Diagnosing a front end rattle/wobble/shimmy?

Keith Franchetti skidfranc at gmail.com
Mon Mar 5 13:52:22 EST 2007

Can anyone help with this new problem I'm having with my '91 200TQ20V?

Here are the symptoms:  A little wobble in the steering wheel at low speeds,
which quickens along with MPH.  At highway speeds in a straight line, it's
just an annoying vibration--like a bent rim or a tire going bad.  But I'm on
the bullet proof stock 15"ers.  Could be a tire, I guess they are old Hakk
1s, but I've checked the front ones out pretty carefully and they look even
and good treat still.  Worst symptom:  Above, say, 50 mph, maybe less even,
take a long curve toward the right side--just that certain amount of
turn--goes away with too much or two little turn of the wheel--but when you
hit that certain amount of turn at speed, the vibration turns to a rather
alarming thunking which is fast (corresponding to wheel rotations).  Sounds
and feels like loose lug nuts at that point.  But I've checked!  They're all
secure.  Reminds me of an inner half axel (inner CV joint?) problem I've had
twice with a '90 Saab 900.  Thing could all of a sudden seem like it was
going to shake itself to pieces.  But then it would go away for a while.
Would feel like a big chunk of ice frozen to one side of inner wheel (which
it was once).  But it's not that in this case.  In Saab's case though, I
don't think it was as specific to the amount of turn.  Also, with the
current Audi 200 problem, it's so constant.  Doesn't come and go.  The
low-speed wobble and the high speed  pretty much always there.  It's in the
shop for alignment (which it needed anyway--good luck to them, since it
doesn't have a strut tower bar) anyway, since it has a new tie rod end.
They say everything feel tight up front.  They think it could be a
strut???  I could see that if it's in conjunction with a failing tire
maybe.  Guess I'll switch on my summer wheel/tires to see if that eliminates
it.  But I'm mainly wondering if anyone has had experience with failing half
axles/inner CV joints, if if there were similar sympoms.  Thanks.


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