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Old 04-03-2022, 11:26 AM #1
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Tired of steering wheel shake and brakes

I've owned our 2013 Trail for 5 years now and have put 60k miles on it. One thing that has remained constant during our ownership is the steering wheel shaking at highway speeds and intermittent braking issues. I've bought new wheels, new tires, had the brakes redone. Sometimes it seems to help but always comes back. Seems as if the steering wheel shake is a common issue for these 5th gens. I see people with brand new 4runners complaining about this. I love our 4runner and its been an excellent vehicle for us but I'm getting fed up with the shaking steering wheel around 60-70mph. The brakes have this weird intermittent warped rotor feeling at times that comes and goes. I'm very easy on the brakes and aren't an aggressive driver, I let the tranny do the work and coast a lot. What have you fellow 5th gen owners done to resolve any of these issues. As for wheels I'm running Method's with the simulated beadlock ring and bfg ko2's. Have had two different sets of both wheels and tires of these over the years.
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Old 04-03-2022, 11:49 AM #2
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I have none of those problems in in '18 SR5 Premium.

KO2s are notoriously difficult to get balanced right, but I have had no problems that way with mine.

Warped brake rotors are easily diagnosed and fixed. Even though you are easy on your brakes, the rotors can still get warped if they get splashed with cold water (puddle) when they are hot.
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Old 04-03-2022, 04:26 PM #3
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In a 10 year old vehicle anything is possible. Sticking calipers keeping the rotors hot? Even with careful driving that will kill them.


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Old 04-03-2022, 05:35 PM #4
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Our 2018 SR5 will do this if the wheels arenít balanced correctly. I know that sounds oversimplified, but Iíve had to take it multiple times for re-balancing after putting new tires on it. I always put the OEM tires on our trucks, so this isnít about saying it could be the tires because they arenít OEM.

Ruling out some other problem with technical stuff I know nothing about, Iíd take it in for a rebalancing and ask them to do it again until it doesnít shake. The last time I took it in, the guy at the counter gave me that oh, itís a girl with an imaginary problem look and promised me heíd give it special attention. It was perfect after that, so something was obviously wrong with it. 🤷🏼*♀️
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Old 04-03-2022, 06:56 PM #5
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Search threads for road force balancing here. Consider installing balance beads, though was told they could mess with the TPMS. Any AT tire will be worse than the stock highway tires due to the large blocks of the tread design.
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Old 04-03-2022, 07:27 PM #6
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Search threads for road force balancing here. Consider installing balance beads, though was told they could mess with the TPMS. Any AT tire will be worse than the stock highway tires due to the large blocks of the tread design.

Is this only for 4Runners with OEM wheels? 17Ē wheels? Does this happen on Limiteds?


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Old 04-03-2022, 09:56 PM #7
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Is this only for 4Runners with OEM wheels? 17” wheels? Does this happen on Limiteds?


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Probably less incidences with Limiteds as they are typically running highway tires.

We have 290K miles on a 2014 SR5 and have fought this issue most of its life. I even have a pair of front rotors I saved, just in case that was not the issue (it wasn’t). We’ve mostly got it resolved with road force balancing. Still had a bit of pulse around 60-62 mph and that was on a set of Cooper AT3s. I bought a used set of ORP wheels with original Bridgestone tires with 50% tread left here in the classifieds. Put them on when we were finished with the Coopers and the rest of steering wheel pulse disappeared. Asked about it at the tire shop and they said the larger block tread of an AT tire will make that condition worse.

So gotta ask yourself what are you using the vehicle for: Highway or off-road? Better yet, consider getting two sets of wheels with tires for each use.

Last edited by CutthroatSlam; 04-04-2022 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 04-03-2022, 11:04 PM #8
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My '19 T4R ORP had the steering wheel shakes since day 1. I had the dealer work on it and they ended up replacing 2 tires and road force balancing them. It was better but not perfect but I just lived with it. At 40k miles I took it to a local tire dealer and had them road force balance them. I don't know how they did it but they got it nearly perfect. I normally go to Discount Tires for tires but I will be taking it to them since they did such a good job.

So I'm in the camp that believes that the steering wheel shakes come from unbalanced and/or out of round tires.

If it's happening only when you brake then it's your brakes. New rotors plus Akebono ProAct pads has been a good combo for me that doesn't seem to "warp" as easily as OEM pads.
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Old 04-04-2022, 11:17 AM #9
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My Wildpeaks were giving me quite the dance when they were put on at pretty much the same speed. I took them in for a Road Force balance, and it solved the problem. It is probably the cheapest starting point to correct your issue. If it doesn't work and the issue is elsewhere, then you at least have the peace of mind that your tires are properly balanced.
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Old 04-04-2022, 11:49 AM #10
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The vast majority of tire shops don't care and throw tires on the machine and slap whatever weight it says to. Often you need to physically spin the tire on the rim, which is rarely done.
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Old 04-04-2022, 02:27 PM #11
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60-70mph wheel shake/vibration is almost always a wheel/tire balance issue. This is likely compounded by the fact that you're running much heavier AT tires which rarely are the smoothest tires at highway speeds.

With respect to brakes, rotors really don't warp. Over time, pad material imbeds itself in the face of the rotor. This material then create a grabbing point on the rotor by the pads. This grabbing creates a pulsating sensation often times referred to as a warped rotor.

There are basically three options here:

1) Bed the brakes. Being soft of the brakes all the time compounds this problem. Occasionally (once every three months or so), the brakes need to worked hard 3 to 5 nearly successive times to burn off that pad material on the rotor. In my cars and the 4Runner, I do 3-5 nearly successive 45 to 5mph panic braking, never fully stopping, and giving adequate time to cool the brakes after doing the panic braking. I typically do this in a vacant area.

2) Machine the rotor. If the pad material is really imbeded or is widespread, then you may need to machine the rotor to remove the material.

3) Replace the rotor and pads.
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Old 04-04-2022, 08:33 PM #12
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Old 04-04-2022, 09:27 PM #13
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I had a 2015 sr5 with similar problems, constant steering wheel shake at 62 mph. Took it to them every 3-5 for the first 30k miles. They balanced, braked, replaced tires, replaced suspension. Nothing fixed it. Finally got a call from Rose in Greenwood Village at Toyota asking what I wanted to do since they couldn't fix it. They ended up replacing it with a 2016 sr5. Couldn't have been happier with the process.
Still like my 4 runner, but have issues creeping up at 130k, clock spring (horn not working) and intermittent shaky picture on rearview camera screen.
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Old 04-04-2022, 10:08 PM #14
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I had a 2015 sr5 with similar problems, constant steering wheel shake at 62 mph. Took it to them every 3-5 for the first 30k miles. They balanced, braked, replaced tires, replaced suspension. Nothing fixed it. Finally got a call from Rose in Greenwood Village at Toyota asking what I wanted to do since they couldn't fix it. They ended up replacing it with a 2016 sr5. Couldn't have been happier with the process.
Still like my 4 runner, but have issues creeping up at 130k, clock spring (horn not working) and intermittent shaky picture on rearview camera screen.
That shaky rear view camera is a deal breaker.
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Old 04-05-2022, 12:39 AM #15
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My Wildpeaks were giving me quite the dance when they were put on at pretty much the same speed. I took them in for a Road Force balance, and it solved the problem. It is probably the cheapest starting point to correct your issue. If it doesn't work and the issue is elsewhere, then you at least have the peace of mind that your tires are properly balanced.
Same for me. 5th time at Discount Tire and finally balanced thanks to road force.
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