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Old 01-23-2004, 05:47 PM #1
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Steering Wheel Vibration at Highway Speed...revisited

Hey all,

While going thru the net looking up info on the new Range Rover, i came across a possible source of the infamous steering vibration at highway speed. For RR owners, there are two different type of steering vibration (see below). What do you guys think??


Vibration at Highway Speeds

Problem:
Various owners have reported steering wheel vibration anywhere from 50mph (80kph) to 100 mph (160 kph). It was initially thought the problem may originate from the Goodyear Wrangler 255/55R19 tire that is standard equipment. Land Rover initially recommended a force thrust balance on a Hunter 9700 machine to determine the problem. This is apparently the only machine capable of doing a proper balancing job on this wheel and tire combination. However for any warranty claims from Goodyear you must apparently go to a Goodyear company owned store -- although stores with equipment to balance a 19 " wheel are scarce in some areas.

Solution:
3/22/03: One owner reported the problem finally identified and solved on his vehicle, after 7200 miles and 6 attempts at balancing the tires, including replacement of the front ones. It emerged emerged that the problem has nothing to do with the tires -- it is caused by a valve in the steering rack that controls the amount of fluid to the variable speed steering. Owners with the vibration problem reported that if you accelerated slowly from a dead stop, the vibration did not occur. If you floored it, vibration every time. It appears that the valve could not keep up with a rapid change and malfunctioned (55 mph is where it is programmed to make a major adjustment in steering tension). The defective steering would then shake the car out of balance explaining why it would drive well for about a week after balancing, then vibrate again. The fix was a replacement part for the defective valve in the steering box. However, the fix took a while to percolate through the dealership system, going by the reports I continued to receive (below).

Later updates:

4/5/03: Philippe Geerts of Belgium felt vibration in the steering wheel, starting at 100 km/h (62 mph) and stopping at about 160 km/h (100 mph). At low speed there were no vibrations. The garage balanced the wheels again and everything was ok for a few weeks. But then it started all over again. Thanks to the information posted above about the valve, he planned to have it replaced. Filip Mottie of Belgium had the same problem on his 3.0 TD Vogue, but reported that Land Rover Belgium said they had no solution as yet (4/8/03).

6/5/03: Another reader reports experiencing the steering wheel vibration beginning at approximately 50 mph on his '03, with the original 19" wheels as well as the the 22" Momo/Pirelli replacements. Keep an eye out to see if there is a recall related to this issue!

7/4/03: Another reader confirms that Land Rover now has a fix for the problem with a replacement part.

10/23/03: An owner in New Zealand reports a vibration in the drivetrain -- this may be a separate problem (see drivetrain vibration section above).

10/30/03: Mark Scheberies has a 2004 model and reports a different cause for the vibration in his steering: "At highway speeds there was a distinct vibration in the steering wheel. It felt like an out of balance tire. With less than 500 miles on the car, I took it back to the dealer. It was discovered that one of the bearings in the left front hub would not seat properly, and that one of the bolts that holds the hub on the car had already broken. The dealer replaced the left front hub assembly". A month later the fix still seemed to be working.

12/2/03: Ralph, a potential buyer, reports: "I was about to purchase a 2004 Range Rover when I learned that there is a vibration problem in the wheels at 50 mph that Rover knows about, but can't fix....The dealer says there hasn't been a recall because they don't know how to fix the vibration."

12/8/03: I was informed by a Land Rover dealer tech that the "official" cause of this steering wheel shimmy at highway speeds is improper roadforce balance of the wheels/tires. The resolution is to re-roadforce all 4 wheels. There is a bulletin from LRNA and it was sent to all dealers in the US.
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Old 01-23-2004, 05:55 PM #2
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Here is another type of VIBRATION that is also felt by a few RR owners:

Vibration felt at Standstill

Problem:
A number of owners including Don Anderson report feeling the vibration through the steering column when in drive, with the foot brake applied and the wheel turned slightly either right or left. This does not happen if the shifter is in "park". It only happens when stationary or moving at no more than back-up speed. Bernard Green gave another typical report of this problem, experiencing vibration whilst standing with gear in Drive and either Hand Brake or Foot Brake on, also when standing with steering wheel locked on (turning right on an incline). As others have found, when engaging Neutral the vibration stops. As of spring 2003, Land Rover were aware of the problem and were "working on it". Bernard's local dealer thought it might be due to his recent upgrade to the 19 inch wheels, but he first noticed it when he still had the 18 inch wheels.

Solution: This vibration now appears to be a separate issue from the valve problem mentioned above. This became evident in late July 2003 after another owner reported vibration on his brand new RR he just picked up (build date April 2003): "I get vibration through the steering wheel with the car in Drive and my foot on the brake pedal. There is no vibration when I take my foot off the brake or switch into neutral or park. The vibration worsens a little when the car is warm and is lessened somewhat when the AC is turned on and the idle RPM increases". A day or two later, after a successful trip to the dealer, he was able to report that "It appears that the base idle speed (without the AC turned on) was set too low from the factory. The idle speed has been reset and the vibration now seems normal. Turning on the AC now only causes a blip in the RPM as opposed to a jump. I compared the fix to a new RR which exhibited the same problem which they will be fixing".
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Old 01-23-2004, 05:57 PM #3
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The above two posts are about the Range Rover, not 4runner. However, given the similarities in the vibration (two types), i hope that it would provide a clue to the solution. I would try to bring this up with your local Toyota mechanic and see what he/she says.

Hope this helps...and Good Luck!
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Old 01-23-2004, 06:12 PM #4
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Now the sad news...according to a GX470 owner, ZELZ:

"Acoording to the Service Manager of a dealership and a Regional Factory rep who drove my 2003 GX470 they state in a letter to me: 'We felt at the time the vehicle operated the same as other GX470's'. In talking to the Service Manager today I reminded him that when he drove the vehicle he said that it did have a vibration and several others had the same. Therefore, Lexus, the company, is now telling them to tell the owner...the vibration came with the vehicle at no extra cost and they all do the same thing...so forget talking about it or trying to have Lexus fix it. In other words..they now say it is normal for the GX. This way they have no liablity to honor a fix for the problem. I guess that's one way to get out of their responsibility to take care of a problem in a new vehicle...."

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Old 02-10-2004, 06:29 PM #5
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According to advphoto on EDMUNDS.COM Townhall:

His INITIAL post:

"I just got the car back from the 1000 mile service at the dealer. As I mentioned on my previous post my main issue is the noise I hear at 70 mph, it is not the vibration. I DID have a little vibration with my Michelins when I first drove the car with 18 miles on it. The next day they did a high speed wheel balance and that problem was resolved.

The Issue on hand is some kind of rhythmic cycling sound .. as opposed to a constant drone when accelerating. I only hear it when accelerating slowly or applying gas between 70-80mph. It is not loud and it goes away when I lift my foot off the accelerator."

Now, according to him, Lexus will issue a FIX:

"I am glad to report that I received great news from the Lexus service manager regarding the problem with cycling noise at 70 mph that is outline in my previous posts (#1827,1841) is about to be resolved. He informed me that lexus is officially going to put out a memo out on the 20th of this month to all their dealers and provide part numbers and a fix to this issue."
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Old 03-08-2004, 03:32 PM #6
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UPDATE

Someone on Edmunds.com reported that the vibration got fixed on his GX470. Here is the TSB description: (released by Lexus on 2/19/04):

A STEERING VIBRATION & DRIVELINE VIBRATION/DRONE
CAUSE: INSTALL UPDATED PARTS FOR VIBRATION
ST3010 STEERING VIBRATION & DRIVELINE
VIBRATION/DRONE

1 41196-60010 DAMPER, DIFFERENTIAL
2 90080-10167 BOLT, WASHER BASED H
1 52380-60061 SUPPORT ASSY, DIFFER
1 51405-35101 COVER S/A, ENGINE UN
1 45219-60090 YOKE, STEERING SLIDI
1 45203-60120 SHAFT SUB-ASSY, STRG
FC: 44,99
PART#: 41196-60010
COUNT: 1
2727 DRONE NOISE, SERVICE BULLETIN ST3010

Good luck.
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Old 03-08-2004, 04:30 PM #7
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hmm, have to go annoy my service manager about this service bulletin and the droning cyclic noise since i dont have the steering wheel vibration, but the droning cyclic noise is driving me nuts when driving to work.

thanks for the update.
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Old 04-09-2004, 11:00 AM #8
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Since Lexus has come out with a TSB for this problem has Toyota? Any updates?
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Old 04-09-2004, 07:48 PM #9
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Not so far...however, if you print this out, then give it to your local Toyota rep, maybe you can get him to do something.

good luck.
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Old 04-13-2004, 03:54 PM #10
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I think my vibration must be different. It is more connected to engine vibration. When I apply the gas I feel a vibration in the steering wheel, it is not a big deal, I notice it because everything else feels so isolated. I felt it in the GX470 and 2 other 4runners I drove. Maybe they all do what mine is doing?
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Old 04-13-2004, 08:27 PM #11
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Steering wheel vibration --TSB to be issued by June!

Steering wheel vibration update for fix!
During April I contacted Toyota Corporated Customer Relations about my claim of August 2003. They informed me that they had sent me an E-Mail which says "there will be a TSB issued for the 2003 4-runner Limited V8 for the front end vibration FIX within 90 days, (as of March 1, 2004) I haven't checked with my dealer yet but will this week. I have never received an E-Mail. I think it is important that all affected should present a CLAIM--the more the better! dick13 (my previous posts were to individuals)
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Old 05-08-2004, 11:59 AM #12
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Front end vibrations 2003 Limited V8

Steering wheel Vibrations at highway speeds.
Just Talked to the AZ - NM Technical Rep. who covered my complaint on the 2003 Limited V8 front end vibrations. I mentioned that I had contacted Customer relations last month and they said " a TSB covering your complaint will be issued by June 1st" He said " I've been covering the problem and with my contacts with Engineering, I have no new comments to give you
about your problem. It's possible they are giving you info about some other issue."
I plan to call customer relations again this week and clear up this issue! I hope that I haven't given false hope to those who have the same problem! My complaint was given to Toyota Last Aug.---
dick13

Last edited by dick13; 05-28-2004 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 05-08-2004, 07:07 PM #13
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Keep us updated...thanks!

Good luck.
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Old 05-29-2004, 11:19 AM #14
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Anybody have an update on this problem. I still feel the vibration through the steering wheel when I am accelerating at all speeds. It is more of a cylical vibration at different torque/rpm levels, and the only place I feel it is in the steering wheel. I felt it on a Lexus GX470 I drove and on the other 2 - 4runners I drove before I bought mine. I am sure everyone has this condition. Just wondering if anyone has gotten Toyota to address it or is it just normal and you need to live with it.
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Old 05-30-2004, 09:56 PM #15
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Everyone does not have it... I do though. Drives me nuts. Mines actually smoother when accelerating, worse at a steady speed or decelerating, especially below 50 mph. I think there are different problems on different 4runners causing different vibrations.
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