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Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Hi All,

I have had my 1990 H-Reg Audi Coupe 2.0 litre for about a year now. Ever since purchase, I have experienced a vibration through the steering wheel at speeds of roughly 55-65mph. To illustrate what I mean, if you remove your hands from the wheel at these speeds, you can see the wheel "wobbling" about 3 inches each way, although the car remains straight.

The vibration almost feels as if it is through the whole car, and not just the steering wheel, as you can feel it mildly in the seats before you feel it in the wheel. I should also mention that the speed at which this occurs varies.

As I have had the problem for a year, I have had the car checked by a handful of mechanics for all the obvious problems (balancing, shocks, tracking, brushes etc.) and to no avail. Each mechanic has said the car looks fine to them.

My personal hunch at the moment is that the non-standard 5-spoke alloys may be the cause - perhaps they are making the car resonate at certain speeds? However, this is based on absolutely no technical knowledge, and is just a hunch!

Before I locate some wheels to try, does anyone have any suggestions that might help. This problem is starting to drive me mad now, and is ruining my enjoyment of country roads!!

Many thanks in advance.

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - BrianW
Have you tried swapping the wheels front to back?
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Ross D
I had a similiar problem on my Corrado and swapping the wheels front to back worked. Turned out one of my Alloys was damaged after an argument with a kerb! Took ages to track down a replacement wheel. (gggrrrr!)

Ross
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Brian/Ross

Thanks for your replies. Whilst I wouldn't swear to it, I'm almost sure that one of the mechanics I took it to tried swapping the wheels over. This would have been about 10 months ago, which is why I am a little hazy, but I'm fairly sure it's been tried.

Do you think there's any merit in the theory that it might just be the wheels themselves?

Cheers,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - james_60
hi

you may have the wrong grade of tyre for you're car or maybe the tracking rods and bellows are worn, or it may be a simple job like the wheels are out of alighment,

also check that the steering wheel is secure on the column,

Hope this helps

James Stephenson
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Hi James,

Pretty sure the tyres are correct as they were replaced recently, and are good quality Goodyear. Wheels aren't out of alignment, as I've had them checked in 3 different garages! Steering wheel is secure, as I have changed the wheel from the Momo that came with the car to an Audi 3-spoke one.

The only thing I can't be sure of that you suggest is the tracking rods and bellows, although I'm pretty sure that all that sort of gubbins has been checked! I will mention it to my mechanic next time...

Cheers,

Stuart

Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Richard Hall
Stuart

Could be the wheels are at fault. It's a hefty old car, and some of these aftermarket alloys aren't as strong as they should be. One other thought - the stud spacing on these Audis is very unusual, and non-standard alloys are hard to come by. I'm sure I have seen alloys with slotted holes to fit various stud spacings, and I certainly wouldn't trust these to go on perfectly true. Or it could be that the bolt holes have been machined slightly out of alignment, which an ordinary tyre balancing machine won't pick up.

Richard Hall
bangernomics.tripod.com
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Richard,

That is interesting - I know that there is a spacer on each wheel to help it fit correctly, and when I bought the car, one was missing. I replaced it, but unfortunately it didn't solve the problem.

I don't know whether it is related (probably not) but when I first had the tyres changed, the thred of one wheel hub was sheared when the garage tightened up the wheel again. This then happened again a few weeks later on another wheel (both front wheels), necessitating another trip to the breakers yard!

Do you think it could be that the spacing is slightly wrong (hence the shearing) and that this is causing the vibration?

***Thanks to everyone for their responses - I am impressed with the speed at which they are coming!!***

Finally, one more question for everyone - given that Richard has said the spacing is unusual, do the 10-spoke alloys from the facelift model fit on this car?

Cheers,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Richard Hall
The shearing is more likely to be because the bolts are too short, due to the spacers. This sounds like a dangerous lash-up. Audis on steel wheels usually have shorter bolts than those on alloys, and if your car is a base 2.0, it probably started out on steels. I would guess that whoever fitted the alloys didn't change the bolts for longer ones, and the spacers are making things worse. Also the spacers are introducing an unthreaded section between hub and wheel, and reducing the length of the centre spigot, which may be allowing the wheel to be clamped slightly off centre, putting the bolts under a bending load in the process.

I would junk the alloys, and either buy some that don't need spacers, or revert to the original fitment Speedline six-spokes, if you can find them. I have a feeling that post 1992 Coupes use a five stud fitment, but I could be wrong.

Richard Hall
bangernomics.tripod.com
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Richard,

Hmm, that's interesting, and at the same time rather worrying! As a follow on from that, can you (or any one else) recommend any alloys that might fit correctly. I'm not overly keen on the Speedlines (if I am thinking of the right ones - picture anyone?!) so would prefer some 5 spokes if possible...

Cheers,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Richard Hall
My Coupe is fitted with TSW Blades, which fit perfectly without spacers or spigot adapters. I don't think Blades are available any more, but TSW do various other wheels, so you might find something there that you like.

Richard Hall
bangernomics.tripod.com
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - BrianW
With the degree of vibration that you describe, in a specific speed range, it sounds like wheel balance or stub axle distortion.
Swapping wheels front/back one side at a time (or putting the spare on) will cost nothing. If the problem is unchanged it is likely to be the steering mechanism somewhere, if there is a difference it's the wheel on the side where the difference is noticed.
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
** Update to symptoms **

One thing I forgot to mention on my previous posts is that the vibration doesn't really occur under acceleration. For example, if you accelerate hard to about 60mph, there is no vibration until you release the throttle - then the vibration occurs until accelerate again, or until you drop below about 55mph.

Any more ideas?!

Cheers,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Mark (RLBS)
Go down the scrappy and ask to borrow four steel wheels & tyres that will fit the car. You'll probably have to offer a few quid for the temporary loan.

Don`t expect the wobble to go away, since you'll probably be borrowing unbalanced wheels. However, its characteristics should totally change - suggesting that it is your wheels.
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - John S
Stuart

The speed range for wobble is fairly typical of wheel balance, but I think all you can do on that front is now try some different wheels. However, given your comment on lack of vibration under acceleration, I wonder if it's a drive shaft problem. It could be the torque is preventing one of the joints moving out of alignment until you ease off. Some drive shafts have balance weights bolted on - have one of these slipped?

As an off the wall idea, the torque will also tend to load up engine mounts, reducing movement during acceleration - I wonder if they are soft and accentuating the vibration when you ease off?

Regards

John S
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Hi John,

Again, I'm fairly sure that I've had both the drive shaft and the engine mounts checked, a little while ago. Of course, this is no guarantee that they are not the problem, but short of paying main dealer prices, Im not sure what to do!

A little further update to my description - I mentioned yesterday that the wheels had spacers fitted. In fact, I mean they had "spigot rings" fitted. Being a novice, Im not sure if this is the same thing, or if it changes the prognosis at all.

At the moment, Im thinking that Mark's idea of borring some wheels is the way forward, although I am slightly worried that I'll end up with a sheared hub again! Still, has to be done I suppose!

Cheers,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - jc
Set of 5-stud Audi wheels in "classified" free!!
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Ah! What a shame mine are 4-stud - they would have done nicely! Anyone else got any offers?!
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - John S
Stuart

Spigot rings - discussed here recently. These are metal or plastic rings which adapt the wheel centre hole size to your hubs. Now, the wheels should be centred by these to be concentric to the hub, and they are only used on aftermarket wheels. There was some discussion about how good an idea it is to use these, and whether they and the wheel nuts would accurately centre the wheel.

I reckon the swap to some other wheels (preferbly standard) is your best bet.



Regards

John S
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
John,

Thanks for the info. Whilst it is implied in you message, I just wanted to double check that it is possible that wheels that are not accurately centred could be causing said vibration?

Cheers,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - jc
Has anyone mentioned balancing on the vehicle?.A few of the better tyre/suspension places can still do this.
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
jc

Yep, I'm afraid I've had the balancing checked by two places already!! No joy with that though - the computers show it to be perfectly balanced...

:-(

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Peter D
Hi,

Interesting problem ? Does it always vibrate at the particular speed or is it sometimes not present. This would imply eccentric mounting of the wheels. When the wheels get in syns the problem is a lot worse then after a few bends the wheels are out of sync and the vibration fades.
However your snippet of information regarding accelerating through the vibration I suggest you have a worn CV joint, probable N/S and has the car done 100K miles. This problem does not show on an on car balancer at the drive shaft is not powered when the balancing is done.

Seen this on a couple of Passats and an older Citreon BX on the cruise and there is the problem. Suggest full examination of rive shaft power chain. Good Luck. Peter>> jc
Yep, I'm afraid I've had the balancing checked by two places
already!! No joy with that though - the computers show it
to be perfectly balanced...
:-(
Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - jc
I said "on the vehicle";very few places will do this now.They balance with the brake,hub etc.I doubt you have had this done.
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
jc

Sorry, I presumed when you said "on the vehicle" you just mean generally. Can you recommend anywhere specific that does this? How much does it cost, and what does it entail?

Regards,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - jc
I don't know where you live;ask at a suspension specialist(demon tweeks)they should know.
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - John S
Stuart

No question that out-of-round or non-centered wheels will cause vibration. Try checking this yourself by jacking up a wheel, fixing some kind of pointer near the tyre and spinning it looking for movement relative to the pointer. Given all the balancing checks etc you've done, I'd still be suspicious of the drive shafts or, as suggested here, the CV joints.

Regards

John S
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Dizzy {P}
Stuart,

I agree with what's been said about the first thing to eliminate being the wheels.

My local small garage has a very old machine for balancing wheels whilst they are still on the car - perhaps that is the sort of garage where you'll find one, rather than the big tyre depots.

I'm not sure I should be suggesting this on safety grounds, but in the past I have checked for an out of balance or drive shaft by jacking up the wheel, very securely locating that corner of the car on an axle stand and very securely chocking the remaining three wheels. I then open the car door nearest the wheel and hold it wide open whilst someone else starts the engine, engages 2nd gear and slowly lets out the clutch and depresses the accelerator so that the wheel-in-the-air rotates whilst I feel for vibration through the handle of the door. The wide open door magnifies any vibration, a bit like a pointer on a dial.

Did you get all that? Bit difficult to put into a few words. I accept no liability, ... etc.

Another, safer, check is to feel the temperature of the wheels after a few miles driving. If one is hotter than the others it could indicate a sticky brake caliper piston which will hold the brake pad against the disc and set up a vibration. Not uncommon on Ford Transits for example. This can easily happen after a vehicle has been standing a long time, or has just been moved in and out of a car showroom over several weeks - it happened to my BMW! I still suspect the wheels in your case though.
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Dizzy et al...

Thanks for the info. I have arranged to go to a place in Milton Keynes on Saturday to have a set of original Audi 4-stud wheels put on as a test, to see if it solves the problem. I will post the outcome of my trip next week!

If that fails, then watch out in the newspapers for a man injured whilst jacking up a car and revving the engine with the door open ;-)

Cheers,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Hi All

Thought I would post my weekend's progress on this problem. I visited a wheel and tyre specialist near Slough, who deal a lot with 4-stud Audi wheels. The initial plan was to swap on some original wheels, and see if that cured it. On taking my wheels off, the fitter found that the centre ring was slightly too small. Whilst it fit the hub, there was a couple of mm gap when it was seated in the wheel.

He fitted some new centre rings, and balanced the wheels, and on a test drive, it felt significantly better. Whilst the vibration has not disappeared completely, it is definitely much lighter. It was suggested that the tyres may have misshapen, having been running on the problem for 7000 miles. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to get new tyres at the moment, so I will have to wait and see.

Interestingly, the problem is still fairly unpredictable - sometimes I can hardly feel it, and other times, it is much more noticeable. Still not as bad as it was though.

Ideally, I'd like to put on some original wheels and some new tyres, to give me a good base to work from, but that will have to wait until more money is available!!

Thanks for everyone's help...

Regards,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Peter D
Right now we are getting somewhere.

Your sometimes does sometimes doesn't is caused by inbalnace in you whells. Yes I kow you have just had them balanced but how???

Where they dynaically balanced both inner and outer. i.e. do you have correction weights on the inner and outer edges. If you have just one weight the wheel has not been balanced correctly and the vibration will come and go as the wheels go in and out of sync with each other.

If your wheels have been balance correctly I suggest you reinspect the concentric hub adapters you are using and make sure they are doing the job properly. I am surprised you have plastic ones I have used metal ones on BM's and VW's. Jack up each corner to jsut clear the ground and spin the wheel they should be round to better then a mm..

Peter
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Peter,

I'm sorry, I'm a little confused by your message. Are you saying that the fact that the problem varies in intensity is due to imbalanced wheels? I have now had them balanced by four different places, so I find it hard to believe that this is causing the problem.

With regards to the centre rings on the wheel, I watched the new ones being fitted, and they were a much better fit than the previous ones - there was no movement at all when the ring was fixed into the wheel.

Regards,

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Peter D
Yes if the wheels have been balance by the static method (they still spin up the wheel ) they only fit weights in the middle of the alloy. Thus the the dynamic balance may not be correct. A good tyre place will set the machine up to know where your inner edge of the allow is and the inner of the spokes and weights will be fitted ( if required ) in both these place and highly probably not in the same rotation position.

I have had exactly this with my Golf and finally got it fixed at an expert alloy dealer for £12.00 a wheel after three tyre places ahd failed to fix it. Just look though the allows and check where all the weights are. I could drive for 2 or 3 miles on a motorway without the vibration then slowly it would increase and subside again as the tyres rotation inbalance between the teo front wheels came and went. Come back on this.
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Peter - can you recommend anywhere? Who was the expert alloy dealer?

Stuart
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Peter D
Sorry I'm up here in Scotland and used a motoersport engineeering company in Edinburgh. Contact your local Alloy Shop, Wheel Spin or whay ever and ask them who they use for this service if it is not themselves. Contact Demon Tweaks and ask for a local approved dealer or goto your BMW agent they usally provide this FULL balance service. But have you inspected for innner and outer stick on weights. ??? Come Back. Peter
Audi Coupe - Strange Vibration - Stuart M
Peter,

Thanks for the information. I haven't yet checked the inner and outer weights - I'm afraid I am very untechnical, and so am not sure how to go about this. I know you briefly explained on a previous post, but Im still a little stuck!

Stuart
 

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