ClubWRX Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an 02 wrx wagon I bought new. I put somewhere around 40k miles on the stock tires/rims before they were cupped and completely worn on the insides, and vibrated like mad at about 70 mph, and I replaced them with 17" rims that the dealership (in Lafayette, IN) told me over the phone were OEM. They lied; there were "FLIX". The "FLIX" rims looked cool and the 17" tires stuck to the road like glue, but the vibration was back within two weeks. I went back and they said the tires were cupped, and the car was out of alignment - although they swore they did a four-wheel alignment at the time of the install. They told me there wasn't anything I could do short of replacing the tires, so I lived with it. About a year later I can't take it anymore, and go to a different tire shop, get different rims and tires. The shakes go on. So far I've been to five dealerships and seven tire places. I have 140k on the car, very little 'hard' driving - mostly long interstate miles. The car is currently at the dealership in Bloomington, IN, and they swear that the shakes will go away if I get... my 4th set of rims and 6th or 7th set of tires (the tires that are currently on it have about 500 miles on them). I've heard it before, and am hoping for some additional insight.

The 'shake' is mild, and is noticably worse going downhill, decellerating, or not 'pulling'. Sometimes it goes away when cornering one way or another, or going up a hill. I suspect I may have a bent or out-of-balance component in the drive train or maybe something loose in a CV joint, which is wrecking my tires prematurely, and giving anyone that looks at it an obvious solution that only lasts a week - if that. I still have the stock rims and some new tires on them, but not handy. I would like to stay with 17" rims (at least for summer tires), but if I have to choose I'll keep the stock ones and not have to deal with my hands going numb as I drive.

I searched through the forums and haven't been able to find any mention of anything similar. The car is stock except for the wheels and tires and a short-throw shifter. The car has never been wrecked. Although I have hit a pothole or two, I don't off-road it and it's never been to a track. I just drive the thing to work; is it too much to ask to not be shaken all the way there?

My apologies for the lengthy post, and forgive my frustration - but if I can't get this resolved I'm going to sell the car for something that I can find maintenance for - and hopefully won't fire-bomb any dealerships along the way.

ch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Wow, that's really unfortunate man. This may be a very stupid question, but have you taken it a dedicated alignment shop or some place that specializes in suspension work? Try to find a good alignment/suspension shop that is dedicated to that type of work. I wouldn't take it back to the dealership. Some things are just over a dealership tech's head, and this seems to be one of those things. Also, I wouldn't take it to a tire shop. Most chain shops like Discount Tire are great with wheels/tires, but don't know much about alignments and suspensions. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out. Welcome to the Club.
By the way, where in Indiana do you live? I'm from near Greencastle. Go Hoosiers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I swear everyplace I go claims to have a better gimmick in their balance and alignment gear than anyone else. The shop it's in now said THEIR balance gear tests the wheels with the weight of the car on the tires, the last place was a tire shop in Terre Haute with some fancy laser alignment and 5-way super-duper balancer. I've never heard of a specialized alignment shop, but I'm open to suggestions. I actually live in Perham, MN, and have had pretty good luck with R & G Subaru in Detroit Lakes and Muscatell in Moorhead, but they haven't been able to crack this nut. I'm working on a contract in Terre Haute, IN, and haven't had much success around here. The service desk guy at the DEALERSHIP (Royal) in Bloomington asked if my WRX was all-wheel drive, the tire guys at Warden-Martin in Champaigne put my directional tires on backwards, and the guys in Lafayette gave me a $100 discount for paying cash for 'half' the cost of repairing my transmission at 62k miles (just out of warranty) - which after consideration I'm certain they pocketed, and turned the entire cost in for warranty.

Anyone have a recommendation for a good alignment shop around indianapolis? I wouldn't mind taking it anywhere in the mid-west if they can actually fix it, but i would prefer someplace convenient to get to, since based on past experience it'll take several trips to start narrowing the problem. The last tire place in Terre Haute had it 3-4 times to replace the tires (which were shot - five nails, and worn inside edges), a bent something or other, replace one of the new tires to get it to balance *perfectly*, and then finally conceded that it might be something other than tires. If someone in the area was willing, I'd consider swapping wheels to see if my shake follow with the wheels to a previously smooth car, and see if my car still shakes with otherwise good tires and rims - without having to shell out another $1500.

I've flown into Greencastle a few times for breakfast - as Airforce I'm sure you'll appreciate my other ride -

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/chris.happel/GoodPix/photo#5080240564422564898"><img src="http://lh4.google.com/chris.happel/RoCj4Ifv3CI/AAAAAAAAACk/axYaSHOZDFo/s800/DSC_0047.JPG" /></a></td></tr><tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/chris.happel/GoodPix">Good Pix</a></td></tr></table>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
That's a really nice looking plane man. I've never flown a tail dragger. What is it exactly? It's funny that you're originally from Minnesota. I have a lot of family in and around Saint Paul.
As for the alignment issue, I really don't know what other advice to give you. One thing I just considered was that you want to make sure you're giving the alignment shop specific values for camber, toe, and caster (if you can adjust it). Don't just let them put it to "specs" because the stock "specs" have too wide of a range. Also, ask for a print out of the before and after values for everything. I'm sure that you're already doing this, but it just came to mind and I thought I would mention it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I keep print outs from all the alignments - ever since I suspected the first guys of not actually doing one - but really don't know what to look for - same with camber/toe/caster settings. I'll check for some numbers in the faq and see how they compare.

The plane is an experimental van's RV-8, and it's a blast. Fully aerobatic 200mph - no traffic, construction, cops or deer (although I've dodged an occasional bird) - and a tight S turn (or roll) wherever you want one.

I appreciate your suggestions.

ch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
dude my car does the exact same thing. i have an 04 wrx with 40k. i noticed its bad first thing in the morning/when its cold outside. for the life of me i cant firgure out whats wrong. im starting to thing it my be my struts are blown and just cant damper that well anymore. when its hot out i dont notice it too much. a couple times it made my hand numb too LOL! oh and i have taken it too a specialty shop to be aligned and had my own specs. they never did get my alignment quit right. oh well. steering wheel was off one way now its off the other. ugh. i just lived with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
engine mounts maybe? b/c i have the same prob. on a cold start up if i get clutch shudder i hear a horrible squeaking coming from the engine area or even from going over a bump. once everything is warmed and been driving its gone so im assuming whatever metal is loose has expanded and tightened itself only to come back the next morn.

ive gotten down there and grabbed a hold of the exhaust manifold and shook it like crazy and could hear the squeak but could pin point where.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
what exactly is "cupping"? what comes to mind is like under inflating a tire and haveing more wear on the outside than inside. also the strut thing makes sense cause im on cobb springs with 40k on the stockers with medium road conditions...not bad but not great either. also my tires seem to wear fine, pretty even. except the back tire wear significantly less than the front.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
the 'cupping' I get is wear around the tire - you can feel it after a while if you run your hand around the circumference, almost like it's wearing another lug pattern in them. I'm certainly not as diligent as I should be about rotating the tires regularly, although they do get rotated - just not exactly on (what is it - 10k miles?). What gets me is that the car shakes even with brand new tires and rims, which seems to wear 'cups' in them, which I'm guessing just makes whatever is wrong with the car worse, and when I bring it in for repair all I get is 'dude, you need new tires'. I heard a lot of suggestions for steering components, and the struts sound like something worth looking at.

Keep the ideas rolling! I'm going to rescue it from Royal in Bloomington today and it's scheduled for "Mr Alignment Genius" in Terre Haute Monday.

ch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,778 Posts
Rotation interval should be about 5-6k. Every other oil change, or every oil change on my wife's car which has a 5k oil change interval.

Bad steering components can typically make the car pull to one side and feather the edges of the tread.

If your car is cupping new tires, you need new struts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
The fact that it is worse under decelleration points to worn ball joints or (less likely) tie rod ends.

An alignment is done under static conditions - no matter how good it is if your ball joints have slop in them your toe will change more than expected under acceleration and deceleration. I never actually looked at the stock alignment specs, but most cars are aligned with a tiny bit of toe-in so that when moving the forward motion pushes the tires open to result in zero toe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,933 Posts
My 2 cents:

At 40K the structural parts of the suspension should be good. But it's a crap shoot. So my take is to look at the dynamic parts:

1) Your alignment is off. But if the parts are bad, it won't help...
2) You have a blown strut.
3) You have a defective tire (ie, tread seperation inside)
4) One of your rims is off-center (like maybe you ran it into curb?)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top