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Notes on shimmy after new tires and suspension

3283 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  PianoTek
Has anyone had a front end shimmy after:

New Tires, new or inspected.for.wear front end?

I have. I narrowed down the problem and solution!

Please reply is this becomes valuable to you.

I am a so I replaced, with a shop press the four control arm bushings. Cost $40. No more shimmy. Pass this on.

If you are not a and you feel a shimmy, do the following like I did:

Check rim trueness and replace.
Balance tires, making sure they do not have bad belts, etc.
Check/replace shocks, tie rod ends, ball joints, sway links, stabilizer bar busings.
Drive it. Is it better? Have you removed layers of problems you never new you had? Finally, if there is a shimmy in the front end, have the mechanic buy and replace your control arms, which each come with two new control arm busings, and a new ball joint.

The above works. I am happy to pass this solution on in hopes that someone will really benefit.

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On my '99, starting around 60k miles, I noticed the rear bushings on the front lower control arms showed cracking in the rubber. Various mechanics advised me to change them along the way, but I figured that it could just be surface cracks so I just kept an eye on it. Finally, around 200k miles (yes, 140k miles after the visual cracking was first observed), I noticed some looseness at freeway speeds. This is my wife's car, which might make it easier for me to notice things since I don't drive it every day. I looked at those bushings again and the cracks looked pretty deep, and figuring it could be a cause for the looseness (you could call it a shimmy), I replaced the bushings.

Replacing only those bushings (not the front ones in the control arms, since they looked fine) fixed the shimmy 100%. The info on the repair is in some other thread here:

I did not use a shop press, just cut out the old bushings carefully, and then pressed in the new ones using a vise. By far the hardest part of the whole job (perhaps the only hard part) was getting the ball joint to separate. There is a special tool for this, unlike the various common ball joint tools you'll find at most auto parts shops. I ended up getting it done using a C-clamp, hammer, and a carefully applied pickle fork.

So I'm confirming PianoTek's diagnosis (worked for me - but I did it before this thread, and it was the only thing I fixed at the time).

If you're going to do it yourself:
1. It IS possible without needing a shop press
2. Focus on the ball joint separation - that will be the toughest part. You should maybe try to remove that before trying the other bolts, because you may not be able to get it off.
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