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Old 12-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
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01 ZX4 weird wobble in rear end

My sister got an 01 ZX4. The first time I drove it I immediately noticed that it has a random wobble in the rear end occasionally. It will be fine for a while then you feel the back end just do a real quick left to right swaying feeling. It's annoying when it's dry but recently it's been snowing and it is undrivable.

She drove home from work in the snow and said she did a 180 going about 10 miles an hour while every one else is passing her no problem. We thought maybe it was just b/c she wasn't a great driver.

She went and got an alignment and 2 new tires on the front. It solved nothing. I drove it this morning to work and was going straight down a highway that had a tiny bit of slushy stuff on it at low speeds and all of the sudden it felt like someone did the PIT maneuver on me and I did a 360 and almost took out a mailbox.

It has also had the rear lower front control arm on the right rear replaced but that didn't help either.

Any suggestions? I've done some reading here and I was thinking the wheel bearings in the rear maybe? It has 180,000 miles so it probably needs new struts too I'm guessing.


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Old 12-14-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattzane227 View Post
My sister got an 01 ZX4. The first time I drove it I immediately noticed that it has a random wobble in the rear end occasionally. It will be fine for a while then you feel the back end just do a real quick left to right swaying feeling. It's annoying when it's dry but recently it's been snowing and it is undrivable.

She drove home from work in the snow and said she did a 180 going about 10 miles an hour while every one else is passing her no problem. We thought maybe it was just b/c she wasn't a great driver.

She went and got an alignment and 2 new tires on the front. It solved nothing. I drove it this morning to work and was going straight down a highway that had a tiny bit of slushy stuff on it at low speeds and all of the sudden it felt like someone did the PIT maneuver on me and I did a 360 and almost took out a mailbox.

It has also had the rear lower front control arm on the right rear replaced but that didn't help either.

Any suggestions? I've done some reading here and I was thinking the wheel bearings in the rear maybe? It has 180,000 miles so it probably needs new struts too I'm guessing.
Wobble in the rear= Have you checked your tires for abnormal wear? Out of round? Out of balance? Bent wheel? Jack up the vechicle & check for rear wheel bearing slop, by grabbing the tire at 9 & 3 postion & push & pull & feel any slop. Any Grinding noise? How is the alignment, since you replaced the rr lower control arm?
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:43 PM   #3
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Wobble in the rear= Have you checked your tires for abnormal wear? Out of round? Out of balance? Bent wheel? Jack up the vechicle & check for rear wheel bearing slop, by grabbing the tire at 9 & 3 postion & push & pull & feel any slop. Any Grinding noise? How is the alignment, since you replaced the rr lower control arm?
The tires look like they are wearing normally. It had some tires on the front that were definitely not all season so they those got taken off and replaced with two new tires.

My dad jacked it up a while ago and pushed and pulled on the rear tires and said there was no play but when it's not slushy and disgusting outside I will check that again.

There is no grinding or other weird noises. The rr lower control arm was replaced a few months ago and it was just aligned a few days ago. Here is what the alignment looks like now.



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Old 12-14-2013, 11:36 PM   #4
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Yea, that rr toe was way off, could of been when the rr arm was replaced. How are the rear tires? & pressure?
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:40 AM   #5
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Loose in the rear for the Focus is often bad bushings in the rear lower arms, you had a front lower replaced already & you'd HOPE any other bad ones would be noticeable when the alignment was done...

I haven't noticed the issue on my Focus, but on a different car years ago that also had the rear wheels toed in a bit I got a LOT of looseness in certain Winter conditions. Rutted ice would make it step back & forth, and once I hit a section that was salted slush under powder - rear didn't grab at ALL in that!

On that car 4 corner snows were essential, needed the extra bite in back. These days many Tire Dealers will ONLY put new tires in the rear if you are just buying two, in case the particular car might get loose in the rear & spin with the worn tires left on the rear.

Can't see from here how good the old ones in the rear are, I'd suggest trying the new ones in back & see how it handles then. When front & rear tires aren't the same age/type you'll always get one end sticking better than the other, with a front wheel drive car (especially one that doesn't "plow" as bad as most) you definitely want the best traction in the rear for the winter!

Luck!
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Loose in the rear for the Focus is often bad bushings in the rear lower arms, you had a front lower replaced already & you'd HOPE any other bad ones would be noticeable when the alignment was done...

I haven't noticed the issue on my Focus, but on a different car years ago that also had the rear wheels toed in a bit I got a LOT of looseness in certain Winter conditions. Rutted ice would make it step back & forth, and once I hit a section that was salted slush under powder - rear didn't grab at ALL in that!

On that car 4 corner snows were essential, needed the extra bite in back. These days many Tire Dealers will ONLY put new tires in the rear if you are just buying two, in case the particular car might get loose in the rear & spin with the worn tires left on the rear.

Can't see from here how good the old ones in the rear are, I'd suggest trying the new ones in back & see how it handles then. When front & rear tires aren't the same age/type you'll always get one end sticking better than the other, with a front wheel drive car (especially one that doesn't "plow" as bad as most) you definitely want the best traction in the rear for the winter!

Luck!
It seems like it not really a tire traction problem since even when it's dry you can still feel an odd wobble every now and then. The fronts were switched to the back before the 2 new ones were purchased and it still did the same wobble so I think it must be bearings or bushings somewhere in the rear end. Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:48 AM   #7
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Still doing it in the dry, sounds like searching thru the rear for anything worn/loose again is the answer for now. You'd hope it would have shown up during the alignment, but apparently not....

You can find some weird issues on used cars. Bought one once that acted like your issue. It had struts in the rear, held to the knuckle with two bolts. P.O. had swapped struts, lost two proper bolts, replaced top bolts with smaller ones & tried to wedge it tight at the top with wood screws between the knuckle & strut. Finally happened to see one sticking out, thought it was road debris caught in there 'til I dug in deeper & figured out what had been done...

A sacked out rubber bushing can be hard to see until it's totally "toast" and loose, good luck with the search. That one arm being replaced already to fix a bad bushing is the biggest hint there may be another bad one (or more) hiding back there.

Luck!
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
Still doing it in the dry, sounds like searching thru the rear for anything worn/loose again is the answer for now. You'd hope it would have shown up during the alignment, but apparently not....

You can find some weird issues on used cars. Bought one once that acted like your issue. It had struts in the rear, held to the knuckle with two bolts. P.O. had swapped struts, lost two proper bolts, replaced top bolts with smaller ones & tried to wedge it tight at the top with wood screws between the knuckle & strut. Finally happened to see one sticking out, thought it was road debris caught in there 'til I dug in deeper & figured out what had been done...

A sacked out rubber bushing can be hard to see until it's totally "toast" and loose, good luck with the search. That one arm being replaced already to fix a bad bushing is the biggest hint there may be another bad one (or more) hiding back there.

Luck!
Thanks, as soon as I can drive it behind the house to the shop without getting stuck in the yard that will be what I check out.
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:43 AM   #9
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Having the same issue with my 2011 se with 43,000 miles.
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