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Discussion Starter #1
I only drive the car intermittently now, since my son has it.

Backstory: got one new front tire in December due to a puncture, and they also replaced a rear hub they trashed while trying to “pit stop” the wheels on.

I drive the car this week and notice a considerable wobble in the car, felt through the steering wheel, most Noticeable between 30 to 40 mph.

Today I jack up the car in neutral, and spin each front wheel looking for anything obvious. The older tire could be slightly out of round, but I also noticed some side to side play on the other wheel when I pull at 3 and 9 o’clock. 1/4” max at the outer diameter, if I had to give a number, but basically none on the driver’s side.

The play looks like it could be a worn inner tie rod joint. So the question is, do you think it’s more likely the old tire or the sloppy tie rod joint that would cause a vibration like this?
 

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The tire would be more likely. Tie rods tend to make the car wander, but a bad ball joint or bushing (tie rod or control arm) can cause a wobble in the wheel too.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I’m going to replace the tie rod anyway since they’re fairly cheap. I’ll do that first before the tire shop so will know whether it had any impact on the wobble.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Replaced the tie rod, which was floppy in both inner and outer joints. Tightened up steering but no real impact on wobble. Had the tires balanced, which helped, but hasn’t eliminated it entirely.
98519
 

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Did the check the wheels for runout? I would also check the hubs just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Did the check the wheels for runout? I would also check the hubs just in case.
Not a bad idea, but I’m going with a bad tire at this stage, given the driving / maintenance history. Unfortunately my regular tire shop has gone downhill so need to find a place that actually can do more than slap the tire on the balance machine and push the button.
 

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If you have a good spare tire I would say try that on the front opposite the new tire and see if you get any improvement

I was having a little wobble or side to side movement since I got my Passat Wagon. Rotating tires front to rear helped some but did not get rid of the problem. The tires were not a matched set. The previous owner had mismatched on the front and a matched pair on the rear. A few weeks ago I found a set of Continental tires mounted and balanced on a good set of stock '05 rims. I don't think the tires could have had more than 1,000 miles on them and the rims were in better shape than the ones on my car. Since I put them on the car the wobble/wheel shake is gone.

I had a similar problem a few years back when I bought an '04 Mercedes E320 4Matic. One of the tires on it had a bad belt. I got the price down more than enough to cover new tires and that solved the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK, Corona fans, time for an update. So a rotate and balance and new tie rod didn’t solve the wobble. Took it in yesterday and my son described the wobble to “baldy” (a decent guy with a similar haircut to mine). I told him to check for a bad tire, internally steeling myself for a bill of up to two new tires, and we left.

I get a call back an hour later from “hairy” (young tech who probably was in diapers when Hans and Franz were assembling Edward). He mentioned axles, but proceeded to go all over the place with “all the control arms” and “needs a tune-up”, which triggered the sensitive “smoke in rectum” alarm. So, I told him I would just come pick up Ol’ Edward.


Baldy tells me he test drove it and checked it on the rack and it was definitely a bad axle, which I’m going with after I recalled how the inner joints weren’t replaced when I did the job a few years back, and that I had seen grease leak out. After my alarm settled I thought, “if he’d just told me that, I’d probably have let him do the work.” It’s the control arm cost that sent the icy fear coursing through my veins like bad Valium on the operating table. Anyway, ordered two GSP axles from ECS for a great price, and will now have a project to report on next week.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Did the passenger-side axle today and can confirm the low-speed vibration is gone. Son’s comment: “It drives amazing!”

i was hoping for a 2-hour job, but it turned into 4 when I couldn’t get the new axle back in easily and had to pop the control arms and lower shock mount loose. Noted the inner bushing on one upper CA had torn, but will live with it. Threw in new brake pads from the box I’d bought 2 years ago. Willdo The other side in a week or two.
98940
 
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