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Suffered from wheel vibration at 80K miles after original wheels replaced.

Had Michelin LTX truck tires placed on my vehicle by Costco and immediately noticed shaking in the front end on highway over 65mph soon thereafer. Read about the need for road force balancing, so I complained to Costco and the manager agreed to pay for the road force balance.

Went to Sullivan tire, had the road force done on a hunter machine where they complained two of the tires in the rear were bad; beyond correcting. Went back to Costco, they reimbursed me for the effort and offered to exchange the tires. The new tires had highway vibration, not as bad, but shook all over the vehicle front and rear.

Had enough with Costco, so I asked the manager about a refund and he agreed; so I went to my local toyota dealer and had the original Bridgestones placed back on and paid extra for road force balancing. Returned the Michelins to Costco, where they gave me a refund.

Since I had the 100K, 7 year platinum plan, I complained to the dealer about fixing the problem. They stated they it would be my cost to diagnose the problem, which could be unreasonably expensive, unless they found the cause . Since I wasn't convinced it was not a wheel balancing issue, I asked one of the assistant service managers to see about swapping the tires on her truck since she had an identical one a year older with similar tires. She agreed, so I first drove her truck to verify there was no vibration and there was not. Once I had her tires placed on my truck, I immediately noticed a similar vibration to the original , so I assumed it must be suspension related.

I read on the forum here that several people were getting the caster pushed out to help mask/correct the issue, so I went to another dealer just 2 miles under the limit of my extended warranty to have the caster pushed out. The dealer claimed they had a hunter machine, but they were wrong and did not. The service guy had me onlook to show the difficulty in getting the caster pushed out without the toe and camber changing dramatically. I gave up and told him to get it back to a passing range with as much match as possible on both sides.

The tech also noticed that my steering rack had leaked internally to the boot with half of it being discolored. I decided to get it replaced with 2 miles still left on the warranty. I was also told during the rework that the front shocks and water pump were leaking. I had a feeling they weren't, but since it was covered I had them perform the work and they threw in the timing belt for an extra $250 labor & material.

I call toyota warranty regarding the shaking, and they were kind enough the extend the warranty for a few months just for the vibration issue only.

I told the dealer about the vibration issue, and they stated it was most likely in need of road forcing, but I explained that it had already been done by another dealer. They asked if was done to the 40lb standard for trucks or better. I asked why and they stated that they've seen similar issues where they needed to go down to 20lbs to correct the issue. I called the original dealership and they stated they had done it to 40lbs.

I later asked about the cost, and they gave me a quote of $200 over the phone. I decided this was too much, so I called a third dealer who stated they would do it to 20lbs/tire for only $50.

Before going to the third dealer, I called an independant shop who had the correct hunter alignment machine. They asked why I wanted to push out the caster and I told them. I also stated that the bushings were frozen due to rust, but he was able to unfree them. Immediately, the guy stated he probably destroyed my bushings in the process since a frozen bushing needs replacement. I asked why and he countered with a question as to whether the service guy used an impact wrench to tighten the bolts. I stated yes, and he asked me to look at the bushing because he probably tore it to tighten it back in place. I went to my truck and noticed he knew what he was talking about because both bushing were partially torn. What a bummer!

Before going to the third dealership, I noticed in the forum here that the orignal alloy wheels were hub centric and did not require the hawkeya adapter. I called toyota corporate to verify this matter, but they were clueless and could not even get anyone technical on the phone to answer the question. Only dealers have access to the technical folks at toyota corporate. I then called the first dealer who I bought the bridgestone tires from and they stated that the wheels were hub centric and required no adapter. The second dealer stated that they used the adapter. The third dealer stated they would do it both ways if asked, but later found TSB SU-002-96 (revised 9/6/96) which stated that the hawkeya precision adapter kit which had a lug flange and wheel centering cone were for truck alloy wheels. I decided to go with what the document stated.

Finally, I went to the third dealer who verified they had a hunter road force machine. When I got there, they didn't know how to get it to a setting of 20lbs of road force. I printed out the hunter manual online and gave him the instructions on how to get to the setup screen to select 20lbs of road force (1lb = 0.001in) on reboot.

They road forced the tires, but still noticed the shaking. They then determined that the brakes were probably contributing toward the problem and got approval to have the front end TSB done (brake, rotor and wheel bearing replacement). I knew this was probably not the case, but decided to go with their opinion since it was being paid for by toyota extended care. Soon, thereafter the problem was still there, but shook at a more acceptable level, over all speeds. They then suggested they drive the vehicle in 4wd with the rear driveshaft disconnected to help isolate the problem.

Once disconnect, and driven, they stated the vehicle shook violently and the probelm was associated with the CV shaft on either side or the front differential. They recommended swapping out each CV shaft with a used one to determine what side the problem was occuring. I asked that if it was not the CV shaft, but the front differential, would it be easy to see the damage. Unfortunately, they stated it would not be easy to see any physical damage.

I called toyota extra care, regarding their diagnosis and asked if the dealer determined that it was the front differential, would it be covered? Toyota extra care stated it would not be covered unless the damage was evident. An expensive repair like a differential replacement would warrant a visit by an extra care representative.

I finally decided to call it quits and live with the low, but annoying vibration occuring at all speeds now.

Four months and 4K miles later, after the winter, I noticed that my front tires were severely worn around the exterior edges and that it was caused from the third dealership who obviously knocked out my alignment in doing the front end TSB. I don't know how, but they must have gotten the order mixed up when they did the front brake TSB. (Fix one thing, break another)

I later went to VIP auto who did the front end alignment (I only asked that the toe be done due to the torn bearings). They corrected the toe which was severely out and stated that the camber and caster were fine. Unfortunately, they did a bad job, because the steering rack boots now had some minor leakage internally and the gasket is only replacable on the passenger side of the steering rack.

Strangely, this alignment fix, corrected my vibration issue and I haven't had a problem since!

Its strange that no two dealers can agree along with toyota corporate on the correct way to balance their factory alloy wheels and tires, because that was the only true issue causing the problem, as I originally thought, in the first place. The 20lbs of road force correction may have also helped, but I doubt it.
 

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Holy cow you wrote a book. Glad you got your truck driving smoothly. I thought at first you had a bent wheel.
Its amazing how some of these dealerships do not know if they have a hunter road force balancer.

Chris
 

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If you think the alloys are a PITA, try getting the Toyota OEM steels wheels balanced. It's interesting that you found a TSB stating that the Haweka is also recommended for alloy wheels. I'll have to take a look at that.

It's also a real shame that the Hunter GSP9700 is capable of such amazing things, yet few people use it to its fullest potential.
 

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Wow. With your experience you should write a service manual protocol for the members here in term of what to check first and how to make sure that things are done the way they are supposed to be done. Wow. I read your post three times and still would not feel confident tracking down my vibration in terms of trusting anybody to fix my vibrations.

Would you take pictures of the various components and post them so that we could have at least some idea of what we are talking about when we take our trucks into the dealers (or any other shop) to have things checked? I have had vibration since new tires where installed and just cannot figure out what the hell is causing it. My issue sounds like yours. I have no noticeable wear on my tires and so would be tempted to rule out alignment but in reading your post I wonder if it is the bushings screwed up and how much damage has that done to other components.

Great perseverance. Points sent.
 

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hi, he's right, 1st -points sent. amazing you held it together.
you should, when you have the time, do a write up w/pictures.
i to, re-read it. amazing what you had to go through.
it's thread's like this that benifits us all-thankyou.
you never know if & when this might happen again to someone.
sometimes i belive we know much more than toyota itself.
thanks,
gorilla
 

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Discussion Starter #6
With your experience you should write a service manual protocol for the members here in term of what to check first and how to make sure that things are done the way they are supposed to be done.
I've attached the TSB, pics of my partially torn bushings, and a couple of pages from the GSP 9700 operating manual to properly set up the road force values to whatever you choose. In having the road force set to 20lbs = 0.020in, I only had one tire that had to be broken down and corrected, being over by 6lbs. All the other tires fell between 8-15lbs on average.

Lessons learned:

1. Research your TSBs.
2. Ask the dealership if they have a Hunter balancer; if so, ask what model number it is to confirm they have it.
3. Assume they don't know how to use it and get any information you can on how to use it, so you can instruct them if necessary.
4. Spray down your tie rod end adjustments with rust penetrant several days before any toe alignment, to help prevent possible steering rack damage.
5. Avoid, the caster adjustment fix stated on the forum here if you have an older truck and live in the rust belt for fear of ripping a lower control arm bushing. Rust penetrant is generally not good for rubber.

Hope this helps.
 

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This is my second Tundra, and they both vibrated at 55 and over. The first one I had balanced, rotors and dics replaced, but no difference. This truck, I've just learned to live with it. Don't think there will be a third Tundra.
 

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Oh man...Jack, I'm amazed you held it together through all that nonsense. It sounds like, plain and simple, most of those shops didn't know the first thing about correcting your problem, they just took a bunch of guesses and spent your money replacing parts that were completely unrelated to the problem. Hey, at least the timing belt and water pump were changed!

The bushings are prone to seizing. Toyota does not lubricate the cam, bolt, or sleeve within the bushing, and as a result they will eventually rust in place. It takes some time in the garage, but I cannot recommend highly enough that you remove the bolts and cams, and put a good coat of grease on them.

If the bushings are frozen, buy new hardware, and make sure it's greased before installation.

You want caster nice and high, where it's stable. A tech that doesn't understand how to properly adjust caster, camber, and toe on this truck doesn't belong in the shop...to the guy who showed you camber and toe moving along with caster, the proper response could only be "duh."

Did you ever succeed in getting a decent alignment? If you have the early lower ball joints, I have a set of lower control arms, bushings not torn nor rusted, sitting in my garage. If you want them, shoot me a PM and we can talk about price.

For you guys with vibrations in the truck, read DJ's posts on alignment, and call around until you can find a shop that knows what they're doing, understands the theory, and will take the time to talk to you about it.

Jack, if you have the alignment numbers (before and after) from any of these service trips, please post them...they will be interesting information, to say the least.

-Sean
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For you guys with vibrations in the truck, read DJ's posts on alignment, and call around until you can find a shop that knows what they're doing, understands the theory, and will take the time to talk to you about it.

Jack, if you have the alignment numbers (before and after) from any of these service trips, please post them...they will be interesting information, to say the least.
I remember the caster being 1.5 on the left and 1.3 on the right with the camber and toe around zero. Although, I cannot quote about how well the caster adjustment corrects the vibration problem, I can say that it is probably not a wise thing to do for most of us who generally do have rusted adjustment bolts with possible seized bushings. If you're a weekend, truck use guy like myself and don't go off road much, driving on the highway most of the time, most of your alignments are probably only toe adjustments leaving the bolts to rust in place (assuming you live in where the roads are salted).

I definitely feel that using the haweka adapter for the hub centric aluminum alloy wheels made the biggest difference. Although, I had to deal with a lot of aggravation, I ended up with new brakes, rotors, wheel bearings, a steering rack, shocks, water pump, timing and serpentine belt for several hundred dollars and toyota extra care paying the rest. If the dealerships and toyota corporate could agree with each other on the correct way to balance a tire for their own OEM wheels, then maybe this would all be unnecessary.
 

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Jack, do those TSB's you did on your truck and all those alignment problems you had apply to 2006 Tundras? I'm about to align my truck on Monday after I put in some fabtech coilovers, hopefully I don't have those problems.
 

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I don't see why they wouldn't; the suspension is still the same. You may be one of the lucky ones who don't have vibration issues. At least your from Southern California, so you don't have rust issues and could easily have your castor alignment pushed out to the max as suggested by the member "DJ" who works for Hunter, although I've been told that this will put additional wear on your tires shortening the life span a bit. The first gen tundra can be very finicky about proper balancing and there are a lot of alignment shops where the balancer doesn't mount the tire perfectly, so the adapter is suggested as stated in the TSB to help minimize that error. Road force balancing helps as well and has been the cure for others where their suspension isn't as sensitive as mine. I would consider my case one of the most extreme, but at least my persistence paid off.
 

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I had problems getting my 03 balanced right for 7 years and two sets of Michelins. Several shops with the RFB machines came close, but no one ever go rid of my steering shake until about a month ago. I took them to the local Fleet Farm, which had a RFB. I explained my problem and there was one tech who really knew how to use the machine standing there. He balanced the tires (Michelin LTX MS) down to the 20lb passenger car force, and instead of using the edge of rim mounted weights, he used the sticker weights on the inside of the rim. Problem solved after all these years for a whopping 10 bucks a tire.
 

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You are one patient man. Wow.
 
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