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Author Topic: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations  (Read 2280 times)

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Offline Wittsend

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Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« on: October 24, 2013, 10:48:24 AM »
In a post earlier this week I mentioned I had purchased new tires for the front of my Pinto.  Previously I noticed a lot of steering wheel vibrations while driving on the freeway. I attributed this to old tires I used that were either out of balance or possibly had flat spots.  The shocks are in good shape and of decent quality.  There is no other obvious problem with the suspension.

After installing the new tires the vibration still exists - on the freeway - with the repeated expansion joints.  The problem is made worse when there is a turn and the tires do not hit the joints simultaniously .  Please note that on a smooth, asphalt road at the same speeds the problem does not exist.

Is this pronounced characteristic common to the Pinto?  I have other older cars that have similar issues on the expansion joints, but not to the degree I have with the Pinto.  It is intense enough to take the fun out of driving on the freeway - and at times very concerning.

Tom

Mike Modified

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Re: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2013, 11:58:49 AM »
Any vibration during braking?
 
Check your ball joints and tie rods.
 
Mike

Offline ETPinto

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Re: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2013, 12:36:15 PM »
yes what Mike said.  Strut rod bushings too.

Offline dave1987

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Re: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2013, 02:03:27 PM »
I had this issue as well before I rebuilt my front end. Just an idea.
1978 Ford Pinto Sedan - Family owned since new

Remembering Jeff Fitcher with every drive in my 78 Sedan.

I am a Pinto Surgeon. Fixing problems and giving Pintos a chance to live again is more than a hobby, it's a passion!

Offline amc49

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Re: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2013, 07:15:06 PM »
If all else fails it can be wear at the rack and pinion interface where gears meet, or the preload on pinion end has dropped off. Either result in steering wheel taps and rattles that are bothersome. At speed it turns into a vibration of sorts, you pick up much more of the road's roughness.

Look close at the shock mounting rubber too. Joints and ties like previously mentioned.

Offline blupinto

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Re: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2013, 09:30:26 PM »
Boy, have I gotten good at telling when my own cars' tires are about to fail!!!


On both my Rodeo and Ruby RedHot, I would be driving along surface streets and not notice a thing... then when I go on the freeway at 55 mph or more I'd feel a definite wobble. On the Rodeo I've had tires self-destruct at freeway speed (ouch!) soon after I felt the wobble. The last bad tire I replaced on her I recognized the wobble and took her to a used tire shop and bought a used one ($35). When it happened to  Ruby, she still had the tires I bought her with. They had plenty of tread... even still had those things (nubbins) on the sides! However, when I felt the wobble I pulled over safely and saw that the tire, like the Rodeo's last bad one, had a bulge or two in the sidewall near the tread. I had the tires replaced with all new ones because I was about to take Ruby on her epic cross-country trip and didn't want to take unnecessary risks. A couple days later, I felt her wobbling again... just not so bad as when the tires were failing. That was due to the balancing weights coming off her forged aluminum wheels. Discount Tire replaced them for free, and I haven't had a tire issue on her since.


In my funny roundabout way I'm suggesting visually check--- and feel the tires. Make sure your weights are still there.  :)
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Offline jeremysdad

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Re: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2013, 07:08:59 PM »
Also...if you're comparing it to a car with power steering (even if it's also rack & pinion), that's apples and oranges. I was upset after rebuilding my front end, until I realized (3 rotate and balances and 2 alignments later) that Pintos have about as direct a link from the front wheel to the steering wheel as you can get, and you will literally feel every crack in the asphalt.

I say, unfortunately. ..it's just a Pinto thing. (Well, and any other early r&p, manual steering car).

I would imagine if you have directional or short side wall tires, the effect would be worse.

Offline ETPinto

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Re: Freeway expansion joints and steering wheel vibrations
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2013, 01:16:52 PM »
If your frontend is not worn and all things are right that direct feel the Pinto has is one of the the things I love the most about them.