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Started by Solentview, August 14, 2023, 04:33:14 PM

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Looking for advice and hoping somebody can help. We have had the Alhambra (09, 131K) out for quite long sessions on motorways and we have noticed vibration, apparently from the front of the vehicle, developing in a very narrow speed band at 50mph. The vibration is more severe when tackling a gradient with extra 'throttle' demand, and disappears as speed approaches 60mph.

The first time this happened, I had the vehicle up on a jack and the front N/S wheel off, once we reached a safe area, and I can feel a little bit of play at the inboard end of the N/S driveshaft, which gives out a loud metallic click when the shaft is pulled up.

A local garage owner took the vehicle out for a test (with me as passenger) and gave it some fairly serious treatment, full lock to full lock, under heavy acceleration, but could not reproduce the issue, which only seems to show itself at steady motorway speeds, with front wheels dead ahead.

Can anybody hazard a guess as to what is developing - is it driveshaft or clutch or DMF? 

I should add that the vehicle runs on steel rims, three of which have been damaged by potholes and have been dressed out, and I was warned several weeks ago when a new tyre was fitted that balancing was becoming difficult, but that particular wheel was mounted at the rear.

Any advice very gratefully received.     

I'm no expert but from your description, it's possible that the issue could be related to the driveshaft or a potential imbalance due to the damaged steel rims. The fact that the vibration is most noticeable at a specific speed range and disappears when you approach 60mph suggests a resonance point or balance issue.

Since you've noticed play in the inboard end of the N/S driveshaft and it produces a metallic click, it's worth having the driveshaft inspected. A worn or damaged driveshaft joint could certainly cause vibrations, especially at specific speeds. I had an issue once with the driveshaft and the car jumped around like a kangaroo.

Given the information, it might be a good idea to have a more thorough inspection of the driveshaft, including both the inboard and outboard joints, to determine if they are the source of the vibration. Additionally, if the balancing of the wheels has become difficult due to the previous damage, it's worth considering rebalancing all the wheels to ensure that they are properly balanced.

Will try and think of any other possibilities but that's all I can think of at the moment...

I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

SDA - V V many thanks for your words of wisdom. I intend to put the vehicle up on ramps and take the engine cover off, so that I can access the inboard driveshaft joints, and I have everything crossed at the moment, in the hope that there are no problems further inside the transmission.

If the issue is a driveshaft joint, I will try and tackle it myself, but anything inside the clutch or gearbox is a different matter.

Thanks again.

One thing I completely forgot to mention is that, after the road test, the garage owner got his 'heat gun' out and checked hub temperatures. The only wheel he commented on was front passenger side, where the vibration seems to be coming from, which he put down to a sticky brake pad (possibly).

A while back, I had to have that wheel bearing (front n/s) changed after pothole damage, and the symptoms then were a loud ticking sound turning into a drone, and heat, but no vibration. However, reading around other forums, some owners have reported failing wheel bearings producing vibration, and I am just beginning to wonder whether the replacement bearing is itself failing.

Has anybody else made positive connections between a failing wheel bearing and vibration (in a very narrow speed range, wheels dead ahead)?

I have had the Alhambra up on ramps and removed the lower engine cover, and checked driveshafts both sides. The O/S driver's side is very tight with no play anywhere, but the inboard joint on the N/S shaft rattles.

I have also had the front N/S wheel off and jammed a large screwdriver into the disc ventilation slots, but could find no play. I intend to monitor hub temperatures with my own 'heat gun', but as far as I can see at the moment the culprit is the inboard driveshaft joint, N/S.

Has anybody changed an inboard joint and can recommend a source?

The inner CV 'cages' as they call them are known to be quite weak by comparison to the rest of the shaft. Motormax.pl uses to do uprated ones (mine have been on since 40k, now on 120k) - not sure if they are still in business though.
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I have had the n/s driveshaft out and replaced the inboard joint. We have had the vehicle out on several occasions and cruised at m/way speeds and that appears to have solved the vibration issue.

I will also re-balance all the wheels, in slower time.

After picking up advisories at the last MOT test, I had intended to re-boot the hub swivel ball joints, but the n/s joint had to be severely brutalised to persuade the taper to release from the control arm. In contrast, the o/s joint taper released itself as the securing nut was being unwound. The o/s joint turned out to be shot as well, so I have replaced both.