1999 Toyota Tacoma Front end Vibration

Tiny
THISSELB
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 TOYOTA TACOMA
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • MANUAL
  • 185,000 MILES
I have a '99 toyota tacoma, V6 4WD, and recently it has picked up a new vibration from what feels like the front end. I had the tires rotated and balanced, which didn't help. The guy at les schwab thought the vibration could be from the cupping wear on the tires which are now on the rear, since it occurs mainly from 40 - 60 mph. What concerns me, is that when I jacked up the front end in my shop, the drivers side tire was locked, not free-spinning, and the passenger side was free to spin. I instantly checked to see if it was somehow in four-wheel drive, but it wasn't. I thought that if I was in two wheel drive, both front tires should be free to spin. I was wondering if this is a serious problem or not, and if it could be the cause of my new vibration, because some front end gears are engaged or something.
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Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 AT 1:59 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi thisselb. Welcome to the forum. You can expect only one front wheel to turn. If the two of them were locked together as you imagined, you would find turning corners really miserable as the tires jumped around from being forced to turn at the same speeds.

The wheel with the least friction or brake drag will spin. To make the other one spin, you have to stop or slow the spinning wheel. I use a 2x4 as a lever under the spinning tire but you have to be real careful because if it catches, it will become a projectile. When you do this, ...

Woops, I misread your post. It appears you're spinning the tires by hand, is that correct? Look for a locked up brake caliper on the wheel that won't spin freely. Start by opening the bleeder screw. If the brake doesn't release, the caliper is sticking and it can cause the symptom you described. If the caliper does release, there are some things to check next. Holler back with your findings.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 AT 3:01 PM
Tiny
THISSELB
  • MEMBER
Yes, rotating the front tires by hand. It shouldn't be a brake caliper, because the tire would rotate freely for about 3 inches in each direction and then something was stopping it. I didn't think that the front tires should be locked togeter like rears through a differential, but rather that they should each spin freely, independant of eachother. The passenger side rotates freely, and the driver side is "stuck".
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Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 AT 6:24 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Yup, not a brake caliper problem. Whatever is locking it up can't be a solid obstruction, otherwise it wouldn't turn while driving. This sounds like a tight universal joint between the upper and lower ball joints, just inside the brake rotor. I don't know if your truck has u-joints or cv joints, but a tight u-joint will make a vibration and if it's real bad, can cause the steering wheel to force itself straight ahead twice per tire revolution when you're trying to turn.

Caradiodoc
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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 AT 2:13 AM
Tiny
THISSELB
  • MEMBER
It has CV joints.
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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 AT 2:32 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
First check that the caliper is mounted properly to the knuckle. If a bolt walked out or broke off, the caliper could lift up and catch on the wheel. I suspect you would have heard and felt that though. Look for shiny grooves ground into the underside of the caliper. Some rotors use bent up strips of metal shoved into one of the vent holes for their balancing weight. I've never seen one of those strips slide out and hit the caliper, but there's always a first time. If the wheel still locks up, there has to be something in the differential or hub. Look for a wheel stud that broke off and the base has retreated and is catching on the hub mounting bolts. I'm not a 4wd expert, but look at an automatic hub that is stuck partially engaged or a locking mechanism for the front axle shafts that is partially engaged.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, July 2nd, 2010 AT 4:05 AM

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