Steering wheel vibration/shimmy - solved!

benlucas

Active Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
136
Location
Rainham, Kent
Car
(W211) E55 AMG Saloon, Obsidian black
Hi all - hope my experience may help someone as I know how infuriating it can be to try and eliminate this.

I've been getting a slight wobble through the steering wheel although it seemed to come and go dependent on the road surface – smooth it was good but any bad surfaces (of which there are far too many) would start a shimmy. I also noticed a slight clonk from the front when going over particularly bad surfaces or railway crossings etc. Bear in mind this was after I had replaced both o/side wheels (due to the previous owner hitting a large pothole) plus re-balancing made no difference.

I then decided to visit Elite Direct in Rainham Essex on Friday whom I’ve used for many years and generally had good results with. They are also one of the very few outfits that can carry out a Road Force balance i.e. a roller is pushed up hard against the tyre whilst it is being spun to simulate the weight of the car. This enables a more accurate balance and is often used on brand new cars to achieve that perfectly smooth steering wheel experience.

Got chatting to one of their guys who examined each wheel/tyre for any obvious damage then brought in a more senior guy who asked if he could test drive it. I agreed and off he went, returning about 10 minutes later. He agreed that yes, there is a shimmy and whilst it drove very well it also didn’t feel as planted as it should, especially on poorer road surfaces. However, he reassured me that he would get to the bottom of it…

Up on the ramp and first off they examined all the tyres. Rears were fine and wearing evenly but both fronts were wearing on the inside edges and felt rather rough here too. Spinning both front wheels you could see the tyres moving up and down on the inner edges which he advised meant the wheels were bouncing during driving. As to the cause, they then examined the suspension and found play in both lower ball-joints, a couple of mm on the offside and very slight play on the nearside. Apparently there should be none whatsoever. He asked when it was last serviced (a few months ago) and when it last had an MOT (just before I bought it with no advisories) and he was surprised no one spotted it.

So basically the tyres were out of round due to worn lower suspension arm bushes which was causing the wobble. They said they could fit new front tyres and also order and fit both lower suspension wishbones which included the bushes and if this didn’t cure it they would put my old tyres and arms back on. What did I have to lose?

Went back today and they fitted everything as well as adjusting the tracking. And the result is…

… WOW! :D

Perfectly smooth steering and no clonking from the front. (Takes the edge off the £760 this all cost.)

Didn't require a road force balance either which is around £80, yet I was prepared to pay for one. Credit to them for not emptying my wallet any more than required.
 

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Doc matt

Active Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Messages
202
Car
Cls63amg. Turbo d.pipes, decat, Quaife.
Thanks for the post. Forced balancing is worth it. New tyres have failed some tests! Gets any bad ones out the way.
 

markjay

MB Master
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Joined
Jun 24, 2008
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26,005
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London
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W204 C180 Executive SE 2013 Automatic / COMAND NTG4.7 and Morel speakers fitted by www.comand.co.uk
Do you have a contact name at Elite Direct tyres?
 

JimGreen

Active Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2016
Messages
270
Location
Kingston Upon Hull
Car
2014 C63 AMG + 2017 Mini Cooper (John Cooper Works) + 2015 Honda Fireblade
It's good to know a suspension specialist, worth their weight in gold for issues like this. I had an M5 with a vibration at high speeds that took me months to diagnose correctly, in the end it was one of the drive shaft joints on the rear that was worn.
 

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