1997 Toyota Camry car vibrates @ highway speed

Tiny
BIGZEKE00
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 TOYOTA CAMRY
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 94,000 MILES
97 camry has 94000, with vibration issue, makes whump whump whump noise from 50 to 70 mph, especially @ 65, but smooths out @ 75 mph. New tires, balance, alignment. Still does it. Cvs feel tight. Can't feel it in the steering wheel or the shifter when it happens. Put it in neutral and coast, still does it. The transmission seems ok, fluid ok color and doesn't smell burnt, not low, shifts great. Put the front end on blocks, revved up to 60-70 mph, didn't make the whump, whump noise, but we could feel some vibration. Transmission guy found loose axle on 1 side, inside the transaxle and fixed that but no change. 2 mechanics can't find it. Sad thing because the car is great other than this.
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Saturday, July 17th, 2010 AT 6:15 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi bigzeke00. Welcome to the forum. My first thought was a broken belt in a tire but since you replaced them already, and since you don't feel it in the steering wheel, my next suggestion is to check the front wheel bearings. They will rattle and vibrate with no weight on them when you run it jacked up. You can run it that way and listen next to each one with a stethoscope, or, if you can find a mechanic who has a "Chassis Ear", you can use that to locate the source of the noise. That's a tool with six clip-on microphones that you place on suspect points, then listen with headphones hooked to a switch box as you drive the car. A lot of mechanics have never even heard of this tool but it can be found at most dealerships. The guys who drive the tool trucks around have them too.

Also look for large rusted areas on the back side of the front brake rotors. Missing sections due to rust and scale can cause the sound you described.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, July 17th, 2010 AT 6:37 PM
Tiny
STANNHUANG
  • MEMBER
I think it's pretty common. My car has strong vibration at around 70mph as well. My Aunt's car has the same thing. She has a camry too. I have '00 and she has '99.
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Monday, July 19th, 2010 AT 12:09 AM
Tiny
BIGZEKE00
  • MEMBER
Using a stethascope, the mechanic found a binding cv joint, and worn center bearing on passenger side drive shaft. Replaced both and guess what, it did nothing for the noise/vibration. So, disgusted and driving home on the backroads, I took a sharp left hand turn @ 50 mph and the noise stopped. It seemed like when the rear end swayed that way, it stopped making noise. Right hand turn did nothing. Repeated that a couple of times, with same result every time. Mechanic never looked at the rear wheel bearings. I pulled off the passenger brake drum, and used a drill to spin the hub. Nothing seems wrong but that noise could be travelling through the car, and it does have 940000 mi. Maybe when the car sways, it puts different pressure on that bearing to make it quiet. 1 of the 4 bolts holding the hub and bearing assembly is really tight. Afraid it might break. What do you guys think?
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Saturday, July 24th, 2010 AT 5:38 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Interesting observation about the turning. Rear wheel bearings are a definite possibility.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, July 25th, 2010 AT 1:50 AM
Tiny
BIGZEKE00
  • MEMBER
3 of 4 bolts break loose, but the 4th does not want to crack open and I'm afraid the bolt will snap. Is it common for this to happen? And if so, would you use heat on the back side boss?
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Sunday, July 25th, 2010 AT 9:04 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If you're referring to the lug nuts, yes, it's common for them and the studs to be damaged. The single biggest cause is failure to use a torque wrench. All manufacturers publish torque values. Most shops have giant wall charts with the values listed for every brand and model of car and light truck.

It is also important to not use grease on the studs of Japanese cars. The studs have an anodized coating already.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, July 25th, 2010 AT 1:17 PM
Tiny
BIGZEKE00
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the info caradiodoc. The rear wheel bearing assembly bolts are the issue. Behind the brake drum, a 14 mm socket goes through a hole in the hub to remove 4 bolts. 3 of 4 will come out, but 1 feels like it may break. Is there any way to get the bolt out rather than take the chance of it snapping? With my luck I will have to drill it out and find a metric tap to fix. What do you think?
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Sunday, July 25th, 2010 AT 9:07 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
OHHH! I stand corrected. If you have an acetylene torch, heat the head of the bolt, then douse it with water to rapidly shrink it and shock it loose. You can try a propane torch too but I don't think that will get hot enough. If that doesn't work, use an air hammer on the head to rattle it. If you can get on there with a wrench at the same time to put a turning force on it, that will help.

If you do snap it off, prop a nut over the remaining bolt, heat mainly the bolt but the nut will get hot too. Then fill the nut in with a wire feed welder. Cool it with water, then try turning the nut to back the remaining part of the bolt out. The reason for heating the bolt and nut first is the nut will fill with metal long before it has time to penetrate and really weld the nut solidly to the bolt. The goal, if you're steady enough, is to weld to the bolt, not the nut. The surrounding metal will try to suck the heat out of the bolt preventing good penetration. Hopefully the bolt will get hot enough to melt before the hole in the nut fills up. Stop welding momentarily if you see the sides of the nut starting to melt away. Let it cool for a few seconds, then continue filling it.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, July 26th, 2010 AT 2:21 AM

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