Steer Axle Wheel Shimmy – Common Steering Problems

In the 4th article in our common steering problems series we talk about Steer Axle Wheel Shimmy, in previous articles we have talked about darting and wandering, nervous steering and steering wheel kickback.

Steer Axle Wheel Shimmy

Worn draglink ends can cause steer axel shimmy

Replacing worn draglink ends can help eliminate steer axle shimmy

Steer Axle Wheel Shimmy is a common problem on older vehicles or vehicles which are setup with excessive front axle caster. The vehicle will experience ongoing oscillations in the steer axle, the axle will move back and forth often causing vibrations in the steering wheel which will slowly subside, the steering wheel may also take longer to return to center. This problem has two main causes, worn steering linkages and excessive front axle caster.

Worn Steering linkages – Steer Axle Wheel Shimmy.

Worn steering linkages allow the steering system to bounce from one side of the clearance in the worn track rods, drag links, pitman arm and steering gear to the other with relative freedom. This allows the steer axle to oscillate back and forwards after it hits a bump in the road. It also makes the vehicle harder to steer and give a driver the sensation of having to chase or constantly make adjustments to keep the vehicle on the road.

Excessive Front Axle Caster  – Steer Axle Wheel Shimmy

Steer wheel shimmy can be caused by excessive Wheel Caster.

Steer wheel shimmy can be caused by excessive wheel caster.

Excessive front axle caster can also cause steer axle wheel shimmy. The caster angle on the vehicle, sets the distance between the turn axle line of pivot and the tire-road contact point / centre of wheel. Think of a shopping trolley the wheel pivot axle is ahead of the point which wheel contacts the ground, this is positive caster. This is important to encourage the steer wheels to return to center, just like shopping trollies.

Roads are designed with a slight slope for drainage purposes, a vehicles caster setting helps keep the vehicle from wandering down the slope without input from the driver.

However excessive caster angle can cause front axle wheel shimmy. Basically the force developed by a positive caster angle which pulls the wheel back to its center position becomes so large that the wheel races past its center point oscillating (Shimmying) back and forth like a pendulum. Once again a great example is the wobble in a shopping trolley wheel, typically when you push the trolley the wheel wobbles around a lot, not a big problem for a shopping trolley but a big problem for a heavy vehicle.

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  1. Information for Steering Wheel Shimmy - Drive Accord Honda Forums - November 28, 2015

    […] googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('DriveAccord_net_600x24_TopTextLink_AUTO_Forum'); }); post #1 of 1 Old Today, 08:54 AM Thread Starter dunhill421 My First Post   Join Date: Nov 2015 Posts: 1 Thanks: 0 Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts Information for Steering Wheel Shimmy Hey everyone I was actually in the market for a 2012 Honda Accord EXL Coupe and upon researching I discovered a problem that my 2010 Acura TSX had. The Steering shimmy that no-one seems to know what is causing it. I loved my TSX but after a while it developed a shimmy at highway speeds that would lessen intensity as you would drive it but never fully go away once it started and then some days almost like it was never there. I replaced tires, new wheels, new rotors, had the wheels balanced by like 6 different dealers and tire shops I mean I was going crazy. I never found a solution to my issue after a year of trying everything. The car was 2 years old with 20k but with this problem and trying everything I gave up and traded it in for another car. As i mentioned I came to this forum to read about common complaints for 2012 accord and when I read some of your posts about this wheel shimmy I felt as if I was writing it myself. Thats crazy because I know the TSX and Accord are like 70% the same when you compare internal parts and structural. So I guess share some similarities. I came across something that made sense to me. I thought I would share it and if everything else was done to your car with no resolve maybe try this. This page tells about having too much caster can cause a wheel shimmy and describes why ( like a shopping cart wheel ) I figured I would post it and share the information and maybe even if someones caster isn't out excessively in the front, being that this could be a design fault, maybe have the alignment tech adjust it slightly negative from recommended. And if the problem resolves maybe thats all this was for everyone, A badly setup stock caster setting from the factory. It could also explain why no matter what everyone does the problem still persists because despite everything you do your still following HONDA OEM standard for your alignment setting. Again Im trying to think outside the box because going along with what everyone else says hadn't helped me at all. Some say its a characteristic of the car, some say your crazy well I don't think any of you are crazy just frustrated as i was. Point being if it is a normal characteristic of the car its because honda designed the car with an OVER-looked floor somewhere on the car. Suspension, axles, it could even be the transmission for all we know. Appearing normal but acting anything but. Hope someone who is thinking about getting rid of their accord who is suffering from this problem atleast try this before doing so. I wish I didn't trade my TSX in because i loved that car. I just couldn't deal with the shimmy on the highway every day. Here is the Link to the paGe: Steer Axle Wheel Shimmy – Common Steering Problems – Hydrosteer […]

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