Vibration problem at highway speeds

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JimJ[VT]
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Vibration problem at highway speeds

Postby JimJ[VT] » Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:50 pm

I've got a '94 Ford E-150, 146k mi., with an issue.

At speeds over 55-60mph, I start getting a nasty vibration, feels like I'm driving over cobblestone. It does it consistently, but it's not consistent in how severe it is - some roads are worse than others.

Doesn't have any problems at low speeds or cornering - but in a straight line @ 75mph, you'd think you're in the spin cycle.

Tire pressure is consistent at a little under 30psi. I can't remember the last time I had it aligned, so I'm taking it in for an alignment/rotation tomorrow.

Any other advice? Would this be as simple as getting it aligned or a more expensive fix?

Thank you in advance.
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jlaine
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Postby jlaine » Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:09 pm

Wheel bearing, 4wd knuckle, or wheel imbalance would be my guesses.
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Postby Sound_Miata » Thu Apr 06, 2006 6:52 pm

agree with jlaine, tire balance is my first guess, in the miata community, it is referred to as the "65mph shimmy" as thats where it is prevalent, a good tire balance and alignment is the only cure.

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Postby X-OvrDistortion » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:27 pm

Tire balance is my first thought too.
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cntrain
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Postby cntrain » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:34 pm

sounds like a belt broke in one of the tires. have them check the tires for busted belts while it is on the lift!
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Postby KU40 » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:24 pm

"a little under 30 psi" sounds kinda low for that van. if you remember the explorer blowout problem with the firestones which ended up in a recall of the firestones, it actually had little to do with the tires and quite a lot to do with ford recommending and putting in 26 psi from the factory. low tire pressures are a bad thing in something as heavy as that. for your van I wouldn't go under 35 psi.

Really sounds like a tire problem for you, out of balance, as has been said, is the first thing I'd suggest. While they have them off and on the balancer, have them look at
A) the tread wear- uneven wear can occur from tires being out of balance for too long. if the tread shows uneven wear, balancing the tire will net you no results and you'll have the same problem once you get the vehicle back. best way to combat this is just to catch it early.
B) out of round tire or even rim, which can both cause vibration. if the top of the tire hops while on the balancer, something is out of round. A closer look will reveal if it's the tire or the rim
C) broken belts, as cntrain mentioned. this will look like a bulge in one area of the tire, can be in either the sidewall or under the tread.

as far as price, I think my dad's shop charges 7.95 per tire, or something like that. If you want it aligned also (symptoms of an out of aligned vehicle include pulling to one side or the other when you let go of the steering wheel on a flat surface, and uneven wear on the tires, it will look like either the inside or outside edge is wearing about 4 times faster than the rest of the tread), that should be about 49.95.

also, if you want to know which area of the car to check the balance on first (if you don't want to do all 4 at one time for whatever reason), a vibration in the steering wheel normally leads to one or both of the front tires, a vibration in your seat goes more towards the rear tires.
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JimJ[VT]
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Postby JimJ[VT] » Sat Apr 08, 2006 9:41 am

Yup...balancing all four and increasing the pressure to 33-34psi did the trick. Now I just get the standard "commercial vehicle with aggressive tread" shake at high speeds, which doesn't scare the bejeezus out of me :)

Now to come up with the $350 I need for a brake job...pads & rotors definitely need replacing in the coming months.
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Postby jlaine » Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:35 am

E-150's really use that low of PSI?

I know I run 60 in front and 80 in the back on my E-350 - good deal on getting it solved though. :D
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JimJ[VT]
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Postby JimJ[VT] » Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:40 am

Well, my tires (BFG's) lists a pressure of 40psi as the maximum...light truck rated, as well. Ever since I had the set of crappy Uniroyals on it, I guess I've been hesistant to run higher pressures...those tires sucked.
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Postby jlaine » Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:48 am

Gotcha... You're much lighter than I am too I'm sure - sounds like you're where you should be... :)
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