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trinacriabob

Alignment or balancing or other?

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For about the last month or so, I have gotten a vibration in my front left tire/wheel at speeds above 60 or so. It is when the wheel is centered and I am going down the freeway. If I move the steering wheel to the left or the right just a hair, it goes away. I'm thinking it's the alignment. It's a W-body Regal coupe.

This morning, I got my on-schedule Costco tire rotation and balancing. It didn't help much, so it's probably not the balancing.

Is it probably the alignment?

I had front brakes done a month ago...it's FWD...is there anything in a caliper or anything in the front axle that could cause a vibration at higher speeds?

Lastly, could it be something else like a front wheel bearing hub that is starting to fail?

Can you help me walk down the process of elimination? Thanks.

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tie rods

Seriously...that sympton says tie rods more so than wheel alignment. Have you had it happen to you? Expensive?
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If the tires were checked out and balanced it seems you have a worn part. I would first start by jacking up the front end to get the front tires off the ground and grab the tire at 9 (oclock) and 3 (oclock) and try move the tire by pushing and pulling at opposite times and watch the tierod ends for any play. If there is any play at all they are worn.

Edited by Buickfosure
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Seriously...that sympton says tie rods more so than wheel alignment. Have you had it happen to you? Expensive?

Here is my reasoning.

Tie rods can effect alignment and if you need them replaced you'll need an alignment. It's the vibration on center that points me to the tie rods. When you're turning the force on the tires pushes the "sloppy" tie rod to either end of it's range so you don't feel any vibration. When you're on center, the tie rods are trying to maintain alignment, but because there is slop to them the twitter back and forth.

I had the tie rods replaced for about $90 a side plus the cost of an alignment on my 94 Cutty convertible at a local Goodyear.

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I'd say tie rods or wheel bearing hub assembly. Like said above, jack up the front end, grab the tire at 9 and 3 and see if the tire has excessive free play side to side, also see if you can push the tire in and out, if you can, then you've probably also got a wheel bearing issue, and lastly grab the tire at 12 and 6 and see if you have any excessive up and down movement, if you do, then likely either the strut mount, or the ball joint is bad. More likely than not though, its the tie rod ends that are bad, which after replacing them and a proper alignment, you should be good as new again.

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I'd say tie rods or wheel bearing hub assembly. Like said above, jack up the front end, grab the tire at 9 and 3 and see if the tire has excessive free play side to side, also see if you can push the tire in and out, if you can, then you've probably also got a wheel bearing issue, and lastly grab the tire at 12 and 6 and see if you have any excessive up and down movement, if you do, then likely either the strut mount, or the ball joint is bad. More likely than not though, its the tie rod ends that are bad, which after replacing them and a proper alignment, you should be good as new again.

Thank you. Very thorough to you and Olds. I have an appointment next week and will try to drive it as little as possible in the mean time.
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Seriously...that sympton says tie rods more so than wheel alignment. Have you had it happen to you? Expensive?

Bob,

I think it is tierods too. May be just one. I had the exact same problem with my 98 W-body Lumina. I first thought it was breaks wearing off. My tires were new and so had I aligned the wheels, and balanced the tires.

It took Chevy dealer in Lafayette, IN, about $175 to fix it.

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I'd say tie rods or wheel bearing hub assembly. Like said above, jack up the front end, grab the tire at 9 and 3 and see if the tire has excessive free play side to side, also see if you can push the tire in and out, if you can, then you've probably also got a wheel bearing issue, and lastly grab the tire at 12 and 6 and see if you have any excessive up and down movement, if you do, then likely either the strut mount, or the ball joint is bad. More likely than not though, its the tie rod ends that are bad, which after replacing them and a proper alignment, you should be good as new again.

Damn, you are good at this. In fact, they showed me the "9 and 3" technique. It was the tie rods. And thanks to everyone else for similar input.

(I have to drive it 600 miles next week so I want to make sure it's "hunky-dory" as I will have the car full of items, prior to the U-Haul truck the week after next.)

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Eh, I sell parts for a living and work on cars as a part-time thing. I have to know what I'm doing, and I have to be able to describe to those who don't know what's happening so they'll be able to take care of the problem (and understand why I'm fixing what I'm fixing if I'm working on theirs).

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