Front end vibration?

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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby JBurer » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:46 am

Rev - thanks for the message - but I just replaced my tires! Unlikely that's the source of my issue.

Any thoughts on the ball joints?


RVosari wrote:I am using old school Michelin x -
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Likely a long term reliable tire. I had to call some Detroit friends to finally gain entry into Dunlop's US Engineering Staff (they blow you off immediately and do not answer questions).

At any rate a Dunlop engineeer finally told me that the problems of unusual wear characteristics on the R2 (used on many Beck Spyders as the original tire) is due to the volatiles and plasticizers exiting the carcass over time.

What this means is that the original durability/hardness ratings mean nothing and wear becomes unpredictable and not dependent on suspension settings !

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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby beck688 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:58 am

Ball joints are really easy to check and it takes a lot to wear one out.
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby JBurer » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:20 am

beck688 wrote:Ball joints are really easy to check and it takes a lot to wear one out.


Ray - you think the roughly 1/8" movement I noticed on the top ball joint is worn out or normal for one?
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby Larry Jowdy » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:31 pm

In case Ray doesn't answer. All of the ball joints should NOT have any lateral movement. If you have "slop" then the ball joint is probably worn out.

The other option is that the ball joint isn't tight thus enough requiring you to tighten the nut of the ball joint stud that goes through the spindle.
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby beck688 » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:28 pm

What Larry said - there should be no movement in the joint. They are easy to replace but afterwards you will need an alignment. (theoretically you can count the turns taking the joint off and then count them putting the joint on but the forging is probably different and where the thread starts)
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby RVosari » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:15 pm

All I can add is that some of the newer style VW ball joints have an injection molded liner that may be difficult to torque down to specification...so they have some play...

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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby JBurer » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:18 pm

Many thanks, guys.

Rechecked just now and took a little video. It's only the top ball joints that have movement... but looks like a fair amount of lateral movement to me. For under 7,000 miles, I'm pretty surprised about a failure here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-h2U-vLctk

Look like bad ball joint to you?

By the way - a video of Ruby out driving last weekend in Hill Country -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYdeIH9UjTw

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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby RVosari » Thu Oct 22, 2015 4:29 am

Red Color...I like red :) What is your serial # John ?

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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby JBurer » Sun Nov 01, 2015 6:55 am

Update - replaced ball joints and repacked bearings that were just a little loose. Steering slop I didn't know I had is fixed, and it feels like the vibration is a little improved driving straight down the road but can still be felt at 55/60 mph is when I have the car in a sweeping turn and the suspension is loaded up.

Only things mentioned I haven't looked into are:

1. Natural resonance point of torsen bars
2. Wheel offset

It would surprise me if this was present before and I just didn't notice. Is there anything else that comes to mind, particularly with the shake being most noticeable in the curves?

Rv - thanks, I'm a big fan of red, too. I'm TR - 1112856144
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby egrant5329 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:53 am

I assume you checked the inner tie rod ends. I went through much the same thing this summer. I replaced a ball joint and a damper, which helped. It wasn't quite right though, so I replaced the rest of the tie rod ends and it fixed it. I couldn't really see any movement on them, but when I took them out the passenger side inner was really loose compared to the other side and replacing them did the trick. I still need to adjust the steering box a little. Where the steering box adjustment is located, it looks like a PITA to access.
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby Larry Jowdy » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:12 am

It's much easier if you cut a hole in the fiberglass trunk liner to access the adjusting nut on top of the steering box. Then head over to Home Depot and buy a small piece of sheet metal flashing (in the roofing dept.) for a dollar and fashion a cover for the hole and attach with sheet metal screws. You can also paint it black to match the trunk liner.
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby RVosari » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:00 pm

Larry...how long do the (modern day replacement) VW suspension components last...my mother had a gorgeous orange 1971 Karmann Ghia and in 40 K miles the front end other than the steering damper was fine...

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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby GT550 » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:19 am

John, Just saw your note about the hill country get together. Oct. was crazy for me since I traveled every week and weekend. I missed several car shows/get togethers. Since I had a few Alfa's in the past, that one would have been fun. I am finally back in town and it rained all weekend! Thanks, Gary
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby RBP » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:56 am

Is your car a TR? I had the exact same issue with my 1st 550, a TR 550A. I tried everything and in the end I believe the issue was the fact that the body is mounted to the frame out of square. Measure the distance of the outer lip of each front wheel well in relation to the side wall of the tire, also note the difference where the wheel well lip turns down to the top of the tire. Next turn the wheel full left and full right and measure the distance from the inside edge of the tire to the inside wall of the wheel well where the tire would first rub. I'll bet the passenger is rubbing or close to rubbing depending on your tire size. If my memory is right there will be about .5" of offset in the way the body is mounted to the frame. I used a spacer to bring the right side wheel out, it stopped it from rubbing on a full right turn and helped a bit with the vibration but it was almost impossible to get the alignment right with the way the car was put together. That seemed to be how Tom built the cars, not sure why it was never addressed in the manufacturing process. That seemed to be the root of my issue which sounds exactly the same as what you are attempting to sort out, good luck. :-k

Only thing puzzling is that you had no vibration before you put it up and now you have a problem. Is it possible the problem was there before and you just didn't notice it?
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Re: Front end vibration?

Postby Larry Jowdy » Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:42 pm

If you can find OEM replacement parts they should last for years
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