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Old 04-20-2010, 01:25 PM   #1
AQuinn19
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2006 ION-2 Quad Coupe
Default Steering Shake

I currently have a steering wheel vibration at about 40-60mph when I brake. I know it can be dangerous, because sometimes when it shakes, you have to make sure you have control of it. I just did the brakes, rotors, drums and shoes, last april. Don't think that the brakes can go bad in a year. I also had an alignment and tire balance as well. Would it be possible that it is a bent rim? Car has about 100,200 miles on it.

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Old 04-20-2010, 03:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steering Shake

The fact that it only does it when you're braking points to brakes. I would normally wager front rotor warpage, but I imagine if the rotors were warped enough to shake your steering wheel that hard you'd notice even when not braking.

Pull the front wheels off and make sure everything is bolted down all the way in there, especially caliper bolts and pivot pins, also the control arm and knuckle bolts. If something were loose you could wind up with some sort of resonance thing as the brake calipers shimmy around and skitter off the rotors. This may back off the bolts further or break one, which could really put you up the creek.

Could also be that one of your brake pads is chewed up unevenly, or you really do have some rotor damage. A bent rim would pretty much wobble all the time, as would loose lugnuts or steering components. Usually, anyway.

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Old 04-20-2010, 06:50 PM   #3
dcc81187
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Default Re: Steering Shake

look at your brake pads and see if they are all worn the same. You could have a stuck caliper slide pin which can case a pad to drag and warp your rotor. you should be able to grab the caliper and slide it back and forth with little effort. Make sure you put some caliper grease on those pins next time you dismantle the bakes. Also put it on the ends of the break pads where the ride on the bracket.

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Old 04-20-2010, 09:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Quote:
Originally Posted by AQuinn19 View Post
I currently have a steering wheel vibration at about 40-60mph when I brake. I know it can be dangerous, because sometimes when it shakes, you have to make sure you have control of it. I just did the brakes, rotors, drums and shoes, last april. Don't think that the brakes can go bad in a year. I also had an alignment and tire balance as well. Would it be possible that it is a bent rim? Car has about 100,200 miles on it.
a year is a long time! how many miles do you drive in a year? do you drive somewhere that has four seasons? get the brake pads and rotors inspected. you may have uneven friction material deposits.

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Old 04-20-2010, 10:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steering Shake

I don't drive a whole lot of miles actually. I live in Illinois, so yeah I pretty much have all four seasons you can say.

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Old 04-21-2010, 08:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Quote:
Originally Posted by AQuinn19 View Post
I don't drive a whole lot of miles actually. I live in Illinois, so yeah I pretty much have all four seasons you can say.
Check to make sure your wheel nuts are at the proper torque. If you had a shop remove your wheels and put them back on with an air wrench I can guarantee you they are WAAAAY overtightened. jack her back up and remove and re-torque the bolts correctly. Had this exact problem with a Pontiac Vibe I owned and this was the issue.

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Old 04-21-2010, 09:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Check the temperature by touching the drums and rotors (lug nuts if too hot) after a normal drive. This is a simple and not always reliable test to determine if all 4 brakes are working within normal limits. If you find that one drum/rotor is warmer/hotter than the other that will help give you a clue. Keep in mind this is a simple test that should be done first since it does not require much work.


I had a problem on another car .. 91 chevy astro van. There were two brake fluid reservoirs, one for front and other for rear. No one added the fluid to the rear drums so they were not working. My point is that when I pressed on the brakes lightly (non-emergency), I had no problems but when I slammed on them, the van would fish tale.

If the front brakes look fine, check the rear brakes b/c one of them may not be "braking" well so the car can vibrate or fish tale during a harder braking scenario.

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Old 04-21-2010, 09:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steering Shake

That sounds like something easy to do. I know, if I have the car off, and step on the brakes, I can hear a noise coming from the rear brakes when I step on the brakes. Not sure if something is out of adjustment. I mean, brakes shouldn't go bad in a year should they?

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Old 04-21-2010, 09:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Brakes should last a couple of years assuming you install them correctly and drive conservatively ... such as tighten all bolts, lube moving parts, bleed system, etc.

I know you mentioned that you don't drive a lot, but any harsh braking condition can warp the rotors i.e. stop and go driving on hot day with some medium to hard braking in traffic.

Brakes are a major problem for my 99 SL2 automatic so I tighten the drums every oil change and check the entire brake system yearly. I had to replace the rotors and calipers every 2 years b/c they warped from my driving habit or the caliper piston dust boots ripped. Thankfully most items are under warranty.

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Old 04-21-2010, 10:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Yeah. I probably will have to take a look to see if things are in working order. I know you usually go through front brakes at least once, before you change the rears. So I will have to figure out whats going on.

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Old 04-21-2010, 10:05 AM   #11
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Concerning the noise in the back, when you step on the brakes, it should force the wheel cylinder to widen out and push the brake shoes. You will get some slight grinding noise as the brake surfaces meets the drum surface ... only when the wheels are rotating. I would use a blower or air compressor to blow out all the dust, be careful not to inhale any of it. Wipe down the drum and brake shoe surface with a moist towel to get more brake dust off.

Now check if there are any loose parts stuck inside the drum. While they're off, check the wear on the drum surface to see if both sides have similar wear. Its difficult to rely on the wear pattern of the brake shoes because they tend to wear unevenly since the drum is a perfect circle while two brake shoes expanding out forms a slight oval (not a perfect circle).

When you put back on the tire for the drum, keep the car jacked up. Spin the tire to see how it feels and sounds. Some slight grinding noise is okay.

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Old 04-21-2010, 10:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Thanks for the info. I will have to take a look at that, and see what is causing this issue. It is a real safety concern that is for sure.

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Old 04-22-2010, 11:41 AM   #13
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Default Re: Steering Shake

Quote:
Originally Posted by pljenkins View Post
Check to make sure your wheel nuts are at the proper torque. If you had a shop remove your wheels and put them back on with an air wrench I can guarantee you they are WAAAAY overtightened. jack her back up and remove and re-torque the bolts correctly. Had this exact problem with a Pontiac Vibe I owned and this was the issue.
Well I check this. This for sure was not the issue. They were torqued on there, but took them all off, and put them back on and still the same issue. So looks like I am back at square one.

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