Help with front end diagnosis

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Old 03-08-17, 06:32 AM
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Help with front end diagnosis

Hi all,

I have a 20002 pt cruiser with 60,000 miles on it. It has developed a problem and will look at as soon as I can in the next couple days but figured I would get some ideas for now. The problem it has developed is in the front end. First, the steering wheel when driving probably 30 mph and above wobbles back and forth ( maybe between 11:30 and 12:30 position). the steering wheel emblem is no longer horizontal meaning the steering wheel sits at about 12:30 position when driving and will slowly make the car veer to right if you dont keep straight. When driving above 35-40mph there is vibration in front end and you can feel it on the floorboard when your foot is on it. When you hit the brake at that speed it feels weird for a second ( not a warped rotor feel) almost like something is moving or something. It just doesn't feel like the front end is tight and multiple noises and vibrations. Any thoughts on what to look for. It doesn't seem bad when going over bumps or depressions as there is no clunking or clicking or anything. Everything is more just when you are moving straight and seems to get worse the faster you go. It has two new tires on the front and both wheel bearings were changed in the last 15,000 miles. Front brakes and rotors were changed about 9000 miles ago. Thx for the help
 
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Old 03-08-17, 07:56 AM
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I wouldn't wait! you need to jack up the front and look for the play in the steering. I'd want to be sure that it's still safe to drive in it's current condition. Also check to make sure the wheel lugs are tight.
 
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Old 03-08-17, 10:00 AM
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I was a front end mechanic for many years. I would get it checked today. Sounds dangerous to me.
 
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Old 03-08-17, 03:01 PM
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Loose

From your description, this does not sound safe.

To deal with the blazingly obvious as another poster noted, make sure the lug bolts are tight, and tire pressures are proper.

With the steering wheel off set and the car veering, it is probably a worn tie rod. My guess is if you looked under the car and grabbed one of the tie rods it would be obviously loose. The OEM tie rod is a cheap seamed stamping with a plastic bushing which can fail more than in cars where the tie rod is better designed. In this case eg. a Moog aftermarket tie rod would be way better than a stock item replacement, if that is indeed called for.

The mileage is not that high, so while something worn out is certainly possible, it actually sounds more like something has outright come loose. Suspension and steering bolts can work their way loose over time.

Could also be some of the various rubber bushings in the suspension worn, as the age of the car may mean these deteriorate despite lower mileage. Control arm bushing failure would be the place to look.
The good news as the symptom is so severe that it should be easily diagnosed, which is not always the case with front end wobbles and such.
 
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