vibration in steering wheel....head scratcher. - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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vibration in steering wheel....head scratcher.

Hey Lotus Peeps!
Trying to wrap my head around this strange shaking in my steering wheel that so far two shops have yet to be able to solve. Hoping that the community could point in some new directions to look at, or think about.

Here is the story:
Car has had the shakes for a bit in the steering, pretty annoying at 70mph and generally above till 100mph. And even after all the work below and time spent we have yet to get it to go away. The vibration was pretty bad and after the changes has gotten better but still more then I think it should be. Understand these cars are not Lexus ride quality, but the vibration makes highway driving pretty uncomfortable. I don't feel it should be this strong considering the upgrades.

Interesting thing to me is when driving the car at 80 with my hand resting on the steering wheel it vibrates pretty bad (not bump steer), just vibration. When I grab the wheel with more strength and hold it pretty firm the vibration kinda subsides a bit, not all the way but a bunch.

Also interesting item is that when the first time the new wheels and tires were mounted the vibration pretty much went away, but I had to change out the spring weight because the car was to bouncy with added weight of the wheels, also the front ride height was to low and made contact with the liner to much. Tracspec changed springs and set hight ride height to same as there shop lotus car.

Things changed and checked.

1. New R888 tires front and rear.
2. New Race Tech suspension from sector 111. Installed by sector111 and Trackspec to there specs.
3. Sector 111 Ultra disks front and rear with new pads. Installed to spec by sector 111.
4. Sector 111 V2 Arms installed by TracSpec.
5. New XR 530 wheels from GRP, installed by Tracspec.
6. Wheels and Tires aligned and roadforce balanced out to 0 along with dots matching valves.
7. All bushings checked by Tracspec and no movement or play found.
8. Rack feels solid no noise bolts torqed.
9. Camber all set up by Tracspec, and feels to be fine.

Any thoughts anyone to look at?
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 03:50 PM
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May be a stupid suggestion, but are your chassis shock mounts possibly loose? I know they have a habit of loosening throughout time...

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 07:28 PM
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I had a similar experience. The ball joints were changed and problem solved.
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 07:54 PM
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Wheel balance would be where I'd start. Is the problem better or worse with the modifications? If you did everything at the same time it will be difficult to sort out. If you modified in steps/stages, you should be able to narrow it down. I would think with the larger wheels/tires, you would have been able to detect if that exacerbated the issue.

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 08:07 PM
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Suggest asking Jon to do an on-the-car wheel balance. Also, have the wheels been check for run out. Even new wheels may have some run out.

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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 03:45 AM
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AS noted, virtually all speed variable vibration is balance

These cars are fussy, they don't weigh much and have small bushings. My car was perfect, took the wheels off for some reason, went out, vibration at speed. Took them off again, rotated them one hole and more carefully tightened the bolts, gone
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exigegus View Post
. . . took the wheels off for some reason, went out, vibration at speed. Took them off again, rotated them one hole and more carefully tightened the bolts, gone
@ericthered - Are the hub centering rings present and a good fit on your wheels? They are an important part of centering the wheel on a hub. You probably know all this, but here’s how I maximize the centering of a wheel:

- lift the vehicle so the tire is off the ground.
- ensure the mating surfaces of the hub and the wheel are clean, flat and true, then place the wheel on the hub.
- install the first wheel bolt hand-tight, then back it off 1/4 turn.
- install all other wheel bolts the same way.
- hand-tighten each bolt in an even pattern so that the back face of the wheel just touches the hub. So far, all bolt tightening has been accomplished by turning an extension on the socket by hand . . . no other tools.
- tighten the wheel bolts to about 2/3 of final torque in an even pattern (for 4 bolt, it would be 1,3,2,4).
- bring each wheel bolt to final torque in one sweep of the wrench. Use an even pattern of course. Leave the car in gear to lock the driven wheels and block undriven wheels with a wedge to lock them. If you can’t block the wheels, lower the car until the tire just touches the ground enough to prevent rotation during the final torque application.

A large contingent think that Hunter Road Force balancing is the gold standard. Here’s a Tire Review article about Road Force. What catches my eye is that Road Force could be adjusted to apply a far greater load on the front tires than the car ever does. This could induce a dynamic imbalance - corrected by tire position or weight - that never happens on your car. So I’d ask what preload they’re using on the tire: it should only be about 400 pounds or so.

I’ve had several vehicles with tire imbalance that was not corrected with multiple attempts with dynamic balancers, including a Road Force balancer. What solved the problem for me was using my home-made bubble balancer. I’ve balanced all kinds of assemblies, including helicopter blades and props that spin up to 35,000 RPM. Experience does help - this might be a last resort if you can find someone still doing this old-school method.

You didn’t mention wheel bearings in your investigation . . . are they in good shape?

Glen

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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 09:49 AM
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It seems the wheel balance was ok and the changes have caused the problem.

All I can offer is I've had wheel balancing done that gave those symptoms and then taken the car back to the same shop and complained and they then redid the balancing.

Anyways, that's my 2 cents.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exigegus View Post
These cars are fussy, they don't weigh much and have small bushings. My car was perfect, took the wheels off for some reason, went out, vibration at speed. Took them off again, rotated them one hole and more carefully tightened the bolts, gone
Of all the things with wheels I've dealt with over the years, nothing was fussier about balance than the front wheels on the Fiat X 1/9. Eliges are close to the same size, about the same weight and weight distribution, and have close to the same circumference tires though the wheels are different sized.

When you're happy with the car, take some paint (the wife retires her nail polish annually - bright colors tend to get kept around the shop) and index mark the hub to the brake drum and the wheel to the hub/brake drum assy for each wheel. Put them back the way you found them! For the rears, index the half shafts to the hubs as well. With such a light assembly and so little unsprung weight, it doesn't take much mass out of balance to be noticeable.

On the car balancing is the best, but you need index marks or you'll just get things out of whack again the next time something is taken apart.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2018, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Craig View Post
It seems the wheel balance was ok and the changes have caused the problem.

All I can offer is I've had wheel balancing done that gave those symptoms and then taken the car back to the same shop and complained and they then redid the balancing.

Anyways, that's my 2 cents.
YOu will note I said balance, you are balancing a tire, but the entire rotating assembly is what needs balancing. The tire/wheel is the biggest but it has a relationship to the rest.
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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thanks everyone for the feedback.

Working with Jon at Tracspec to help on the above.

will look at the mounted wheel balance, and balljoints next. Hopefully this will turn out something.
Already have the hub centric rings from GRP on them.

Is there anything in the steering shaft, or connectors? Weird but trying to figure out why when I grab the steering wheel it will kinda take the vibration out.

Thanks everyone.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 03:26 PM
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Eric --

I know Jon and his crew are top-notch (they do all the work on my '05 Elise), so he has probably already thought of this, but . . .

How about swapping your tires/wheels -- just as they are -- with another set of tires/wheels (they do not have to be the same as yours, they just have to be from a car without the problem) from an Elise/Exige that does not exhibit the problem, and drive both cars (yours with the other wheels/tires, and the other Elise/Exige with your wheels/tires) and see where the problem goes? I know parts-swapping to solve problems is sometimes looked down upon, but what do you have to lose?

Given where Trackspec is located, if you do this at the right time of the day, you should be able to safely get up to 70+ mph on I880 (the speed you indicated that the shaking was pretty annoying), with perhaps a quick burst to 80.

Just a thought . . .

-- Mike
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 10:43 PM
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Isn't this the same vibration pretty much everyone has? I've had it also. One of those .

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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by shay2nak View Post
Isn't this the same vibration pretty much everyone has?
No, it's not normal.

@ericthered - Did you ever get your problem resolved?

Glen

2011 Lotus Elise SC
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 05:30 AM
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My experience with my vibrations (Iím sure not the cause of yours as you stated itís checked already) but for others who might benefit

1. A mom and pop shop balanced my wire tires on lss rims . Around 75-85mph Ill have bad vibration. Rebalance at Americaís tire (they have road hunter balancer - better machine for balancing and it solved the problem).

2. Got a set of new used tires and rims. They vibrated to at certain speed. Got some hub rings and that solved the problem.

Good luck


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post #16 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
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@ericthered - Are the hub centering rings present and a good fit on your wheels? They are an important part of centering the wheel on a hub. You probably know all this, but hereís how I maximize the centering of a wheel:

Glen
Don't dismiss this. Years ago I commissioned Revolution to make, for my '84 Esprit, the identical wheels as on the X180R Esprit.

Once balanced and mounted, had that shaking and vibration in the front end. Wheel and tire shops couldn't figure it out.

Was fiddling around with the car in the garage one day, pulled a wheel, then discovered the center hole and hub were different by 1/16 of an inch. I literally got some thin styrene plastic, glued it around the hub, remounted the wheel and it was snug before installing the lugs.

Went for a drive, problem solved. Point is, as others have said, check the hole in the wheel and mounting hub. Outsized even a small amount can result in a wheel being mounted non centered, causing the problem. You're using aftermarket wheels, I'd check this if everything else has failed.

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post #17 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-16-2018, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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hey all,
So not much of an update, but sent info to Jon over at Tracspec.
Thought the idea of the balance on the car was interesting, but Jon can't do this so its kinda ruled out for right now.

When Jon installed the new wheels and tires he told me that the hubring was slightly to small but didn't think that was the issue, so we moved on to other things. I had Jon and Greg talk and it we are looking at a new hub ring to replace, and Jon found one that is closer to the needed size. We have them on order now, so the car will go back to trackspec next week.

Will be very careful and try the steps listed above for mounting the wheels back and torq the wheel bolts. Have watched Jon's team mounting carefully.

Before we do I will ask Jon to again mount another set of wheels and tires on to check. After that the only thing i can think of is a bad tire on the r888? Don't think Jon and Shinoo have any ideas past what has been done, we are all drawing blanks.
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post #18 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-16-2018, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
. . .
we are looking at a new hub ring to replace, and Jon found one that is closer to the needed size. We have them on order now
. . .
You shouldnít have to settle for something close . . . your centering rings need to fit properly. I havenít used these guys, but HubCentric-rings.com advertises a large selection and the ability to make custom rings.

Glen

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post #19 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-20-2018, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Think we have a winner on the vibration issue.......Hubrings!!
We changed out the hubrings today to a much tighter fit and the ride home was a pleasure. I could hold the wheel with one hand, and relax on the highway for 80+ speeds.

Thanks for everyone throwing in comments and suggestions to look at. We went down the list, and as luck has it a $3.00 part was the cause. Now I just have to make sure i don't run over any bubble gum so the vibration does not come back! LOL.
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post #20 of 30 (permalink) Old 12-30-2018, 05:51 PM
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Just had dampers rebuilt. After re-installation I now have the 80+mph steering vibration. I loosened all lug bolts and carefully torqued but not change. I'll try some of the tips I read on this thread such as rotating one bolt hole and also setting the torque prior to putting the car fully on the ground. Oddly I've taken the wheels off for new tires in years past and never an issue. Not sure what has changed? Just so odd!
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