96 Sunfire Vibrates above 70 mph Help!!

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My Sunfire viibrates in speeds above 70. I can feel it in the steering wheel and whole car, I can even see my passenger seat shaking! It also pulls to the left at all speeds. It just feels unstable at speeds above 70. I've never had this problem before and I have done tons of research to locate the problem I have replaced and serviced all the common things for this problem and yet it still won't go away! It still pulls to the left after I got the new tires and alignment.

I have had: Driveshafts replaced
All news tires with alignment and balancing
New brakes
Tie rods replaced
New shocks and struts

I just feel out of solutions. Has anyone any ideal why it is still vibrating/shaking. Thank you

posted by  boeing747heavy

maybe a binding ball joint, strut bearing, your rack and pinion rotary valve could be causing the vehicle to steer to one side. an important piece of info you left out is mileage, the more you give the more we can help.

posted by  carlos

I'm willing to bet the alignment and balancing job you had done wasn't worth a flip and that is all that is wrong. Take your car to a reputable shop. Ask around. Have them check everything out.

posted by  67Coronet383

yea usually a good shop will tell ya they cant do the alignment if such and such is out and you need to get it fixed first.

posted by  adamc44

A binding ball joint? Please explain. I got the alignment done at pepboys as well as the tires. I have read the warranty and plan on going back and having them do it over again. Oh yeah, I have 177,026 miles on this car. I love it very much and I never plan on trading it in for my next car.

posted by  boeing747heavy

have you ever had any other suspension parts replaced? a binding ball joint or strut bearing might cause more of a returnability problem than a pull, but being a high mileage vehicle and if you've never replaced the ball joints, bushing, etc. alignment could be nearly impossible. Having the tie rods replaced was a good move, but bad ball joints can not only cause bad alignment but improper tire wear, check the inside of your front tires for cupping or wear on one shoulder more than than the other. To check for bad ball joints lift the front of the vehicle grab the tire at the 12 o'clock position with one hand and at the 6 with the other and attempt to move the bottom of the tire in and out you should have a very very small amount or no movement at all.

posted by  carlos

is that how YOU check all ball joints? especially on a sunfire?

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

yeah, how would you check them?

posted by  carlos

Hello, I have done a visual inspection of my suspension components and found the lower ball joint boots ripped. They look old and they are torn all the way around and are smashed. They are in bad shape. There is still gease in them but if they have failed, could they account for the amount of vibration I'm feeling in my car at speeds above 70?
Also, I can hear a clunking/clicking noise which sounds like it is comming right from under my left foot so I know it is comming from a suspension component in the drivers side area. That is why I had the drive axle replaced because people said it would click when it was going out. But I am still hearing the clicking occasionally so apparently that did not fix the noise nor the vibration. So do you think the noise could come from the failed ball joint/joints?

posted by  boeing747heavy

Have you checked to see if your rim is bent? Another cause could be tread separation which shows up at higher speeds.

posted by  F150

how would I check to see if a rim is bent? And if one was, shouldn't the people who installed my tires detected it before?

posted by  boeing747heavy

to check ball joints you need to raise the wheel of the ground support the wheel with a block and rest car on the block take a big bar and try to pry the lower control arm up and down
any movement at the ball joint means its bad
you can check for loose wheel bearings by rocking the tire but have to be pretty damn strong to check a ball joint like that

posted by  windman

if you jack it up by the control arm, you can...

posted by  dodger65

My neon does that when im driving alone at around 50MPH. However last night me and some friends all went downtown, it was me and 4 others in the car, and there was no vibration at all. I dont know but im just waiting on my new tires that might be the case. Also bushings and such Ive been told, can cause vibration.

posted by  newyorker

If you lift this paticular vehicle by its proper jacking points then you will already unload the ball joint and can be easily checked, if you lift this car by the control arm you would be loading the ball joint again and it would be difficult to check, and it's not always top and bottom of tire infact many many vehicles you will not find ball joint play by pulling in and out at the top of the tire......how long have you guys been out of school? or did they not teach you all this first year crap...wow

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

you know what banff... can the insults already. i know for sure that if you lift some vehicles and unload the suspension, you put the ball joint in a bind/the spring is pulling it all the way to one extreme and you can't check it accurately b/c it wont exhibit any play. i don't know how you don't understand this... i've had to demonstrate his to co-workers before that just racked up a vehicle and pulled on the wheels and said "the ball joints are fine" when you jack it up by the control arm and load the suspension to simulate the car actually sitting on the ground and the ball joints are both wasted. go try it... rack one up and check the ball joints w/ the wheels dangling & the suspension unloaded... now take it down & jack it up by the control arm and reload the suspension and check again... you'll see... you say you're an apprentice--go ask whoever you mentor is-they'll tell you...

posted by  dodger65

all vehicles are different and you have to look at the way the suspension is designed, for this car, you cannot check bal joint play when jacking under the control arm, i wasnt insulting anyone in paticular, im just pointing out that you are all generalizing ways to check ball joint play, chev trucks wit torsion bar on bottom control arm yes you have to unload the ball joint firstm this car you do not. dont get soo defensive jeesh

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

I got it fixed. My tires werent balanced anymore. Do that and it might be better.

posted by  newyorker

I would tell you check simple things, tire pressure ect. If that doesn't fix it (which it probably won't) take it to someone who knowns what they are doing. And plan on spending a little money to get it fixed correctly if you car has over 50,000. Alot of ball joints, bearings ect. need to be pressed in so therefor it is not a quick fix that can be done with a wrench.

posted by  bigfrye

you know what? now that i'm thinking about it, you probably want to take a look at the control arms... as i recall, the cav/sunfires/grand ams had a problem w/ the rear bushing ripping out of the control arm...

posted by  dodger65

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