Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 7 Old 27-05-05 Thread Starter
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Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed


Has anyone experienced shimmy problems at speed?

I have a 156 with tendencies to go wandering while out playing on the motorway...

Symptoms are :-

At low speeds, round town etc, front and rear suspension is very "clonky" (is that a word?), when going over pot-holes or bumpy road surface, almost as if all 4 shocks are completely shot away.

At higher speeds ( 80mph / 130Kph) getting a definate shimmy, I think I may even have vibration white finger now.... and on infrequent occasions there is a tendency to swerve (very minor, not a massive lane changing catastrophe)

So I'm thinking maybe shocks are done, execpt there is no body roll, or wallowing about, still corners like a demon at slow speeds, and better still if you really nail it round...

No idea if the wheels are balanced or if geom. is in / out / shaking it about.

I've read lots of posts about drop links, wishbones etc, but was wondering if anyone has had a similar problems?

The whole thing is sort of compounded by the fact that there are no Alfa specialists where I live, and the main dealer is an hour+ up the road, this afternoon going to a garage that deals primarily with BMW and Audi, and have "some" Alfa experience.....

I can already hear the statutory sucking of teeth...

Well ... GOD conned me out of 6500 bucks for car repairs.
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Re: Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed

Very first thing to do (coz it's free): Take all your wheels off, one by one, and put them on again, making sure that the bolts are correctly cross-tightened. It's amazing the effect that a wrongly attached wheel can have.
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Re: Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed

The clonking you describe is almost certainly the bushes on the rear suspension arms. The (all too common) failure of these leads to wayward handling. I think one of the OSR bushes has gone on mine as it has a) started clonking again and b) sways if I hit a drain cover or pothole with the OS when on a left hand bend.

These bushes can fail in as little at 10,000 miles or can last over 40k, but most seem to need replacing around 20,000 or so.

The vibration is more likely to stem from an imbalanced wheel or could be down to front wheel alignment. Other things to look for are failed bushes on the front wishbones (will impact on steering geometry and may exacerbate any existing problems).

If you can get the car on a ramp it's easy to see if one or more of the rear bushes have failed. Just put a steel bar between the arm and the hub-end mount and look for play. They always seem to fail at the hub end it seems.

Should give the garage something to look at......

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(Post Link) post #4 of 7 Old 27-05-05 Thread Starter
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Re: Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed

oh dear...

Have those symptoms too, hit a drain cover or a pot hole and the wheel twitches like a bugger.

I'm guessing thats why the car dives to the right if you throw the anchors on?

Was hoping that maybe it was the drop links shot, but think I'm just about to get a 6 volume leather bound invoice....

Anyway, its going on the ramps around 3ish - so I'm off to sell a kidney to pay for the bloody thing.
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Re: Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed

Also check the front lower arm mounting bolts ... the GTA had a problem with these in that they came loose and I found one on my TSpark was a bit suspect. It could also be the bottom lower arm mounting and/or ball joint.

Wheel bearing? But that would whine/rumble ....
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Re: Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed

The transverse rear arms and rear trailing arm bushes are cheap so if thats the problem then it shouldn't be too expensive. Price about Arms 15 /each and bush 5 /each.

You'll need to get suspension alignment done afterwards too.

If it clonks then my bet is the large bush on the rear trailing arm.
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Re: Help! - Evil Shimmy at Speed

Well I'll be...

The guy at the garage had it up on the ramps, took it out for a test drive with me and on his own

Proceeded to tinker about with a torch and a BIG pry bar

Maybe a little knock from the AR bar. Maybe.

Safe to drive, so wait until it gets a little bit easier to diagnose.

So maybe it's just me? Although these guys are not Alfa specialists, they do tons of work on BMW, Audi, Porsche, Merc etc - so I guess they know what they're talking about. Seemed switched on to me.

You know what its like, once you hear a clonk, thats all you can hear.

One final thing, the car went out with half a tank, and came back with very much less than half a tank and making those very hot plinking noises

However it drives like a different car now, maybe I just drive like an old man, and shout boot it more - got loads of point to fill up on my licence.
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