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Front-end vibration at 70+ mph

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Old 09-25-2011, 09:47 PM   #1
mecheng [OP] mecheng is offline
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Front-end vibration at 70+ mph

Hi,
I've had mine since 2005 and runs great. My problem is that about a year ago, I noticed that on smooth freeways, the front end vibrates at 70+ mph (it is 65+ mph on the speedo since I have bigger tires). Since then, as I've tried to fix it, I've noticed that the tires seem to be cupping from it. Also after a balance, the vibration goes away for about a few days and then returns. The alignment stays good maximum a month.

I do regular alignments and balances every 3 months since I have a Fabtech lift (bought the truck with it... would have rather used an alternative product that does it the proper way). And I do regular rotations every 6 months max.

Before we get too far into this, I want to admit that this is my first car and I try to baby it but I don't know enough to properly tackle every problem. My brother who owned 2 Tacomas has been a big help and my dad also but this time, they don't know what could be the problem.

The first time I tried to tackle the problem, I took it to 2 shops and the first's diagnosis was that my wheels are bent; during that visit they did my alignment and balance but said they can't do it anymore until my wheels are replaced. The second shop (which I went to a week after the first) couldn't find anything wrong with it but said they wanted to check the balance again. It was out so they did the balance and sent me on my way. The shaking started a week after the second shop fixed the balance. Therefore, I figured that my bent wheels were causing the vibration. Fast foreward to a week ago; I bought brand new wheels (profile pic shows old wheels). I feel like such a schmuck! It didn't solve the problem and my vibration is only getting worse...

I took my truck in a few days ago to the shop that told me about my bent wheels and had them do align and balance again. I also told them that I replaced the wheels and told them to look at my truck again. They said that my stabilizer bushings, rack and pinion bushings, and the bushings tied to component # 12 on the attached image are shot and fixing them would fix the vibration. That seems expensive; I decided to get a second opinion that day.
The next shop said that the rack and pinion bushing does need replacing but others are fine. They said total I need rack and pinion bracket bushing and all tie rods (4). They said that since my truck has so many miles (195,000+), it may be going out of alignment quickly because of the tie rods going bad.

Now I really don't know what to do. Has anybody here had similar problems with their truck? What did you do to fix it?

Any help is appreciated!
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:04 PM   #2
mecheng [OP] mecheng is offline
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Was my original post too wordy?

Any ideas?
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:07 PM   #3
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well a few things could be the cause. Provided the alignment really is good, the wheels are good and balanced, then here is what were left with. in no particular order. Also, how many miles, and what work has been done??

Wheel bearings!
Upper/Lower ball joints
Steering rack bushings
tie rod ends
bend spindle (unlikely)
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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look at the bottom of this thread and use the search button please. this kind of topic has been discussed a jillion times. start with balancing tires.
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magikbean562 View Post
look at the bottom of this thread and use the search button please. this kind of topic has been discussed a jillion times. start with balancing tires.
Or, read the thread and see he did that, as that's generally everyone's problem, whats next cowboy?
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:15 PM   #6
mecheng [OP] mecheng is offline
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Thanks both of you for your help

Quote:
look at the bottom of this thread and use the search button please. this kind of topic has been discussed a jillion times. start with balancing tires.
Yea, I know, my post was way long.

Quote:
Provided the alignment really is good
I can't be too sure but since this has been a consistent problem after multiple alignments, I am assuming that alignment adjust is fine but wonder if tie rods really are bad since the problem goes away for a short amount of time (maybe until alignment jumps back out).

Quote:
Also, how many miles, and what work has been done??
I have ~190K but with the bigger tires, I'm guessing closer to 210K. I've done upper and lower bushings on the left side and gotten new shocks about 40K ago. Other than that, all I've done is get new tires, and other usual maintenance, and now wheels but it's always run great! (so far)

Quote:
Wheel bearings!
Upper/Lower ball joints
Steering rack bushings
tie rod ends
bend spindle (unlikely)
Wheel Bearings - last I was in, mechanic said that I need to redo my front left soon. Maybe I'll redo next I'm in
Upper/Lower ball joints -I thought the same, they said it's fine
Rack bushings - the bracket bushing is definitely bad, I'll redo also next time
bend spindle - I'm not sure what this is
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:59 AM   #7
Self Proclaimed first gen expert :doh:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecheng View Post
Thanks both of you for your help

Yea, I know, my post was way long.

I can't be too sure but since this has been a consistent problem after multiple alignments, I am assuming that alignment adjust is fine but wonder if tie rods really are bad since the problem goes away for a short amount of time (maybe until alignment jumps back out).

I have ~190K but with the bigger tires, I'm guessing closer to 210K. I've done upper and lower bushings on the left side and gotten new shocks about 40K ago. Other than that, all I've done is get new tires, and other usual maintenance, and now wheels but it's always run great! (so far)

Wheel Bearings - last I was in, mechanic said that I need to redo my front left soon. Maybe I'll redo next I'm in
Upper/Lower ball joints -I thought the same, they said it's fine
Rack bushings - the bracket bushing is definitely bad, I'll redo also next time
bend spindle - I'm not sure what this is
if the spindle is bent at all, somehow. It happens. Usually they snap but it could provide bad alignment.

Definetly change out those bushings and bearings and such that you said are bad. After that, if the problem persists let us know. IF the tie rod ends are truly fine then you wont need to get it realligned provided you dont twist the ends. Granted your just changing the steering bushings, and the wheel bearing. test the ball joint for yourself, see if it has alot of play.
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Old 10-07-2011, 09:14 PM   #8
mecheng [OP] mecheng is offline
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Thank you for your help. I'll do the bearing repack on the left front, rack and pinion bushing, and shocks (since I get lifetime only pay for install). It will probably be a few months before I get this done but I'll report back after I've done these line items. Not too happy about the delay but have school+work for keeping me busy for a while.

For component 12 on my original post, have you had to replace that (apparently when the bushing goes bad, you have to buy the entire component)? Also, what is that called?
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:48 PM   #9
Self Proclaimed first gen expert :doh:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecheng View Post
Thank you for your help. I'll do the bearing repack on the left front, rack and pinion bushing, and shocks (since I get lifetime only pay for install). It will probably be a few months before I get this done but I'll report back after I've done these line items. Not too happy about the delay but have school+work for keeping me busy for a while.

For component 12 on my original post, have you had to replace that (apparently when the bushing goes bad, you have to buy the entire component)? Also, what is that called?
12 looks like a tie rod end.

and as far as i know the bearings are NOT servicable, so no 'repacking', simply unbolt (lucky bastard) and replace with new. get a toyota, dont cheap it and get duracrap.
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