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Discussion Starter #1
I'm kinda stumped as it's not the typical reasons for this shake.

I've done quite a bit of front end work on cars and in my experience shakes at certain speeds would either be warped rotors, sticking calipers, broken tire belts, even loose lug nuts lol.

Car has new tires all the way around.
There are new rotors and pads on the front.
It doesn't shake any worse while stopping. So I assume calipers are OK.
It only does it when you get out on the highway at 50 and above.
Even at hard stops at any speed it doesn't shake worse.

I'm at a loss for ideas besides driving like grandpa! and it's difficult to do in a V8. :D
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Tires out of balance? Had a very similar issue before, getting the tires re-balanced took care of 90% of the problem.
 

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Sounds like the wheels & tires are not balanced good
 

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3 for balance.
 

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4 for balance
 

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Discussion Starter #6
balance

Well I'll give it a shot, maybe a wheel weight just fell off?

Keep your fingers crossed for me:tongue:
 

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If the alignment is off it will shake at speed.
 

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Likewise. Wheel balance and alignment.

The driveshafts on these cars are crap and will cause vibration too. Get a Mark VIII one-piece or a Dynotech 3.5" driveshaft.
 

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Probably tires, maybe something loose in the front end. Where did the myth of a wheel alignment in itself curing a vibration issue come from? It's not true. If you believe so, please explain...

Maybe, just maybe if you somehow managed to smash your front end enough to end up with some absurdly negative caster you would have some major stability issues that could be felt as a vibration. Otherwise, if you are not burning tires off of your car, the car is not very far out of spec if it even is. Say you're toed out .06 degrees out of spec or .2 degrees too positive in camber, that's not going to make your car shake at 50 mph. Carrying a few extra passengers in the back seat throws your perfect alignment out the window, does your car shake then? No.

My car has experienced caster ranging from +4 deg to +7.8 deg, front toe from +.1 deg to -.20 deg, front camber from -1.2 deg to 0 deg, rear camber from -1.2 deg to 0 deg, and rear toe from -.05 deg to +.05 deg. I was bored at times and between suspension work have played with many, many set ups... a few of these values are substantially 'out of spec'.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
To my knowledge the car has never been wrecked. It was supposed to have been aligned when the tires were put on, but if the wheel balancing does not fix it I'll look at an alignment.

It does seem like when I weigh down the trunk with a couple bags of softener salt
"for better traction in the winter" a vibration did increase slightly. But it's hard to tell when the steering wheel shakes.

I guess I did forget to mention in my original post that is is the steering wheel that shakes at 50 & up.

You would think that the people doing the alignment if there would have been anything loose it would have been mentioned for repair before the alignment. But sometimes I wonder about these places weather they actually check anything besides it's measurements.
 

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Oh, yea, they always look for things that are wrong when they do an alignment so that they can tell you you need this or that fixed and they can charge you a small fortune in parts and labor to fix it before they tack the alignment on top of that.

I took mine in about a year ago for an alignment and my suspension was brand new top to bottom and front to back; UCA's, LCA's, shocks, bushings, tires, etc. and you know they told me I had a tie rod that needed to be replaced! I couldn't believe it. I told them to give me the car back and I left.

Back to your situation. Are you sure it's not vibratioin from the road that you're feeling. If where you live is like most places in this country the roads aren't in the best of shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I noticed it on the highway. Went and got tires balanced, only one was a little out of balance and the guy balancing them had me look at the upper ball joints. both boots are gone so yippee another thing to fix.

Any recommendations on where to get a good set of upper ball joints?

We have autozone, advanced auto, oriley's, car quest, and possibly still a napa left.

I'm not looking for high performance just good quality.

Also should I do this myself? I've done quite a bit of auto repair before just never upper ball joints. It looks easy enough but wondered if this is something I should leave to a professional?

Oh yea thanks for all your input.
 

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It is a straightforward/easy job. Amongst your choices, I believe Advance carries Moog, which is a good brand.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I didn't look at advanced yet but noticed oriley sold moog and they appear to have grease inserts which look like a plus. At nearly $100 each doing it myself would definitely be a plus.
 

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You can buy the upper arms from rockauto.com, Autozone and others with the bushings and ball joint already pressed in. I was getting a bad vibration similar to yours, it was a bad trans mount and the extension housing gasket had gone bad letting the housing vibrate but only above 40 MPH. Check all the bushings and tie rod ends in the front and trans mounts. It cann't hurt.
 

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I think I found my vibration at 55-65 (but rarely below or above that, which is scary)

 

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That pic also shows that the alignment is the problem, lol.

Toe-in will cause both the vibration and the wear pattern.

Been there, done that. Tie rod end replacement, AFAICR. :rolleyes:

Did you change the alignment after changing wheels?
 

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If you're going to be buying suspension parts, get them from Rock Auto. I got Moog parts for my '97 T-Bird there last year and they were substantially cheaper than anyone else. The only exception would be if you have a V-8 Thunderbird with the sport option; if you want the same lower control arms as what was originally used by Ford (the sport optioned T-Birds have LCA's with a stiffer pivot bushing than V-6 and non-sport V-8's - they are the same as what was on the '94-'95 SuperCoupe T-Bird's), then get the TRW-made LCA's from Advance Auto. That's where I got mine last year.

Dennis
 
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