View original topic: Front end shake after hitting pot hole hard.
74 Thing Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:32 pm

Was driving on the freeway and hit a pot hole hard (CA has some crappy highways). Anyway my front end shook violently back and forth until I slowed down to under 50 and then I drove home with no problems. I checked everything underneath and it looked fine, but sure enough I hit another bad pot hole today and the same thing happened. Any suggestions on what to look for underneath on the front end?

It has been my experience that Thing front end shake and shimmies were related to the tires being out of balanced or the ball joints.


Leith Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:12 pm

Check your tires. I had an egg in one of mine once on my truck, and it would shake violently when I got up to 45-50 mph and then BOOM, blowout.

74 Thing Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:34 pm

I was considering replacing the front tires anyways. Time to fork out some cash.

uberautowerks Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:06 pm

Chect for play in the tie rod ends too

74 Thing Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:41 pm

I keep suspecting one of the tie rod ends for some reason, but I cannot find any play. I just am doing the 9 and 3 o'clock shake at the wheels and visually looking for side to side play.

Any suggestions on how to definately check them off my list-maybe lie underneath and have someone turn the steering wheel while I lightly grab the tie rod end?

I have a sneeking suspicion it is a tie rod end or the tires this time. I have 50k on these tires-still have some tread but they are kind of hard and beginning to crack in places.

Ron Domeck Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:51 pm

Steering damper is the most common, called the death wobble

74 Thing Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:58 pm

Steering dampner is new so I do not think that is the cause.

Ferretkona Wed Dec 05, 2007 8:34 pm

74 Thing wrote: Steering dampner is new so I do not think that is the cause.

I don't dismiss anything. I have had new clutches fall apart in several miles. Replaced at cost.

KTPhil Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:24 pm

Check for a bent rim, too.

bbigg Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:54 pm

had the same problem with mine until I changed the steering dampner. fixed that problem..

74 Thing Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:30 pm

I will crawl under again tomorrow after work and check the torque on everything (tie rods, dampner, pitman arm, steering shaft/coupler, steering box, ball joints), I will also check the wheels for trueness and the wheel bearings for excessive play, and check to see if the wheel weights may have fallen off.

Anytthing else you guys can thing of? Thanks in advance.

lukesky Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:06 am

I had the same problem once, but without hitting a pothole. I thought I might have thrown a weight, but the mechanic said I had probably broken one of the steel belts in the tire. I got two new tires on the front, and it ran OK. Since the ones on the back had lots of tread, I swapped them so the new ones would be on the drive wheels. Next time I got to around 35mph, I thought I was driving through an earthquake. I switched them back and it ran fine.
Steering damper is newer mileage wise, but old age wise (the car sat a lot before I got it), so that's probably my next repair.

saddlesore1 Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:13 am

This one is easy to solve. Stop hitting pot holes.

74 Thing Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:02 am

HAHA-you must not live in CA and have to drive on the "nice" freeways.

bigbussur Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:00 pm

I would check the grubnut that holds the torsion arms into the front beam, might not be it but I had a squareback and the top grubnut that holds the top torsion arm into the beam had came out and made the wheel shake violently until I slowed down. I could pull out on the top of the tire and see the arm pull out of the beam, just a thought, if you're hitting potholes hard enough, things are bound to rattle loose.anthony

74 Thing Sat Dec 08, 2007 7:42 pm

OK, I tightened everything up and jacked up the front and did the wheel shake at 3 and 9 o'clock, and I noticed a slight click sound coming from somwhere on the drivers side. I held that sides tie rods but could not determine exactly where it was coming from. Should I just replace the tie rod ends on that side and hope that was where the click was coming from? I hate to go replacing good parts just to hope I hit on the problem. Tie rod ends are 3 years old, steering dampner 2 years old, ball joints 3 years old-daily driver about 10k per year.

bigbussur Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:02 pm

When you do the ole 3 and 9 o clock method, have the front end jacked up and move the tire back and forth , kind of like you're manually steering the car. While moving the wheel, watch the tierod ends each one of them, one at a time and you will see significant movement if they are bad. To check you balljoints you will need a large pry bar and put it in between the torsion arm and lift up on it or down whichever one you are trying it on and you will get movement if its bad. Also to check the beam nuts, pull on the tire at 12 and 6 oclock and pull out on the top and see if it moves out or not, it shouldn't, and it shouldn't on the bottom either. Sorry for the long message, but just start trying each sysytem on the front end until it is narrowed down, it's obviously something, those phantoms are tough. Also pull the wheel off and check your front wheel bearing. By the way you will know if your wheel bearing is bad by trying the above methods on pulling and pushing the wheel around. There shouldn't be excess movement anywhere. Good luck. anthony

erivera1 Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:57 pm

If the Thing has a front end anything like a Super Beetle, it may be a camber adjuster bolt. My driver's side bolt loosened enough to rattle back and forth in the elliptical hole at the frame head for a while until I found out what it was. It would jam into a spot and stick there so I couldn't find it when I was under the car but would rattle loose on the road and shake VIOLENTLY.

Ian Epperson Mon Dec 10, 2007 9:44 am

erivera1 wrote: If the Thing has a front end anything like a Super Beetle...

Nope. But good advice for Super Beetle owners.

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