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Front End MASSIVE Shaking

chevyaddict

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Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
894
Location
Tucson, AZ USA
Corvette
1990 Convertible
My 68 goes down the road pretty smooth. No right to left pulling, very solid and straight EXCEPT when I hit a bump. When I hit a bump in the road the entire front end shakes MASSIVELY. There are brand new shocks all the way around BTW. My question is, when that steering cylinder quits (the seal brakes or whatever) what effect does that have on the car? What is the "point" of the steering cylinder and why did they design the front end that with what I perceive to be a weakness in design? I've seen that some people do away with all that and put a rack and pinion setup on these. I may do that but I want to understand what my problem is before I go to making a radical change like that. Front end is probably old but all the bushings still look great and the front end appears pretty solid so I don't think this is just old, warn out front end suspension pieces. Any advice/info would be helpful.
 

BigJimZ16

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2008
Messages
925
Location
Portage, Indiana
Corvette
2010 Grand Sport Vert JS Blue
My 68 goes down the road pretty smooth. No right to left pulling, very solid and straight EXCEPT when I hit a bump. When I hit a bump in the road the entire front end shakes MASSIVELY. There are brand new shocks all the way around BTW. My question is, when that steering cylinder quits (the seal brakes or whatever) what effect does that have on the car? What is the "point" of the steering cylinder and why did they design the front end that with what I perceive to be a weakness in design? I've seen that some people do away with all that and put a rack and pinion setup on these. I may do that but I want to understand what my problem is before I go to making a radical change like that. Front end is probably old but all the bushings still look great and the front end appears pretty solid so I don't think this is just old, warn out front end suspension pieces. Any advice/info would be helpful.

A bad idler arm or Pitman arm joint will have this symptom.
 

Vettehead Mikey

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Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Messages
3,486
Location
Not that far from Ottawa
Corvette
1973 Coupe
If you've got a non-power steering car, the cylinder you're referring to is a damper. Even if disconnected and thrown away it will not cause the problem you're experiencing. Look elsewhere.
 

tmkassin

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Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
271
Location
Macomb,MI
Corvette
2009 LS3
Take it to a local front end shop and have them check it. Most shops do not charge anything to do an inspection.
 

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Joined
Jan 10, 2001
Messages
13,457
Location
CenCoast CA
Corvette
71 04 12 19
The "steering cylinder" is what adds power assist to the steering in a C1,2 or 3 with power steering. If the power steering "ram" fails, it leaks a lot (until the power steering runs dry and the pump fails) and the steering effor becomes much higher.

When the front end "shimmys", you have worn or damaged front suspension or steering parts. It could be ball joints, control arm bushings, tire rod ends, relay rod or the idler arm.

Also, look for frame cracks where the frame rails joint the front crossmember and on the left frame rail under the steering gear box.

With respect to steering dampers, manual steering C1,2,3 did not use steering dampers as standard equipment, however, the purpose of a steering damper or stabilizer is to damp shimmy, oscillations or "kickback" in the steering which occur usually as a result of road impact. Also, common, is the application of steering dampers to the steering of light trucks which have been lifted and/or fitted with larger than stock tire/wheel packages.
 
Last edited:

Mac

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Feb 13, 2003
Messages
5,475
Location
Ottawa, Canuckistan
Corvette
1973 coupe L82 (gone as casualty of divorce)
You might want to bring it in for wheel alignment. When they're doing that, they should do a thorough inspection which should give you the answer.

-Mac
 

chevyaddict

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
894
Location
Tucson, AZ USA
Corvette
1990 Convertible
For some reason the email notices aren't coming in so I didn't realize you all had responded! It is power steering and yes, something is leaking like a siv all of a sudden under there. I just replaced two of the hoses but something else busted significantly... haven't had a chance to inspect it yet as I'm working on my 90 at the moment. So I guess ya'll are saying even if that steering cylinder went bad it wouldn't have anything to do with stabilizing the front end. That helps. I don't trust taking my cars to shops so I have to self-diagnose this problem. More than likely it is just very warn out parts. I'll check the idler and pitman arm too. Thanks!
 

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