'looseness' in drivetrain, maybe the half shaft? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 11-29-2006, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default 'looseness' in drivetrain, maybe the half shaft?

A few weeks ago I started feeling some 'looseness' in the drive train. When I start out from a stop, there is a tiny bit if play, nothing happens and then there is kind of a hard jerk and the car starts moving. It was very subtle, most people wouldn't have noticed it.

Now its getting worse. And sometimes when going down the road, if I let off the gas I can feel the same 'looseness' as the car decelerates.

I'm thinking its not the transmission though, because other aspects of the cars handling have changed, too. The steering just doesn't feel right, but I can't put my finger on it. Its not as tight as it used to be. And the other night when I did a hard, fast uturn I could feel something, like everything wasn't right down at the wheel.

Any ideas? I'm probably going to take it into the shop this weekend, but the shops about 100 miles away because we're going out of town to visit friends. I thought I'd drop it off while we are with them. And I just moved to this area and don't have a shop I feel comfortable taking it to here.

Its a '92 with around 180K on it.

Thanks,
-Ryan
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Old 11-29-2006, 06:43 PM   #2
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It'* very doubtful it'* an axle.

Check your motor mounts, and look the car over for suspension that looks out of place or broken.
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Old 11-29-2006, 07:56 PM   #3
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It'* very likely to be either your front or rear transaxle mount, or both. The front mount can be diagnosed from the front of the car.

Block the rear wheels and set the Ebrake.
Have a trusted helper put the car in D and hold the brake, gently revving the motor up to about 2500 rpm'* or so and back.

You stand to the driver'* side (fender) in case the car slips forward, and look down carefully between the starter and the radiator, below the front exhaust manifold to see if the motor rocks off the front trans mount or not. This is typically the first one to go, and your symptoms point right to it.

If you like, you can put the car on ramps, and jack the motor with a block of wood between the jack and oil pan, while watching this mount from under the car.
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Old 11-29-2006, 08:58 PM   #4
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Don't overlook the cars end links, they tend to break on out cars causing clunks and a mushy suspension feel. Turn your wheel all the way right, then look in at the dog bone type link connecting the sway bar to the lower A frame. Then check the other side. They are located just behind the axle shafts.
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Old 11-30-2006, 12:27 AM   #5
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With 180,000 miles I'd be very concerned about the ball joints too. I had loose steering for a long time. On a quick take off there was a lot of play in the wheels. They were loose and had a mind of their own. It took quite a bit to keep the car under control under heavy acceleration, or even normal driving in the rain.

I'd check your endlinks as stated, though they affect cornering more than steering.

Also tie rod ends, and definitely the ball joints. Check to see the condition of the rubber boots on the ball joints and tie rod ends.

Also, if you pop the knuckle off the the ball joint then try and move the ball joint by hand, it should be very hard to move. If it'* loose you need to replace them. They are also very inexpensive ($35 each for TRW) and would be wise to change them anyway if they are original, if it'* in your budget
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Old 11-30-2006, 10:05 AM   #6
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Guys, I don't recall him mention any steering issues, or noises associated with the endlinks or balljoints.

He describes straight line accelleration and braking, with drivetrain movement. That spells motor/trans mounts all the way.
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Old 11-30-2006, 10:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I will take a look at it when I can, its below zero here with the windchill right now.

You know, I don't think it does it all in reverse. Still think it might be a mount? I guess it could still be, there may not be anywhere for the motor to move when going in reverse, it could be against the frame or whats left of the motor mount.

Should I be weary of driving the car?

-Ryan
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:56 PM   #8
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Not doing it in reverse only adds to the motor mount belief.

Be wary? mmm be a little more gentle on the happy pedal, accelerate a little slower than you normally would.
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: 'looseness' in drivetrain, maybe the half shaft?

Whether he has steering problems we don't know yet, but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by zirconx
...other aspects of the cars handling have changed, too. The steering just doesn't feel right, but I can't put my finger on it. Its not as tight as it used to be. And the other night when I did a hard, fast uturn I could feel something, like everything wasn't right down at the wheel.
So is your steering loose?
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Old 11-30-2006, 03:39 PM   #10
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The steering is NOT loose when I just turn the wheel from side to side while going down the highway. But when I did a fast, sharp uturn to the left the other night, something didn't feel exactly right. Hard to describe.

-Ryan
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