UKC

/ Car Vibrating Badly

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pec on 28 Feb 2018

Just driven halfway down to the Alps and back with no problems until driving back from Dover. Started to feel some vibration from the front of the car which just felt like a bad road surface except whenever the road surface changed the vibrations didn't go away.
Within a few miles it got worse, like driving on a permanent rumble strip but went away when I had to slow down in the usual delays getting past the Dartford Crossing!
Once back up to full speed (70mph) it was ok for a while but returned after 20 miles or so. Stopped for a meal, started driving again, no vibration for a while but then it came back with a vengance and had to slow down, eventually couldn't get above 50mph without it feeling like a washing machine on spin cycle.
Drove it again the next day, no problems until after 10 or 20 miles on motorway and the vibrations return.

So the problem is brought on at motorway speeds but not straight away, it builds up.
It feels like the whole front end is shaking but can't feel that much through the steering wheel specifically, mostly through the floor pan.
Once the vibrations have started, the accelerator affects the vibrations like an on/off switch, just touch it and they start, come off it and they almost instantly stop.

Had it in a garage today, had a look over it and can't find anything in the steering or suspension, but then problems here wouldn't come and go?
They took it for a short drive but not at motorway speeds, said they can hear 'something' but can't identify it and no vibrations.

There doesn't seem to be any problem with operating the clutch or changing gear.

I've posted this elsewhere on a VW forum but UKC seems to get a lot more traffic and what with all those climbers driving aound in  Octavias with the same VW engine and set up I thought there's a good chance someone will have had similar problems

Any ideas please? Thanks in advance.

Its an 2005 Sharan 1.9 TDI 130bhp 6 speed manual with 143,000 miles on it.

FactorXXX - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Possibly a migrant stowaway jammed in the suspension?

purplemonkeyelephant - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Wheel bearing? Jack up the side it's coming from and spin the tyres, try to listen for any dodgy noise. 

George Fisher - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Our little BMW is doing exactly the same thing. We’ll not exactly in that ours in rear left corner. Fine for 20mins then awful vibration starts.  

Last night I noticed that that brake disk is getting very hot, 290degrees hot compared to 20 degrees on the other side.  So I’ve diagnosed a sticking brake piston or handbrake to be investigated tomorrow.

makes sense to me, runs fine for a while, gets hot, expands a bit or distorts and starts rubbing on something.

worth a look.

 

 

timjones - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to FactorXXX:

If the accelerator is acting like an on/off switch and you can't feel it in the steering then I would suspect that it something in the drivetrain.

Possibly a CV joint in the early stages of failure. I would be inclined to take it for a drive and check the temperatures of the CV joints with an IR thermometer.

pec on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

Thanks form the suggestion but there's none of the usual bearing drone which gets better/worse as you turn the wheel and the garage presumably looked at this? 

I'll check it over myself when I can but there's 2" of snow on the drive and its minus something out there!

Just to reiterate, this is serious vibration, like the car is shaking itself to pieces not just a bit of noise and wheel wobble.

Mooncat - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

I'd suspect brakes, maybe a combination of binding and warped discs.

George Fisher - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Ours literally feels and sounds like an out of balance washing machine on spin is in the boot.   If you leave it to cool for a bit it’s fine for 20 mins then back it comes. 

I stopped several times on the way back from NWales last week to look underneath and wobble the wheels I was so convinced that something big had come loose. 

pec on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to timjones:

> If the accelerator is acting like an on/off switch and you can't feel it in the steering then I would suspect that it something in the drivetrain. >

Yes, that's my thoughts too.

> Possibly a CV joint in the early stages of failure. I would be inclined to take it for a drive and check the temperatures of the CV joints with an IR thermometer. >

I don't have an IR thermometer but will check it over when time and weathern conditions permit. Do you think a CV joint could be intermittent, i.e. only come on when it heats up and could it cause vibrations that badly?

 

timjones - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

> Yes, that's my thoughts too.

> I don't have an IR thermometer but will check it over when time and weathern conditions permit. Do you think a CV joint could be intermittent, i.e. only come on when it heats up and could it cause vibrations that badly?

Whilst I'm not familiar with your particular make and model of car I would say that the pattern of symptoms sounds very familiar.

I've experienced eyeball rattling vibrations at speed in the early stages of a CV joint failure, I would get it sorted ASAP as it is likely to leave you stranded when it does go.

nniff - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Iffy tyre?  Bulge or similar appears as pressure rises after 20 or so miles?  Balancing weight fallen off (more apparent when tyre pressure rises)?

1
jkarran - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

> Just to reiterate, this is serious vibration, like the car is shaking itself to pieces not just a bit of noise and wheel wobble.

If it's building up gradually over time rather than as road or engine speed varies it's probably something changing size/shape with temperature or changing rigidity/viscosity, the vibration causes further heating and a positive feedback cycle.

Tyre pressures or uneven wear - can produce a serious fidgeting/thrumming vibration felt mostly through steering but also driving the car to vibrate

Suspension bushes - similar though usually they clunk and move notably at low speed before they spoil normal driving, they may just be getting warm and soft at speed

Brakes - rusty handbrake marks rubbing and heating unevenly perhaps warping the disks

Dampers - tends to produce an aggressive chattering vibration of the whole end/corner of the car and uneasy handling

Another option and perhaps actually the most likely if it sets up suddenly at speed is the undertray, arch liner or front lip spoiler may have been ripped loose by alpine snow. If it's pinned in place by aerodynamic forces and remaining fasteners until a bump or gust starts it fluttering aggressively.

jk

Post edited at 10:37
Dave Garnett - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Wheel bearing? Jack up the side it's coming from and spin the tyres, try to listen for any dodgy noise. 

We had a similar intermittent problem with our A3 to the point where it impinged on the disc guard occasionally and it was a wheel bearing.

Glug on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

We had a very similar problem on our T5, it was a rear tyre which had deformed, it was out of true over the diameter.  

Ffat Boi - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to George Fisher:

I remember the sound like a washing machine filled with scrap metal

It was the drive shaft; spiral break, sound got worse at high speeds

George Fisher - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to Ffat Boi:

ours doesn’t get worse with speed. It’s higher frequency but once it’s started it’s there at all speeds down to a few mph.

 

kevin stephens - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

> Just driven halfway down to the Alps and back with no problems until driving back from Dover. Started to feel some vibration from the front of the car which just felt like a bad road surface except whenever the road surface changed the vibrations didn't go away.

> Its an 2005 Sharan 1.9 TDI 130bhp 6 speed manual with 143,000 miles on it.

That'll be the auto Brexit immobiliser cutting in, standard feature built into all German cars exported to the UK.  Your clock must be set wrong so it thinks it's post April 2019.  I'd get the clock re-set and it should be fine for another 12 months

Post edited at 11:26
pec on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Thanks for all the replies, I'm not discounting anything anyone's said but to clarify a few points:

When I said the vibrations build up I mean they are totally absent for a while, then appear quite quickly (less than a minute) and get worse worse quite quickly (within a few minutes).

In about 1500 miles of motorway driving there were no obvious symptoms but it became very bad in less than 50 miles so its something which deteriorated quite quickly which makes me err away from bearings (and there's no droning or difference when turning side to side)

The vibration isn't particularly through the steering wheel (other than its attached to a vibrating car) which make me err away from wheels/tyres.

There's no brake judder which makes me err away from warped discs etc.

The slightest touch of the accelerator turns it on like a switch and vice versa before there is any change in road speed which makes me err away from things directly connected to road speed but rather something in the drivetrain, i.e. just a slight push from the engine through it (whatever 'it' is) brings it on.

Thanks again for your time.

Al_Mac - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

If it's coming through the floorpan but not the steering wheel, and is as bad as you describe, then I'd be looking at something upstream of the driveshafts (engine/gearbox mounts), or the rear end. If it's coming through the steering wheel then it's usually front wheel/strut/driveshaft/front brake related. If it's a noise that increases with engine RPM it's usually engine/gearbox input, detectable as gearbox/clutch/release bearing if you dip the clutch and it goes away. If it's a noise that increases with road speed then it's usually gearbox or downstream (driveshaft/prop etc). And if you can feel it through your arse on the seat then it's usually from the rear of the car. As you've said it's a VW my assumption is that it's FWD rather than AWD so at the rear, this would leave the brakes or wheel bearings (not uncommon failures in a VAG car). Jack the sides and feel for play in the wheels with the handbrake off (handbrake on will limit any play). And rotate them. They should spin freely. Equally, pull the handbrake on one click at a time and see if there's any difference in the engagement side to side. My betting is a lazy handbrake mechanism not disengaging fully, or a sticky piston/slider assembly on the rear that builds gradually as you go faster and eventually causes what you describe. It could even be a combination of that and a tired damper that's allowing the wheel to get into a frequency where it just continues to oscillate until you have an action (such as using the throttle). Does tapping the brakes have a similar effect? It should. If it doesn't then I'd be looking at engine mounts or the stabilising dogbone etc for any excess play.

malky_c - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Tyres? Sounds too obvious, but I remember a similar feeling when driving my dad's car shortly after I had passed my test. Drove from the highlands down to north Wales in it with some juddering going on the whole way. Couldn't see anything obvious wrong, but turned out I'd totally stripped the inside of the treads down to the wire - I was lucky I didn't have a blowout.

 You couldn't really spot a problem unless you got on your knees and looked round the back of the wheels. They were cheap re-moulds and probably not designed to do 90+ mph for hours on end (not that I'd ever drive at that speed, you understand).

jkarran - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

> The slightest touch of the accelerator turns it on like a switch and vice versa before there is any change in road speed which makes me err away from things directly connected to road speed but rather something in the drivetrain, i.e. just a slight push from the engine through it (whatever 'it' is) brings it on.

In which case engine mounts going soft as they warm up or a serious misfire could also be worth considering. Ignition system issues are often temperature sensitive.

Have you checked your wheel nuts?

jk

captain paranoia - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Loss of wheel balancing weight?

pec on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to Cloverleaf:

> If it's coming through the floorpan but not the steering wheel, and is as bad as you describe, then I'd be looking at something upstream of the driveshafts (engine/gearbox mounts), or the rear end. If it's coming through the steering wheel then it's usually front wheel/strut/driveshaft/front brake related. If it's a noise that increases with engine RPM it's usually engine/gearbox input, detectable as gearbox/clutch/release bearing if you dip the clutch and it goes away. If it's a noise that increases with road speed then it's usually gearbox or downstream (driveshaft/prop etc). And if you can feel it through your arse on the seat then it's usually from the rear of the car.            etc  >

 

Thanks for the long and helpful post.

My feeling is its something in the drivetrain and at the front of the car, you can really feel it through your feet.

My thought is it could be the dual mass flywheel on its way out which can produce these symptoms. At £1200 to fix its the nightmare scenario so I'd be delighted if its almost anything else. I wonder if something in it is breaking up and works loose/gets lodged where it shouldn't to bring on the vibrations but when I stop and do a few gear changes it goes back, only to come on again after a period of high speed driving?

Against this idea is that the gear change and clutch seem fine and there's no terrible noise from the bell housing, at least as far as I can tell when I rev it with the car stationary. Perhaps there's a little rattle but then I'm not entirely sure precisely what a failing dmf should sound like and any car with 143,000 miles on it usually has a few noises.

Dipping the clutch and touching the brake involves taking your foot of the accelerator which makes the vibrations go away anyway so its hard to tell what effect they have though I'll give it another go if/when it gets bad again.

jkarran - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

It could be the flywheel but I wouldn't jump to conclusions. Unless there's an absurd VW premium or you live in Monaco you should be able to get it changed for a fraction of that price, I had a Ford one done a couple of years back for well under £400 and a few phone calls getting quotes.

I'd missed the Diesel bit, forget ignition

jk

Martin McKenna - UKC - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

I had a problem like this last week. It was a f*cked rear wheel bearing. Replaced that and it's fine now.

nniff - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

If it's not through the steering wheel, my money is on a damaged or unbalanced rear wheel.

You would feel it through your feet because the rest of you is sitting on a squashy seat and it's not a juddering steering wheel.

Investigate the cheap causes first before jumping in to the deep end

Post edited at 15:03
pec on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> It could be the flywheel but I wouldn't jump to conclusions. Unless there's an absurd VW premium or you live in Monaco you should be able to get it changed for a fraction of that price, I had a Ford one done a couple of years back for well under £400 and a few phone calls getting quotes.

I'd be delighted if its not the flywheel but vibration through the floor pan is one of the symptoms of failure. At 143,000 miles a dmf has to be living on borrowed time though

I asked the garage what it would cost and £1200 was the price they quoted. Its not an expensive garage and it's in keeping with what I'd expect. The flywheel alone costs over £500 and since you have to take out the gearbox, driveshafts, bonnet etc just to get at it its a false economy not to change the clutch at the same time, especially since that's also the original.

I think driveshafts seems the other likely contender but it needs to stop snowing before I'm going to get under it and have a look.

Driveshafts is what the two replies I've had on the VW forums have suggested also.

Thanks.

 

birdie num num - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Your tyre is probably egg shaped. Did you hit any potholes? Did they jack up and spin the tyres?

1
balmybaldwin - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

From your description It suggests it is drive related rather than steering/suspension.

Drive shaft sounds a likely culprit, the delay implies its only happening when warm certainly when I've had a drive shaft go it started like this, and then became a constant issue even when cold

 

garycrocker - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

I know you discounted it but I would suspect the tyres or a tyre as being the cause. Try swapping them front to back then go for a drive on a motorway. It won't cost you a penny and might narrow things down.

timjones - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to garycrocker:

> I know you discounted it but I would suspect the tyres or a tyre as being the cause. Try swapping them front to back then go for a drive on a motorway. It won't cost you a penny and might narrow things down.

If it is at the front as suggested then you should be able to feel any wheel or tyre vibration through the steering.

oaktree - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

I have a 55 1.9 tdi galaxy doing exactly the same thing,the vib comes in at about 45mph, and will stop if you knock it out of gear and coast,looking on forums a couple say dm flywheel but most say rear engine gearbox mounting some call it a torque restricting mount,i can feel movement through the clutch pedal if I rest my left foot on it and press throttle on/off gently.so I not sure if it is clutch/flywheel related,i don't travel far or fast so am using it as is until some warmer weather arrives,(also 1 front alloy air con pipe has fractured which also implies movement of the engine)it would be good if you could let me know if you find a "cure"

John Stainforth - on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to pec:

Is it a rear wheel drive car? If so, it could well be the prop shaft, or rather one of its universal joints. (I had that problem on a very old car I had when I was a student eons ago!)

pec on 28 Feb 2018
In reply to oaktree:

> I have a 55 1.9 tdi galaxy doing exactly the same thing,the vib comes in at about 45mph, and will stop if you knock it out of gear and coast,looking on forums a couple say dm flywheel but most say rear engine gearbox mounting  etc

Almost identical car and very similar problem. That's something else to check out. I might see if I can brave the elements and get it jacked up tomorrow to check things over but its -6C outside at the moment and not forecast to get above 0 all day tomorrow. I'd leave it till the weekend but I want to get out and climb some ice while it lasts!

>it would be good if you could let me know if you find a "cure"

Yes, once I've got to the bottom of it I'll post the 'answer' on here but it might be week or two yet.

 

Marcus Tierney - on 01 Mar 2018
In reply to pec:had similar in sharan of same mileage belonging to a friend, we eventually broke down on A1 with driveshaft failure 

 

pec on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to pec:

Just a quick update as I know a couple of people asked for one above.

I've now had chance to have a good look over the car. I found one of the roll bar drop links had a very worn joint and have replaced it. Tonight I did a 20 mile motorway run with no particular problems so possibly that was the problem or perhaps 20 miles wasn't far enough to bring it on as I had driven further before the vibrating started before.

I have to say I'd be surprised if a worn drop link could make a car vibrate that badly on a straight motorway and even if it could, that it wouldn't do it all the time.

This leads me to the other possible problem I found. The LH inner CV boot was split and there was some play in the joint. I've driven cars with CV joints with more play in them without terrible vibration so I'm not certain it is that but perhaps different cars are affected to different degrees? I can also imagine a worn joint heating up over time to bring on the problem after some time rather than always causing vibration.

I'll be doing a longer motorway trip this weekend which should hopefully decide things one way or the other and will post the result on here.

gethin_allen on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to pec:

Perhaps the drop link is the result father than the cause having been worn out due to excessive vibration from another company and replacing the drop link has masked the problem once again.

pec on 13 Mar 2018
In reply to pec:

A further update. Went up to the Lakes on Sunday, 130 miles each way and no repetition of the bad vibration so perhaps it was just the drop link after all?

Something still doesn't feel quite right but perhaps its always been like that and I'm just hyper sensitive to every twitch as I'm consciously thinking about it. If I hadn't had the really bad vibration I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it.

The inner CV boot was split when I looked over the car so will need replacing and since I have to take the CV joint off to replace the boot I might as well put a new joint back on at the same time as I do the boot. A joint + boot is only about £15 more than the boot on its own anyway.

Thanks again to all who made suggestions.

wilkie14c - on 13 Mar 2018
In reply to pec:

I remember a Sierra I had that vibrated badly at certain speeds. changed the discs and pads, roll bar bushes, track rod ends, track control arms. Turned out to be a bucked wheel! Oh how I laughed. 

I’ve always used the stretchy boots, they are great as don’t have to take to joint off. The sticky boots where you glue them together are useless, never worked for me

pass and peak - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to pec:

Its what nniff says!! 

misshapen tyre! had exactly the same my last trip to cham, both rear tyres where misshaped, tyre needs to heat up on road and flex before vibration felt, it will only get worse. Take it to a "good" tyre garage and get them checked, problem is finding which one, after a while it will be apparent on the tread pattern!

Post edited at 16:53
Deadeye - on 14 Mar 2018
In reply to pec:

Sell tickets to sit on it?


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