Shuddering front end

Lesabre T-type or other H-body related topics.

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Donny Lowrida
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Shuddering front end

Post by Donny Lowrida » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:12 pm

I posted in "Test Drive" a problem and haven't recieved any word on what it could be.

So to be sure my question gets out there, here it is:

While driving the other night, I noticed the wheel gradually pulling to the right and then a violent shuddering occured. I slowed the car down from 65-70 MPH to about 25-30 MPH and took an off ramp through a small town. The shuddering went away and the car stopped pulling to the right. I later jumped back on the highway to finish the journey home without incident.

What happened? Tie Rods? Steering Rack? There is no play in the wheels when the car is jacked up so the Tie Rods aren't giving their tell-tale signs of being bad. The Ball joints are new all around.

What could it be? I'm going on a three hour drive to NY (one way) and I want to be sure I can make it there without incident.

Thanks guys.

:btt2:
You must be fast, cause I was haulin' a$$ when I passed you!!!
1983 Turbo Regal T-TypeImageImage
1988 Black Buick LeSabre T-Type
GoldT-Type Emblems,Taillight/headlightblackouts.
2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 250,000 miles.

electra380
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Post by electra380 » Tue Sep 06, 2005 8:06 pm

sounds like alignment problem to me...when did you have it aligned last? and while i'm on here-- are your wheels balanced?
"Possibly a rare granny rack? you know them things give you all the extra power needed to outrun a cop car. they only put them on grandma's Buick because they know they wont abuse the power."

2seater
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Post by 2seater » Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:45 am

Try swapping the front tires side to side and see if it changes (unless they are directional tread). Are the subframe mounts in good shape? There have been several posts on the Reatta forum about the rubber mounts getting hard and cracked, or disintegrated. Also several posts about cracks in the subframe where it is welded together. Mostly on cars that are subject to salt and such.
Hal twoseater@tds.net 1990 Buick Reatta, turbocharged, Dynomax s/s UltraFlow, hand made turbo manifolds, ceramic coated, 160* t'stat, GM Tuners chip, larger throttle body, relocated MAF, 30# injectors.

Donny Lowrida
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Post by Donny Lowrida » Wed Sep 07, 2005 5:17 am

Electra 380- She was last aligned about 3 years ago when I had the struts replaced. 3 years SEEMS like a long time to you, but when the car has only moved once or twice a year, then there's no reason for her to lose the alignment.

Tires were balanced to absolute zero. I stood there and watched it take place, so it's not like someone did the job while I was in a waiting room or anything.

2 Seater-Subframe is in good shape. When it comes to UNDER the car, I worry more about the rear than the front. I have more rust in the rear and hardly ANY in the front...go figure. In reading the rest of your post about Reattas, why would these issues cause an INTERMITTENT shuddering problem? Wouldn't it happen all the time? Why go from smooth steering to suddenly pulling hard to the right and back to smooth?

It's been on my mind since the night it happened, and I haven't had time to look at it, but I've been racking my brain trying to figure out WHAT it could be that would cause something so violent.

Wednesday, I'll look at the tie rods, and check the subframe mounts. I'll also swap the tires, and see what happens from there.

Thanks for now guys. ;)

:btt2:
You must be fast, cause I was haulin' a$$ when I passed you!!!
1983 Turbo Regal T-TypeImageImage
1988 Black Buick LeSabre T-Type
GoldT-Type Emblems,Taillight/headlightblackouts.
2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 250,000 miles.

T Type Dude
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Post by T Type Dude » Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:31 pm

Pulling to the right..... then did you check maybe your brakes. One is grabbing and not completely free? If its a shuddering, i have my bets on alignment. IF you have a firestone near you they have a lifetime alignment for about $140.00, as many times you want, anytime you want---you dont pay. WOrked out for me with the T Type, I only needed it done 2-3 times though. I'd try an alignment and rule out one thing...good luck
1988 Buick LeSabre T Type .......sold

tony t-man
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Post by tony t-man » Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:58 pm

I would lean towards what Chris said regarding the brakes. Have the calipers checked. When the boot is torn and worn debris gets in and causes some rust, which makes the piston get stuck and the pads are still slightly pressed against the rotor.
While your under there, checking the front end and frame, check the calipers also.
Good Luck

Tony
:btt2:

Donny Lowrida
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Post by Donny Lowrida » Wed Sep 07, 2005 5:09 pm

Will do.

Thanks again and if I find out what it is, I'll definitely let you all know for future reference. ;)

:btt2:
I LOVE this website!!!
You must be fast, cause I was haulin' a$$ when I passed you!!!
1983 Turbo Regal T-TypeImageImage
1988 Black Buick LeSabre T-Type
GoldT-Type Emblems,Taillight/headlightblackouts.
2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 250,000 miles.

Rocketguy
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Tires?

Post by Rocketguy » Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:24 pm

Hey Donny,
Have you checked your tires? A broken belt in a tire can cause an intermitten shudder like that. It can come and go with different speeds. I have seen mud build up on hte back side of a wheel and cause wierd shutters too, though it is not likely that mud built up and suddenly came off when you were on the road. I know you said they were balanced but if it has been a while it is one more thing to check though. If you have a broken belt you can see it wobbling on the tread. You can hang out the door at about walking speed and look at your tire tread and see it, or have someone drive slowly along side you in a big parkiing lot to check it.

I had a really nice Michelin that developed a broken belt once. I had just noticed it and decided to put it off for a while cuz it was barely noticable. Then on the way to work one day I was going about 75-80 on the freeway and a shuddering developed and quickly magnified. About the time I backed off the gas my eyes really opened wide and I took a death grip on the wheel the tire blew out. I mean it really BLEW. I am telling you it was like a bomb going off it was so loud, it scared the hell out of me. Then the cops showed up and actually helped me for a change :)
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2seater
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Post by 2seater » Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:11 am

I didn't mean the subframe looseness would necessarily cause the problem but you have been over the normal stuff pretty thoroughly. There have also been some problems with breakage of a strut arm on the rear of the Reatta's too, but I believe our rear suspension is different. It is a single crossways mounted composite leaf spring, and conventional struts. A problem in the rear can cause the car to dive under certain conditions but since you have a front end vibration too, it would certainly seem to be in the front. I have had broken belts in tires before also, and if severe enough will cause a fairly violent pull condition, which may go away at lower speed but it usually doesn't disappear when back up to speed. As for the conjecture about brakes, anything is possible. There have been several reports of the interior of the brake hose collapsing causing that side to stick in the applied position, at least temporarily. Intermittant problems can be a real bitch. It almost sounds like a bearing problem or some kind of slight looseness that requires just the right conditions for the vibration to start but goes away at other times. I wish I could be more help. Swapping the tire/wheel combination will at least see if the problem follows that change, but since it doesn't always do it, a short test may turn up nothing, plus they will now be rotating in the opposite direction.
Hal twoseater@tds.net 1990 Buick Reatta, turbocharged, Dynomax s/s UltraFlow, hand made turbo manifolds, ceramic coated, 160* t'stat, GM Tuners chip, larger throttle body, relocated MAF, 30# injectors.

Donny Lowrida
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Post by Donny Lowrida » Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:46 am

Nothing yet. I've moved my departure date to Friday, so I can continue looking more thoroughly. Broken belts don't sound too hot. I was locked into a death grip the night it happened, but apparently, whatever it was, wasn't ready to give way just yet.

As it is, I'm bringing a spare tire just incase. I'm also bringing a spare starter. Last year, I was lucky. I made the 3 hour drive over, the milling around between towns, and the drive back. The next morning, the car wouldn't start in my driveway. Turns out, the ECM crapped out overnight. Nice huh? The car is VERY tempermental. You can tell we have a mutual "love" for each other, by the amount of money I sink into her each year and by the way she decides to break-down when I'm close to home, rather than a million miles away from home.

I'll tell you what I come up with tomarrow. Hopefully I find SOMETHING and it's a CHEAP fix. :roll:

:btt2:
You must be fast, cause I was haulin' a$$ when I passed you!!!
1983 Turbo Regal T-TypeImageImage
1988 Black Buick LeSabre T-Type
GoldT-Type Emblems,Taillight/headlightblackouts.
2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 250,000 miles.

323GTX
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Post by 323GTX » Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:38 am

Why don't you take your car to reputable repair shop and have them check the problem for free?

Worn front end parts is nothing to gamble with, major saftey issues.

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Post by CaliforniaT » Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:38 pm

I had a similar tire blow out in the back, except I was going downhill at 100+ mph. It is definately a scary experience, I thought I had hit an invisible deer or something. The entire tread on the drivers side rear blew completely off and I was riding on a bubble 200 miles away from home! Well I made it home riding on that thing. Anyhow I would check tires/brakes first then move to alignment.
'89 Red (mostly) Lesabre T-type. Strut brace otherwise bone stock.

tony t-man
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Post by tony t-man » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:22 am

Just curious, any verdict yet?

Tony

Donny Lowrida
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Post by Donny Lowrida » Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:12 am

Okay, I've checked tie rods, and they seems fine. Look good, and with the car lifted in the air, the wheels don't have any play.

I checked the brakes. They are BRAND NEW, and no sign of a stuck caliper, or any rubbing of any sort.

I checked the tires. The tires are a little worn, and are showing their age through fading a very slight dry rot on the edge of the sidewalls. This could be it. I'm swapping them out with another set of T-Type rims I had in storage wih better looking tires (Yokohama). Since the rear isn't posing a threat, I'll leave those alone. The fronts are coming out.

As a precaution, I'm bringing the driver's front and leaving the passenger front home. The driver's front will serve as my full size spare.

323GTX- Sorry, but with all the little Jap cars cruising around town and young, crooked kids taking over some of the local garages, and other local garages just looking to make a buck off a dinosaur like our cars, I don't trust ANYONE around here except a dealership. Have you taken YOUR car to a dealer for repair work? How much did it cost you? I rest my case. I'd rather pay out the ars, than keep paying over and over and over again probably fixing stuff that's already been fixed.

With the experience located on this website, I should have no problem locating the issue at hand in time. I've pinpointed a location, now it's just finding the problem. This also allows me to learn how to diagnose the issue if it should ever arise again. I have the shop manual for the car, so tear down and rebuild is ALWAYS a learning experience

I'd rather take the initiative to learn how to fix my own vehicle than take the risk of letting someone in a small garage toy with my pride and joy and possibly screw it up beyond repair. Wouldn't you? :)

The guys here are a VERY big help, whether they realize it or not. The suggestions alone in this thread, point me in the right direction or at least give me an idea of what to look for. Without this site, I would've given up 7 years ago about 2 months after I bought the car. Everything was falling apart due to neglect of the previous owner. I brought her back to life (over and over again :roll: ) Now she's pretty much 100% mechanically brand new. My next focus is on the body. As you all know, mechanics are nothing if the body won't last. Like always, I'll use this site for all the info I need to repair my girl.
I've saved a TON of money on labor costs, and I've learned everything I know up to now, by doing everything myself. What does John Doe learn by taking his car to a garage? How to pull out his wallet and dish out cash? No thanks, I'll pass. ;)

There's nothing better than enjoying the fruits of YOUR labor. If anyone asks, I can tell them I did all the work myself with the help of LesabreT.com.

I'll let everyone know how the trip went on Sunday when I return. Wish me luck.

:btt2:
You must be fast, cause I was haulin' a$$ when I passed you!!!
1983 Turbo Regal T-TypeImageImage
1988 Black Buick LeSabre T-Type
GoldT-Type Emblems,Taillight/headlightblackouts.
2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 250,000 miles.

tony t-man
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Post by tony t-man » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:56 pm

Couldn't have said it better myself.
Have fun this weekend and let us know what was going on with the T.

Tony.

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