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Straight axle shimmy starting at 62 MPH

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by spiker, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. spiker
    Joined: Oct 11, 2010
    Posts: 428


    I'm ready to give up. I've got a 33 lowboy with a Pete and Jakes straight axle, Unisteer, ET 3 wheels, and radials. I can't get rid of a shimmy that starts around 62 MPH. I've replaced the front shocks, king pins are good, it's been alighned with a 1/8 toe in. I just tried ceramic beads in the tires, and it didn't help. Any ideas?
  2. Master of None
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 2,279

    Master of None

    Do a search for steering dampener. It might help, so-cal sells them for reasonable.
  3. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,050


    Try adding more caster.
  4. garagerods
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 451

    from Omaha

    Pics please of all of the front end components.

  5. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    from Phoenix AZ

    That speed is usually a tire balance issue. Also look for excessive wheel runout.
  6. d.reese
    Joined: Feb 28, 2010
    Posts: 228


    I agree..
  7. 41fred207
    Joined: Feb 7, 2011
    Posts: 103


    broken belt in the tire caused my buddies shimmy. took a while to find it, jacking the rig up and checking k/p's, tie-rods and what not. only found it after swapping tires around.
  8. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,776


    +1 for more caster... then steering dampener.
  9. That's the ticket!
  10. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope

    Twisted belt, probably in the right front tire, from hitting curbs parking. Not usually visible, try a different set of wheels and tires to find it.
  11. bbtom30
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 155

    from so. cal

    Speed related shimmy is almost always wheel balance. Does the shimmy go away at higher speed.Is it not there at low speeds or just not as bad.If it starts at a certain speed and then goes away at a higher speed it is wheel balance.
  12. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,075

    scrap metal 48

    Try putting more air in the tires and see if it makes a difference.....
  13. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,344


    Death wobble or speed wobble search
  14. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    have you tried switching right wheel and tire for left to see what happens?

    have you tried a different set of wheels and tires, (even if they are not pretty, just to prove that its not the tires or wheels)
  15. Rickybop
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 7,249

    from Michigan

    Lots of threads on the dreaded "death wobble". In most cases, it proved to be a tire/wheel issue, after the member had gone round and round, changing this and that. If a suspension and roling-stock is in good shape, and engineered and assembled correctly, there will be no need for a steering-stabilizer...that's a bandaid-fix. And more caster isn't going to smooth out something that's out of balance. Good luck.
  16. Do you have discs or drums up front? Had a similar problem. I tried everything and then someone told me to look at the brake drums. They were unbalanced. Changed them and it worked.
  17. jonly
    Joined: Mar 15, 2010
    Posts: 215


    every time I've had this problem it's been solved with good tires - if you need to hear it again.
  18. spiker
    Joined: Oct 11, 2010
    Posts: 428


    Thanks for the advice, I going to have to systematically go through everything.
  19. milner3268
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 283

    from buffalo NY

    I agree with wheel balance as long as the front end was set up properly to begin with
  20. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    You will feel a separated belt at all speeds. The tire is actually out of round and you feel it every rotation of the tire no matter how fast it is revolving.

    A shimmy that occurs at a certain speed it's due to the RPM of the tire at that speed. It's almost always a balance problem.

    The man that I worked for had a permanent plastic sign made for the front counter..."A front end alignment will not correct a shimmy."
  21. coupster
    Joined: May 9, 2006
    Posts: 860

    from Oscoda Mi

    x2 on the drum issue. I fought with the same kinda deal for a couple years before stumbling onto an out of balance drum.
  22. 29moonshine
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,323


    have the front tires speed balanced on the car that way every thing is balanced together. just make sure they go back on the same way if you ever take them off.
  23. Lots of idea already. What are you using for brakes? The Raven had a weight missing off of one of his drums. Probably not the problem but a few years ago one of the fellas had a death wobble issue and we discovered he had a broken leaf.

    Just a couple of things to help muddy up the waters.
  24. Try swapping out a different set of front tires and rims. Chased a problem like this on my father in laws pick up and it turned out to be a tire with a belt gone wonky.
  25. BLAKE
    Joined: Aug 10, 2002
    Posts: 2,776


    All good suggestions, so the key (duh) is to start with the obvious before moving on to the deeper stuff. Alignment, balance, and a good check for broken/worn parts would be the place to start.

    We had the same issue on Joyce's pickup - just a little side-to-side wobble between 60-65, but like butter otherwise. After alignment, balance, and new tires didn't do it, I dialed in a little more caster and it was gone.
  26. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,758


    I'd have to go along with the out of balance drum theory too. I've seen a lot of cars that had drums that were out of balance and one aftermarket drum that was so far out it was total junk.

    See if you can find a shop that has an on the car spin balancer that spins the front tires with a drum that spins against the tread of the tire. Some of the shops may still have the old Hunter sitting in the corner but if you can find one with a strobe balancer you have hit the jackpot.

    Have them spin the front tires on the car and see what happens.

    I've seen a lot of drums that were out of balance over the years and one aftermarket drum that was so far out that it was junk right out of the box.

    I've also seen hubcaps (especially on early 70's Fords) that were out of balance.
    Joined: Jul 22, 2009
    Posts: 431

    from KS
    1. The Gas House Gang

    7* caster /steering dampner
  28. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    hey spiker, when you nail it down..let us know what you find to be the problem
  29. #1 Kawboy
    Joined: Aug 4, 2009
    Posts: 189

    #1 Kawboy
    from Fl

    My '34 shimmy-ed at 60 mph just before the bushings wore out in the same type front end you got. They were the plastic type not rubber. DROVE ME NUTS !! New bushings, problem gone !
  30. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,956

    gas pumper

    I have early ford drums on my T. I set them up on a balancer without the wheels. and even tho they had the ford weights on them, each was out. one needed .5 oz the other .25oz. I added a screw with a little piece of lead. drilled and tapped a hole in the drum.

    It did help a little.

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