'94 Ford Ranger, steering wheel shimmies

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  #1  
Old 01-09-03, 07:19 AM
Dragonfly
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Question '94 Ford Ranger, steering wheel shimmies

I am the only owner and she only has about 56,700 miles. The past few days my steering wheel has been doing the shimmy at low speeds. ie: 20-45 mph. We have snow and a ton of potholes, (I do avoid most), but it seems as if there must be an automotive situation causing this instead of bumps in the road. When I first noticed this, there was like a tug on the wheel, as if I had a flat tire or something.
My first thought is to check the struts/shocks and tire wear, but the 2 rear tires have less than a few k on them, so I don't think it is the tires.
Also, I hear a thud from the rear end occasionally. This started a few months ago, but is becomming more frequent the past few weeks. Any info greatly appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-09-03, 10:01 AM
Joe_F
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Sounds like a broken or shifted belt in the tire. Or a missing wheel weight---causing a rim to be out of balance. Could be other things as well.

Swap the wheels front to back and see if the noise/problem goes away or travels to the back now.

If it does, wheel and tire related. If not, suspension related.

Let us know what you find.
 
  #3  
Old 01-10-03, 06:35 AM
Dragonfly
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Thanks joe, one related question, please.

Hey Joe, thanks for your suggestions. As for me moving tires around, well...problem is, I have no garage, it's freezing and the only thing I can do is go to a mechanic and have this all checked out. It is going to take a while to scrape the $$ together. My concern is that a wheel will fall off or something :-0 before I can get to it. I am driving no faster than 55 mph, I don't hit the brakes at a fast speed, etc etc, but I do have to travel about 40 to 50 miles a day. So how safe is it to drive my truck and for how long? Since I am going to have to have a mechanic look at it anyway, I would like to be prepared. What other things could it be, if not wheel related? And what could suspension involve? As you can tell, I am not knowledgeable about the inner workings of auto's. :-( Thanks again for your info.
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-03, 06:42 AM
Dragonfly
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A ps about the wheels Joe...

I had two new tires put on the rear about 3 or 4k miles ago, as it is rear wheel drive. The old tires are on the front, but they have been rotated and there is no real wear showing on the tread, if this helps at all...
 
  #5  
Old 01-10-03, 09:37 AM
1fireman
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To have the wheels rotated and balanced shouldn't cost too much, my local wal mart does it for 7.50 per tire. One other possibility is that the wheels are out of alignment...
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-03, 11:06 AM
darrell McCoy
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GM dealer here will rotate tires for 10.95 if you do not request a rebalance. I understand however that this does not help you. Were your old tires rebalanced? Check your lug nuts, bent rims.
thats pretty easy. You are not doing yourself or vehicle any favors driving it this way. If you do by chance have a separated tire you could be in for a WOS, with driving 40-50 miles a day. Are the rear tires that are now on the front original? Regardless of looks, you are talking 56000 miles or over 8 years old if they are. Probably hard as a rock by now and have served their purpose. Rotate and if this is the problem, get a couple more new tires. Also as you mentioned potholes, they can be real bad for rims if you hit them just right.
 
  #7  
Old 01-10-03, 07:33 PM
Joe_F
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I agree with all the folks here. A tire rotation is cheap insurance and will help pinpoint the problem.

If the tire rotation doesn't tell you where the problem is, bail out and have it looked at and repaired promptly. If suspension parts are worn, the vehicle is a danger to drive that way.
 
  #8  
Old 01-10-03, 08:39 PM
knuckles
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Arrow

You might also want to thoroughly inspect the front suspension & steering linkage.

Your local service center can do this for you when they rotate the tires or you can do it yourself if you have a decent floor jack and a few minutes to spare.
 
  #9  
Old 01-15-03, 04:56 AM
Dragonfly
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Talking Hey Guys! Check this out!

Thanks to you all. I called, took the truck in and it was the front tire belt, as mentioned here. ;-) Darn potholes! This man has the most honest repair shop I have ever in my life encountered. I forgot about him it had been so long since I was in need, thankfully! 8-) Anyway, I called Monday, had it in Tuesday at 11:00 am and home by 3: with me a'smilin' all the way home. He hooked me up with 2 used tires that were better than the ones I had on there. That was the front 3 year old ones.
One mention here. My tires are almost always rotated when needed, 8| and I try to keep up on tranny & oil changes, etc. I am just in such a $$ bind right now, I don't know what I was thinking. But to you all who gave a reply, thank you. You got me realizing how foolish I was being about what turned out to be a simple matter. I felt much safer this morning, believe me!
 
  #10  
Old 01-15-03, 05:30 AM
Joe_F
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Thumbs up

Good job .
 
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