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Old 10-14-2020, 08:08 PM   #1
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65 MPH Front End Vibration

I have a 2018 Winnebago ERA 170A Class B 3500, and I recently took a 2400+ mile trip to Texas and back and noticed that when I get to 65 mph the steering wheel starts to feel and visibly vibrate. I know that road surface makes a difference because the vibration varies on different surfaces. Also it goes away as I reach 70 or 75 MPH. Vehicle had 36K miles on it prior to the trip.

Since purchasing, the front struts were replaced (Koni FSD), and a front end alignment (M-B service). When we bought this back in August the front tires were new from the dealer albeit they were a brand that I had not heard of, 215/85r16 Thunderer Commercial T/As, so they have less than 3000 miles on them.


Any ideas or threads to read for this issue?
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Old 10-14-2020, 09:53 PM   #2
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A vibration that comes and goes at different speeds is often wheel/tire balance, tire out of round, or wheel bearings - roughly in that order from most common to least. It may be that none of those is your problem, but those fit the symptoms and are simple to check. So they are the obvious places to start.

Replacing the front struts with stiffer ones would amplify any of those conditions.
good luck,
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Old 10-15-2020, 07:53 AM   #3
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What rScotty said.
Probably just balancing required. Fronts if the vibration is in the steering wheel, rears if you feel it in the seat of your pants.
Worst case scenario could also be early stage tread separation. I would visually inspect both front and rear, inside and out, for that condition, as well, before driving anywhere.
Definitely get it to a tire shop, asap.
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Old 10-15-2020, 02:23 PM   #4
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Any ideas or threads to read for this issue?


There has been extensive discussions on this topic.

One person got Jayco to replace their front rims. Other's had alignments performed by different groups. Others just seem to settle into a slower speed where the shaking is not too noticeable. We fit in the last category but we have a Class C.



Let us know what you find.
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Old 10-15-2020, 07:56 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! I am hoping that it is the tires. I looked up that brand and they cost about $105 each, which gave me pause as load range E tires I have on my dually and the missus's 2500 suburban are over $200 each.


Do you think rotating the tires on the rim 90* then re-balance them would help?
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Old 10-16-2020, 12:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPalmer View Post
Thanks guys! I am hoping that it is the tires. I looked up that brand and they cost about $105 each, which gave me pause as load range E tires I have on my dually and the missus's 2500 suburban are over $200 each.


Do you think rotating the tires on the rim 90* then re-balance them would help?
No, but it's worth a try simply because it costs nearly nothing. I'd bet on the problem being balancing more than rotating the tire on the rim - but both cost nothing.

But the only way that rotating the tire on the rim will help is if the rim AND the tire were both manufactured to be out of round or out of plane (fore & aft) or don't have their mass distributed evenly.... and that somehow the mounting guy go unlucky and lined one of the wheels & tires up just "exactly right to be wrong". All of those things are possible, but not likely.

I'd say it's more probable that the wheels are good and it is the tires are either not manufactured round, or are separating internally, or the balancing was done wrong.

You might want to simply have the tire guy jack up the front and spin the tires up to eyeball them first - ask him if he has the machine to do that - it's just a motor and a friction drive mounted on a floor jack. If he can do that, it is done with the front jacked up while leaving the tire on the vehicle. Just watching the tire and feeling the steering wheel while that goes on often tells you something, but if the fronts do start to jump around at some speed you still won't know if it is due to the tire/wheel/balance/bearing or if you just hit a resonance point in the suspension spring and damper system.

Sometimes you can balance it out the motion by just changing the wheel weights right then, but more often you will end up taking the mounted tire off of the vehicle and putting wheel and all on the balance machine to get it to balance right. THEN you can put it back on the RV and spin it up mounted and see things if things are stable.

Having had a mechanical shop for years, I've seen this sort of thing. It's a problem to get it right. And often it involves getting the tire shop to take the tires back and try a different set.

I'm sure you know that if you want to deal with this the right way you have need a real mechanic instead of guessing along with a tire guy busting tires for minimum wage. Sounds like you are still at the "working with the tire guy stage", so I'm trying to help you out with what you both should be looking for.

The real mechanic was once a tire guy himself, and learned to start at the wheel bearing and then move on outwards, satisfying himself at each step that everything is round and running in plane. The balancing is just the finishing touch.
luck,
rScotty
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:31 PM   #7
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My feeling is that you are correct (rScotty) that the wheels are most likely ok and that the tires are the culprit. We have been contemplating upgrading all 6 to the Michelin Agelis tire. No plans for weekend trips for a bit so I have some time to get this squared away, and again I appreciate the experience and insight!
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:10 PM   #8
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Cheap off brand tires. Can happen with good name tires, but less likely to. Also consider finding a shop that can do a road force balance, as Sprinters seem to benifit from this.

Charles
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:25 AM   #9
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Sprinter wheels have a large center hole and are difficult to balance. Most tire shops use a cone to center the wheel which is hit or miss for accurate results. After replacing tires on my RV, the tire shop tried 3 times to stop the very pronounced 60-65mph vibration without success, even sending me to another of their shops with "newer" equipment. Went to Mercedes Sprinter shop, they use a specific Sprinter hub mount and ALL vibration ceased. Well worthwhile.
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Old 01-07-2021, 03:41 PM   #10
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Tire balance usually shows up the most between 55 & 65, vibration lessens above 65. Sounds like bad tires. Have never heard of that brand. Are they Chinese ? If so then I would replace them with a brand name tire. They aren't called China Bombs for no reason. They earned that nickname.
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Old 01-07-2021, 03:46 PM   #11
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I just looked it up and Thunderer tires are el cheapos, made in Thailand.
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:03 PM   #12
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If your thinking about purchasing the Michelin Agiles, I highly recommend them. I just purchased 6 and 4 new rims for the rig. Couldnít be happier with the quality ride, the look, and the lack of road noise.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooligan View Post
Sprinter wheels have a large center hole and are difficult to balance. Most tire shops use a cone to center the wheel which is hit or miss for accurate results. After replacing tires on my RV, the tire shop tried 3 times to stop the very pronounced 60-65mph vibration without success, even sending me to another of their shops with "newer" equipment. Went to Mercedes Sprinter shop, they use a specific Sprinter hub mount and ALL vibration ceased. Well worthwhile.
Balancing tires starts with checking that the wheel is symmetrical on the balance machine. Confirming hat the center hole is in the center, and that the rim is equidistant from the center. Every tire balance machine - whether cone, hub, or axle mount type - allows for this type measurement , but not every shop does it.

You might want to search for a shop that knows how to set up their balance machine and are willing to do so. Be aware it will cost more to do it right. That will double or triple the balance time and is not the sort of time that a shop gives away just to sell a set of tires. But worth it, IMHO.

Ask if you can watch the technician work. As the machine spins up you can see for yourself good balance jobspins smoothly without jumping.
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Old 01-10-2021, 07:01 PM   #14
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Michelin's are definitely in my future, probably spring time when the weather breaks. I had the new front struts replaced and had the M-B Sprinter shop do the front end alignment afterwards and it never occurred to me to have them balance the front tires.

We bought the rig with about 30K on the odo, and I looked at those front tires and they were new, but I had never heard of thunderer tires so I knew they threw on some cheapo's and no doubt cut corners on the balancing if they were even balanced. The funny thing is though I don't think it had that vibration prior to the strut change which is what concerned me. They are the Koni brand and were installed at the GM dealership I use for my daily drivers.

I told the M-B shop that I had new struts and needed a front end alignment so you'd think if something was off they would have indicated that on the service sheet or called to give me a heads up.

I was also told that there may have been an issue with the tires and the new struts may have just amplified the vibration more - I dunno just all seems odd.

I will say that the info on the balancing though is a real eye opener because I would have had no idea the methods needed to balance a Sprinter tire correctly and now I will at least know what to ask for when getting them balanced.
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