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Old 06-06-2006, 12:21 AM   #1
Bluesideup
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Default Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

I have a 2000 SL1 known as the "Trusty Saturn". I don't know what the deal is but it just won't die! My wife asked when we are going to get rid of the Saturn, I replied "When she throws a rod through the block or gets totaled!". It would be tough to give up a car that gets 40mpg highway and never picks up a door ding. As of today our trusty Saturn has 108K on it and she runs strong, doesn't use any oil at all!

I do my own maintenance but I'm having an issue I can't pinpoint. There is a vibration from the front of the car that has been happening for about the last 20K in varying degrees. It is most prevalent above 65mph, here in SoCal we usually drive about 75mph on the highway. The steering wheel vibrates like there is a wheel out of balance.

The tires are new Michelin X Radials all the way around. I've swapped wheels front to back with no change in vibration.

The front torsion/sway bar bushings are new. Energy Suspension bushings on the body and NAPA bushings in the control arms.

The outer tie rod ends are new. The inners were still tight when I checked them.

The struts are new KYB GR-2s. The upper bearings were greased up at the time of strut replacement.

Car was aligned after the strut replacement. All this work was done about 2K ago.

The car also tramlines like crazy on grooved roads (it did this with the last set of tires too). When driving at highway speeds the car is pretty sensitive on center. It almost feels like driving a car with the front sway bar disconnected, the turn in is very quick. At times when turning at high speeds there is a subtle "knocking" in the steering wheel, like someone is tapping the tie rod end with a hammer.

Are all Saturns sensitive to grooved roads? Are they all sensitive on center?

I've done a visual check on the ball joints at the bottom of the spindles and the boots are not damaged. I jacked the front of the car up and grabbed the wheel at the 6 and 12 o'clock positions. I couldn't feel any play at all. I also checked it at 3 and 9 o'clock and there was not any play.

The only other suspect I can think of is a bad wheel bearing. I can't hear any noise and again there is not any looseness when checking the wheel.

Can you guys help our trusty Saturn?
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Old 06-07-2006, 10:31 PM   #2
bobsat
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

This may have been covered, but this was my experience

I had a mystery vibe <grin> in my 97 sl1

It turned out that wal-mart tire had a defective balancer...at least 3 tries, maybe 4 to rebalance and no cure...took the wheels to a diff shop, problem solved.

btw, another prob with wally world (well, one among thousands of problems) is that they buy tires in MASSIVE lots, then warehouse them for long periods of time, years. Tires have a shelf life, and we were haveing lifespan problems with kelly and michelins on well maintained vehicles...started buying from a smaller shop for a few bucks more a tire, if that, and tread life increased dramatically.
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

I don't know if this will help, but we had this problem with our '02 SL2 and it turned out to be the rack and pinion set...thingie... Thing shook like crazy.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

My recent experience with my 1997 SL1. I had vibration at highway speed. I discoverd warped rotors so I relaced with new rotors and pads. This took care of most of the vibration but there was still a little. Had front wheels balanced and they were good. What we found was a bent right front wheel so we rotated front wheels to back and back to front, vibration went away.
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Old 07-04-2006, 11:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

Wow thank you guys for the replys to my thread.

I took the car to another Costco for a balance and rotation again. They said one tire was out a bit but they were able to get it balanced.

The vibration is still present.

What is the power steering "set thingy"?

Warped rotors could be a possibility. The front rotors have about 20K on them and the pads are at about 10K. They were turned at the pad replacement since the car had defective pads for 10K.

The other possibility I have come up with is a bad right front wheel bearing. Do you guys think I can pull the right front brake and check the wheel bearing? I can't feel any play by grabbing the wheel.
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

I don't see it mentioned, so try rotating the tires front to back. The wheel bearings are pressed in. There's really no way to visually check them. When mine went, they just made a lot of noise. I believe what karinhesed86 was referring to when she said, "rack and pinion set...thingie" was the rack. I'd be darn sure before I replaced that.
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

BarnOwl thanks for the advice. I actually just had the tires rotated and rebalanced, unfortunately the vibration is still present.

The car vibrates between 65mph and 80mph. I'm thinking it could be the right front wheel bearing but it's so hard to pin point noises.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

Bent Wheel, does one wheel have a ton of balance weights on it? Did you rotate front to rear like barnowl suggested? A bad bearing will growl and move up and down when the car is lifted and you "wiggle" the tire. I'm thinking bad tire or bad wheel.
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Old 07-06-2006, 02:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

Sorry, I just read that you rotated. I still think its a bent wheel or bad tire. Try this jack the car up 2 inches off, stick a crowbar between the tire and the ground and apply upward pressure to the tire. Look at all bushings and track ends for movement.
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Old 07-06-2006, 06:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

Thank you for the suggestion. I'll try that out next week.
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Old 07-06-2006, 11:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Front End Vibration 2000 SL1

I have a similar problem. See: http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...062#post863062
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