Need help with vibration 03 lesabre

Frampton

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I've got slight vibration in front end at 50-70 mph. Rebalanced wheels 3 times, alignment and then rechecked again, everything looks good. Thinking axles??? 114,000 miles, sometimes when slowing down to make a left turn I get a whining sound, almost like when a p.s. pump is on its way out but intermittent. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

imidazol97

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I meant to respond to this earlier. Most likely you have a bent wheel OR a tire that's uneven in its road force.
Have you stiched the wheels front to back to see if there's any change? This was the car I had where GM
actually switched to Michelin tires to get the roundness in the rolling that was needed to keep the smooth ride
Same as on the equivalent body Cadillac.

This was a Celebration model leSabre with the 16-inch chrome wheels. I don't recall the width and profile
on the tires. Mine came with Michelins. Some Celebrations came with a Firestone tire, mostly on the touring suspension
I suspected.

The front end is very sensitive to alignment as well because of the bushings and the tires. So after aging a
car many years now, I'd consider replacing the bushings on the A-arms, where they pivot at the frame. Any little
bit of "give" can amplify. So at least check those very carefully.

I had a great Buick garage and the service manager was an alignment guy in the past before he became the shop manager.. Road force balancing helped
but eventually on an alignment he found the rear toe-in was off slightly from where he thought it should be.
That cured the problem. On a smooth repaved blacktop road, the uneven force from the tires or the alignment
could be felt if I accelerated on a slight uphill on an interstate, but as soon as the extra power for the upslope was
not needed, the vibration was gone.

He ran the car before that with sensors on the various suspension parts looking for where the oscillation was
happening. Thorough guy.

Bonnevilles had the same problem.

Road force supposedly could be as high as 19 IIRC and not cause a problem according to the book. But anything
over 12 could be felt on mine. And the usual garage tactic of putting the worse rims/tires on the rear so the customer doesn't
feel it in the steering wheel did not work. Having the higher force rim/tire combo on the front meant the weight tended
to cover up the uneven springiness in the tire.
 
Last edited:

Frampton

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Whining sound?

Check your idler pulley. Pop off the belt and turn it and wiggle it.
Cheap to replace the pulley alone.
Pulley replaced a few months ago, delco parts only on my car but thank you.
______________________________
 

Frampton

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2003 buick lesabre custom
I meant to respond to this earlier. Most likely you have a bent wheel OR a tire that's uneven in its road force.
Have you stiched the wheels front to back to see if there's any change? This was the car I had where GM
actually switched to Michelin tires to get the roundness in the rolling that was needed to keep the smooth ride
Same as on the equivalent body Cadillac.

This was a Celebration model leSabre with the 16-inch chrome wheels. I don't recall the width and profile
on the tires. Mine came with Michelins. Some Celebrations came with a Firestone tire, mostly on the touring suspension
I suspected.

The front end is very sensitive to alignment as well because of the bushings and the tires. So after aging a
car many years now, I'd consider replacing the bushings on the A-arms, where they pivot at the frame. Any little
bit of "give" can amplify. So at least check those very carefully.

I had a great Buick garage and the service manager was an alignment guy in the past before he became the shop manager.. Road force balancing helped
but eventually on an alignment he found the rear toe-in was off slightly from where he thought it should be.
That cured the problem. On a smooth repaved blacktop road, the uneven force from the tires or the alignment
could be felt if I accelerated on a slight uphill on an interstate, but as soon as the extra power for the upslope was
not needed, the vibration was gone.

He ran the car before that with sensors on the various suspension parts looking for where the oscillation was
happening. Thorough guy.

Bonnevilles had the same problem.

Road force supposedly could be as high as 19 IIRC and not cause a problem according to the book. But anything
over 12 could be felt on mine. And the usual garage tactic of putting the worse rims/tires on the rear so the customer doesn't
feel it in the steering wheel did not work. Having the higher force rim/tire combo on the front meant the weight tended
to cover up the uneven springiness in the tire.
New toyo tires and by the way, this issue started after new tires were installed. So your saying I should have them road forced balanced? I've heard of that before but don't really know what it means or how it's different from just having them regular balanced. Also you think I should have the rear aligned? I had the car alignment dine just a couple hours after new tires were put on. From what your saying, I'm thinking I got some bad new tires and stock tire size on the car is 2256016 but I went with 2356016. An inch taller to fill the wheel well a bit nicer. I'm sure these tires are still under warranty since only a couple months old. Incedently, I had them rebalanced for the 3rd time just last week and the owner of the tire place, who I've known for 20+ years said they were starting to cup in the front. Maybe I should have them warranty a new set.... Suggestions? Thanks for your help! Here's my vibration girl. 😆 Sayber's beautiful that's why I'm so anal with her. 😆
 

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imidazol97

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Pretty. Mine went to 205,000 miles and the dealer resold it. I saw it a few days later at a Lowes store nearby
driven by the new owner. I hope he had good service out of her.

Your tires need to be checked with a road force balancer, which checks the rims and the tires. In 1977 the
Cutlass factory service manual showed putting the wheel on a roller and using a gauge attached to the
spindle to measure the height change as the wheel was rotated with the weight of the car on it--this was to
find the variation in tire stiffness along with any rim variation above the 0.030 in max allowed by specs.

Today they press the tire and rim against a roller and roll it to measure the variation in the pressure the
tire resists with. The more sophisticated units have computer systems to index the rims and their variation
along with the tires. Then it can match the "high" spots on the rim opposite the "high" spots on the tire so
they counterbalance each others effects. The more mundane users just turn the tire on that rim to put high spot
over low spot to see if they can reduce the combined variation in road force.

The skill of the user is key. I was at a Buick garage where the place cared. Later I went to a chain store for tires
and service in my area where one of the stores nearby had a road force balancer they would use as part
of their guaranteed balance and rotation. They were great, usually.

I suspect you changed the height of the tire when you changed the profile. The axis of the camber is set to
put the center right under a certain part of the tire contact with the ground. I think by putting that higher or
lower, the tendency of the wheel to center after turning on its own has changed. Maybe It's showing up in cupping.

Or you're seeing the effects of the A-arm pivot bushings being worn and letting the alignment changed as
the forces push and pull. My A-arms were replaced on my Cobalt at 125 K mi or so when I had it in for another
alignment. The good alignment guy at the dealer said one of the A-arms had a bushing worn (I heard some
noises under certain driveway entry angles at a store and going over crosswalk edges -- we have brick crosswalks
in town, smile.), I replaced both at once. Car drove like new afterward compared to the slight drifting which I
just thought was normal.

Your cupping could be tie rod ends.

I did replace both half shafts on my leSabre at maybe 150,000 mi with no impact. I had a shade tree neighbor for
years who changed them for me with my help. One was worn quite a bit, the other one not so much. No change
in the feeling of wiggling when I turned smooth corners. I think now that was just the change in toe that occurs
with the front wheels being turned to accommodate one side having a much smaller radius for its turn. I forget
the technical alignment term for that which I think is built in to the geometry of the front.

Road Force® Locator | Hunter Engineering Company®

Will let you see the shops that have Hunter Road Force balancers in your area. I recommend a good shop with
mature users who know how to use the machine they have. Maybe 25 years ago I toured the mechanical shop at
the local ride area Joint Vocational School, and they had a Hunter machine even then for training along with
another normal balancer.

First thing I'd do is get the tires back to standard size that came on the car that the geometry was designed for.
If the option is there, I'd switch to Michelins which are considered round to a higher quality level
and to stay round as they roll and wear for 80 to 100 K miles. (My one set on the leSabre went over 100K miles
with frequency rotation and balancing.

I learned over decades of Michelins that the first balancing on installation often drifts a little as the tires settle in
at the rim and the flexing softens the tires. So I would go back for realancing with Road Force at 5000 mi, the
minimum for rotation usually unless there was a noticeable out-of-balance.

If the tire store doesn't offer road force balancing, I'd go to a place to have them redone or buy them at a store
that prides itself on diagnosing with it when needed.

You have the same beautiful chrome wheels I had. I had one crack at the bead on the inside. I had one that I replaced just
because it was out of round. Now there are rim repair and straightening places that will squeeze the rims back
into being round. If you have a spare rim and tire to put on a car for a bad rim temporarily, that is what I would
do now and take bad rim and tire to the rim place.

Just another thought. My rear wheels would tend to set a little cupping more than the front wheels. The rear alignment
is important.

Is your autoleveling working and keeping the rear at proper alignment height? Car is beautiful and rear height looks
good in the picture you took. I like that bridge with the cables as a background.
 

Frampton

Active member
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2003 buick lesabre custom
Pretty. Mine went to 205,000 miles and the dealer resold it. I saw it a few days later at a Lowes store nearby
driven by the new owner. I hope he had good service out of her.

Your tires need to be checked with a road force balancer, which checks the rims and the tires. In 1977 the
Cutlass factory service manual showed putting the wheel on a roller and using a gauge attached to the
spindle to measure the height change as the wheel was rotated with the weight of the car on it--this was to
find the variation in tire stiffness along with any rim variation above the 0.030 in max allowed by specs.

Today they press the tire and rim against a roller and roll it to measure the variation in the pressure the
tire resists with. The more sophisticated units have computer systems to index the rims and their variation
along with the tires. Then it can match the "high" spots on the rim opposite the "high" spots on the tire so
they counterbalance each others effects. The more mundane users just turn the tire on that rim to put high spot
over low spot to see if they can reduce the combined variation in road force.

The skill of the user is key. I was at a Buick garage where the place cared. Later I went to a chain store for tires
and service in my area where one of the stores nearby had a road force balancer they would use as part
of their guaranteed balance and rotation. They were great, usually.

I suspect you changed the height of the tire when you changed the profile. The axis of the camber is set to
put the center right under a certain part of the tire contact with the ground. I think by putting that higher or
lower, the tendency of the wheel to center after turning on its own has changed. Maybe It's showing up in cupping.

Or you're seeing the effects of the A-arm pivot bushings being worn and letting the alignment changed as
the forces push and pull. My A-arms were replaced on my Cobalt at 125 K mi or so when I had it in for another
alignment. The good alignment guy at the dealer said one of the A-arms had a bushing worn (I heard some
noises under certain driveway entry angles at a store and going over crosswalk edges -- we have brick crosswalks
in town, smile.), I replaced both at once. Car drove like new afterward compared to the slight drifting which I
just thought was normal.

Your cupping could be tie rod ends.

I did replace both half shafts on my leSabre at maybe 150,000 mi with no impact. I had a shade tree neighbor for
years who changed them for me with my help. One was worn quite a bit, the other one not so much. No change
in the feeling of wiggling when I turned smooth corners. I think now that was just the change in toe that occurs
with the front wheels being turned to accommodate one side having a much smaller radius for its turn. I forget
the technical alignment term for that which I think is built in to the geometry of the front.

Road Force® Locator | Hunter Engineering Company®

Will let you see the shops that have Hunter Road Force balancers in your area. I recommend a good shop with
mature users who know how to use the machine they have. Maybe 25 years ago I toured the mechanical shop at
the local ride area Joint Vocational School, and they had a Hunter machine even then for training along with
another normal balancer.

First thing I'd do is get the tires back to standard size that came on the car that the geometry was designed for.
If the option is there, I'd switch to Michelins which are considered round to a higher quality level
and to stay round as they roll and wear for 80 to 100 K miles. (My one set on the leSabre went over 100K miles
with frequency rotation and balancing.

I learned over decades of Michelins that the first balancing on installation often drifts a little as the tires settle in
at the rim and the flexing softens the tires. So I would go back for realancing with Road Force at 5000 mi, the
minimum for rotation usually unless there was a noticeable out-of-balance.

If the tire store doesn't offer road force balancing, I'd go to a place to have them redone or buy them at a store
that prides itself on diagnosing with it when needed.

You have the same beautiful chrome wheels I had. I had one crack at the bead on the inside. I had one that I replaced just
because it was out of round. Now there are rim repair and straightening places that will squeeze the rims back
into being round. If you have a spare rim and tire to put on a car for a bad rim temporarily, that is what I would
do now and take bad rim and tire to the rim place.

Just another thought. My rear wheels would tend to set a little cupping more than the front wheels. The rear alignment
is important.

Is your autoleveling working and keeping the rear at proper alignment height? Car is beautiful and rear height looks
good in the picture you took. I like that bridge with the cables as a background.
Wow! Now that's some information! Thank you for taking the time for my problem. So I guess I should road force all 4 tires. I just spoke with the tire store that I bought the tires from and he suggested that too but he doesn't have that machine. He said for the most part he doesn't believe in road force balancing. Idk. I've done bussines with this store for 30 years. I'd really hate to buy different size tires since these are new. I'd also hate to start throwing parts at the car that it might not need.... Puzzled at this point. I'll find a place that road force balances and see what happens. Thanks so much for your information! Rear shocks I JUST replaced.
 

imidazol97

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Feeling out of roundness or balance was a big factor with this chassis when new on the Bonnevilles and Sevilles as well. The Bonnevilles seems to have had stiffer bushings originally and had fewer complaining.

Another factor is did you replace the brake rotors? When I was shopping brands to replace mine, I found some mentioned theirs were balanced and were flat and true to a higher specification than others. Reading through the descriptions let me believe that lower priced rotors are balanced which some of the higher ones were.

At that time I replaced with Reybestos ones called High Technology. They had a baked paint on the hub so I didn't have to look at the rust color behind the rims as they aged. That model is gone, but read the descriptions when choosing different rotors.

Also I had more problems after replacing the front struts the second time with quick struts that had a new spring. Car never same on height which upset the alignment on the front. I'd recommend buying a replacement spring from AC Delco that's exact and replacing that on whatever new strut instead of reusing the old tired spring after 135 k mi on mine. The springs on the Monroe quickstruts had one fewer turn IIRC. Stiffer metal to attain the same specification.

I'm tossing all this stuff I learned from other posters when I had that great new car as they tried to troubleshoot all the vibrations. It may benefit someone else who reads these posts in the future.
______________________________
 

Frampton

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2003 buick lesabre custom
Feeling out of roundness or balance was a big factor with this chassis when new on the Bonnevilles and Sevilles as well. The Bonnevilles seems to have had stiffer bushings originally and had fewer complaining.

Another factor is did you replace the brake rotors? When I was shopping brands to replace mine, I found some mentioned theirs were balanced and were flat and true to a higher specification than others. Reading through the descriptions let me believe that lower priced rotors are balanced which some of the higher ones were.

At that time I replaced with Reybestos ones called High Technology. They had a baked paint on the hub so I didn't have to look at the rust color behind the rims as they aged. That model is gone, but read the descriptions when choosing different rotors.

Also I had more problems after replacing the front struts the second time with quick struts that had a new spring. Car never same on height which upset the alignment on the front. I'd recommend buying a replacement spring from AC Delco that's exact and replacing that on whatever new strut instead of reusing the old tired spring after 135 k mi on mine. The springs on the Monroe quickstruts had one fewer turn IIRC. Stiffer metal to attain the same specification.

I'm tossing all this stuff I learned from other posters when I had that great new car as they tried to troubleshoot all the vibrations. It may benefit someone else who reads these posts in the future.
I have recently replaced all rotors with durago black coated ones and ceramic delco pads all the way around. It just seems after tires, rotors and pads were done, car was never the same.
 

broke_collegekid

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I replaced front struts with FCS Quickstruts, outer tie rods, a CV axle, stabilizer links, lower control arms, and stabilizer bar bushings and rear shocks in a big overhaul of my cars suspension and I've had an alignment done as well, have a similar problem to you that regular tire balancing has failed to solve.
I have recently replaced all rotors with durago black coated ones and ceramic delco pads all the way around. It just seems after tires, rotors and pads were done, car was never the same.
Did you get the wheels road force balanced? Let us know if you do because then I might consider doing the same for myself.
 

Frampton

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I replaced front struts with FCS Quickstruts, outer tie rods, a CV axle, stabilizer links, lower control arms, and stabilizer bar bushings and rear shocks in a big overhaul of my cars suspension and I've had an alignment done as well, have a similar problem to you that regular tire balancing has failed to solve.

Did you get the wheels road force balanced? Let us know if you do because then I might consider doing the same for myself.
No road force, not yet anyways. Instead of the factory size of 2256016, I went with 2356016, just to fill the wheel well a bit more. Everybody tells me that one inch would not cause this, I'd have to agree but first before I go parts replacing, and since this all happened right after the new tires were installed, I'm gonna have them put new tires on and try that. Only about 1000 miles on them so under warranty. I know this is super frustrating since I love my car! 😆 Vibration comes in RIGHT AT 50MPH! Then intermittent above that, 65 to 70 and so fourth. I had these wheels rotated too and still does it which, how in the world could I have 4 bad tires???!! Idk but that won't cost me a thing to find out.
 

Frampton

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2003 buick lesabre custom
I replaced front struts with FCS Quickstruts, outer tie rods, a CV axle, stabilizer links, lower control arms, and stabilizer bar bushings and rear shocks in a big overhaul of my cars suspension and I've had an alignment done as well, have a similar problem to you that regular tire balancing has failed to solve.

Did you get the wheels road force balanced? Let us know if you do because then I might consider doing the same for myself.
I'd look at replacing your tires. How old are they?
______________________________
 

broke_collegekid

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I'd look at replacing your tires. How old are they?
not too old, I know the more recent pair are 3 years old. There was no vibration until I did the suspension work, and drove about 70-80 across a couple of days around town doing errands with a horrible alignment before bringing it in for the alignment, which wore out the tires a bit unevenly. The tech told me I'd be fine, but I was running into vibration so I got them tires balanced twice and still have some random vibrations, sometimes at lower speeds and sometimes at higher speeds. I don't know if I am overthinking it or if it's the MN roads or my quick struts but I am losing it over this 😂😂

Went on a road trip about 600 miles and nothing completely fell apart at least.
 

Frampton

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not too old, I know the more recent pair are 3 years old. There was no vibration until I did the suspension work, and drove about 70-80 across a couple of days around town doing errands with a horrible alignment before bringing it in for the alignment, which wore out the tires a bit unevenly. The tech told me I'd be fine, but I was running into vibration so I got them tires balanced twice and still have some random vibrations, sometimes at lower speeds and sometimes at higher speeds. I don't know if I am overthinking it or if it's the MN roads or my quick struts but I am losing it over this 😂😂

Went on a road trip about 600 miles and nothing completely fell apart at least.
I'll bet it's the frt. tires!
 

imidazol97

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One of several alignment explanations with some diagrams and explanations from the internet. When an article misspells the word "vertical," I think the article can still have merit...LOL

When I put on the quickstruts with the Monroe different springs in it, I had it aligned at a Buick garage. Even despite the ride height being higher, he got the camber/caster balanced from side to side.

But later, the local Chevrolet garage (owned by the same owner as the Buick garage) had to put in an extra wobble bolt on the strut to get the alignment to correct status. I don't like the quickstruts at least for leSabres/H-bodies.

So much of the feel and the smooth rolling of the wheels depends on the proper positioning of the various points of axis of the rotation of the strut and the camber, I really think keeping the height of the rim center to the tire contact on the pavement at the specification for which the car alignment was engineered.

Once tires have started to cup due to something wrong in the system, that cupping never cleans up on front wheel drive cars. In old days putting those tires on the rear with RWD would scrub lightly and smooth the tire. Rear wheel placement on leSabre just kept making things worse.

On my Cobalt, It turned out the local garage when replacing struts under extended warranty did NOT do an alignment after replacement with AC Delco struts. Car drove well. My tire store wanted to check alignment when I complained about increasing noise from Michelin Defenders. I refused because they tend to oversell on services at the tire store. But we switched the tires side-to-side and front to back. But still had the slight cupping.

Later I asked about the alignment at the strut replacement. Service managers decided it hadn't been done. They put the car on the rack and it was out of alignment. I forget which setting was off. But just putting the new struts on with the same bolt placement didn't give the right alignment.
______________________________
 

Frampton

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Ok. But what does this mean? Do you think that going to the taller 2356016 could be giving me my vibration issue? I don't understand these charts and things, but WOULD make sense since all my problems started after I made the jump in tire size. But only one inch? All the tire stores said that couldn't make a difference. On the other hand, theses platforms ARE known to be very temperamental. I'm seriously thinking of taking it back and getting the normal 2256016's back on. Trying that, which would suck because I like the way the 235's fill up the wheel well. Should I though?
 

imidazol97

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From the table, the claim is that the height of the tire is only 6 mm higher from the spindle to the ground contact.

I would switch tires right to left, front only to see if that makes a difference in the feel. I'd make sure the A-arms were checked very carefully for softness in the rubber bushings that isolate them at the frame. Those are replaceable, but I forget just how that compared to a full new A-arm with ball joint switching or replacement of the joint.

Myself? I'd have a set of Michelin Defenders put on in the size that came with the car. Your tire store likely can get Michelins, but it's not a line they carry and make a good profit selling because of the wholesale costs selling. I have always found Michelins to have few roundness problems. If you get your current tires checked on Road Force balancing, ask the tire guy there which brands he recommends.

I'd hope the tire store will accomadate you. But for me, I'd spend the money for Road Force balancing to see how much, if any, of the problem you're feeling is in the current tires. If the wheels and tires are in the low teens in pounds force variance, you may be dealing with other issues.

These cars caused lots of posts in H-body forums in 2003 and later because of the sensitivity of the chassis to the vibration.

Cadillac actually replaced tires on the Seville version of our cars with Michelins as a troubleshooting method for
the vibrations. That's why I was so happy when we decided on a Celebration 2003 leSabre and those were all shipping
with Michelin Symmetry tires. A quiet, soft tire with long mileage used on Fords and Lincolns from the factory as well in
many cases.

My current Malibu 2014 has 6 year old tires, Goodyear LS2. Dealer reminded me I should replace them for age. If I do it will be a Michelin Touring model that's made in the odd size that came on my LT2, 235x50x18 IIRC. The Goodyears had developed a lumpiness and the Chevy dealer didn't think they could negate it with turning on the rim. They said many folks had these tires go "lumpy" earlier than my 35 K miles. I'm still driving them because they have been garage kept and rarely spent time outside for the rubber to deteriorate. But I'm not rotating them and spending money to Force Balance a third time: I'll replace. Michelin says 10 years max for tires on age.
 

Frampton

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I had a set of the Michelin symmetry tires on my 93 deville and they were great. I think I will go back to the 2256016's, see if that helps but now I'm getting a groaning, whinning sound at about 45 on up and especially when I'm turning right. Sounds exactly like a wheel hub, but I can't tell which side would be bad. I'll likely replace both, I just changed them a year ago! They were eccp brand off off amazon. I don't know if my vibration problem is all tied in with the now, hub noise though.... Very frustrating!
 
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