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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1991 spider veloce, the car shaking is felt on the steering wheel. I have rebuilt every possible part in the front and rear suspension . Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Some of the worst cases of front end vibration I've seen were due to tires that were out of round, flat-spotted tires, or bent wheels, or even warped brake discs. It's not difficult to balance a quality tire on a wheel that's straight and concentric. I would bet your problem is related to one of these, assuming it's the front wheels you are talking about.
 

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If the shaking is from bumpy roads or potholes, a chassis stiffener will help a lot. Adding one to my '91 Spider cut down a lot of vibration. It's strange that the S4's seem particularly prone to vibration; maybe the chassis / body resonance was inadvertently altered during some minor changes.
 

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Does the vibration ever go away? Is it most prevalent in first and second while getting up to speed? If the tires are in fairly good shape and the car hasn't been idle for an extended period you can rotate them and see if you feel a difference if not have the alignment (4 wheel) and tires checked for flat spots or as mentioned above out-of-round or bent rims. If the tires turn out to be OK I might begin to look at the motor mounts, front trans mount and driveshaft u-joints but this is usually shows up more in the seat of your pants rather than the steering wheel.
Hopefully it's just a bad tire.
Cheers,
Kevin

I'm sure I'll get mercilessly chastised for this post but I hope some of the info you get will help.
 

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I too feel every road defect through my shaking steering wheel but its a LOT better than it was. Like you I had the just about every bit of the front suspension replaced. Tires less than a 1.5 yrs old.. I had the wheels aligned and tires balanced (allegedly) after new control arms were installed.. still shaking like crazy.

Having ruled out every other possibility I went to a local tire place to see if a new set of tires would help. They looked at my tires, and the checked out the suspension and seeing all the new bits decided to check the balance instead of selling me a set of tires. I insisted it had been done recently- they insisted they were really out of balance and I did not need a new set of tires. They were right. Once balanced properly, the shaking decreased by at least 70%. It's not perfect but at this point its acceptable.
 

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Wheel shaking

I find on mine that if I hit the wheel I can move it maybe 1/4 in when the car is stopped and off. It just can move side to side that little bit. I guess it's magnified by actual torque from potholes or something. No idea. Whack your wheel and see if it moves.
 

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If you have 1/4 turn of play in your steering wheel without the front tires moving it may indicate a bad pitman arm or worse a damaged or worn steering box. You can check it by jacking the front end with both wheels off the ground and twisting a tire left and right until the steering wheel moves, if it only moves in one direction it's most likely a tie rod end and you should be hear the loose end sliding and bottoming out. You can do the same thing by driving on loose sand or dirt and turning the slack out of the wheel.
 

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Agree - have the tires checked for out of round, broken belts, flat spotting, bent wheels, etc.

You can balance a square tire but the ride won't be very smooth...
I had a similar experience with a '62 Austin Healey 3000. A new set of tire resolved the issue in my case. As others have said, if you've done everything possible to your suspension, brakes, etc., out of round tires are the most likely culprit.
 

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I have been recently reworking my 92's suspension. She rides on some Dunlops fm901s that look like new...but have been on her for awhile. And she doesn't get driven much.

I did poly the bushings (both ends) of the trailing arms, replaced the original springs and shocks (front and rear) with IAP performance springs and Koni Reds, and installed a chassis stiffener. I didn't rebush anything in the front, but checked all for play. Got an alignment. And rebalanced and rotated. Still got a little shake..but I attribute it to tires sitting too long in one position. The chassis stiffener has nearly eliminated cowl shake, but its not as effective as it is on my 78. The S4s are just plain more flexible. But its much improved with the stiffener. The rear trailing arm bushings eliminate rear steer going into a corner. I found one front bushing bad, the rest were good. Of course, the poly will transmit more axle vibration...so if the diff needs service, you'll know it as the growl will transmit to the body.

I think you have a bad tire. Especially if the lower balls on the front are good. Got to be either that or a bent wheel.

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #12
alfa shaking

I should have been more clear and specific. The shaking felt on steering wheel and cowl happens driving over uneven roads, The only thing that I have not changed in the front and rear is zero. Everything is new , even engine and trans. mounts. A frame stiffener is the only thing that I have not changed, On even road this alfa the the best riding auto around. I want to thank everyone with your ideas and fixes.
 

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yep, same here Gagliardi. It's only an issue over rough pavement and its very pronounced. On smooth roads it is perfect. Although the 2nd tire balancing in 6 months helped a great deal and it may be true that s4's are particularly flexible I'd like to know why some s4's, including my friend's, don't seem to have this this problem at all. My mechanic also let me drive his son's S4 and his had no steering wheel shake over some very rough LA pavement.
If you ever track down the cause of this vexing problem I'd love to know what it is. Also I'm curious- what wheels and tires have you got on your car?
 

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it could be the oil pan guard is bent and touching the under carriage.
 

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What shock absorbers are on the car?
My US/Japanese spec car was horrible on anything other than smooth surfaces when I first had it - very crashy ride. A switch to Koni Classic (red) shocks has made a big difference although it does still suffer from scuttle shake.

I wonder if the extra weight of S4 (power steering, A/C, for example) versus earlier models is a bit much for the chassis?
 

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Blown shocks will bottom out and bang. Do you hear any abnormal noises? Worn shocks don't narmally result in wheel shake other than on really pitted roads.
 

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Sounds to me you are describing cowl shake. That is what the chassis stiffener is for. The S4 alfas have a bunch compared to the earlier cars. Don't know why. The chassis stiffener will resolve most but not all cowl shake on a S4. And its a pain to install! :D

Best Regards,
John M
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Alfa shaking

John M: Thanks for the info and interest. I am sure the stiffener will help. I am looking into the reason for the steering wheel movement from side to side, there is some kind of rubber bushing under the the dash. I will keep you informed on what I find and the results.
 

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John M: Thanks for the info and interest. I am sure the stiffener will help. I am looking into the reason for the steering wheel movement from side to side, there is some kind of rubber bushing under the the dash. I will keep you informed on what I find and the results.
Agree w/ your assessment--it's the wheel moving, not so much cowl shake. I have a stiffener and gave my mechanic (reputable alfa guy in East Bay CA) carte blanche to replace EVERY suspension component that needed it, so the only X factor I still have is tires--maybe 20k mi on Bridgestones I put on the car in 2003. Like I wrote previously, I can physically move the steering wheel side-side even when the car is stopped and turned off. Please let us know what you find. There's a bushing in a bracket welded to the firewall, but my car's been at the top place since last Weds and I haven't been able to ck the bushing. Good luck!
 

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I fixed this on my 93 by putting on new tires and getting an alignment.
I did the same on my 94 and still had the shaking. The alignment guy said that 2 of my rims were chipped on the inside. I took it back to the tire guy who said, yeah I guess I shouldn't have put the new tires on these 2 rims. Sheesh. I got my 2 spares out, one from each S4 and had them put the tires on them instead, problem solved, no more shaking.
 
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