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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well I don't drive my car much, so I don't have a good grasp on exactly whats going on. Here is the sequence of events over the last couple of years (that I could think of) that have anything to do with suspension/alignment:

1) Drove car on new set of 18" wheels for approx 1000 miles. No alignment or wandering problems noticed at all.

3) Replaced front '94 springs with new set of H&R 1" lowering springs. Reused stock struts in new springs. Left rear alone. Had car realigned to factory specs. Drove around town, no problems at all.

4) Drove car 1500 miles or so up to Canada, autox'd, handled great, no uneven tire wear, etc. Handled at 100% the entire trip.

5) Noticed rear struts were a tad too bouncy at higher speeds over uneven roads. Replaced rear struts with adjustable KYB-AGXs, left stock rear springs in place (car is widebody'd with staggered wheels, this ride height diff made car level overall). Had realigned to factory specs, used rear adj camber bolts to fine tune rear camber.

6) Drove approx 50 miles over 2-3 mos. Car was used in shows only and I didn't do much driving at all.

7) On a short drive about 3 mos after the strut replacement/most recent alignment, noticed that car seemed to "wander" at speeds of 35 mph or so. Mostly seemed to veer to left - towards center lane. Car would do aquick "weightless feeling" lane changes with no input/output from steering wheel! Felt as if my lugnuts had come loose (have had that happen on truck). Took up to 55 mph and was quite scary at times. Checked hardware tightness and all seemed good.

8) REturned to Les Schwab (who did alignment) to have checked to see if somethign came loose. Alignment was within spec but was slightly tweaked. Didn't help. All steering components were visually inspected on rack, all camber bolts, suspension bolts were checked for tightness. Everything seemed good, car STILL wandered. Tech suspected a broken spring, all wheels were pulled again and springs were inspected, nothing out of ordinary noted. He mentioned it felt as if the wander was originating in the rear.

9) This was back in last august. Car has only driven approx 200 miles since then, each time I've noticed the wandering but didn't seem as severe as the first day I felt it. I have not taken the car over 75 mph due to fear of it wandering at high speeds.

Can anybody help diagnose the problem? KenB mentioned that worn balljoints contributed to wandering in a friends '91T.
My hypothesis are:

a) Bad set of KYBs in the rear
b) Bad Ball Joints
c) Front struts prematurely failed after install of H&R lowering springs (common I've heard)
d) Tech is missing something that has come loose or broken (spring? bolt? xmember?)


Please offer any help on diagnosing thse items. I do not know much about suspension on cars, the only way I know to check for blown struts is to "bounce" the car and see if it quits bounching...works well on my trucks but on a car 2" off the ground it doesn't want to participate in the bounce test ;)

Please help!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So far I have received one suggestion that I replace all of my balljoints, as this has been the root of many wandering problems. Any other suggestions?
 

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in addition to checking the ball joints, check every bolt attached to the rear xmember. especially the control arm bolt. use a torque wrench when checking, shouldn't take long once you have it up on a lift. The nut where the rear control arm and tie rod fastens to inside the xmember have been known to come off its weld. read the tire wear, try to note anything outside of normal. depending on how it's wearing, you'll know if it's an alignment of component(or both) problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
2rbo2 said:
in addition to checking the ball joints, check every bolt attached to the rear xmember. especially the control arm bolt. use a torque wrench when checking, shouldn't take long once you have it up on a lift. The nut where the rear control arm and tie rod fastens to inside the xmember have been known to come off its weld. read the tire wear, try to note anything outside of normal. depending on how it's wearing, you'll know if it's an alignment of component(or both) problem.
The problem with reading tire wear is that the car is barely driven, therefore almost non-existant tire wear. There is no "normal". I am hoping to get the car fixed this winter so when spring comes I dn't have to spend a month trying to sort this out. That is a good idea on the CA bolts tho, I'll double check all of that. I have had the rear xmember out for a clutch/tranny install so its possible something has come loose!
 

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Justin,

I would first jack up the front end and tighten the front balljoints. I have had the same situation happen to me and couldn't find the problem. My front ball joint was only barely tight maybe 10 ft/lbs. I tightened and is much better. I also would recommend replacing the tie-rods. Only takes maybe 15 minutes each side. You will need to buy a balljoint removing tool. Mine had a lot of slop compared to the new ones I installed. By the way the slop wasn't obvious untill I removed them. If you do replace the balljoints make sure to take some tension off the suspension or replacing the balljoints will be a major pain. Just take a look and you will see what I mean. If you loosen suspension and replace balljoints etc. you will need another alignment. Good luck finding the problem. :) John
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey John:

Hows it goin, long time no talk. Thanks for the advice. I'm gonna lift her up this weekend and check some stuff out. I've replaced rear ball joints before but never fronts so it'll be a fun new proj :p
 

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Justin,

The front ball joints are much easier to replace then the back. I just replaced all the bushings last weekend with the poly ones from David at two's are us. Front and back. It was a fun project that took about 6 hours. I also did the outer tie rods like I was saying in my last post and the car is so tight now. Ken, you and I need to get together for some beers. John
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well today I checked all the rear suspension bolts....low and behold driver's side control arm crossmember bolt was about 30 ftlbs or so! :eek: Tightened up to spec (~80 ftlbs) and took her for a quick drive. Only got up to about 50 or so but it seems to have fixed it. Gonna take her on a longer drive to double check, but I think that was the issue. Thanks for the suggestions guys (expecially 2buro2!!), they really helped motivate me. I figured I was gonna have some broken peice and have to spend $$$ :(

Now to go talk to these guys at Les Schwab that "checked everything...." :shakehead:
 

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damn, my rear kinda wiggles side to side right now after, shocks, bearings and ball joints replacement, maybe the bolts are loose too...gotta check
 
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