Shakey car (need good news)

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Thread: Shakey car (need good news)

  1. #1

    Shakey car (need good news)

    Alright everyone, really need good news here...
    My car has developed a rather subtle shake at around 45MPH. The wheel doesn't jerk back and forth like poor alignment, bent wheel or poorly balanced tire it just kind of gently vibrates. Given the mechanical issues it's had I haven't had it much above 60 for a while but it doesn't seem to get any worse between 45 and 60.
    Here's my thought... my right-hand carrier bracket/motor mount bracket is snapped (I believe I've mentioned this elsewhere). Sound like a probable cause? I've noted that the shifter moves about a good bit going from accell to overrun and otherwise. What disturbs me most is that I noticed it shaking subtly when the car began to vibrate. That bracket being busted would certainly be my top suspect given that it holds the half-shaft and is also a stressed member of the rear motor mount assembly.

    Obviously it needs to be fixed ASAP and it will be but does anyone reckon it's a big enough issue to warrant pulling the car off the road immediately? I don't have odd clunks, clicks, groans or anything, just the light vibration.

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  3. #2

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)


    Are yousaying you r/h/s engine mount has snapped? if this is the case then yes, this could easiy cause the problems you are describing. Do not drive the car until it is fixed. the extra strain on the other mounts could cause anothe faiulre which could lead to much bigger problems in addition themounts help distribute the weight betwen both sides of the car and ther susupesion/braking is set up with this in mind!

  4. #3

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)

    No, actually I'm saying that the companion flange/carrier bearing mounting bracket is broken in half. Would that it were only the engine mount. Thankfully, I took care of the situation as best as possible for now and I still had the vibration. Turns out I have a tire slightly out of balance on the rear and the worn out springs have cause the right-hand rear shock to blow. It's not bad enough that the car bounces over bumps but it's bad enough to really let that off-balance tire play up. The extra shaking of the car combined with cactused mounts all-around (except the trans mount) is what's leading to the shifter vibration. If I let the car pull against the parking brake, the engine moves VERY visibly.

  5. #4
    Regular Saab Guy inditime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Nr St Neots

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)

    Worn out springs? Caused the shock to blow? Is that possible?

    If so, you would need them changing, not least the engine mounts.

    No wonder your car shakes.
    Saab 9-3 Vector 150 Sportwagon
    Jaguar XK Coupe
    Landy Disco

    Saab 9-3 SS
    Saab 9-3 Classic
    Saab 9000
    Saab 900 Classic

  6. #5

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)

    By my reckoning, yes. It's possible. At last I know numerous people who have blown their shocks by lowering their cars and mine is sitting a good 2cm low in the back end. It's done well more than a lifetime's worth of work and up until my taking ownership has not been properly loved for its hard work.
    I'm ordering new (or at least good condition used) springs for the rear and will be changing them around the time I weld the companion flange bracket, swap the sump, swap the turbo and replace the flogged engine mounts with their urethane/solid counterparts. By the time I'm done with this ruddy beast it'll be in near-as-new condition.

  7. #6
    Saab Newbie
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Inverurie, Aberdeenshire

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)

    I had a similar problem recently. Turned out my rear offside tyre was twisted. Looking along the tread with the wheel removed, the tread looked ok for the majority of the circumference then it twisted to the edge. Changing the tyre cured the shudder.

  8. #7

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)

    Wondrac, thanks for the info but that has got to be the strangest thing I've ever heard! It makes perfect sense how it would cause the issue, but I reckon it's the first time I've ever heard of it.

    Anyway, I've been meaning to update this thread for the past couple of days but was honestly so fed up with the damned car that I could have run it into a pit and called it good. Tuesday, I drove down to the community office to drop of my site-lease fee and when I got back in the car to drive off, it started shaking like it was going to fall apart. Mind you, I left it running in neutral with the parking brake set and just dropped my payment through the door slot (it did its famous my-turbo-is-slowly-dying cloud of smoke routine as well, I'm sure that looked great on the security cams). As I drove on, it began to feel like a flat tire. Every time I would pull the wheel to the left, it would shake, engine braking-shake, acceleration-shake. I gently nursed it back to my driveway and was appalled by what I found... nothing.
    There sat the car, beginning to build up smoke again but otherwise looking completely normal. Long story short, the whole trip to work was complemented by this horrible vibration. If I held a steady speed or gently accelerated, no shaking; overrun, hard acceleration or left turns... horrible shaking. Applying the brakes quelled the shake on deceleration. This continued up until today when just as suddenly as it all started, it stopped again.

    Tuesday evening, I checked it out a bit. As it seemed to happen most when I put a heavy load on the right-hand tire, that's where I started. I checked the driveshaft and did not notice any play other than the broken carrier bracket. Both the carrier and CV joints seem very tight and free. The ball joints are good, no evidence of a bent wheel (not that I'm sure how it could have gotten bent). The only thing I found wrong was that the lugs were quite loose. Tightening them, while a sound idea, did nothing to fix the issue. It still persisted yesterday and was bad enough that you could actually watch the shifter flopping about.

    With it now stopped, I'm leaning toward an issue with the right-side rear brake caliper hanging up since that was the first time I'd used the handbrake for some time. I'll be replacing the front wheel bearings soon as that's another consideration. Also engine mounts, strut mounts, greasing the CVs and inner drivers... I can't check too much at the moment since my trolley jack went totally cactus so I need to wait until I get a new jack.

    Does anyone else have thoughts? Things I could be overlooking?

  9. #8
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Kippen, Stirling

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)


    The fact that things seem to get worse when the right side is loaded up would make me suspect the right hand wheel bearing. You can play tunes with it on a straight section of level road by gently weaving from side to side. If the noise and vibration comes and goes, this is generally taken as a sign of knackered bearings. Since they are a double row ball race design you won't feel any looseness by hand with the wheel off the ground. I've replaced bearings which were squealling like banshees but seemed OK on the bench. Pity they are a Saab only part at about £200.

    The other area worth looking at would be the CV joint. Do you feel a 'notchyness' in the steering related to road speed with the steering wheel trying to straighten up or kick to one side. If so then you could have a broken ball in there.

    I can't remember which variant of the 9000 you have, but if it is fitted with Super Aero wheels then these are really easy to buckle. The inner rim is unsupported by a long way and any smack on a stone or a pothole can put a sizeable kink in it. I have a selection of damaged rims caused by our poor condition roads. Only seems to happen with the 16 inch rims. The 15 inch lookalikes are much stronger.

    Rear brakes don't really seem like a candidate to me since they use the same pads as the main brakes. If the hand brake cable was sticking on then the disc and wheel would get very hot pretty quickly.

    Paul @ Kippen.

  10. #9

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)

    [email protected],

    I'd say you're right about it being a wheel bearing. The odd part is that it has stopped playing up, now. However, everything you describe is what it was doing. I couldn't get my worthless jack to keep the car up high enough to be able to get the tire off the ground so I wasn't able to spin the wheel at all. The good news for me is that I can get aftermarket parts far lower than 200 quid. I reckon that to be one of the few advantages to being in the "States" (well that and my accent is a treat with the ladies, but don't let my wife hear that).
    The steering is right-tight for a car as long-in-the-tooth as this one. The only issue I have with it are slightly perished rack bushes from when the power steering pump blew and dumped PS fluid all over under the hood.
    I have a 1995 CSE, so they're the turbine-designed 15" alloys. I'm quite glad I don't have the 16" in that case. I always wanted a set, but I think I'll pass.
    I ruled the brakes out today as well. After a good long drive, the wheels were still cool as could be. Looks like I'll be doing at least the right-side bearing but more than likely do both sides since I'm sure the other isn't far off.

    Thanks for the info once again!!

  11. #10
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Kippen, Stirling

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)


    One of the things I would check for would be a sticking caliper on the right side. This is, in my experience, the prime cause for failed front wheel bearings. The constant heat load causes the grease to melt and eventually run out causing the failure. Worth investing in an overhaul kit. It's fairly straightfarward to do a caliper overhaul.

    Paul @ Kippen.

  12. #11

    Re: Shakey car (need good news)

    Thanks [email protected],

    I've considered rebuilding my calipers anyway since as you say, it's straight-forward, I'm going to have the whole front-end torn down for the sump/turbo/carrier bearing bracket replacement anyway... on and on.
    I think the cause of my odd vibration has been found, though. It's possible I still have a cactus wheel bearing, but the carrier bearing bracket has broken down further than it originally was and is actually allowing the intermediate shaft to develop a little bit of play (which of course causes all kinds of alignment issues, etc with the tripod and CV joints). I've got a bracket ordered and will be re-assigning the Saab to light-duty for the time being until the bracket comes in.
    Actually, with any luck, I'll be driving an '86 Jaguar XJ6 Vanden Plas by tomorrow evening anyway. It's a "lump" but it's in right top shape otherwise. Just waiting on the bank to approve lending me the money and the dealership to approve my offer ($4000 under asking price). It's been sitting on the lot for a year and they just want it gone. Shines like a ruddy diamond, just a touch tough on the interior and... well, lumped.
    No, it's not the end of the Saab, it's just the Saab's relief player.

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