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Need help, bad vibration occasionally at 45 - 60 mph


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Truck is 2005 Silverado, Crew Cab, 4x4 with approx. 59,000 miles. I have 20" Mamba Wheels w/ Pirelli Scorpian ATR tires. Tires have approx. 16,500 miles on them, brake and rotors were both replaced approx. 8,000 miles ago. Approx 3 weeks ago, after driving maybe 5 miles, truck developed a bad vibration that appeared to be coming from passenger side front. Entire front end up truck was bouncing. I pulled over checked tires, itre pressures, lugnuts, etc..., and couldn't find anything wrong. I pulled back out and vibration was gone. I continued approx. 15 miles. When I arrived at my destination there was a hot smell coming front the passenger front, similar to a hot brake smell, but I still couldn't find anything wrong. I started back home and about half way, vibration reappeared, hot smell got worse, and I could hear a rubbing/friction sound (not a sqeel). Originally thought frozen brake caliper, but I went to remove it and the caliper was fine, pistons worked smooth & flawless. Brake pads & rotors did not show any wear. I grabbed tire at 12 & 6 position to check bearing, but no play. Been driving the truck ever since with no problem until yesterday. I was pulling my boat to the lake, and about 12 miles into the trip the vibration reappeared. It continued to have a bad vibration for approx. 3-4 miles then just quit, but I could hear the rubbing/friction sound again. When I stopped at the boat ramp, I could smell something hot again. After running the water about 6 hrs, I started home and truck drove flawlessly all the way home. Truck does not have any abs or service engine lights on. Does anyone have any ideal when the problem could be? Everyone has said a wheel bearing doesn't usally stop and start back its a constant vibration when it starts. Someone said they thought it could be the over sized wheels/tires just straigning the suspension. Unfortunately I sold my original wheels. Don't know if I need to start looking for a set or what to do. Needless to say I can't make the vibration start, so it doesn't do me any good to take it in to the shop.

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It may be a sticking caliper or sticking caliper slides. The only way to really tell is to stop right away when the vibration starts, and feel the caliper on the left side, then right side, and see if one is a lot hotter than the other one.

 

Driveline vibrations generally start at 40mph, but, they do not tend to come and go. They tend to start at 40mph, everytime.

Is the truck at stock height? If it is lifted, how much? Sometimes when you lift a truck the steering components get out of line with each other (not wheel alignment, I mean centrelink or draglink in line with tie rods) and you can get a severe shaking from it. When it starts shaking, the guy driving next to you can see the wheels jumping or shaking.

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We have checked everything I can think of. Just got back from a buddies of mine, we checked everything we kind find under the truck. CV Axles, bearings, steering components (pitman arm & idler arms). Removed both calipers, checked rotors & brake pads but no unusual wear. Checked both calipers pins and regreased them. Can't find anything under the front end with any play or any signs of wear. We went ahead and rotated the tires, they wasn't due but figured we would see if that made a difference. I checked all 4 wheels, there are no missing wheel weights.

 

Only thing we could find that seemed odd was,

1.) the passenger side wheel seems to roll (free spin) a lot easier than the driver's side. I don't mean the driver's side is hard to roll, it doesn't have resistance, just seemed the passenger side turned easier.

 

2.) Steering wheel has stopped locking in position. Don't know when this started, if it was before the first vibration or not. But when the truck is in park, and key removed the steering wheel will not lock. Really don't think that would have anything to do with the vibration though.

 

doug_scott - The second time this happen it continued all the way home. I pulled the truck straight into the garage and jacked it up. Both calipers were hot, but no hotter that the opposite side. I also checked to see if one wheel was easier to turn than the other. It wasn't both would spin essentially the same. Also checked the wheel bearing while it was hot. No play in the wheel at all.

 

Truck suspension is completely stock, including height. I did swap to a 20" tire package approx. 18,000 miles ago, but the over all height of the wheel/tire is the same as the oem 17". Tire is only slightly wider footprint.

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Are your tires balanced properly? If a weight fell off you would not know it by looking at the tire/wheel.....How about your tires, are they worn evenly? If they are cupped, it will shake/vibrate like you described at those speeds. Let me guess, above 6omph the vinration goes away? Front end alignment?

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BlackZ71Silverado, I haven't had them rebalanced, but tires are 2 years old, and have approx. 16,500 miles on them so anything is possible. I have checked and all the original wheel weights are still on the wheel. Tires appear to be wearing perfectly even. I couldn't tell you if it goes away above 60, when the vibration starts it is such a violent vibration I don't really think I could drive it any faster. However, it isn't a constant vibration. When it started yesterday I continued to drive the same speeds, and after 3-4 miles vibration went away and did not do it anymore even on my way back home.

 

I have had tire balancing issues on other vehicles in the past, but the vibration due to balancing would always due it at a certain speed regardless. I was thinking it couldn't be tires since it only does it occasionally. Regardless of how I drive it, I can not make it start vibrating. Even when duplicating speeds and driving conditions on the same road that it has previously acted up.

 

I am planning on taking it Tuesday to get a alignment done to see if that helps. Tires are wearing evenly and truck is tracking straight, but I figure its worth a shot.

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