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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #41
Other than the "love taps" on both bumpers (2 seperate incidents of hit and run), this car has never hit anything other than a squirrel, chipmunk, and 8 birds. And, yes, that is an accurate count. I don't know what is with the Kamikaze, thrill seeking birds around here but every one that I hit bounced off of the windshield as they tired to dive bomb the hood. So, I can easily rule that one out.

I did get a call back from my mechanic about the tension strut service. They said that it would be about $754 for the parts and labor to swap them out. Now, I really do like this mechanic. They (there are 3 of them that run the shop) are really honest about the work that they do, and they do good work. But at $754, either there is more to this job that I realize, or there shop rate has really gone up. Anyway, I will be ordering a set from Rock Auto tonight and installing them myself.
 

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Shaolin Ch'uan Fa
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18,841 Posts
I think you're going about this the best way possible. If the tension struts are bad, they need to be replacecd. Get those done and see if it doesn't take care of the issue.
 

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Hemi? Noooooooo!
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7,347 Posts
To get the balljoint end of the tension strut off and this is the only way i know how and easy. Take the rotor and dust shield off thats the only way to get a pickle fork in there. I beat on that thing for a good hour before the neighbor came over and suggested to do it that way and it popped right off. Unless someone has a better way. They are way easy to change and will save you 645 bucks.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #45
Oya if you havn't ordered yet PM me i got a 5% discount code.
Already ordered from Rock Auto. Just short of $121 shipped...with a 5% discount code. lol! Thanks anyway!

Anytime I buy something online, I google for a discount code. I find some sort of discount about 75% of the time.

I went with the cheap shipping so the parts will be here some time next week. Hopefully by then, I will be done chiseling the car out of the block of ice it will supposedly be buried in. The weather is supposed to be pretty nasty here over the next several days.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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Discussion Starter #46
The Mevo Tech tension struts showed up yesterday. Hopefully I can get a least one installed tonight. I won't get another chance to work on it until Tuesday.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #48 (Edited)
I managed to swap out the driver's side tension strut last night. It was 34° and misting when I started. By the time I was done it changed to 31° and the mist turned to rain, then sleet, then snow. Good times.

Anyway, the new tension strut made a difference. The steering wheel no longer shakes. However, you can still feel the vibration in the chasis. The vibration is more consistent now too. The frequency of the vibration has not really changed otherwise, but the amplitude of the vibration has improved. This gives me hope that replacing the passenger side tension strut may resolve the issue.

Before I changed the tension strut last night, I noted that the alignment was off. As soon as I put the wheel back on to finish the job I noticed that the driver's side wheel was turned to the left while the passenger's side was straight. Great. When you drive it, the car tracks pretty straight even though the steering wheel is turn left 3°-5°. If you ride it out long enough, the car will pull left, but it will go straight for a good distance. So, is this a symptom of having only changed the driver's side tension strut?

If you hit the brakes, the vibration will become more intense and you can feel a little bit of the vibration in the steering wheel, but the brake pedal does not pulse. Braking at higher speeds has a more noticeable effect. If you go easy on the brakes, though, it's not too bad.

Turning left or right doesn't seem to affect the vibration much. It will get a little stronger or weaker, but not by much.




Lessons learned from installing the new tension strut:
1) A pickle fork is a must. I'm not sure I could have popped the ball joint end loose otherwise.
2) To access the ball joint to use the pickle fork you must remove your brakes and rotors. Then remove the 3 bolts holding the heat shield in place and turn it 180°.
3) Be careful when using the pickle fork that you do not damage the boot on the ball joint right next to the one you are working on.
4) Position the pickle for such that it is pointing towards the center of the nose of the car. This will allow you some much needed clearance under the hub and help you avoid the adjacent ball joint boot.
5) Two of the bolts/nuts are large metric sizes (20 or 21 mm). I have neither of these sizes but manage to use english sizes without damaging anything. There is also one that requires an 18mm socket/wrench. This is the same size needed to remove the brake pad frame/housing (not sure what the official term is).
6) Once you get all of the bolts out and the ball joint popped loose, it can still be difficult to remove the tension strut due to everything being so close together. Pull the ball joint end up as high as it will go (not much really), then push the bushing end into the cradle mount. Repeat until the ball joint end clears everything and lifts up to a point that you can then slide everything straight out. Everything installs in the opposite order.
7) Be sure to clean all mounting areas.
8) If your replacement parts have grease fittings, be sure to fill them with grease.


For those of you who are curious, I purchased the Mevo Tech brand tension struts from Rock Auto. Their bushing design is exactly the same as the OEM that was on the car. I'm not sure that is a good thing since Dodge recognized these bushings as an issue and redesigned them. However, I did go 90k+ miles on the originals.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #50
No, but since the alignment is off, I may have them look at it when the redo the alignment. Just taking it one step at a time though.

I was planning to put the other tension strut in tonight, but the wind chill is in the single digits. That might be a little much.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #51

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #53
So, after just over $850, several cold nights in the driveway, and much frustration...

IT STILL EFFIN SHAKES!!!!!!!!!:cussing:

I am just about ready to wrap this thing around a tree and be done with it! :pat:



The new tension struts made a dramatic improvement, but it still shakes. The alignment is off a bit, so maybe that's the issue. Who knows. It is tied to wheel speed. You can start to feel it around 45mph, but you're just not sure if it just bumps in the road. At this point, everything feels like a vibration. But as your speed climbs, the vibration becomes much more distinct. The brakes no longer affect the vibration. The steering wheel does not shake, but you can feel it in the steering wheel around 55+ mph. When you get up to 60 mph it sounds almost like a wheel is flat spotted. I has a kind of slapping sound. The tire noise increase as you go faster which is leading me to believe that it could just be the alignment.

So far I've replaced the following items:
Front rotors
Front brake pads
Inner tie rods
Both tension struts
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #54
Add a tire rotation to the list above.

Here's my observations from today...
After about 1 mile from work, I jump on the highway. There is a slight vibration at 60 mph. Roughly 3 minutes of 60 mph cruising and the vibration is rather noticeable. It is still not as strong as it was but still significant. It intensifies the more I drive so I back down to 55 mph and the vibration eases a bit. As I am approaching some bumper to bumper traffic some ricer cuts me off. I jump on the brake with "moderate force" and notice the vibration grow about as strong as it was with one bad tension strut. Not good. However, as long as I stayed at 35 mph or below (bumper to bumper traffic) the vibration wasn't very noticeable. As traffic picked up and I got to a clear area I started playing with the speed. Speed up and the vibration gets stronger. Slow down and it gets weaker. And there is a steady "womp-womp-womp-womp" sound to it. The vibration is no longer "fixing itself" as it was before. This is really starting to feel like a tire that is out of balance. With the vibrations that I have been having and the manner in which both front tires have worn, I'm guessing that they have worn themselves away to the point that they are no longer in balance.

I just finished rotating the fronts to the back (directional tires). Hopefully, I will feel a vibration in the rear tomorrow. Um...yeah.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #55
My drive in to work this morning resulted in the same vibration that I felt yesterday. So, while this isn't ideal, it is good news. Originally this vibration would come and go and was completely unpredictable. Now the vibration is predictable, repeatable, consistent, and appears to be directly related to wheel speed. At least now we can actually identify some things.

It was 11° outside this morning so the car, in general, ran a little rough at first. After a couple of minutes it starts to loosen up, but I don't really get up to any real speed for several miles. I finally get up to 40 mph and start to detect the vibration starting in. 3-4 minutes go by and I get up to 45mph-50mph. Now the vibration is getting stronger. This behavior makes me think that this delay is caused by the tires building air pressure as they warm up. The vibration eventually get strong enough that it is shaking the whole chasis...but not the steering wheel. I play around with the speed a bit to see how it affects the vibration. Again, if you speed up it gets stronger. Slow down and it weakens.

At this point I am really thinking that it is a badly worn tire that is out of balance. Any rotating mass that is not balanced will go through various harmonic phasing as your speed changes. So, to test this theory once I hit the highway I slowly started to gain speed. At 50-55 mph the vibration seemed the strongest. At 70mph the vibration started to weaken. Slow down closer to 50 mph and the vibration picked back up. Eventually, after driving at 70mph for some time, the vibration settled down a lot at all speeds. I assume that the air pressure built up to a point that "corrected itself" a bit.

Hitting the brakes did affect the vibration as it did before but to a lesser degree. However, it didn't shake the steering wheel.

Anyway, it looks like my next step is to get my tires balance. I will likely end up replacing the badly worn front tires which are now on the rear. And the alignment is still off so that will also need to be addressed.
 

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Premium Member
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18,999 Posts
Geeezz.. well, by the time you are done you will be good for another 100K ........almost sounds like a bad tire, a belt shift (goodyears are good for that) or just bad cupping on one or more tires.....
 

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Being kept down by the man
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7,782 Posts
I had another thought. Long time ago, I had a bent rim. More accurately, it was out of round. It was able to be balanced (at least the machine said it was), but had very similar characteristics. Mine would only show up every other rotation. Since you have directional tires, possibly two got smacked at the same time. Does the shop you go to have any way to check roundness?

Just something I remembered and thought I would throw out there. Rims are about the only thing you haven't changed yet......
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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Discussion Starter #58
I just got home from getting my tires balanced and the alignment redone. The toe was out pretty bad in the front...more so on the left side. That coincides with the pull that I was feelling. My initial impression on the drive home is that the alignment is good, but there was a hint of a vibration. Yippy.

As for the bent rim, I was thinking about that but I'm not sure how it could happen. It take care around all of my daily potholes and manhole covers. I'm still running the stock "pillow" tires (way too much side wall). And I keep the tire pressure up. I don't recall hitting anything significant at any point. So...possible? Yes. Probable? Not sure.

I did notice that since I did the tire rotation last night, I can hear the brake pads popping when I leave from a stop as if they are sticking. So, I'll probably regrease the pads this Sunday.

I'll hold my current vibration verdict for the morning.
 

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Quando omni flunkus moritati.
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3,790 Posts
Discussion Starter #59 (Edited)
This is probably one of the best alignments this car has ever had. And they even got it right on the first try! I'm guessing that the new tension struts had a lot to do with that.

But, as always, the vibration remains. It is still very rhythmic and consistent. It is tied to wheel speed and will change "harmonics" with the speed. You can feel the vibration just starting up at about 40mph. The sweet spot is 45-55 mph. Above 55 mph it starts to smooth out, but it never fully goes away. Driving at 65 mph you can hear the vibration more than you can feel it. The steering wheel is stable and only at its worst can you feel it in the brake pedal. Even then it is not strong like a warped rotor would be.

It is difficult to tell exactly where the vibartion is coming from. It feels like the front end, but is vibrates the entire chasis so it is a bit misleading.

Let's recap...

So far I've replaced the following items:
Front rotors
Front brake pads
Inner tie rods
Both tension struts
Tire Rotation
Tire Balance
4 wheel alignment

Will it ever end? :banghead:
 
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