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Bent Front Axle

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by 92Cruiser, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. 92Cruiser

    92Cruiser

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    Anyone know how hard of a side hit on the front wheels these trucks can take before something bends. Reason I ask is because in 1997/ 2 owners ago it was hit on the drivers side front and has a really bad shimmy at highway speeds that nobody can figure out so far. By nobody I mean 3 different dealers and a couple specialty shops. I feel like I'm chasing my tail with this issue. Also, if it is bent, how do I know/check. Thanx.

    P.S. The truck did shake a little when I purchased it but I thought it was because of the treadless/old tires. The tires and rims have all been replaced in the last 3 months with no change.
     
  2. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr SILVER Star

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    You might want to check the disk brake rotors for warping. That can cause the shimmy symptom you describe. Also, you can feel the shimmy upon braking.

    -H-
     
  3. Beowulf

    Beowulf

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    92Cruiser,
    Have a good alignment shop check the alignment. They can't change anything but the toe-in but they can tell you if the other values are out of factory spec. If they are out of spec, post the results back here and we can give you an opinion. If the camber is out then you might have a bent axle.

    -B-
     
  4. Wrench

    Wrench One Bashed Up 80

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    How hard was it hit?
     
  5. firetruck41

    firetruck41

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    One thing to consider would be tire or wheel balance, on my 92 BMW I had a shimmy and replaced the entire front suspension (it was time anyway) without fixing it, then put new tires (computer balanced by avg. tire shop on), without any change.  I finally went to a shop that had a Hunter GSP9700 roadforce balancer machine, after they REALLY balanced them, the shimmy was gone!  If this is your problem a ordinary mechanical or computerized balancer will NOT fix the problem.  This machine puts a load on the wheel & tire and measures in three dimensions, can balance wheel to tire, tell if your wheel and/or tire is out of round, etc., etc.  Check out www.gsp9700.com to find a shop near you.
    Not having had the problem on my toyota I can't say this is your problem, but a possibility.  I suppose it may be harder to get larger tires to balance sometimes.
     
  6. semlin

    semlin rocker

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    Have you been to a specialized alignment shop? They will find the problem much faster than a dealer.

    Is your steering heavy and slow to respond? Mine had a shimmy triggered by a certain combo of bumps at about 30mph only. The track rod bushings were mush. My mechanic and my dealer could not find the problem (and both misdiagnosed it as the sway bars). The alignment shop found the actual problem about 30 seconds after it entered the shop. After the bushings were replaced the truck drove like a normal vehicle. Prior to that I just figured the steering was supposed to be heavy and slow.
     
  7. bjowett

    bjowett Supporting Vendor

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    Every bent 80 series axle I've seen was tweaked between the lower spring mount and the kingpin/ball area on the driver's side.
     
  8. 92Cruiser

    92Cruiser

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    OK, had the alignment checked. Here are the results.

    Left Front Right Front Left Rear Right Rear

    Camber 0.2 0.3 -0.1 -0.2
    Caster 2.5 2.0
    Toe 0.01 -0.01 0.16 0.26


    Front

    Cross Camber -0.1
    Cross Caster 0.5
    Total Toe -0.00


    Rear

    Total Toe -0.10
    Thrust Angle 0.21
     
  9. Hltoppr

    Hltoppr SILVER Star

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    :bow: Cruiserdan, can you interpret? I don't know the answer. :stupid:

    -H-
     
  10. cruiserdan

    cruiserdan SupportingVendor Emeritus Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    It is within spec.

    Ft axle camber spec is 1 degree +/- 45 min with a L/R
    error of 45 min

    Caster is 3 deg +/- 60 min with a L/R error of 45 min

    toe is .2 deg +/- .2 deg.

    I do not have a rear spec, but I don't think it should have negative camber....My alignment buddy went home already, I'll ask him tomorrow.....

    Regards...Dan :beer:
     
  11. landtank

    landtank SILVER Star

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    Back when I owned my 60 I was always fighting a shimmy problem. It turned out to be from the front wheel bearings. As I remenmber there was a torque spec on the hub nut that was just too low for my truck. After several tries following the factory manual I just snugged the nut up by hand. Shimmy was gone and didn't have any further problems from the front end. I know this is kind of a hack solution but depending on how despirate you are you might try it.

    Rick