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Getting Expensive Highway Speed Vibration

Discussion in 'Wheels / Suspension / Tires / Brakes' started by TXPTuff, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. TXPTuff

    TXPTuff New Member

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    I drive a 2004 Acura TSX with 61K miles. Up to this point, I've spent $1500 trying to fix the problem over the past 15K miles. I get not so good vibrations that appears at highway speeds. Here's what I've observed.

    • Vibrating comes and goes at 64, 69, 73 and 81 MPH, +/- a few ticks.
    • Can feel the shaking through the seat a little bit and definitely see the steering wheel shaking L & R.
    • Doesn't make any diff whether I'm accelerating, decelerating, in neutral or clutch in.
    • Doesn't make much diff whether on asphalt or cement roads.
    • Shaking is less noticeable with full tank of fuel.
    • Does not pull left or right.
    • First appeared and became apparent quickly after a regular tire rotation and balance.
    • Will continue to happen even after driving long distances.
    • Does matter if it is 40 or 100 degrees outside.
    Here's what I've tried.

    • 8+ attempts to balance tires at three different shops. Even tried 'Road Balance'.
    • 2 sets of different tires plus a few one off replacements. None were worn abnormally, but were replaced to try to solve vibration.
    • 2 alignments (which didn't show any misalignment).
    • Replaced OEM wheels with new Enkei wheels with hub rings.
    Some proposed solutions.

    • The axles have a bad inner CV. However, some people say only should shake when accelerating.
    • Sticking brake caliper. However, all the brakes are wearing evenly and have plenty of pad left.
    • Warped rotors that are causing them to be out of balance. The front rotors are slightly warped, but what Honda rotors don't warp. I get brake shuttering only at high speed braking and only at certain firm pressure/speed range.
    • Sell the TSX and buy a Ford Mustang. Those suggestions are dismissed outright as crazy talk.
    I need help before I run out of money and hair.
     
  2. TXPTuff

    TXPTuff New Member

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    How can you tell if the axles need replacing? What do I check once I have the car up on ramps? What am I looking for?
     
  3. Battle Pope

    Battle Pope New Member

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    If there is any slack in the inboard or outboard joint. The only way to visibly tell if there's a CV joint problem is to remove the boot housing the joint (probably bad idea), or if a boot is torn. A torn boot generally means the grease in/around the joint is low/gone and will need to be serviced, but a torn boot does not always indicate a bad joint.

    Does it occur under any type of acceleration or just when you get into it?
     
  4. TXPTuff

    TXPTuff New Member

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    The vibration occurs at certain highway speeds. Being under accelerating does not seem to increase the felt vibration much at all. I can be speeding up, maintaining speed or off throttle (coasting and loosing speed) and still feel the vibration and see the steering wheel motion.

    One thing I noticed was that in long sweeping turns, the vibration seems less pronounced. Hard to tell really b/c there aren't a lot of roads where I can maintain that speed for a long enough distance to say for sure. Someone on a diff forum offered the suggestion that it was a bad hub.
     
  5. Battle Pope

    Battle Pope New Member

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    That's possible, but you would be noticing other problems than just a high-speed vibration. What size tire/wheel is on your car? You could just be picking up oscillations in the pavement surface. That would explain why it is less noticeable in turns, also - your front suspension and drive axles are under load from the turn.
     
  6. TXPTuff

    TXPTuff New Member

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    Stock size. 215/50-17 tires on 17x7 wheels. The current tires are 6 month old Goodyear GT with about 5k on them. The newly replaced wheels are Enkei FLC-01. The wheels are about 3 lbs lighter. No diff in the vibration from OEM wheels, but the car handles better in bumpy turns.

    I've driven on both asphalt and concrete highways with no difference. I've checked my shocks before just to make sure it was uncontrolled oscillation.
     
  7. josh_crewdson@y

    josh_crewdson@y New Member

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    Premature bearing wear/failure? Just throwin it out there..
     
  8. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    if its not the tires or an alignment, it's likely a rotor, ball joint, or wheel bearing,

    it might also be a tierod bushing, but that would likely not be sporadic at only certain speeds... would likely be a shake at all speeds over 45-ish.
     
  9. phyregod

    phyregod !!YTINASNI

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    Take off your rotors and clean the heck out of them, make sure there are no bits of rust or sand or anything between them and the mating surface of the hub. I have a sneaking suspicion that something tiny is lodged between the two. While they are off, have your rotors turned (Cheap to do) to make sure they aren't at all warped. Also while you have it apart, inspect your brake pads for uneven wear.

    That is something you can try that is almost free.. Turning a pair of rotors will only put you out $20ish... The rest is DIY stuff.
     
  10. eg6sir

    eg6sir Supa Mod Moderator VIP

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    my guess would be a wheel bearing.. ... jack the car up and see if there is any play in the wheels
     
  11. TXPTuff

    TXPTuff New Member

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    How long would the bearings hold up if they were going bad?

    I've been plagued with this vibration for 15K miles.
     
  12. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    they wouldn't just fall off.... it's a rotating friction piece, and it would very well be one of them.
    from the gas tank weight you mentioned above, i'd guess it's one of the rear ones.

    jack up the car from the back...

    take hold of the wheel at 9 and 3. push and pull in and out on the wheel. if it has any play, its probably the wheel bearing.
     
  13. Battle Pope

    Battle Pope New Member

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    Would a rear wheel bearing create a steering vibration though? I'd think it would just create a one-side drag, at the speeds he's talking about. I'd check it though for sure.

    EDIT: Did a bit of searching and found at least a few people reporting similar issues to your description, that have fixed it by replacing the CV axles. They say that the inboard CV joints and splines wear prematurely on some of the factory parts. That might be something worth having checked out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  14. TXPTuff

    TXPTuff New Member

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    I asked this earlier, but I'm sometimes repetitive.

    Once I get the car in the air, what am I looking for that would indicate the inboad CV joints or spline wear?
     
  15. Battle Pope

    Battle Pope New Member

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    You'd have to remove the axles to check the splines, and remove the boots sealing the inboard CV joints to check wear on those. It would require a thorough teardown of the front suspension.
     
  16. TXPTuff

    TXPTuff New Member

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    I got the car up on stands today and looked it over. There is zero movement when I check for a bad bearing. No sound either except for the brake pads on the slightly warped rotors. Brakes will get replaced soon. All the bushings seem solid also. Not sure how to check the ball joints.

    What I did notice is that when I grab the axle in the middle and push/pull it up and down, the axle moves up and down at the inner joint about 3mm (maybe 4mm on one side. The movement I see on the inner end seems to be related to the axle fit into the transmission. There is no movement at the hub end. This is with the suspension aligned like it would be with the car on the ground. I see this amount of play on both sides. Not sure if this is an acceptable amount of play though.

    I will probably put my wife's Accord up on the ramps tomorrow to see how much play her axles have. Before I do that, she's going to make me take an oath to not turn a single bolt on her precious trouble-free car.
     
  17. the sol man

    the sol man New Member

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    i had a to replace cv axles on my 93 sol. it started shaking at about 45 to 50 and it was sporadic. it would shake whether i was accelerating or deccelerating. i had the bad axle on for about 3 months before it finally just quit. it would drive fine sometimes then other times it would go nuts. anyways, it failed because some dirt got inside the boot. i replaced both and have had no problems since.
     
  18. Battle Pope

    Battle Pope New Member

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    That sounds like you have worn inboard CV joints or worn axle splines.
     
  19. Mako

    Mako New Member

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    Hello,

    Any news this matter what caused the vibrations?

    I have exactly the same problem with my Honda Accord 2.4 -03 CL9 (exactly the same as Acura TSX). But I also feel a small wobble from the front end when accelarating around 1800-2200 rpm in 1st 2nd and 3rd gear. I have changed only the driver side drive shaft but with no luck... I heard that the driver side were more abused.. so I wonder if I should change the other side as well.
     
  20. Mako

    Mako New Member

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