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I had the front end looked at and they said it's good. But I'm starting to disagree. The car has 77k so I would think the hub bearings would still be good? As posted earlier, 2 of the original wheels were bent badly so I'm afraid there was damage to the suspension/steering somewhere. So I will start with having the axles tested as you recommend. And then the motor mounts. I think I should have the strut mounts looked at also. The torque converter thing is scary, I did see some posting about that somewhere. Would this be a recall issue?

The noise I'm hearing at slow turns is hard to describe. It's like a groaning noise I guess. Not the typical bad CV joint click though.

As far as ride quality, what replacement should I use for the struts or mounts? Stay OEM or other brand?
if the front end was damaged by a pothole hit at high speed it is definitely feasible that you have damaged bearings/hub units or even cvj axles. The groaning is a symptom of failing wheel bearings or cv joints. My wife hit a huge pothole on I-70 at 75mph in my daughters Civic. 2 weeks later, axles and bearings. The car had 60k on the clock.
 

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2014 Avalon Hybrid, 2018 Prius Four Touring, 2018 Prius Two, 2015 Nissan LeafS
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...As far as ride quality, what replacement should I use for the struts or mounts? Stay OEM or other brand?
I wasn't able to find any aftermarket struts for my 2014 TAHLimited, only OEM (KYB) from the dealer ...OR...KYB from Tirerack (or other retailers). The KYB from Tirerack is supposed to be 10-15% stiffer than dealer "OEM" KYB. I replaced mine at around 85k miles, with the supposedly stiffer struts/shocks, and the difference is very mild, and for the most part, eliminates the "porpoising" the car experiences on DFW undulating concrete highways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
Excuse my ignorance but what is "porpoising"?

I did look at the 2016 spring upgrade thread. Read just about every post. It seems that most were complaining about the stiff ride on 13 hybrid sport and xle but not limited. I'm a little confused about that. Even more confused about all the different part numbers and why the left and right front coils have a different part #. Most of them went to a 17 in wheel but I have too much $ invested now to go that route. Can I obtain a softer ride quality with the 18's? Is it worth the extra cost?

I just might trade up to a 16 or later, not sure at this point. But for now I'm going to concentrate on the vibrations. And what's the deal with the cold making the vibration more intense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Excuse my ignorance but what is "porpoising"?

I did look at the 2016 spring upgrade thread. Read just about every post. It seems that most were complaining about the stiff ride on 13 hybrid sport and xle but not limited. I'm a little confused about that. Even more confused about all the different part numbers and why the left and right front coils have a different part #. Most of them went to a 17 in wheel but I have too much $ invested now to go that route. Can I obtain a softer ride quality with the 18's? Is it worth the extra cost?

I just might trade up to a 16 or later, not sure at this point. But for now I'm going to concentrate on the vibrations. And what's the deal with the cold making the vibration more intense?
I took the car to a Toyota dealer. They didn't find anything wrong with the steering or suspension. They informed me that the wheels needed balancing which shocked me. After all I have been through at the tire place, this cant be! My wife picked the car up for me yesterday. When I got home from work 3am I took it for a ride. 45 degrees out. As soon as I reached 35 mph, the vibration started just as before. Got on the highway and it persisted. I didn't go far enough to warm up the tires, but I don't think it should be this bad, even if cold. I'm at a loss with this issue. I have done all I can. It's warmer out today and I'm taking her to work so it will have a chance to get the tires hot. I doubt there will be any improvement.

I also noticed after driving my Ram with air suspension all week and going back into the Avalon, the Avalon ride was horrid. Very rough. Is it possible that the struts are just plain worn out? 77K miles?
I'm afraid to throw more money at this car and not getting it back if I sell.
 

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I took the car to a Toyota dealer. They didn't find anything wrong with the steering or suspension. They informed me that the wheels needed balancing which shocked me. After all I have been through at the tire place, this cant be! My wife picked the car up for me yesterday. When I got home from work 3am I took it for a ride. 45 degrees out. As soon as I reached 35 mph, the vibration started just as before. Got on the highway and it persisted. I didn't go far enough to warm up the tires, but I don't think it should be this bad, even if cold. I'm at a loss with this issue. I have done all I can. It's warmer out today and I'm taking her to work so it will have a chance to get the tires hot. I doubt there will be any improvement.

I also noticed after driving my Ram with air suspension all week and going back into the Avalon, the Avalon ride was horrid. Very rough. Is it possible that the struts are just plain worn out? 77K miles?
I'm afraid to throw more money at this car and not getting it back if I sell.
I'm really sorry you haven't found the problem yet.
I think you should ask the Toyota dealer to allow you to "borrow" a set of wheels and tires to finally determine whether the problem is with the wheels and tires or not, and take it from there. If the problem persists beyond this, I think you should trade it. There is no point in throwing more money at it. I can tell you that my 2018 rides extremely well, so a good used or CPO 2016 to 2018 with the revised suspension may be a good option.
 

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WalltowallPinball: I can't believe someone hasn't found the source of your vibration. This just isn't rocket science. Clearly something is wrong.

"Excuse my ignorance but what is "porpoising"?"

I don't think I made the term up. It refers to the up/down bow/stern undulating, sometimes with a side-to-side rotation, that occurs when driving at speed over gradual road heaves. There are many stretches of concrete in the DFW region that have this large "wave" surface, and when a car porpoises badly, the car feels like it's catching air.

Ahem...well engineered suspensions (usually German!) don't do this...

I'm (mostly) pleased with my KYB aftermarket struts on my 2014 TAH (with 86k miles). Tightened up the undulations a bit, but it'll never be as stable as I would like. Clearly I'm an outlier in the Avalon crowd!!!
 

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14TAH Touring 10 TundraDC
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I would check your brake calipers. Sounds like you have one sticking IMO. My advice:

1. Have all 4 tires/rims match mounted and road force balanced.(never use more than 1 ounce of balance weight)
2. Be certain all hub and wheel faces are cleaned and wheels bolted on and torqued to 80ft lbs. (star torque pattern)
3. Check runout on wheel hub/spindle while wheels are off.
4. Check play in cvj and front axles.
5. Check play in all front suspension components and steering
6. Mic both rotors an verify both calipers are fully retracting. If either caliper is corroded or slow to retract...replace both sides.
7. Check front struts for play or leakage of weakness.

You have a very simple problem that has been yet to be discovered.

Relax and enjoy your weekend and be thankful. :smile:
I would also make sure you don't have brakes dragging. I have a Tundra also and the ebrake was sticking due to a stuck mechanism in the ebrake cable mechanism. It caused a shake that started around 45 mph and diminished a bit at higher speeds. The dealer had no clue on the shake. I felt all the wheels after a highway drive and the driver rear was very hot especially compared to the other 3. I got underneath and freed up the ebrake linkage and no more shake and vibration. It did come back and I had to do some better clean and lubrication on the poorly designed mechanism that is exposed to the elements and freezes up.

It could also be a frozen caliper also. Feel the wheels after you drive the car for a while and see if one or 2 are hot. That would be a clue that it's a brake issue.

I would rule out the brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
I'm really sorry you haven't found the problem yet.
I think you should ask the Toyota dealer to allow you to "borrow" a set of wheels and tires to finally determine whether the problem is with the wheels and tires or not, and take it from there. If the problem persists beyond this, I think you should trade it. There is no point in throwing more money at it. I can tell you that my 2018 rides extremely well, so a good used or CPO 2016 to 2018 with the revised suspension may be a good option.
I can't believe it either. Maybe because I dropped the car at the dealer on a Saturday, less skilled techs looked at the car and determined that the wheels needed balancing once again. My wife actually picked up the car from the dealer and noticed the vibration on the 15 minute ride home. She didn't tell until after I told her it was still there. Sometimes she thinks I'm too anal about things but this time she can see what I'm talking about. It's funny you brought up looking for a 16 to trade for. I was actually looking at the Lexus ES 350, 2016 and 17 online. Found 2 very loaded up, Mark Levinson, lux pkg etc. One was 27,500 with 27K miles CPO and the other was 28K with 24k miles. I had an appointment Saturday but they both sold.

It was probably a good thing anyway because the Avalon started to make a new noise last Fri after doing a quick K turn. I now have a pop or a click sound when starting from a stand still or stopping fully. So if I brought it for a trade and they heard the noise, I would have gotten a lower offer I'm sure.

So I called the dealer back, complaining that they didn't fix it, and too see what the noise is. Dropped it off yesterday so will have to wait until they call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
WalltowallPinball: I can't believe someone hasn't found the source of your vibration. This just isn't rocket science. Clearly something is wrong.

"Excuse my ignorance but what is "porpoising"?"

I don't think I made the term up. It refers to the up/down bow/stern undulating, sometimes with a side-to-side rotation, that occurs when driving at speed over gradual road heaves. There are many stretches of concrete in the DFW region that have this large "wave" surface, and when a car porpoises badly, the car feels like it's catching air.

Ahem...well engineered suspensions (usually German!) don't do this...

I'm (mostly) pleased with my KYB aftermarket struts on my 2014 TAH (with 86k miles). Tightened up the undulations a bit, but it'll never be as stable as I would like. Clearly I'm an outlier in the Avalon crowd!!!
Thanks for that explanation. My Avalon rides steady as a rock. I had 3 MRBZ in the past and I can say this Avalon handles very similar to them. Def no porpoising from this car. I think they were going for the German handling when they designed this car except they went too stiff IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
I would also make sure you don't have brakes dragging. I have a Tundra also and the ebrake was sticking due to a stuck mechanism in the ebrake cable mechanism. It caused a shake that started around 45 mph and diminished a bit at higher speeds. The dealer had no clue on the shake. I felt all the wheels after a highway drive and the driver rear was very hot especially compared to the other 3. I got underneath and freed up the ebrake linkage and no more shake and vibration. It did come back and I had to do some better clean and lubrication on the poorly designed mechanism that is exposed to the elements and freezes up.

It could also be a frozen caliper also. Feel the wheels after you drive the car for a while and see if one or 2 are hot. That would be a clue that it's a brake issue.

I would rule out the brakes.

I asked the mechanic to check for sticking calipers when I had the new rotors and pads installed, He said they were fine. I did notice the other day when looking at the rotors, the rear rotors looked like the pads were not working enough to keep the surface shiny like the fronts. So yes it's possible I have a brake issue on the rears but would the dealer have caught it? You would think.
 

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WalltoWallpinball: I'm very particular about who works on my car. Until I've established their competence, I will NOT leave the car at ANY shop or dealership...period.
It sounds like you're getting advice from various random techs, and so far, NONE of them have solved your problem.

Have you dealt directly with the service director, who, in theory, knows who his best techs are? Have you made certain that the car is looked at ONLY by the most senior, most experienced techs? Your posts don't give me confidence that this is being done.

I'd also ask how often the wheel/tire balancing machine is calibrated by the manufacturer (usually Hunter?) I had repetitive balancing issues at an indy shop, only to find that their machine was way out of spec. After recalibrating the machine, wheels/tires were balanced correctly.

This...should...just...not...be...an...ongoing...issue. You must be working with incompetent techs.
 

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14TAH Touring 10 TundraDC
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I asked the mechanic to check for sticking calipers when I had the new rotors and pads installed, He said they were fine. I did notice the other day when looking at the rotors, the rear rotors looked like the pads were not working enough to keep the surface shiny like the fronts. So yes it's possible I have a brake issue on the rears but would the dealer have caught it? You would think.
If a brake or E-brake is dragging just feel the rim after a drive. On my Tundra the drivers rear was super hot. That's where I focused my attention:nerd:. It wasn't really the "brake" that was sticking, it was the mechanism that pulls the cable from both rear parking brakes that stuck. When stuck it for some reason somewhat engaged the drivers side rear wheel parking brake pad. This dragged and started the shaking.
Heat is one clue of a dragging brake or ebrake. You can check that yourself and may find the issue or at least check that off your list if no hot rims after a drive.

The Toyota dealer looked at mine several times and and could not fix the shake. I just happened to read up on it on a Tundra Forum and lucked out being able to find it. I have a suspicion the shake was why it was traded in at 2 years old. Once I fixed it the Trucks been great.

Hope you get this figured out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
WalltoWallpinball: I'm very particular about who works on my car. Until I've established their competence, I will NOT leave the car at ANY shop or dealership...period.
It sounds like you're getting advice from various random techs, and so far, NONE of them have solved your problem.

Have you dealt directly with the service director, who, in theory, knows who his best techs are? Have you made certain that the car is looked at ONLY by the most senior, most experienced techs? Your posts don't give me confidence that this is being done.

I'd also ask how often the wheel/tire balancing machine is calibrated by the manufacturer (usually Hunter?) I had repetitive balancing issues at an indy shop, only to find that their machine was way out of spec. After recalibrating the machine, wheels/tires were balanced correctly.

This...should...just...not...be...an...ongoing...issue. You must be working with incompetent techs.
Yes, incompetence is abundant unfortunately.

Finally got an answer to the problem, well at least I hope. The dealer called and said the struts are bad.

As far as calibration of the balancing machine, the wheels were balanced at 2 different shops so I don't think that's the issue. The tech didn't notice vibration yesterday because it was warm out, 75 degrees. I explained to them that I feel it most when the tires are cold.

I talked to one of our UPS mechanics tonight and he said a blown strut could cause a wheel hop, which would explain the noise I was hearing on smooth highway driving.

The dealer quoted me $1100 for new front struts. Does this seem average?
 

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Discussion Starter · #77 ·
Any vibes lately?
Sad to bay, but yes. After the new struts were installed, I felt it right away before the tires warmed up. Remember the dealer balanced the wheels before the struts were put in. The dealer did give me credit for the wheel balance after complaining that the vibration is still present. I thought for sure that new struts would have solved it. I went back to the tire shop that did the previous balancing and they found 1 tire that had to be force balanced and recommended that I return it for a replacement, which I did immediately. The new tire balanced within specs without needing force match balancing but it not solve the cold tire vibration. Even when the tires reach normal running temps, at 75 mph and higher I'm still getting vibration. As far as I can tell, the brake calipers are not sticking.

I have been quiet on this thread because I started looking at other cars. I have negative equity right now so a trade in will raise my monthly payment significantly so I'm keep the Avalon for now. I guess the next course of action is to buy some dial gauges and try to fix this on my own. Obviously the dealer mechanics either don't have the tools or will not take the time to check the front end for run-out.

So I guess it will come down to wheel hubs, drive axle or brake rotor!

Anyway is $25,445 a good price for 16 TAL in celestial silver with 21k miles a good price?
 

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Try this: Jack up one front wheel off the pavement and place one hand on the top outer edge of the tire and other hand on the bottom edge of the tire. Try to move the tire inward and outward in a pivoting manner. If there is any play you have issues with steering joints or hubs. This is a simple test you can do yourself. Next, inspect the inside face of each brake rotor for scouring and thickness of both inside and outside brake pads on each front wheel. One pad dramatically thinner than the other could indicate a sticking caliper. Before you do this get two cans of brake cleaner at Walmart and clean the brake pads while you have the tires off. If the hub face where the aluminum wheel contacts it has any corrosion it should be cleaned completely.(corrosion will add to runout) This goes for the contact face on the back of your aluminum wheels. I use a small sanding disc and wire cup brush on my drill to do this.

Try these low cost checks. BTW, I use a $2 hand held mirror to inspect the inboard rotor/pads...easier. :wink:

Don't forget to torque each lug nut in a star pattern to 80ft lbs.

BTW, did you drive figure 8's in a parking with your windows down lot to see if your axles were clicking? If not, do it. Both directions.
 

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Try this: Jack up one front wheel off the pavement and place one hand on the top outer edge of the tire and other hand on the bottom edge of the tire. Try to move the tire inward and outward in a pivoting manner. If there is any play you have issues with steering joints or hubs. This is a simple test you can do yourself. Next, inspect the inside face of each brake rotor for scouring and thickness of both inside and outside brake pads on each front wheel. One pad dramatically thinner than the other could indicate a sticking caliper. Before you do this get two cans of brake cleaner at Walmart and clean the brake pads while you have the tires off. If the hub face where the aluminum wheel contacts it has any corrosion it should be cleaned completely.(corrosion will add to runout) This goes for the contact face on the back of your aluminum wheels. I use a small sanding disc and wire cup brush on my drill to do this.

Try these low cost checks. BTW, I use a $2 hand held mirror to inspect the inboard rotor/pads...easier. :wink:

Don't forget to torque each lug nut in a star pattern to 80ft lbs.
Thanks for all the tips. I didn't do the fig 8's but you would think the stealership would have caught a bad axle. Sheesh it was in there twice. I'm thinking more of a bent axle, which is rare, or a bad hub. The rims and rotors are new, so no rust or corrosion build up there. I out on oem front rotors and pads. The other brakes made a funny noise when cold. I thought maybe they used cheap brakes. So no improvement w the new brakes, the noise is back again. Possibly a slight caliper hang up may have warped the new rotors? Ugh.

I now have new struts, with all new parts, mounts, bearings etc.


I talked to an auto body guy about it. He said it could be the axles even it's just a slight looseness in the joints. I watched the tire guys spin the wheels on the balancer and I didn't see any wobble.
 

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Try this: Jack up one front wheel off the pavement and place one hand on the top outer edge of the tire and other hand on the bottom edge of the tire. Try to move the tire inward and outward in a pivoting manner. If there is any play you have issues with steering joints or hubs. This is a simple test you can do yourself. Next, inspect the inside face of each brake rotor for scouring and thickness of both inside and outside brake pads on each front wheel. One pad dramatically thinner than the other could indicate a sticking caliper. Before you do this get two cans of brake cleaner at Walmart and clean the brake pads while you have the tires off. If the hub face where the aluminum wheel contacts it has any corrosion it should be cleaned completely.(corrosion will add to runout) This goes for the contact face on the back of your aluminum wheels. I use a small sanding disc and wire cup brush on my drill to do this.

Try these low cost checks. BTW, I use a $2 hand held mirror to inspect the inboard rotor/pads...easier. :wink:

Don't forget to torque each lug nut in a star pattern to 80ft lbs.

Thanks for all the tips. I didn't do the fig 8's but you would think the stealership would have caught a bad axle. Sheesh it was in there twice. I'm thinking more of a bent axle, which is rare, or a bad hub. The rims and rotors are new, so no rust or corrosion build up there. I out on oem front rotors and pads. The other brakes made a funny noise when cold. I thought maybe they used cheap brakes. So no improvement w the new brakes, the noise is back again. Possibly a slight caliper hang up may have warped the new rotors? Ugh.

I now have new struts, with all new parts, mounts, bearings etc.


I talked to an auto body guy about it. He said it could be the axles even it's just a slight looseness in the joints. I watched the tire guys spin the wheels on the balancer and I didn't see any wobble.
What it can be is the result of runout on several parts combined. If each are out .02 and you have three like that then you're out .06. However, try the figure 8's and never rely on assuming a dealer tech went the extra mile since they are in a production environment. The figure 8 test is free so do it. Then f that is OK find an indy shop that does Toyota/Honda and ask them. Next, find a performance shop that does chassis work on performance cars like Porsche, BMW etc.

I had this same issue with a 1987 Porsche 944S and it turned out to be cumulative runout in the front wheel assemblies. Solution: Have a performance shop balance the entire wheel assembly on the car. Cost to diagnose after 4 tire shops: $900. Cost to repair: $100

Next question: Has the vehicle ever been in a front end collision?
 
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