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Old 12-19-2017, 02:47 AM   #1
romankasp
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2005 VUE 3.5L
Default Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

Just wanted to share my sad experience and warn people who are about to buy a Vue with AWD system - ALWAYS test drive it on a highway, at speeds 50mph and higher. Otherwise you risk losing tons of money.

When I bought mine, I was foolish enough not to do it, just drove it in the city, made sure engine has power, no warning lights pop up, no issues with transmission. However, when I first drove it on a highway, I was very disappointed because over 45-50 mph it started experiencing strong vibration. When the car was lifted and inspected, the reason was obvious - center support bearing was gone.

Yes, you can replace it, but you can't do it at home because you need special equipment to pull the u-joint off and then put it on, and you will probably need the u-joint too. So I had it done professionally, which cost me around $200. After that the guys in the shop next door put it back, also changed my sway bar links which I bought, and replaced Versatrak fluid in the back.

However, even though the vibration is way less noticeable, it's still there. And I know that it's from the driveshaft, because when I drove without it, it was gone. So there's only one theory to think about - the driveshaft is not balanced properly, so it will eventually destroy the bearing again. Made me really mad.

But here comes the sad part. There's no way to balance it! All the shops in my area say that it doesn't fit on the balancing machine, so the only option is to buy a new one which costs around $ 650-700. Of course, it's out of question, and I don't want to buy one from the junkyard because it may have the same balancing issues and the bearing might be old and worn. I will probably just drive like that and remove the driveshaft after the winter in order to prolong the life of the bearing. But essentially, by not driving it on the highway, I just wasted my money and missed an issue which is not even worth fixing because it's comparable with the price of the vehicle. Please don't repeat my mistake. It it has vibration, stay away!!! Or ask for a VERY substantial discount, $600 is minimum. You have been warned.
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:25 PM   #2
JefferyC
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2005 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

Quote:
Originally Posted by romankasp View Post
Just wanted to share my sad experience and warn people who are about to buy a Vue with AWD system - ALWAYS test drive it on a highway, at speeds 50mph and higher. Otherwise you risk losing tons of money.

When I bought mine, I was foolish enough not to do it, just drove it in the city, made sure engine has power, no warning lights pop up, no issues with transmission. However, when I first drove it on a highway, I was very disappointed because over 45-50 mph it started experiencing strong vibration. When the car was lifted and inspected, the reason was obvious - center support bearing was gone.

Yes, you can replace it, but you can't do it at home because you need special equipment to pull the u-joint off and then put it on, and you will probably need the u-joint too. So I had it done professionally, which cost me around $200. After that the guys in the shop next door put it back, also changed my sway bar links which I bought, and replaced Versatrak fluid in the back.

However, even though the vibration is way less noticeable, it's still there. And I know that it's from the driveshaft, because when I drove without it, it was gone. So there's only one theory to think about - the driveshaft is not balanced properly, so it will eventually destroy the bearing again. Made me really mad.

But here comes the sad part. There's no way to balance it! All the shops in my area say that it doesn't fit on the balancing machine, so the only option is to buy a new one which costs around $ 650-700. Of course, it's out of question, and I don't want to buy one from the junkyard because it may have the same balancing issues and the bearing might be old and worn. I will probably just drive like that and remove the driveshaft after the winter in order to prolong the life of the bearing. But essentially, by not driving it on the highway, I just wasted my money and missed an issue which is not even worth fixing because it's comparable with the price of the vehicle. Please don't repeat my mistake. It it has vibration, stay away!!! Or ask for a VERY substantial discount, $600 is minimum. You have been warned.
RK change the fluid in the RDM. Other SF's will chime in with more experience. Mine is only FWD, which I have owned since new.
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Old 12-23-2017, 09:45 AM   #3
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

Quote:
Originally Posted by romankasp View Post
ALWAYS test drive it on a highway, at speeds 50mph and higher. Otherwise you risk losing tons of money.

When I bought mine, I was foolish enough not to do it, just drove it in the city, made sure engine has power, no warning lights pop up, no issues with transmission. However, when I first drove it on a highway, I was very disappointed because over 45-50 mph it started experiencing strong vibration. When the car was lifted and inspected, the reason was obvious - center support bearing was gone.
You did more than I ever do when buying one of these Vues. I get them at auctions where you can't even drive them. About all you can do is start them up (if the battery is good), rev the engine, and put it in gear. The last one I got had a growling noise that changed with speed. Took a few weeks time and a few hundred in parts to fix, but you take those things into account on the price your pay. If you could have taken it for longer drive but didn't, you can only blame yourself for that. Who did you buy it from? If a dealer, chances are nobody drove it at speed either.
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Old 12-24-2017, 03:14 AM   #4
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

I already changed the fluid in the RDM, it was no good, put original Versatrak in. But I don't think it caused any difference. No, I think it's the driveshaft itself being bent or out of balance because the center bearing is fixed now. It's a steady fast vibration which starts at about 45 mph, now it's barely noticeable, but it's still there. I don't think it can be anything else. I saw that the rear tires on this car are cupped, but I don't believe it can cause such vibration, and the tires usually do it at higher speeds anyway, like 60 mph or so. I will try to get them checked and re-balanced just in case.

Maybe there's more than one source of vibrations, I don't know. Because sometimes now I notice this vibration from 45 mph, sometimes I don't (before the center bearing was fixed, it was like somebody turned on a switch at 45 mph and the car instantly started shaking), but there's certainly something going on at higher speeds. I can feel it both in my seat/floor and in the steering too, though only a little bit (not like when front tires are bad). I don't think cupped/unbalanced rear tires can vibrate so much (but we'll see). Also heard it can have something to do with engine/tranny mounts, but I have no idea how to find out exactly if they are bad or not. I know that when I start the car it seems that the engine is jumping too much, on my previous Escape it wasn't shaking like that when it was being turned by the starter. After it starts I feel some vibrations inside but not so bad, rather it's noise, but that's a question of poor soundproofing, when the engine warms up, it's pretty quiet. And when I put it in reverse, I sometimes feel more vibration than in drive, but again, I looked at it with the hood open and it doesn't look like the engine is really moving, I saw engines with bad mounts which literally shift when you apply gas or put it in drive/reverse. The transmission is shifting fine. So I thought - maybe it's only my imagination and it's normal for this car to shake like that. I don't know how to diagnose this - the passenger side mount under the airbox, for example, looks OK, and I can't see too much inside because there are rubber covers on the sides and I can't really pull them aside (only a little bit) and look what's inside this thing. Somebody told me it should be fluid-filled, I don't see any leaks on it, and I don't know where's fluid supposed to be in it, maybe it's a different type. Maybe one day I will try to support the engine from the bottom and give it a better look. I still don't think it's normal for the engine to vibrate like that during starting, so maybe a mount is really bad. Well, I can fix that myself easily.
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Old 12-24-2017, 02:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

I'd be surprised to find the drive shaft is out of balance. More likely the ujoints were installed poorly. It could be either worn tailstock or RDM input bearings. You would see oil weeping from the seals if so.
If the drive shaft is out of balance you would be able to see where a weight came off. A good shaft shop can do a rebalanceing. Sounds like he one you went to didn't want to bother with it. Try a shop that cateres to the racing crowd. Worst case it is possible to balance one DYI.
Don't ignore the tires cupping as this is a symptom. Have you replaced the shocks? That would be great place to start. Also check the rear axles.
A road speed dependent growl is fairly common on Vues. Otherwise it should be smooth and quiet.
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Old 12-24-2017, 03:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

Roman,
Well, I was going to say that replacing the center support bearing isn't that hard and requires no special tools. I did mine with a vice, good sized C Clamp, and some punches. But you have that taken care of, so I will move on.
On the cupped rear tires, they certainly can do what you are saying, at most any speed. If you go to replace them, remember that you have to do all 4 at the same time. If there is more than about an 3/16" difference I'm tire height front to back, it will cause the AWD to act up.
Second, have you checked the balance of all four tires or had a four wheel alignment done? Both could be contributors to this issue.
Finally, on the motor mount idea, there are three; one passenger side top, put a pry bar on it, and work it, if you see separation of any kind, it is bad. Second motor mount, bottom front slightly to the driver's side, it is fluid filled, check it the same way. Third one is bottom back above the sway bar. It is a bit of a bear to get to.
These areas would be my starting points for your problems.

Good luck,

John
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

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Originally Posted by lord_varon View Post
Roman,
Well, I was going to say that replacing the center support bearing isn't that hard and requires no special tools. I did mine with a vice, good sized C Clamp, and some punches. But you have that taken care of, so I will move on.
I wish I knew this. Might have saved a good amount of money. I'm an Army mechanic so I have access to a shop with tools from time to time. The other thing is that you need time to do it, and with my two kids it's not always easy. I wish I could check the balance on this thing! But I couldn't find any shop in Massachusetts which agrees to check the driveshaft balance. They all say it's too long and doesn't fit on the machine, or just say "you need a new one, this one is unserviceable". Anyway, it's a fast steady vibration which starts around 45 mph. I can feel it in my seat and feet. For some reason, around 70-75-80 mph it gets much better. The worst is like 50-65 mph. Maybe it doesn't have anything to do with the driveshaft.

Quote:
On the cupped rear tires, they certainly can do what you are saying, at most any speed. If you go to replace them, remember that you have to do all 4 at the same time. If there is more than about an 3/16" difference I'm tire height front to back, it will cause the AWD to act up.
Wow, I didn't know this AWD system is so sensitive. But the rear ones aren't that bad, they have a lot of tread left. I just had to replace the fronts because they were really worn. I really hope it doesn't mean my whole AWD system is f**d up now because this idiot was driving on worn front tires (and he never replaced the T-Belt too, good thing it's a Honda engine and it didn't snap before!). But back to the rear tires. Unless you have a very good look at the inside, you can think they're almost new. However, if you use a light and run your hand there, you can feel that the inside is cupped, like if it has the wrong camber (but I'm not sure it's adjustable on this model). I already ordered a pair of new shocks because cupping usually means there's an issue with them, even though when you shake the car it doesn't keep bouncing, and when I drive it, it doesn't feel like the rear is "floating" or jumping (I once had an Isuzu Bighorn with shot shocks, I remember how bouncy it was) on road bumps, so it doesn't look like the shocks are so bad. But if cupping is present, there must be still something wrong with these.


Quote:
Second, have you checked the balance of all four tires or had a four wheel alignment done? Both could be contributors to this issue.
Fronts were just replaced and balanced, I hope the guys didn't do such a poor job. I'm going to have the rears re-balanced today or tomorrow. But since they're cupped, I'm not even sure they will balance correctly. Maybe I will have to buy new ones which is a pity because these have a lot of tread left, and they look too good to throw them in the trash. As for the alignment, no. I know the front must be OK because the tire wear was even, the car doesn't pull at all when driving, so I'm not too concerned. As for the rear, I would check the camber, but I'm not sure it's even adjustable.

Quote:
Finally, on the motor mount idea, there are three; one passenger side top, put a pry bar on it, and work it, if you see separation of any kind, it is bad. Second motor mount, bottom front slightly to the driver's side, it is fluid filled, check it the same way. Third one is bottom back above the sway bar. It is a bit of a bear to get to.
These areas would be my starting points for your problems.

Good luck,

John
OK I will check. The only thing I know now is that it transmits vibration to the steering wheel, because when I'm in traffic, I can feel it there, while if you put it in N, the vibration is way less. I've seen the second mount, so this is the fluid filled one? Will recheck it when I have time, maybe it just leaked out.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

For some reason, the forum doesn't let me edit my post now so I have to do another one. I just wanted to add that while I was driving with the driveshaft off (while the bearing was being fixed), I don't remember having this vibration, or at least it must have been almost unnoticeable. This is why I was thinking that since the bearing is now fixed, the problem must be in the driveshaft itself. Once I got it installed, I thought that it should now be the same as without it, but no, there's vibration starting at 45mph, but of course it's not shaking anywhere as badly as it was - before the support bearing was replaced, starting at 45mph the car sounded like it's driving over a very rough rumble strip on a highway, and shook all over. And it was starting very suddenly, like somebody hit a switch at a certain speed, and I could feel the shake when I put my hand on the plastic box between the driver and the passenger (which is above the driveshaft and center bearing). Now I don't have this terrible rumble, but starting at approximately same speed, I gradually start feeling vibration in the seat and feet, and way less in the steering, that's why I was thinking that the issue is coming from the back. I don't really feel it in this box anymore, rather in the seat and the feet, but it's still annoying. It's not the same every time for some reason, sometimes I barely feel this vibration, and it seems to be much better once I get above 70+ mph. Once you slow down to 40 mph or so, the car's like new, no sounds or anything. I'll see if the rear balance (and shocks) does anything, if not, that's certainly a bent / unbalanced driveshaft which costs almost $700 , so it's economically senseless to replace it, I will just be taking it off once winter's gone.
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Old 12-30-2017, 05:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

Roman,
First off, get 4 good, laser balanced tires. Then take it to the best alignment shop that you can find and have them do a 4 wheel alignment, after they go over your complete suspension and verify that every piece is good.
Also, when you pulled the driveshaft, did you mark it, front middle and back so that you could remount it in the proper position? When I pulled mine due to my center support bearing, I made a single line across both pieces in the middle, also marked the rear yoke across both pieces as well as where the output shaft from the transfercase bolts to the driveshaft.... alignment marks on both pieces of metal in each location. If you, or whomever, did not line everything back up to the same place as when it came out... that will throw off the balance. And where is Mass are you located at? If your base has an auto hobby shop, ask the folks in there if they know a place that can do a longer driveshaft. The driveshafts in these are not THAT huge....someone around you probably does it.... Or you might have to send it out to someplace, but it can be done. If it really is screwed up though, there is a company that makes REALLY nice replacement shafts for these cars... but they are that $6-$700 that you are talking about. But if the car is going to last you another 3-5 years... that is worth it in my opinion.
A thing on the motor mounts.... does the steering wheel twitch badly in your hands on low speed bumps or does it get pulled around in your hand over grooved or rutted roads? If not.... I would think that motor mounts should be okay.... when I first got my 07 it had three bad motor mounts and did the above mentioned things.
Vues do tend to be a little noisey inside... but not obtrusively so. I had just gotten mine silenced when I totalled it....

Hope this helps,

John
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:32 AM   #10
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Devil Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

I balanced the rear tires. The balance was off, but.it didn't solve the issue. Over 45 mph it's still "rumble strip" until approximately 70 mph, then it gets better. So it must be the driveshaft. I didn't do it myself, but I know they put it back together in the same position. I think it's just bent or there is a weight missing, because the idiot who drove it didn't want to replace the bearing and it was vibrating. With the cost of the car less than $3000 it doesn't make sense to replace it for $700. I don't believe that the rear tires can cause such rumble and vibration even though they have some wear on the inside. They must be in really terrible condition to be doing it. Mine sound more like they are special offroad mud tires for big trucks, no way these tires can be doing that. I just don't want to spend another $200+ only to find that the issue is still there (these 235/60/17 tires are expensive, $200 for two cheapest tires is the minimum). I tested the wheel bearings, all wheels are tight, and to have such vibration they must be wobbling like crazy. It can't be warped rotors as I don't have steering wheel vibration when braking. It can't be halfshafts because otherwise the noise would change depending on acceleration/direction and it doesn't change at all. So I am pretty sure it's a bent driveshaft. That's why I posted this, so that other people always test drive this car on the highway.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Driveshaft - good advice for those who want a Vue AWD

Just an update: yes, it was a bad driveshaft. Once it was taken out, the vibration stopped. Unfortunately, the company said it's impossible to balance it because it has a bad CV joint, so the best option is to buy a different one. I will try a used one from a local junkyard today. Hopefully it's better. And again, if someone's thinking about buying a Vue AWD, ALWAYS test drive it on a highway to avoid my mistake. It's obviously a weak spot of this model, and it costs lots of money to fix, so you should either refuse to buy it or ask for a very substantial discount. The new driveshaft price is comparable with the price of the vehicle ($600-$700), so don't neglect it.
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