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Vibration through the steering wheel

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by nick, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. nick

    nick Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    55
    Hi guys,

    After a service my 1.5 suffered a vibration through the steering wheel starting at about 65.
    (the service involved removing the front wheels but not the tires)

    Tesla rebalanced the tires multiple times and at best they moved the vibration to starting in the high 80s.
    I had another company re-balance which made the problem much worse (back to starting at 65)

    Tesla replaced the front tires (same Yokohama factory type) and did a wheel alignment.
    Vibration moved back up to starting in the high 80s and new bonus - the steering wheel wasn't straight. Groan.
    Tesla "fixed" the steering wheel issue but did not repeat the alignment.

    I ignored the problem for a several months and it slowly got worse (vibration started at a lower and lower speed).

    When the rear tires needed replacing I had another company replace the rears and rebalance the fronts - problem moved back up to starting at 87.
    (BTW - switching to Toyo R888 tires on the rear made a HUGE difference in the wet performance)

    Now, 3 months later the vibration was starting in the 70s.

    Tesla won't test the car at speeds high enough to reproduce the problem.

    Looking for advice... should I replace the front tires again? or should I yell at Tesla?

    The car isn't nice to drive once it hits the vibration speed.
     
  2. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Ottawa, Canada
    I've noticed that the Roadster is more sensitive to tire balance than most cars, in terms of steering wheel vibration. Probably because the steering is so direct - you just feel it sooner than most cars. The car almost has too much road feel!

    Tires gradually unbalance themselves slightly as they wear, so I usually have the fronts rebalanced whenever I get the rears changed.

    All that said, I've never had steering wheel vibration so bad that it was seriously unpleasant.
     
  3. meloccom

    meloccom Moderator Aus/NZ

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    I had a similar problem with my current ICE.
    When I bought the previous set of tyres I had an unpleasant vibration at above 120 Kph.
    I went back a number of times for re-balance and in the end we found one alloy wheel was slightly bent.
    I got the wheel fixed and things improved but a smaller vibration that I could live with was always there from 120 Kph and up.
    Just before Christmas those tyres wore out and I replaced them at the same place with a set of 4 Michelin.
    The car is absolutely transformed and i can now enjoy my regular 160 Km trip again vibration free.
     
  4. satbeam

    satbeam New Member

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    Which type ans size Michelin tyres did you install?
     
  5. nick

    nick Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
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    Hi,

    How did you get the wheel diagnosed as bent? Is that something a tire shop can do or Tesla can do?

    Nick
     
  6. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Vermont
    I had a bent rim on my Roadster and had to replace it to get rid of vibration. A good tire shop can see if your rim is bent when they balance it.
     
  7. nick

    nick Member

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    May 22, 2012
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    Ok, I will order some R888 tires for the front and have the tire shop check the rims when they fit them.
     
  8. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    1. This kind of problem is typically solved by an on-the-car balance as the hubs as well as the tires and wheels are balanced.

    2. It's possible that too much caster can cause this kind of vibration at high speeds.

    3. Have a co-pilot with a pencil and paper do a "pencil test". The way this works is that the co-pilot dots the paper in tune with the vibrations for a specific period of time (15 to 30 seconds). The dots are then counted and turned into dots per minute. This tells you the speed at which the vibrations are occurring which then can be matched to the various rotating parts. Although it usually turns out that the frequency is the same as the rpm of the tires, this is not always the case and can sometimes eliminate the tires and wheels as the source of the vibration.

    4. Unfortunately, in the Roadster you can't do an early rotation to give each tire a turn on the drive axle early in it's life.

    5. Tire vibrations are often caused by poor mounting. Check the guide rib for consistency between the rim flange and the guide rib.

    Proper mounting technique:

    1. Lubricate the tire and wheel with an approved lubricant.

    2. Pop the beads at no more that 40 psi. If they don't pop, repeat step one. The safety ledge may need to be polished to allow seating.

    3. Inflate the tire to the maximum cold pressure shown on the sidewall.

    4. Deflate the tire to zero.

    5. Inflate the tire to the maximum cold pressure shown on the sidewall.

    6. Adjust the tire to the pressure you want.

    7. Check for guide rib to flange consistency. (if not consistent, go to step #4).

    8. Balance the tire and wheel assembly.
     
  9. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Also keep in mind, since the roadster has an aluminum frame and is very short, you can pick up wheel vibration that feels like its coming from the front but its rooted from the back. I just replaced my original rear AD07s after running them down to the steel belts and encountered vibrations that felt like it was coming from the front. After putting the AD08's on the back and just the rear's balanced everything has smoothed out. Note that the rear inside camber will have a bubble feather wear that definitely affects balancing and promotes vibrations.
     
  10. nick

    nick Member

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    New tires on the front - vibration still there (different feel though)... starts at just above 80mph and felt through the steering wheel.
     
  11. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Nick, how old/worn down are your rear tires?

    I'm just saying, I went through a similar same thing. I hit a rise in the road hard and had hard vibrations in the steering wheel, think I knocked a weight off. Had it balanced later on, it was better but I still felt a vibration above 75+mph. And I can see the steering wheel slightly shimmy. Thought my rim was slightly bent. When I replaced my rears it all went away and is good as new now.

    But as mentioned before the way to see if your front wheel is true is to take it into a specialized rim shop. I wouldn't trust a standard tire shop to make the call.
     
  12. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    My 1,5 with the original front tires and 14,500 milesis is very smooth even at 100+ mph (track not open roads). So something is amiss.
     

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