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Old 01-11-2013, 08:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Vibration at high speed

Hi all,

My '08 Exige Club Racer has developed a vibration that's very apparent at high speed, I'd say 90+ MPH. This is not just a steering wheel vibration, but a whole car vibration. I've also noticed a similar, much less noticeable vibration that occasionally occurs in the 50-60 MPH range. To try to fix this I've had the tires balanced and I've replaced the shot inner toe link rod ends (and had it subsequently aligned). These attempts had no effect.

All other suspension components look good. The only thing that has me a little suspicious is a small amount of bearing play in the left rear wheel - I can feel a bit of a "thunk" when pulling and pushing the top of the left rear wheel. If this was on my old Rover, I'd consider it "tight", but I know these are cars are a bit lighter and go a bit faster.

Any thoughts on this? I've downloaded the service manual from Lotus but haven't dug into it yet - is it possible to re-torque the wheel bearings (I'm guessing not) or are they sealed units that need replaced?

Thanks.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My Elise had a vibration 50-60 MPH range. I set the torque setting for the wheels carefully. I cross pattern set the lugs to half torque and than to full torque setting. I check the torque setting after 20 miles than again after 100miles

I also run my car on the low side for the suspension with olhins. I added sector 111 steering arms and it helped a lot with bump steer.

these two things fixed my vibration

Last edited by lotus90; 01-11-2013 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I had a horrible vibration at 80+. When I got new tires I asked them to balance the wheels to zero. And now the vibration is totally gone. Typically when a wheel is balanced, they get it "close enough", but that is not close enough for a light weight car. Any inbalance in the wheel will easily push, and pull the lightweight car causing the vibration that you can feel. If the car was heavier, you would not notice as much because the vibration would be absorbed in the suspension. Inertia makes it harder to move a heavier object.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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lotus90 and Kitty have very good points. Also when installing new tires there is a colored 'dot' on the tire. It's important this dot lines up with the valve stem to avoid using excessive weight to compensate, a manufacturer design.

If you don't want ugly weights on the outside of the rim have a 'Static' balance done. This will put the tape on weight on the inside edge of the rim and use tape on weights on a good clean surface. Most of the hammer on weights will gouge the rim and not fit correctly which can throw them off the wheel at high speed.

They must always read '0' on final spin... close only works with horse shoes and hand grenades.

The half torque method is a good idea to get even displacement. Most brake rotors have a screw to secure them to the hub to keep them square and true however if yours does not make sure the rotor doesn't slip and cock on the hub as this will throw the rim off. If I have a rotor like this I mount everything up true, then take an oversized nut placed over a stud and install a nut to hold it in place. Then I install the others to where they seat up, remove the holding nut and install the final nut or stud. Then I torque all in a criss-cross pattern at half torque, again same pattern at torque spec. It's best if the wheels can be off the ground to prevent wheel load.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by michael.white View Post
Hi all,

My '08 Exige Club Racer has developed a vibration that's very apparent at high speed, I'd say 90+ MPH. This is not just a steering wheel vibration, but a whole car vibration. I've also noticed a similar, much less noticeable vibration that occasionally occurs in the 50-60 MPH range. To try to fix this I've had the tires balanced and I've replaced the shot inner toe link rod ends (and had it subsequently aligned). These attempts had no effect.

All other suspension components look good. The only thing that has me a little suspicious is a small amount of bearing play in the left rear wheel - I can feel a bit of a "thunk" when pulling and pushing the top of the left rear wheel. If this was on my old Rover, I'd consider it "tight", but I know these are cars are a bit lighter and go a bit faster.

Any thoughts on this? I've downloaded the service manual from Lotus but haven't dug into it yet - is it possible to re-torque the wheel bearings (I'm guessing not) or are they sealed units that need replaced?

Thanks.
I would have a peek at the upper control arm to chassis bolts, make sure you don't have a loose one.
If there was play in the bearing, the play would be even and symetrical around the hub axis.
I've also had to insist on a dynamic balance on my wheels (vs static), this cured a vibration I had in the left front only noticible above 90mph or so.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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All,

Thanks for the things to check. I had the balance performed at Luxury Auto Works here in Austin, a place that supposedly works on Lotus cars and have Lotus trained mechanics. Since I only have weights taped to the inside, I assume it's a static balance. Anyone here in the Austin area have a better place for tire balancing?

For wheel torque I cross-tighten in several steps - I'll try setting the torque wrench to half torque to get a more precise "step".
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Update: I used the half torque method on my wheels. I also checked the torque of the front upper control arm to chassis bolts - the rear bolts were loose on both, the front bolts were tight. The rear upper control arm nuts & bolts are held in place by bent metal tabs and do not appear to have moved.

Result is a reduction in the amount of vibration, although not vibration free.

When torquing the tires I noticed that the rear tires (Generals) are approaching the wear indicators on the inner part of the tread, but not so much on the outer part. I monitor my tire pressure regularly and they're filled to 29 PSI per the sticker in the doorwell. Time for new rear tires?
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had steering wheel vibration problem too.
It wasn't the wheel balance, rather the
tires were out of round. (even the road force hunter
balancer didn't help) I had the front tires shaved
and now the vibrations are gone. I did not
check the rears for out of round, they may be as well
but the front wheels are more noticeable if off.

In the future I'll get all my Elise tires shaved because
balancing can't overcome an out of round tire. Tirerack
charges only $15 and they'll do it for ANY tire. I called.
-Robert
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Update: I used the half torque method on my wheels. I also checked the torque of the front upper control arm to chassis bolts - the rear bolts were loose on both, the front bolts were tight. The rear upper control arm nuts & bolts are held in place by bent metal tabs and do not appear to have moved.

Result is a reduction in the amount of vibration, although not vibration free.

When torquing the tires I noticed that the rear tires (Generals) are approaching the wear indicators on the inner part of the tread, but not so much on the outer part. I monitor my tire pressure regularly and they're filled to 29 PSI per the sticker in the doorwell. Time for new rear tires?
do not replace with General, they are ****
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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All,

Anyone here in the Austin area have a better place for tire balancing?
Try contacting Soul Speed... They moved to Harris Hill Road in San Marcos. I've never used them, but I've heard good things about their tire mounting and alignments.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It may be helpful to have the hub/rotor assemble balanced.
No matter how close the tire/wheel is to zero, if the rest of it is off then you are still off.

It should not be impossible to figure out which wheel is the problem if it is balance.

The shaving would be harder to figure out, but the wheel in the air and an indicator or just spinning it might provide insight.

The other is a blistered tire or some other internal defect. Those give the same indication of vibration.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Vibration at high speed

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Originally Posted by michael.white View Post
All,

Since I only have weights taped to the inside, I assume it's a static balance.
If you have two sets of weights taped on the inside and one set is close to the wheel spokes and the other set is closer to the inner wheel flange it was a dynamic balance. You could have a road force measurement run too, any decent balancer has the option.

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Old 02-05-2013, 07:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If anyone gets wheels balanced on car, remember to mark which bolt goes to which hole.

Rotating the wheel on hub may work poorly for you.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Anyone here in the Austin area have a better place for tire balancing?
Hi, Michael. Glad to see you still have the club racer, but I was sorry to hear about your trouble these days enjoying it.

The only person I trust in Austin with mounting and balancing for the Lotus is Collin Stith. He moved his Soulspeed racing performance shop to the garage at the Harris Hill Road race track in San Marcos. It is located off I-35 on Exit 210. You take Yarrington road to the east a bit, and then make a right past the quarry.

As mentioned above, it could be a tire out of round, poorly balanced, or you may have an issue with the hub itself.

If you give Collin a call he may be able to help you out. 512.832.1800
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Update: I used the half torque method on my wheels. I also checked the torque of the front upper control arm to chassis bolts - the rear bolts were loose on both, the front bolts were tight. The rear upper control arm nuts & bolts are held in place by bent metal tabs and do not appear to have moved.

Result is a reduction in the amount of vibration, although not vibration free.

When torquing the tires I noticed that the rear tires (Generals) are approaching the wear indicators on the inner part of the tread, but not so much on the outer part. I monitor my tire pressure regularly and they're filled to 29 PSI per the sticker in the doorwell. Time for new rear tires?
What, I run on A048 with 19psi front and 23PSI back when cold.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:53 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Vibration at high speed

I have the same issue after getting my all season tires put on 3 months ago. At first I was thinking it was the break in period, but now after 570 miles
Sorry, I will have the rims rebalanced to see if that fixes the issue if not than I will get the centering rings for the rims that you place in the rims so when you place the rims on the vehicle it is easier to make sure they are centered. Like BMW rims have.

Last edited by happy2behere; 02-08-2013 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:56 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I have the same issue after getting my all season tires put on 3 months ago. At first I was thinking it was the break in period, but now after 570 miles I am going to like the rims back for another alignment or I may try hub centering rings for the rims. I remember another post a little bit back it fixed a similar issue for another lotus member.
So new tires on the old rims?
or new tires on new rims?

If the old rims worked with the old tires and you only switched tires, then some people would have suspected it was only due to the tires?
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Old 02-08-2013, 05:45 PM   #18 (permalink)
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So new tires on the old rims?
or new tires on new rims?

If the old rims worked with the old tires and you only switched tires, then some people would have suspected it was only due to the tires?

New tires on old rims and I did not have the issue before the new tires.
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:28 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So new tires on the old rims?
or new tires on new rims?

If the old rims worked with the old tires and you only switched tires, then some people would have suspected it was only due to the tires?
New tires on old rims and I did not have the issue before the new tires.
I am not following the logic of this.

Why would you get an alignment and clean the hubs?
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Sorry, I will have the rims rebalanced to see if that fixes the issue if not than I will get the centering rings for the rims that you place in the rims so when you place the rims on the vehicle it is easier to make sure they are centered. Like BMW rims have.
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