need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy - Nissan Cube Life - Nissan Cube Car Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

hello fellow cubers,

ive been scared to drive my car the last week b/c it seems to shimmy (kind of a floating sway) as if there's a disconnect between the steering wheel and the front wheels. it all started when i got a flat on the drivers side rear tire. up to this point, the car was completely fine. i got the flat fixed and noticed the float along a stretch of highway i travel everyday. it was very noticeable and felt unsafe. i thought it was an improperly balanced rear tire. a week later i went back and the tire guy said it was not the rear tire balance. he pulled off all 4 tires, balanced them and they all looked good. btw, the rears are both new and the fronts are both original and have 22K miles on them. i insisted that it was the rear tire and he kindly replaced it. he said if it still happens, then its definitely not the tire.

well... the float/shimmy is still there and since then i made some additional observations.

1. originally, it seemed to happen on the highway from 50-7-mph where the road is not completely flat (wavey or small bumps). what use to not make the car float is now making it float
2. now i notice it at low speeds as well. again, on wavey patches of road where it used to not be a problem.


a few addtional facts.
i was rear ended before and had to veer abruptly to the right to avoid hitting the car in front of me. this was over 6 months ago. i feel like the accident isnt the issue since it happened so long ago and has never been an issue beore.

the new tires are still on the back. i am going to rotate them tomorrow to see if that helps.

the alignment is a little off. but it's been like this for well over 1.5 years.

there are no mods to the car.

i would appreciate any help as this is my only car and i need it to be reliable.

thanks

tom

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 05:21 AM
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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

If a tire was changed out and nothing else then the only thing I can think of is maybe the wheel was loose Alloy wheels in particular should be re-tightened after 50 miles of putting them back on..

But besides that I can't honestly think of anything else that it could be.

Mind if I ask a question? While obtaining the flat, was it something you walked out to or was it done while driving? Say maybe hitting a pothole or curb or something? Just trying to rule out any other potentials.

But your on the right steps by swapping around the tires. While doing that see if any of the lugs where loose. If so then that might have been the issue and you just potentially saved your life. Also like I mentioned above when you swap the wheels & tires around drive them for a day or so and re-tighten the lugs again to make sure non of them came loose..

Keep us posted as to what you find out..

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 05:26 AM
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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

Also forgot to mention.


While you have the car jacked up, grab the wheel at 9 & 3 and try wiggling it back and forth. Also do this at 12 & 6. This will see if there's any play in any of your ball joints.


Also a good idea to peek under there while your taking the tire off to see if you can see anything out of the norm or just doesn't look right. Compare both sides and see if it looks the same and such.

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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

Are the rear tires the same type, and size as the front? Is the pressure the same all around?


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

thanks rixterra and tomcj2 for your replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RIXterra

Mind if I ask a question? While obtaining the flat, was it something you walked out to or was it done while driving? Say maybe hitting a pothole or curb or something? Just trying to rule out any other potentials.

While doing that see if any of the lugs where loose.
while starting my 26 mile drive to work, i noticed the tpms sensor come on. i told myself to fill the flat later during lunch. however, i forgot i wound up getting to my car at the end of the day and it was 80% flat. i drove it less than 1 mile to put air in but had to drive it right back b/c the air compressor at the nearest gas station was broken. by this time the tire was done... no air left. this is when i put the spare on.

also, the lugs were not loose at any point. it its intersting that you mention lug nuts. it actually feels like the lugs are loose. i was lucky enough to survive a time where i drove with rear lugs that were loose so i know what that feels like. not a good feeling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RIXterra
While you have the car jacked up, grab the wheel at 9 & 3 and try wiggling it back and forth. Also do this at 12 & 6. This will see if there's any play in any of your ball joints.

Also a good idea to peek under there while your taking the tire off to see if you can see anything out of the norm or just doesn't look right. Compare both sides and see if it looks the same and such.
roger that! that is a great idea. will do that today. a quick question though, is this something that can go bad on such a new car?

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Originally Posted by tomcj2
Are the rear tires the same type, and size as the front? Is the pressure the same all around?
this thought also went through my head the first time i felt the float. did the tire guy give me the wrong size??

but no, it was the correct size and the correct direction. no luck there



well, off to the service shop to rotate the tires and inspect the suspension. thanks you again!!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 06:03 PM
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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

Good luck on finding out what it is and I hope it's minor..


But to answer your question about something being so new having something go wrong. Yes it's very easy specially a ball joint. They take soooooo much abuse that it's unbelievable..

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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update!!!!

ok so here's the update....

on saturday, i went to check the ball joints, rotate the tires and get an alignment.

the ball joints were good. no issues there. a visual inspection of the entire undercarriage was good. nothing that the naked eye could see. i then got the alignment and rotation done.... woo hoo!! it looks like the alignment did it (i attached a copy of the alignment report.. i have a general idea of what it says.. maybe someone here can decipher it clearly for us). i had NO idea that an alignment problem could cause the car to drive that way. i was always under the impression that poor alignment meant you steer straight and the car veers left or right. i didnt know that it could cause a shimmy/floating feel. REALLY REALLY WEIRD!

in any case, i now feel safe to actually drive this car again. ive driven a lot of cars over the years but this car has to be the one that felt the most dangerous. i seriously hope this doesnt happen to another cube owner. watch out for those potholes people!!!

thanks rix and tom for your input and assistance.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 04:01 PM
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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

Judging by the numbers I can see why it was drifting. At least it's fixed and you can feel safer now..

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

hi rix

in general it seems like all the numbers were off.. however, which one(s) stand out the most to you?


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 05:28 PM
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Re: need some help, car doesnt feel safe, front wheel shimmy

Well the Toe for one on both sides are off. Which will make the car drift.

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