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  #1  
Old 01-20-2010, 06:57 PM
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Default Front End/Steering - Wobble, Shimmy, Vibration - All speeds

Hi All,

Great forum you have here. It has helped me out a lot in the past. But now i need a bit more insight into a new developing problem so i needed to register.

I did some searching for the problem i'm having but need a bit more help to hopefully narrow it down and to confirm.

I'm getting a front end/steering wheel wobble at all speeds. Low speed is low frequency wobble, higher speeds, of course higher frequency.

At first i just thought it was moisture/water in the tire which froze inside during the cold spells we been having. But its been above freezing for the past few days and the wobble is still there. I dont think its a wheel balance problem.

I think it may be the right side tie rod end (from what i've read searching this forum).

I jacked up the front, held the tire at 9 and 3 o'clock, the right wheel has some play. The left has hardly any play. I placed hands at 12 and 6, no play for either tire (i understand 12-6 is to check for upper/lower ball joint wear and 9-3 is to check for tie rod).

I went under the car and grabbed the right side tie rod, i can move it by hand and twist it. Not much play, but its definitely there and can be moved by hand. The left side tie rod is tight and cannot be moved by hand.

My budget is very tight (as like everyone else nowadays), so i just wanted to make a post to confirm i have diagnosed this problem correctly and found the culprit.

If so, i'm most likely going to have to replace it myself.

Some Questions...

Any tips or links to find instructions? Should i just go out and get a Chilton? Can you buy it online nowadays? (i can google this one, but putting it here for other newb's if anyone wants to answer).

Do i really need to get a tie rod end splitter? Can i just crack it off with a hammer?

How do i find out if its the inner or outer tie rod end that needs replacement? Should i replace both anyway?

Are there any other tests i should perform before going out to buy new tie rods ends?

If it turns out its only the tie rod end on the right side that is bad, should i replace the left as well as a sort of preventative maintenance?

Car is a 1999 Blazer ZR2 with 75k miles.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:55 PM
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It's helpful to have someone else. It's difficult to wiggle a wheel AND see what is wiggling. Three o'clock and six will show tie rod ends. To see ball joints jack
under the lower A-frame and lift the front tire a few inches. Then take a bar or piece of pipe and lift. Wiggling it by hand will show a sloppy wheel bearing.
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Last edited by RonJon; 01-20-2010 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:14 AM
 
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I have the same problems and the tight budget. I have a 97 4x4 jimmy and an 89 full size ford bronco. in my research and repairs i would say it is the tie rod and wheel bearing. I have found parts dirt cheap at www.rockauto.com. they are cheap and deliver fast. if it is in your budget you can get a whole front end rebuild kit on ebay for 150 $$

Happy wrenching
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:51 AM
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Thank you for your replies Ronjon and joey.

Ronjon, I did have someone else holding the wheel and also tried it when it was locked. The right side has more play than the left. The left side has hardly any.

Joey, thats a good price for a complete rebuild kit on ebay, any advice for search terms? I tried a few but didnt get any results. I checked rockauto as well. Good prices as you said, but for no-name brands (at least, brands i'm not familair with).

I'm probably going to go with Moog for the tie rods from Advance unless i can find a better price eslewhere, or if i can find the complete rebuild kit.

Any ideas that it could also be the Idler or Pitman arm?

Remember, only the right side tie rod can be wiggled or twisted when physically grabbing the tie rod at the sleeve by hand. The left side i cant move, its tight. This is what makes me think its the tie rod only?

The wheel bearing for the front wheel seems pretty high in price. Am i looking at the correct bearing here?

http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web..._1198980768___

Thanks again for your replies.
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Old 01-21-2010, 10:03 AM
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Jack the front end up and spin the tires and see if maybe you have a bad tire. If it has separated internally it will mimic a bad wheel bearing and cause a wobble in the front end.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:06 PM
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Ya know... after your post Blazernut, i decided to revist the tire issue. At first i thought it may have been ice frozen to the side of the tire, but after it warmed up here, i abandoned that theory.

But you brought up a good point, and considering my first impressions and the fact my budget is very tight, i figured it couldnt hurt to rotate the tires. The left front was a bit worn and i inspected it a bit closer. Looked like it had a small bulge in the worn tread along perhaps 1/4 of the circumference. Hard to notice, but i decided to switch it out with the full size spare.

Problem solved...

She's now as smooth as a baby's behind..

Thanks for bringing up the tires again Blazernut, i was almost ready to start purchasing front end components. You saved me quite a few duckets.

Anyone know a good place to get ZR2 tires for a good price?
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:47 PM
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Glad to be of service, I used to work in a tire shop and I learned about out of round tires. The give-away was at all speeds. A balance problem will show up at 50 MPH and above. An out of round tire will wobble at low speeds.
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96Blazernut View Post
A balance problem will show up at 50 MPH and above.
Yeah, that is why i ruled out tire balance pretty early on, since it was wobbling at low speeds and at a glance, the tires looked round. Thats why i started looking at mechanical components.

But, given i have pretty low miles on my car given the year, it does "sit" a lot. Its mostly highway miles and has seen many different climates. Given weather "wear" and my highway miles... and after your post, i decided to take a closer look at the wear. Glad i did, and im glad you replied. Hopefully this helps other newbs.

I know these tires on the ZR2 are very tempermental (no pun intended). Extreme temperature changes can cause a flat tire from near full pressure. Anyone who owns a ZR2 (or similar), keep an eye on your tires. If they look low, fill them. Its most likely not a slow leak, but a change in temp. Even if its just 2 psi low. That 2 psi makes world of difference with these big wheels. I bought myself a small cigarette lighter compressor years ago just for this issue. Best investment i ever made.

Thanks again Blazernnut.. (and others), for your replies.
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Old 01-21-2010, 03:08 PM
 
 
 
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1999, ball, blazer, camaro, chevy, end, failure, forum, front, joint, replacement, signs, speeds, tierod, wobble


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