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Land Rover Repair/Intermittent steering wheel vibration

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Tower Hill
Tower Hill  
Hi John, hope you can make a suggestion. I have a 2010 discovery 4. Over the last 18 months the vehicle has developed intermittent vibration in the steering wheel,once at the beginning of the year developing from slight to SEVERE while driving at 100km/h to the point i had to pull over. I checked the wheels to ensure the wheel nuts weren't loose!, nothing seemed untoward, so drove off fearing the worst, and nothing! as if nothing had ever gone wrong. It has happened a number of times since and I learned the trick of stopping and driving off again, each time solved the problem. However, I've now replaced 4 tyres within 20,000kms, had wheels aligned and balanced and now fear this rather costly cycle happening again. After the alignment, the shudder has returned on 3 separate occasions within a month. An LD forum suggestion was to replace the steering damper from someone who had experienced similar problems, and after they'd replaced ball joints, rods etc (the standard stuff), but that this would only last a few years, and that basically the problem is a design fault in the vehicle (weight/brake ratios etc). My vehicle is 99% used on bitumen so doesn't get the off-road wear, thus should get better performance. I would like to solve this problem. It's driving me nuts and cost a couple of thousand $ in tyres, repairs PLUS time. LD dealers I have spoken to don't seem to be aware of this, which I can't believe because I now found out I'm no the only one! and I'm loath to spend more, going nowhere (I luv my Discovery) Regards, Ron

Answer
Hi Ron,

nice vehicle BTW.  

As to precisely what causes steering vibrations (death wobble) under power, there are far too many suspects. Some suspect steering box or wheel control arm design, some the suspension and others the driveshaft components.  I've replaced all these components (over time) and I still managed to have some vibrations come back in one way or another.

The most recent problem I had was related to the rear driveshaft on my SUV.  When I drove at highway speed I would really feel the vibrations increasing.  I could consistently duplicate the problem and the vibrations became worse over time.  Upon inspection, the universal joints were slightly worn so I had to drop the rear drive shaft, replace the U joints.  This solved the problem with that vehicle.  Front driveshaft U joints were good - no play found, so I left it alone.

My older Series I Disco was different.  The vibrations were random, usually if I hit a pot hole or bump at highway speed (God help me if it was railroad tracks).  Once it started to vibrate it seemed to increase in intensity.  Braking, stopping then restarting was the only quick fix.  I had examined the driveshafts and did not find any play but I did find just a little too much bounce with my suspension. My solution to this problem was to replace the OEM suspension. Once repaired, the death wobble problem never came back.

For your 2010 LR4, I suggest you take a careful look at your front and rear propshaft (driveshaft) first.  Have them tested or go to YouTube and watch a few videos on how to test for driveshaft play.  IF you see some play or hear clicks or clunks, you could have a problem.

As for a suspect a suspension problem, I can suggest a replacement with the Arnott air struts, they are much better than OEM:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VQ2kbIKgEw  (nice detail info here)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIuhviIAL9A  (LR4 quick view here)

http://www.rangerovers.net/forum/42-arnott-inc/188594-arnott-offers-discount-for  (discount offer)

There are many YouTube videos on driveshaft related vibrations, suspension fixes too.  You could also try various LR owner forums (www.discoweb.org) and ask fellow LR4 owners how they managed to solve the problem.  There are also aftermarket components that are far better than the OEM parts, such as Tom Woods driveshafts.

Best of luck,
JohnMc

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John McInnis

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Land Rover Discovery. I've had most of the common mechanical failures, altenator, water leaks, wiper failure, door/hinge problems, roof rust, floor rust, loads of electrical problems. Remember, I'm not a dealer or a mechanic, just an owner like most of you.

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Owner of a Discovery. I've had many mishaps with our Disco but I still like this vehicle. Talk to a fellow LR owner instead of a dealership rep. I'm not in this for the money. I'm just an owner who wants to help others.

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