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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi,

I CANNOT FIGURE THIS OUT! PLEASE HELP!

I recently purchased a:
2007 Toyota Highlander V6 (non-hybrid)
Front Wheel Drive, Base Model, 3rd Row Seat
111,000 miles

It was an Arizona car so some rubber stuff deteriorated. Here is what I've replaced:
Front lower control arms, all four struts (and alignment), all engine/transmission mounts, front sway bar links, 4 new tires (2 sets actually), driver and passenger CV axles

The vehicle runs fine at all speeds except for a slight body wobble between 5-20mph. The wobble is not felt in the steering wheel but can be felt in seat. It happens less when its cold outside or when the vehicle is first driven. It happens only during acceleration and there is no wobble when applying brakes. Turning sharp corners produces no further concerns (noises etc) - that all seems fine. The tie rods are tight and not leaking and the inner tie rod boots are not damaged. The steering rack and steering wheel have no slop/play. I tested the front wheel hubs using the 9/3 and 12/6 hand positions and its not loose.

I hooked a camera up to record the engine and the recording showed the engine wobbling side to side in the engine bay (not front to back)

The new axles i got from amazon and they have 4.5/5.0 starts. After the installations, I took it to the toyota dealership and they said they traced the wobble to the passenger cv axle. The amazon guy sent me a new axle which I installed and still the wobble. I took it to another mechanic who said it was my tires. The tires were all new but his road force test showed two were bad (discount tire). Discount Tire put 4 new and upgraded tires on and still the wobble. Yesterday i checked all the rims (inner and outer) for trueness and they all seem fine.

One lesson learned the hard way is I replaced all of these parts at the same time and I didn't keep all of the old ones so its been difficult to pinpoint the issue. I no longer have the front struts or cv axles.

I've double checked the torque on what i've replaced, though I couldn't find any torque specs on the engine mounts so the top bolts are 70ftlbs and the bottom bolts are 40ftlbs.

The rear engine mount rubber oblong ball thing was replaced but i had trouble determining the orientation within its bracket. The rubber ball thing (isolator) has an arrow on it (some have a single dot) so I orientated the arrow pointing toward the sky. Hope that is correct.

I assume its not spark plugs or something like that since the vehicle has a smooth idle and I've never heard it misfire.

One weird thing though is the front Struts are Monroe Economatics (182212 & 182211) and they raised the front end 2 inches. The instructions said its was normal and they would settle but that was months ago. The front wheel wells are sitting at 32.75 inches and the rear at 31 inches. I took a level to the door jam and its not level - like a quarter bubble off. Its definitely sitting high in the front. Could this cause wobble? The rears are the better Monroe struts (172213 & 172214)

Any suggestions?

Bryan
 

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Was it ok before you started?
If it is in the front I would expect it to show up in the steering wheel.
Start looking at the rear suspension.

If you still think it is the front then:
Make sure all the engine and transmission mounts are good.
I am still suspicious of the axles. The “good” reviews could be for other part numbers or even frauds.
It would not be the first time that the same part had the same flaw.
If I were at this point I would try to get a used set of axles cheap and try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
CR, thank you for the reply.

I don't believe it had the problem before I started the work. I picked it up in Arizona and drove it to New Mexico so I didn't spend a lot of time in the low 20mph range. When I got home I parked it because i found the lower control arm bushings and wishbone motor mount were shot and it wasn't really safe to drive. The wobble could have been there but the engine mounts and struts were so shot maybe it hid the wobble?

The 2nd front passenger CV axle the amazon vendor sent me was of better quality (he called it a "re-manufactured passenger side axle with OEM toyota inner joint") and the wobble was still there after I installed it. It was then I took it to the toyota dealer and they said they traced the issue to the passenger CV. So I took out that axle and put the 1st amazon cv axle back in and the wobble was still there. I guess it is possible both are bad. I will call the toyota dealer and see where I can find a used set for cheap.

I will look at the rear suspension as you suggested. I plan to look at the bushings and tire rods and retorque the strut stuff. I will also lift the rear and check the hub bearing assemblies. I remember all four of the original tires were worn bald on the inside of the tires which would point to a camber issue, right? When I took it for alignment, the guy said the rear was already in spec. Its tough, the wobble could be so many things.

What I read about the rear as possible causes are tires and rims. The tires are brand new and i assume Discount Tire would have noticed/notified me if a rim was bad/bent/needing replacement.

I will recheck the motor/transmission mounts, I'm just unsure of the torque. Weird those are so hard to find.
 

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I really like the local Discount Tire shop, but I wouldn’t bet on them finding a bent wheel. The guard covers the tire as it spins for balance so they may miss it. Try moving the tires back to front and see if anything changes.
Look for cheap used axles at local junk yards. Row52 for self-service junk yards or Car-part.com for a little better service and good interchange capabilities. Also try EBay.
The tire wear is probably camber. When the alignment guy told you it was in spec did he give you a print out from the rack? If not, the rear camber is not adjustable from the factory so he may have meant it was the best he could do. I ran into that. I am looking for a good rear camber kit before doing my struts.
For more information, for $20 you can get a 2 day subscription to the Toyota Technical Information Service (TIS) which gives you access to the shop manuals, wiring diagrams, service bulletins, and training material. I consider it well worth it. If you want to make the investment, you can buy the Mongoose scanner for about $500 and then get access to the Toyota Techstream professional level scan and diagnostic capabilities for about $70.
On EBay you can find the wiring diagram manual pretty cheap, which I find to be a necessity in diagnosis.
For aftermarket manuals, the Haynes manual has information you cannot get from the factory manuals. I consider it a necessity.
But I also recommend looking for the factory manuals on EBay. They are pricey, but I think it is worth it. Of course, you can always access them on-line as needed through TIS subscriptions. I am old-school and like paper books better.
And you will need a decent OBD2 scanner.
 

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I’m don’t no much about low speed wobbles but my wife’s Honda was rattling at about 20mph. I was told it might be something with speed control. Well, I put 91 octane to fuel it up and added Chevron fuel injector cleaner to the tank after and oil change and took it for a long run. Strange thing is the rattle went away. It was a fairly new car so I didn’t think to troubleshoot the obvious. (All part of the wheel). Did you clean the throttle body?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
C R, thank you for the tips on the resources and manuals. I'm hoping to drive the vehicle another five years so and they will come in handy. You're probably right regarding Discount Tire not catching a bent wheel/rim. I looked at each rim myself with a screwdriver mounted on a cardboard box to test trueness and there was nothing obvious that I could see. I do have the printout of the alignment and I remember the guy saying that he didn't have a lot to play with to make the adjustments. He probably did do the best he could. I'm going to check the rear this weekend and will report back.

MortalKombatu, thank you for your reply. I have not cleaned (nor inspected) the throttle body but I think its a good suggestion and I will do that this weekend. I have put octane booster/cleaner in the fuel tank before, Seafoam, and it didn't help the wobble. I got a can of the Seafoam throttle body cleaner that I will use this weekend too. I'm not sure if this is coincidence but with a full fuel tank, the wobble is less frequent. I pulled the 3 spark plugs I could get to and they look ok, thought they are platinum tipped and the user manual recommends iridium.
 

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What I would do- Get rid of the platinum plugs. Go with the recommended iridium Denso or NGK. I prefer the OEM Denso. Worn or wrong plug gaps are very hard on coil packs.
I would definitely go with Toyota or Denso for coil packs, plugs, injectors, and all O2 and engine sensors if I am keeping the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, I'll replace them with iridium Denso or NGKs. I don't need more issues. I can do the front 3 this weekend and the back three IF i find the wobble. Getting to the back three is a chore, I've read. I wouldn't be surprised if the back three are originals.
 

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a sticky parking brake cable or brake caliper can cause a wobble. Next time you experience it check your wheels to see if any are noticeably hotter than the others.
 

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Make sure the front struts are properly assembled and seated. Two inches is more than I expect.
Did they come assembled with springs or was assembly required?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
C R, the front were preassembled. The wobble happens only under acceleration. I’ve coasted downhill 0-30 mph and no wobble. I’m going over everything today and will post an update.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
UPDATE:

Hi everyone,

Two weekends ago, I repaired/checked the following:

  • Made sure the engine and transmission mounts are good – they are new, all bolts are tight
  • Made sure the tie rods front and back are good – I did a visual inspection of joints and I pulled on them as hard as I could and they are solid.
  • There is not play/slop in steering wheel, rack seems fine
  • Replaced the front three spark plugs with NGK iridium’s.
  • Added Seafoam cleaner to a full gas tank
  • Attempted to run Seafoam cleaner through the throttle body but ran into issues with the throttle body plate pinching off the hose. Resolved the following weekend, see below
  • Took temp readings of all four rotors to see if any were running hotter than expected. See pic. DF – Driver Fron, PF – Passenger Front, etc.
  • Check all wheels for play using the 9/3, 12/6 positions. All are solid.
Last weekend, I repaired/checked the following
  • Took off all four wheels, took a picture of the part number stamped on each strut, checked to see if it’s the correct part. The struts were preassembled so I verified the part number of the strut itself. The rears are fine – I installed the OEM version 72213/14. On the fronts I installed the econo 802211/12 ones and their measurements are slightly different than the OEM recommended 72211/12 struts (all are Monroe and the correct parts per rockauto). See pic. Based on the 802211/12 measurements, I don’t understand why it looks like the highlander is sitting high in front. See pics. Would installing the 72211/12 (well the preassembled struts 172211/12). Its difficult to verify if they were assembled correctly and seated properly. They absorb fine and there is no noise.
  • Cleaned all caliper mounting bolts and re-greased and torqued to spec
  • Confused on the e-brake, is it a separate setup? I read its tied to brake shoes and not the front/rear discs?
  • Used Seafoam to flush the throttle body. Kept pinching tube so found an upstream insertion point to discharge the contents of can (while engine is running). Didn't help the wobble put the throttle response has improved. It was pretty dirty so I'll probably run another can through it soon.
Should I check ride height? Is that info available for my vehicle in the manuals your recommended, C R? And is it measurable for a DIYer? If so, I might do the $20 access you recommended.

The check engine light along with the VSC and Trac Control lights came on the other day. I didn't get it scanned but the last time I did a few weeks ago it had to do with a bad catalytic converter. The vehicle only has 111k miles.

I haven't looked for any used replacement CV axles yet.
 

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Wow that’s some good work you’ve done. I’m sure you will figure this out. I don’t know if it will help, but if you can post the video of the wobble. Maybe someone will recognize it and give you some clues of the cause. Good luck
 
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