Steering wheel/front vibrate when braking at highway speed

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering and Chassis' started by trebor75, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. trebor75

    trebor75 Well-Known Member

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    1970 Plymouth Duster, power steering, drums all around. This only happens when applying the brakes at highway speed. I passed inspection in Sweden previous summer. My brakes were was very nice and even. Some play in the idler arm even though it was brand new at that point. Maybe the header kills it quick? No other play in linkages, spindles etc in the front. They shake the car quite good to make sure during an inspection. I adjusted the power steering adjuster and it made the vibration in the steering wheel better, but I still feel the vibration in the front. I have 14" wolfrace wheels on the car. I suppose it could be the drums, it could be the idler arm maybe? Any ideas?
     
  2. Dusterdenovo

    Dusterdenovo Contentedly Old School FABO Gold Member

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    Sounds like your front drums could be out of round - the inside surface of the drum is not a perfect circle so the brakes kind of stutter and shake the front end. Drums would need to be turned or replaced.

    How long have those wheels been on the car? Are they recent?
     
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    • trebor75

      trebor75 Well-Known Member

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      Is there a way to check if the drums are not round? The wheels have been on for some years now. The past few years I have worked more on the car than it has been driven, so I honestly can't say how long this vibration has been going on. But now I would like to drive it as much as possible.
       
    • Dusterdenovo

      Dusterdenovo Contentedly Old School FABO Gold Member

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      How good are the brake shoes /drums up front? Could the car use a brake job? If the shoes are thin, the drums would be worn too.
      If you are driving it more now, and the shoes are getting thin, it sure wouldnt hurt to just replace the shoes and turn the drums anyway. As long as theres enough meat on the drums to turn them (again). If thats the problem, youd know right away. If not, you still have new brakes.

      Otherwise you could measure/check the ID with a dial indicator.
       
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      • trebor75

        trebor75 Well-Known Member

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        Thank you for the help. I will take it apart and inspect it. Last time I apart was a few years ago, and the shoes were good then. I will take it apart and inspect the drums. Will take some photos too.
         
      • ScampMike

        ScampMike Damn Yankee FABO Gold Member

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        did you leave the car sitting for a long time? another possible cause is that rust will build up on the inside of the drums where the shoes are not touching it, but where the shoes are touching will still be clean - this can cause the vibrations you are experiencing.. the harder you stomp the whoa pedal, the more violent the vibration. Also, just because you feel it up front doesn't mean the back ones aren't to blame too - if you find rust on the front ones, best to check the rears too.
         
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        • trebor75

          trebor75 Well-Known Member

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          It was driven the previous summer, and I always keep it in a dry, warm garage with concrete floor. Rear shoes and cylinders, springs etc was replaced 2 years ago and have not been used much. But I will have them apart too. One thing, would it not cause my brakes to be uneven during inspection? They were very even both in front and out back. Could a idler arm with play in it cause this too? I passed inspection with that idler arm, but I was under the car when they shook it and I could see the play myself.
           
        • mycuda

          mycuda Well-Known Member

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          If your steering wheel is shaking while braking, most of the time its front suspension
          issues. You could have bad drums without steering wheel shake, and you would feel
          more vibe on your foot.
           
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          • furyus2

            furyus2 Well-Known Member

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            If you saw play in the idler, you should replace the idler arm. But still check everything else, just in case.
             
          • trebor75

            trebor75 Well-Known Member

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            Some photos of the drums and the shoes

            UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_484a.jpg

            UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4851.jpg
            UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4856.jpg

            It looks like there are cracks in the shoes
            UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_484c.jpg UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4849.jpg UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4854.jpg

            Pictures of the drums
            UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_484d.jpg UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_484e.jpg UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_484f.jpg UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4855.jpg
             
          • trebor75

            trebor75 Well-Known Member

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            Video of the slop in the idler arm. I'm pushing the wheel left and right in this video.



            The fit between the bolt and the idler arm should be really snug I guess? It seems the bolt might have some wear because there is some play there too. I installed the idler arm with the washers that came with it. One on top and one in the bottom. I could probably fit another washer in there because the idler arm travels up and down a bit between the "jaws" of the k-member.

            UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4852.jpg
             
          • ScampMike

            ScampMike Damn Yankee FABO Gold Member

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            Those shoes gotta go - period. The drums are nowhere near as dirty/rusty as I had expected but they may not take a "turning".. I don't know what the spec is and it's about impossible to tell by a pic on the internet, but they appear a bit thin already and if you go too thin, they will fail - a competent brake shop will tell you. Again, it's hard to tell, but I suspect they got too hot and are possibly warped out a bit - if you're going to drive a 40+ year old car that hard - you may want to seriously consider upgrading to disc brakes.
             
          • ScampMike

            ScampMike Damn Yankee FABO Gold Member

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            WAY too much play... as in YIKES!! Do whatever it takes to get that right!!!
             
          • mycuda

            mycuda Well-Known Member

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            I would say thats your vibration issue.... do not drive until repaired, unsafe.
            And as others said, brake shoes are breaking apart and need replaced.
             
          • trebor75

            trebor75 Well-Known Member

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            Shimed the idler today. All the slack is now gone. Will have a friend who is a machinist look at the drums. If he deems them gone I'm going disc brakes. Don't worry, I won't drive the car meanwhile. Safety first.
             
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            • MOA

              MOA Well-Known Member

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              That much slop in that arm can't be good! YIKES is right.
               
            • Robj

              Robj Well-Known Member

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              I've got a '70 Dart. When I got it, it was non-opped with DMV because it had a wheel shake above 50mph and the guy couldn't figure it out. I jacked up the right side and turned the right front wheel back and forth and watched the idler arm jump up and down. The car also had a slight pull to the left when braking.

              I replaced the idler and the shake was gone. I spend hours and hours on the brakes replacing almost everything and posted on here several times looking for other ideas. The pull got more noticeable until I replaced my front strut bushings as recommended by somebody on here. The pull was greatly improved and barely noticeable at all. With all this going on the car was still eating up idler arms. I posted here and also spoke to a couple manufacturers. I was ready to do the idler arm conversion with the bearings added. Then the braking pull to the left started coming back.

              The rest of the front suspension obviously was worn but didn't seem to be completely shot but I gave in over a year ago and ordered EVERYTHING and replaced it all. Pitman arm, idler arm, ball joints, control arm bushings, tie rod inner and out ends, bump stops- it was quite a pile of parts. The pull completely went away and the idler arm I installed at that point is still tight as can be. It's my driver so I've put a lot of miles on it and everything is working perfectly. I would recommend rebuilding your front suspension unless you know it's been done recently. If that's the case I'd still take a real good look at everything. Especially your idler arm. I had one get sloppy in just a little over a month but it had to caused by everything else being bad.
               
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              • trebor75

                trebor75 Well-Known Member

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                Thanks for the reply. A lot of the front end is replaced over the years by me. But never everything at once. I did find some slop in the drivers side upper ball joint when I was going over it. I have fixed the slop in the idler arm, the pitman arm is new too. I have ordered new drum shoes, and a new ball joint. I will report back when I have installed these new parts. Thanks for your time.