pretty much all leaking. same with the gates return pipe i got, and the gates pressure hose... if they leak again i'm buying OEM >.>

goes to show if you replace OEM, either buy new OEM (if you can on a 17 year old car) or prepare for the headaches... and make sure you have plenty of those little white crush ring seals... also check the bolts and lines for torque... mine were all a bit loose. hence the first drop and reinstall to see if it was just the loose fittings... nope! drop it out again...

i'm just glad they ACdelco has at least been better than Cardone and not started hemorrhaging oil out of the inner tie-rod seals filling the bellows/leaking everywhere...
 
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