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#1103277 - 04/03/17 09:15 PM steering wheel vibration  
toy4tom  Offline
Need a Spot
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 8
I haven't posted here in a very long time and to be honest, I had a hard time navigating to post here. Anyway here goes. I purchased new a 2013 4 Runner w/ 4 wheel drive. Shortly after purchase there was a problem and the dealer had to do an alignment to correct. Since then the truck has been great.Every 5000 miles I had the tires rotated by one of two dealerships without any issues. A week ago I was due for my 45,000 mile rotation and visual check of the truck. Two days later I left for a trip on the interstate and noticed the steering wheel began to vibrate between 59 and 70 mph. I ran on different road surfaces thinking that was causing the vibration but there was no difference. 5 days later, (today) I returned to the dealership and explained what was happening. The shop master mechanic went for a road test and said without a doubt it was a balance problem and they would do a rebalance. Then the mechanic who was going to do the work came and said the tires were cupping and that was the cause of the vibration. Now the service manager gets involved and we go for another road test. Now they say it's an alignment problem. So the service manager has the mechanic switch the tires back the way they were before rotation and does a road test by himself. He now claims they did a rebalance of the tires, and an alignment to make it tolerable to drive but I need to be looking for new tires and an alignment after the new tires are installed. I left very disappointed to say the least. The printout they gave me after the inspection and rotation showed the tires had 7/32nd's tread left (out of 10/32nd's new)with no indications of so called cupping in the tires. I even asked for him to show me the cupping and from what he called cupping was near impossible to see. Now my tires are back where they were before and a vibration in the steering wheel still exists (only now it begins about 65mph) where it hadn't before. My first thought was the mechanic over torqued or mistorqued a wheel or two and either bent the wheel(s) or rotor(s) but how can I prove it. They claim with the torque wrench they use they can't over or under torque the lugs.I'm thinking of obtaining a dial indicator and running it on the wheels and rotors to see if they are out. Any other ideas or tests I can do myself would be welcomed. Thanks

From the Off-Road World

#1103278 - 04/04/17 01:01 AM Re: steering wheel vibration [Re: toy4tom]  
rxinhed  Offline

Trail Leader
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,023
Gerber, CA *****
Have you noticed the same vibration while braking? I would get the dial indicator out, for sure.

After you satisfied your scientific curiosity and verified any run-out in the rotors, I've have a second opinion. My experience with dealers and now an 'old' vehicle, in the 2013 Toyota case, has been less than stellar.

Are there dedicated alignment and front end guys near by?

1988 Mighty Max turbo 2.6 service body
1980 Power Wagon W400
Sundry Mitsubishi Montero Gen 1 parts
Parts vehicles: 1980 D50 2wd, 1988 Mighty Max 4wd, 89 LS Montero 4-door, 2002 Sport AWD
For Sale: 1989 Power Ram 50 extended cab

#1103285 - 04/04/17 08:26 PM Re: steering wheel vibration [Re: toy4tom]  
toy4tom  Offline
Need a Spot
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 8
No vibration while breaking but it does seem to grab just before coming to a stop. It's raining so maybe that's why. I've experienced warped rotors with a pulsing in the brakes but not steering wheel vibration. Other than this problem, I have no real complaints with the vehicle so far. Time will tell.
As far as dedicated alignment and front end mechanics go I'm unaware of any. I do know a guy who's really into street rods etc.and since he's lived here in Florida longer than I, he may be able to direct me to someone. Something has to be wrong if it still vibrates even though the tires are back to where they were and all was fine before the rotation. I just met a guy this morning who's a friend visiting a neighbor friend and was in the tire business years ago, so tonight I'm going to have him inspect my tires and get his opinion. I did receive a slinger in the mail from the dealership promoting a tire sale they have going on. Coincidence??

#1103286 - 04/04/17 08:38 PM Re: steering wheel vibration [Re: toy4tom]  
4x4Wire  Offline

Trail Leader
Joined: Feb 2000
Posts: 6,021
Lakeside, CA ***
45,000 is about my borderline replacement point.

Your issue is generally tire related. Any cupping on the tire surface can cause vibration and it doesn't take much for tires to start cupping. Some brands are more susceptible than others due to rubber compositions. From my experience, the cupping is a result of tire balance as primary. However, worn suspension bushing will contribute.

Find an alignment shop and have them do a balance/alignment. In general, I have had good experiences with Discount Tire.

If you were in San Diego area I have a trusted shop for tire and alignment work.

#1103287 - 04/05/17 01:29 PM Re: steering wheel vibration [Re: toy4tom]  
toy4tom  Offline
Need a Spot
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 8
Thanks for the advice. I'll see if there's a Discount tire shop near by and go from there. Just for information, these tires are OEM Dunlop. On my last suv '97 Tahoe all I ran for 230,000 miles were BF Goodrich T/A long trail and got 60'000 plus on every set

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