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Need help, weird vibration, very frustrated

3135 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  E_Net_Rider
I am very frustrated, and need some ideas. I have a 2008 Malibu 2LT with a 4-cylinder. It has all of sudden developed a weird vibration that comes and goes, and it isn't there all the time. I have a 25 minute commute and it starts about 15 to minutes into the commute on the highway. It starts midly and then gets progressivly worse. I feel it int he front of the car, through the stering wheel, and as it get worse, when I step on the brake pedal. But after I have used my brakes a few times, or the car sets for a few hours it is gone, sometimes it comes back, and sometimes it dosen't. I have had it to the dealership here on two different occassions, and the second time it was there for 3 days, and it never accted up for them when they drove it. It feels to me liek it is coming from the left front, and after it acts up and I stop, it feels like the left front wheel area is much hotter then the right front. So I thought maybe a sticking caliper, but they said they checked it it everything is fine. But everthing is not fine, and I am begining to get very frustrated. I have never had a single issue with this car till now, and I am more frustrated with the dealership, I am not sure they are doing enough, anybody work in service have any ideas? Like I said it comes after about 15 to minutes of highway driving, and I feel it in the sterring wheel and the brake pedal when I step on the pedal, and it always goes away after I use the brakes a few times or he car sits for a while. And the left front feels hotter then the right front after it acts up, I havent noticed any excessive brake dust or burn marks on the rotors. HELP!
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First, get a torque wrench and insure that all wheel nuts are to the proper spec.
This is a just in case cause it sounds like there have been a number of opportunities for someone to screw that up since the factory.

Now that one of the major reasons for rotor warpage is eliminated, lets continue. But if warpage has already occured that might be a separate issue.
I had an issue with rt frt with less than 5K miles. It only happened once so far but it does not inspire confidence. The caliper stuck while applying brake. Not the piston, but the slide. Consequently, pad was only being applied to one side of rotor and forcing it out of shape and causing the feeling of warped rotor.

Since this has been going on for a little while, more heat on one side seems to indicate something along the same issue. They may be checking for a stuck piston when it is the slide that is sticking and causing just one pad to drag.
Perhaps carefully measuring the remaining pad, comparing inside one to the outside one will show a difference in wear. And then compare left side outside pad to the one on the right and the same for inside pads.
Also look for discoloration of rotor, both sides of it. Blueing is evidence of overheat caused by drag.

Often if a caliper is sticking, you might feel a pull to one side, but the severity can range from almost imperceptible to more severe. It often is more perceptible from a standing start if real mild and in your case it almost sounds like you have to wait for the rotor to expand from heat.
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That reminds me of a situation I went through recently.

So, I now made it a rule to always check the torque after anyone touches the wheels.
Another customer sold on how important checking behind them with a torque wrench is.
Visited my daughter and her husband yesterday. I'd been hearing that their Chev was a piece of junk and asked him what was wrong. His reply was that it really only needed a brake job. Serious enough, but not piece of junk category. He followed with, "I drove through some water with them hot and they warped."
It is surprising how many times that excuse has been used. Reality is that the nuts were improperly tightened and they would have warped sooner or later. The sudden cooling with the water only accelerated the issue.
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