Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Toads and Motorhome Related Towing
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-03-2010, 10:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
BigRedLancer's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 380
Can towing cause a shimmy in the front end?

I have noticed that my Saturn toad has a shimmy (steering wheel rocks back and forth about 1/2 inch) in the front end starting at 20MPH and up. I haven't towed it for several months and I am just now seeing the problem. I can only assume that the shimmy is the result of 4 down towing. I guess I really don't want to hear about an expensive repair as the car is over 10 years old and I really don't want to spend a lot of money to fix it.

2005 Winnebago Sightseer 30B, F53 Chassis
BigRedLancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-04-2010, 07:47 AM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
Gary RVRoamer's Avatar

Fleetwood Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Silver Springs, FL. USA
Posts: 16,446
Lots of things can cause a shimmy, and on a 10 year old vehicle steering & front end wear is near the top of the list. Or perhaps you hit a pothole or curb somewhere and knocked it out of alignment. Start with afront end alignment ($50-$60) and see if that fixes it.

I would not leap to any conclusions about towing causing the problem, especailly if its been several months.

Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition; 2014 Buick LaCRosse
Homebase in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Gary RVRoamer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2010, 08:38 AM   #3
Senior Member
NALSO's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: West Coast ON, Winter Texan
Posts: 207
Front end shimmy.


Get the front end of your towed checked out first before you jump to any conclusions. It will be a lot more reasonable to make some repairs on your car, than replacing it and setting the new one up for towing.

Have a Great Day.
06 Titanium 34E39QS, (The Mother Ship)
05 Titanium 24E29 (The Shuttle), 05 Dodge Ram 2500HD, 5.9l Cummins HO.
NALSO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2010, 07:20 AM   #4
Registered User
Iron Man's Avatar
Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,014
4 down towing does not usually hurt a vehicle anymore than driving it will. Sometimes we forget we add mileage, wear and tear to our toads, even if the odometer fais to show it. Have the front end check it could be as simple as wheel out of balance. My guess because of the age and if it had not been done -- ball joints.
John, Pam, Nicholas, Aria
NKK 16073L
2007 Essex 4502
2015 GMC Seirra
Iron Man is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2010, 09:29 PM   #5
iRV2 Marketing
DriVer's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Coastal Campers
Carolina Campers
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Conway, SC
Posts: 22,835
Blog Entries: 70
I might even suspect bad tie rod ends!

Jack the front wheels up and rock both tires from side to side. If your steering wheel is moving as much as it is, look for abnormal wear on your tires too. Check the receiver where the tow bar attaches. I've seen a lot of play there that might contribute to what your experiencing. A little loose here and a little loose there all adds up.
DriVer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2010, 06:28 AM   #6
Senior Member
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: st.charles mo.
Posts: 1,140
It sounds to me like you have a belt coming loose in a tire.
speed racer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2010, 11:34 AM   #7
Senior Member
bruceh's Avatar
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Coarsegold, CA
Posts: 695
A front/rear tire rotation would seem the simplest and cheapest diagnostic step. If you have cupping or uneven wear on the front tires, this could cause the shimmy.

From my days in electronics, always do the simple things first.
2001 Winnebago Adventurer, 35U, W-20 8.1
F+R Trac bars, F+R sway bars, SafTsteer, F Sumo Springs, 4 Koni FSDs
bruceh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2010, 10:53 PM   #8
Senior Member
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Walnut Ca.
Posts: 105
Check out the part you put in the hitch. If it is loose that might make your front end move a little. Go to hardware store and get a piece of 8X8" shim metal. Mold it around the piece that goes into hitch. Up and down is alright, left to right you don't want. Hope this helps.
Glen Taylor Jr. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2010, 10:11 AM   #9
Senior Member
Damon Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 21,177
VIsit a good alignment shop.. Shimmy can be caused by failing tie rod ends, failing struts or ball joints, and other components in the front suspension.. I have had most of that happen in over 40 years of driving, A good alignment shop will inspect the front suspension and tell you what's wrong.

Also check the tires.. out of balance or out of round tires can cause that too.

Finally, you ask if towing can cause it.. Well, (whisper mode) yes (normal mode) it can. Actually there are two ways.. The first is "normal wear" any time the car is traveling down the road there is wear on the tires, and other suspension parts.. This is normal and alas there is no way around it.. EVEN if you fully trailered the car some of this wear would still happen.

The other way is if the car is mis-aligned (Wait, I already told you to visit the shop that fixes that) then it can fight the tow and that's never a good thing.. I should add that a car mis-aligned in this manner.. Much harder to drive, also the suspension goes bad faster.. EVEN IF IT IS NEVER TOWED.
Home is where I park it!
wa8yxm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2010, 04:12 PM   #10
Senior Member
scenic route's Avatar
American Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,667
I agree with wa8yxm, a good shop can tell you exactly what's going on. However, if you're the sort that enjoys bumps and bruises while saving money, I'm going to go with speed racer on this one...possible tire belt problem.

With your steering wheel starting it's movement at 20 mph, I doubt improper balancing would have this effect. It does sound like the start of a bad belt in one of the front tires. As suggested, I'd move one tire at a time, front to rear to see if there's any improvement. I'd also look carefully to see if you may have picked up some mud that has dried on the inside of a wheel causing severe imbalance.

As others have said, different steering components with excessive wear can allow lateral movement in the steering wheel. Most often there usually has to be some lateral or vertical outside force to allow excessive movement in worn steering components to show up in steering wheel movement. A tire with a bad or shifting belt will do just that, and with no more than a half inch of movement, in my mind, that would not indicate excessive wear in those components. IMHO, a bad steering damper, worn tie rod ends, idler arm/pitman arm would allow more movement and at a faster rate. I would go with the tire rotation...and as bruceh said, it's the easiest troubleshooting step.

In the years I did front end and alignment work, I've never run across an 'alignment' problem that caused a wheel shimmy. It's always been some excessively worn front end component(s) that, along with an outside force introduced, that allowed the steering wheel to do it's little dance of hell!

If your tires have some miles on them, I'd do the tire rotation thing first. I've also seen more than a few 'bad' new tires with defective belts, so if your tires are relatively new I'd still do the rotation. This 'one at a time' front to back rotation will let you isolate which tire is possibly causing your problem and may be a candidate for an 'adjustment' from the manufacturer. Good luck with the fix...be interested in the outcome. Thanks, Bob
Jan and Bob

RIP 'Squeaky'
scenic route is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2010, 04:32 PM   #11
Senior Member
scenic route's Avatar
American Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,667
Oh, and by the way, I forgot to add 'center link' in my little list of components...not that it is THAT important to start another post as it is a CHEAP way to get passed my thirteenth post! I'm not in the least superstitious mind you, but who needs to 'fly in the face' of fickled fate? Bob
Jan and Bob

RIP 'Squeaky'
scenic route is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2010, 07:33 PM   #12
Senior Member
Hooligan's Avatar
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pensacola
Posts: 1,966
FWIW I had a Suzuki Sidekick that the front tires "cupped" from being towed. (Tire man said it was from towing??) This caused a slight shimmy in the steering. I had them trued (machine trims the tread to make the tire round again) and the problem went away for several thousand miles... A good tire shop can check. Or rotate as 'bruceh' suggested....
Hope this helps...
Hooligan, Pensacola, Fl -U.S. Coast Guard 1956-1985
2016 Thor Siesta Sprinter 24ST diesel
Our Pug "Lily" & "George" the Newfoundland
Hooligan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2010, 10:42 PM   #13
Senior Member
BigRedLancer's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 380
Finally got around to checking out the shimmy issue. Had the tires rotated when I got an oil change. The front tires are now on the rear of the car and the shimmy is gone. There is still a lot of tread left on the tires. Goodyear tires. I had to replace a rear tire due to cupping in the tread. I think I will go with another brand next time.
2005 Winnebago Sightseer 30B, F53 Chassis
BigRedLancer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2010, 05:58 AM   #14
Moderator Emeritus
TXiceman's Avatar

Vintage RV Owners Club
Texas Boomers Club
Oklahoma Boomers Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Full Time, TX Home Base
Posts: 17,139
Blog Entries: 21
BigRedLancer, how often do you rotate and balance your tire? I have not had good luck with Goodyears (especially the Eagle series)as for cupping unless you rotate ever 5000 miles. Seems certain vehicels are more prone to the cupping issues as well.

As a result of tire history, I do not put Goodyear or Firestones and anything I own.


Amateur Radio Operator (KE5DFR)|Full-Time! - 2012 6.7L Ford Crew Cab Dually -2013 HitchHiker Champagne 38RLRSB - Travel with one Standard Schnauzer and one small Timneh African Gray Parrot
TXiceman is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Popping in Front End Bratydork Workhorse and Chevrolet Chassis Motorhome Forum 5 07-22-2008 10:55 AM
Front End Suspension Question UltimateService Winnebago Industries Owner's Forum 20 07-30-2007 05:37 PM
Front End Question RattlenRam Workhorse and Chevrolet Chassis Motorhome Forum 19 06-20-2007 10:46 AM
Workhorse Front End Noise azstarr MH-General Discussions & Problems 9 06-27-2006 08:41 PM
Front End Alignment on New Sightseer JD Allen Winnebago Industries Owner's Forum 7 10-10-2005 09:41 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:58 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.