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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys.

I've just bought a 1999 Grand Vitara and this is my first 4x4, so I'm no expert on these vehicles.

On the motorway on the way home it started shaking pretty violently when I got to about 60mph. It didn't matter if I slowed down or sped up; the shaking was still there. My initial thought was that it was a severe wheel balance problem, but the weird thing is that the shaking suddenly stopped and I drove at speeds of up to 80 mph for a good 30 minutes afterwards with no further problems.

I then left the motorway and drove for a few minutes on slower roads without incident, then when I got back on to another motorway the shaking started again, but didn't last long on this occasion.

I'm a bit bewildered to be honest. I've never known violent shaking to come and go like that. All I know is that a couple of ball joints were an advisory on the last MOT.

Any ideas?
 

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I'd start by balancing the wheels.
 

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I'm going to take a wild guess here because fordem already mentioned the obvous but it could quite possibly be your front brake caliper sticking. The only way to prove this would be to immediatly pull over and very, very carefully check your 2 front wheels and see if your rims/hub is extremely hot.
 

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I wouldn't drive it again until I checked the lugnuts to be sure they haven't loosened up.
 

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Do you feel the shake in the steering wheel or your seat??

... Philip
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm going to take a wild guess here because fordem already mentioned the obvous but it could quite possibly be your front brake caliper sticking. The only way to prove this would be to immediatly pull over and very, very carefully check your 2 front wheels and see if your rims/hub is extremely hot.
I think you've hit the nail on the head. I don't know why I didn't think about a braking problem being the cause - probably because it is too obvious!

Now I think about it, a sticking brake caliper seems very likely. The fact that the shaking comes and goes and happened in the way it did would seem to suggest that is the problem.

The car did smell a little hot when I got home as though the brakes had been binding. Having driven it again today, I've noticed that it does pull very slightly to the left as well.

Thanks for your help. I'm pretty sure you're absolutely spot on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you feel the shake in the steering wheel or your seat??

... Philip
Hi Philip,

It was literally the whole car shaking, so I felt it in the steering wheel and in the seat.

I'm thinking sticky brake caliper now someone has mentioned it.
 

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Just my $.02 - I have yet to see a sticking brake caliper cause a vibration, violent or otherwise - badly warped rotors maybe, but a sticking caliper - not yet.
 

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Just my $.02 - I have yet to see a sticking brake caliper cause a vibration, violent or otherwise - badly warped rotors maybe, but a sticking caliper - not yet.
Those were my thoughts exactly....ive seen one cause the car to pull harshly in one direction or the other, but never cause a steering shimmy like that. Intermittent problems are the worst ones to track down...they never appear when you want them to :mad:
 

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I had a dodge that use to do this and after checking lugs tires ball joints tie-rods I found that my Rack was going bad
the Hydraulic box on the rack got week and let the rack shake

Also check your shocks struts they also could do that

maybe you should get a friend to drive next to you to get a eyeball on whats going on when this happens
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the replies folks.

I've had the Vitara out on the motorway twice today with no shaking or vibration at all, but she does pull a little to the left and there is definitely an almost sulphurous smell that is noticeable when you stop and get out of the car.

According to the guy I bought the Vitara from, the UV joint on the steering was replaced not all that long ago. He also said the car had been stood up for about 3 weeks. I'm wondering if the UV joint wasn't done properly or perhaps the brakes got a little sticky due to being stood for a few weeks and they've now either completely or partially freed themselves?

I've just looked at the advisory items on the last MOT and it does say the brakes on the front are wearing thin. I'm going to replace the front pads and see if the caliper is stuck and go from there.
 

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Perhaps get the stuff fixed you know is wrong (brakes, ball joints) and go from there. When those items are getting fixed other issues might be found; or if they're the cause then it will be fixed. ;)
 

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I used to have the same problem with an old Samurai.Very shaky on the freeway,no shaking at street speed.It took me about a week to find out that one of the rear driveshafts U joints lost all the pins.
 
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