I have a 1995 Buick Park Ave (I know this is Bonneville only, but Buick owners do have this great web site for help!) and I have a vibration comming from the front of the car. The car currently has around 93K mikes on it.
So far I have replaced my inner tie rods, passenger side lower A arm (this includes bushings and ball joint), front struts and upper strut bearings (Monroe senseatracks), passenger side wheel bearing, and passenger side half shaft. I also bought new rims and tires and have had a few wheel alignments and balancings. I have been told everything in the front end is tight, which I believe because the mechanic I took my car to would really like to make some money off me if he could.
I will describe what is happening to my car and maybe you guys can give me a hand:
1) While in park and the car running, I can move my steering wheel right and left and hear a "clunk" noise when turning the steering wheel enough to start the wheels moving. My mechanic said that the rack felt good, but I’m not so sure. There is no play in the rack when you have the car on a lift and “wiggle” the wheels, but I have the “clunk”. With the engine off, I can turn the steering wheel about 1/4 of the way before it becomes hard to move. There does not seem to be excessive play in the wheel when I drive the car.
Does the rack mount to the car with some type of bushings? Could the rack be good but be "moving" back and forth on it'* mounts? Is my rack shot where the the pinion gear meets the rack?
2) While driving, I usually get a shimmy that starts around 60MPH and intermittently comes and goes away. The shimmy is less noticeable on rough roads as compared to newly paved roads. When the car is shimmying, the steering wheel shakes pretty bad and the car shakes too. This is the problem I am really trying to solve. I can't stand to drive the car this way much longer!
3) While accelerating from a stop and turning left, I feel a vibration from the front of the car while accelerating medium to fast speed. I do not feel the shimmy when I take off lightly. I also feel a shimmy when I have four 200 lb. passengers and am accelerating medium to hard and turning or going straight.
I really like the car, but I’m not sure what I can do at this point. Is this a Rack problem? Motor mounts? Front sub-frame monts?