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Strange wobbling and vibration in 2013 T27 1.8L Valvematic with CVT.


slc79
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The story of the now believed to be possessed Avensis continues.. (for those who remember my earlier threads!)

So, I'm now 10 months into my ownership of what is supposed to be a good car (and it really would have been if it weren't for what I'm about to describe). I experience a weird wobbling and some minor shaking that I now have confirmed isn't supposed to be there. I kept doubting myself and thought I was going insane, so I decided to try other T27s, and this is when I finally realized, my car DO have a problem.

When driving in low speeds (up to 40-50 km/h) the sensation of driving on an uneven road is quite strong. Apparently, my girlfriend think it is quite visible that I was sortof jumping up and down in my seat while driving even. When driving on highway you can still feel it, but it's less dominant, though at highway speeds there is also the sense of driving on cobblestone occasionally. Not as violent, but still enough that you can feel it in the steering wheel. In addition to having tried other T27s, I've also had others drive my car and everyone who tried notices what I'm speaking of. One of them even commented on it already after just about 200 meters, so.. it's not just me! (And you have no idea how relieved I was to clear that up!).

This may at first seem very subtle, because it could easily be mistaken for being the road itself on shorter trips. But when driving longer distances, you will realize that these movements never really change. And here's the odd thing, it does NOT seem to be tied to neither engine speed or vehicle speed itself other than the wobbling feeling less intense at higher speeds.

Does anyone have any ideas what sources such vibrations could stem from? Or did anyone with a similar car experience them? I'm really grasping at straws here now, and Toyota is saying that if they're going to find this fault we could be talking about hours of troubleshooting at an equivalent of £140 an hour 😞

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Have you tried an exorsist ?

can't remember reading your previous threads, but could it be something as easy to sort as a wheel weights fallen off causing wobble.

Or even simpler wheel nuts working loose.

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6 minutes ago, Rhymes with Paris said:

Have you tried an exorsist ?

can't remember reading your previous threads, but could it be something as easy to sort as a wheel weights fallen off causing wobble.

Or even simpler wheel nuts working loose.

I forgot to mention that tires are brand new and balanced. This happens with both my winter wheels (which also have a new set of tires) and summer wheels. No loose wheel nuts either as I am always performing an additional tightening a few kilometers after having swapped wheels.

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Ah , back to an exorcist then 😁

Sorry, must be really annoying, but something must be causing it ,so much to choose from.

Bent drive shaft, damaged wheel, steering geometry.

I am pretty much useless mechanically, however there are so many highly knowledgeable people on here who may be able to suggest something to try that could save those expensive trips to the dealer.

 

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Sorry to hear you are still struggling with this. Could you take a video of the engine bay while the car is on? 

Just checking if I can hear anything strange compared with my car, which is identical to yours.

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A good many years back, a large, local tyre and exhaust centre offered wheel balancing on the car. 

I wonder if doing this type of wheel balancing (which may not exist any more) might show up an out-of-balance brake disk?

I've never heard of brake disks being out of kilter that way, but counterfeit spare parts are a problem; perhaps they have been changed before you owned it...

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14 hours ago, slc79 said:

tires are brand new and balanced. This happens with both my winter wheels (which also have a new set of tires) and summer wheels.

This may sound stupid, but what if your tires are oval? I have had such problems in the past... Those tires can be balanced and the machine tells everything is fine but they still are horrible to drive.

Nowadays I stand next to the machine and watch carefully that the tires are round when fitted.

Of course it would be quite rare for both summer and winter tires to be oval...

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9 hours ago, avetoy said:

This may sound stupid, but what if your tires are oval? I have had such problems in the past... Those tires can be balanced and the machine tells everything is fine but they still are horrible to drive.

Nowadays I stand next to the machine and watch carefully that the tires are round when fitted.

Of course it would be quite rare for both summer and winter tires to be oval...

Believe me, I was on that path. 🙂 And just like you, I concluded that two sets of wheels, BOTH with brand new tires shouldn't be behaving exactly the same.

I was made aware of the fact that the right read caliper was slightly jammed (not fully, but the wheel does not rotate freely when turned). This was overlooked by the first workshop that looked at this (yet they claim it was checked). I have no idea if a slightly stuck caliper can create these kind of vibrations and wobble, but this needs to be fixed regardless so I have bought a new caliper and an entirely new set of brake parts as I am not going to want to battle with a worn caliper. Question is whether or not I'll be able to swap it myself or if I should let the professionals handle this 🙂 (The caliper swap is the part I'm unsure of, replacing discs and pads I've done multiple times before)

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17 hours ago, TOYOpeter said:

Sorry to hear you are still struggling with this. Could you take a video of the engine bay while the car is on? 

Just checking if I can hear anything strange compared with my car, which is identical to yours.

I could try. Any particular areas you would want the sound from in particular?

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12 hours ago, slc79 said:

I could try. Any particular areas you would want the sound from in particular?

Around the engine. Ill compare it with the sound of mine to see if there is any difference

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13 hours ago, slc79 said:

I have no idea if a slightly stuck caliper can create these kind of vibrations and wobble

I had the same problem in my first Avensis (T22), but it only caused overheating the brake disc. The more heating the more stucking...

13 hours ago, slc79 said:

The caliper swap is the part I'm unsure of, replacing discs and pads I've done multiple times before

I´m sure you can do it! And there are a lot of videos on that topic on Youtube.

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“-I have no idea if a slightly stuck caliper can create these kind of vibrations and wobble, but this needs to be fixed regardless so I have bought a new caliper and an entirely new set of brake parts as I am not going to want to battle with a worn caliper. Question is whether or not I'll be able to swap it myself or if I should let the professionals handle this 🙂 (The caliper swap is the part I'm unsure of, replacing discs and pads I've done multiple times before)”

There are couple of main reasons that can set the car into “vibration mode” and sometimes it’s ultra difficult or too expensive to find out. 

The issue with brake callipers is one of them and this is difficult to find since it’s not so simple to trace and does not make sense at first glance.
If your car  never had brake service now it’s time to be done.
You will need to do that on all 4 corners, not only on the rear right as mentioned.
No need to replace callipers unless can not be saved.
You will need to take callipers of the brackets , remove pads, clean with wire brush and brake cleaner , you will need to get pistons to poke out a bit, lift the rubber protector boot and look inside, if there is rust or any sign of corrosion you have to remove from calliper and clean to bare metal with abrasive cloth , replace rubber seals if necessary and change brake fluid in the system. You need to make sure that pistons returns when depressed the brake pedal. Also a good idea to take brake disc off the hubs, clean hubs and discs mounting surfaces from any rust or grease and dry fit them bare metal to metal, no lubricant should be used at all. Do the same with the brake pads , clean them to look like new and dry fit in place. Slider pins need to be taken out , cleaned to shiny metal again with abrasive cloth , apply silicone grease on them and install them on the callipers. Make sure they move freely and stay in place , if any air is locked inside their boots, squeezing the boots to let air escape and leave inside only grease is important step. ⚠️
Change brake fluid and bleed the air out old fashioned way with a help of fiend to pump and hold the brake pedal. After successfully completing the whole job you have to take it easy first 100 miles driving and let the pads bed in again properly. I am positive that you will have no issues anymore and you will discover much better braking performance on your car. 👍

I also had similar issues in the past, once I done all that above I am vibrations free, anything that eventually comes up is from the road surfaces which are obviously not in great shape these days. The car is spot on. 👌🏁

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15 minutes ago, TonyHSD said:

“-I have no idea if a slightly stuck caliper can create these kind of vibrations and wobble, but this needs to be fixed regardless so I have bought a new caliper and an entirely new set of brake parts as I am not going to want to battle with a worn caliper. Question is whether or not I'll be able to swap it myself or if I should let the professionals handle this 🙂 (The caliper swap is the part I'm unsure of, replacing discs and pads I've done multiple times before)”

There are couple of main reasons that can set the car into “vibration mode” and sometimes it’s ultra difficult or too expensive to find out. 

The issue with brake callipers is one of them and this is difficult to find since it’s not so simple to trace and does not make sense at first glance.
If your car  never had brake service now it’s time to be done.
You will need to do that on all 4 corners, not only on the rear right as mentioned.
No need to replace callipers unless can not be saved.
You will need to take callipers of the brackets , remove pads, clean with wire brush and brake cleaner , you will need to get pistons to poke out a bit, lift the rubber protector boot and look inside, if there is rust or any sign of corrosion you have to remove from calliper and clean to bare metal with abrasive cloth , replace rubber seals if necessary and change brake fluid in the system. You need to make sure that pistons returns when depressed the brake pedal. Also a good idea to take brake disc off the hubs, clean hubs and discs mounting surfaces from any rust or grease and dry fit them bare metal to metal, no lubricant should be used at all. Do the same with the brake pads , clean them to look like new and dry fit in place. Slider pins need to be taken out , cleaned to shiny metal again with abrasive cloth , apply silicone grease on them and install them on the callipers. Make sure they move freely and stay in place , if any air is locked inside their boots, squeezing the boots to let air escape and leave inside only grease is important step. ⚠️
Change brake fluid and bleed the air out old fashioned way with a help of fiend to pump and hold the brake pedal. After successfully completing the whole job you have to take it easy first 100 miles driving and let the pads bed in again properly. I am positive that you will have no issues anymore and you will discover much better braking performance on your car. 👍

I also had similar issues in the past, once I done all that above I am vibrations free, anything that eventually comes up is from the road surfaces which are obviously not in great shape these days. The car is spot on. 👌🏁

With exception of the last two years before I bought the car, it was following the annual service program and brake parts have definitely been serviced along the way. There is no way you can drive a 2013 car that's never had brake service in a country where there's more salt than snow in the winter and still pass the bi-annual controls. When I replace brake parts I am actually already going through most of the points you describe above. I am very thorough doing this kind of job, as I hate when it's flawed in any way 🙂 I know from other people's experience that if the piston is starting to stick, it may simply be too much work to be worth it considering a new caliper isn't that expensive. I will check the slider pins, though. If they turn out to be the culprit, I will just clean and re-grease (which I would have anyway) and save the new caliper for a rainy day. I also expect some excessive wear and tear of the pads and/or discs, which is why I will be doing those too. I am still unsure if this is at all related to my issues because of the characteristics (frequency not changing with vehicle speed, but the wobble feels less intense), but if this resolves it nothing would be better. It's also one point the garage wants to cross off the list before doing any further trouble shooting... a partially stuck rear caliper does not really rhyme with the intermittent sense of driving over cobblestones in the steering wheel either. These two may of course be completely unrelated 🙂

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1 hour ago, slc79 said:

With exception of the last two years before I bought the car, it was following the annual service program and brake parts have definitely been serviced along the way. There is no way you can drive a 2013 car that's never had brake service in a country where there's more salt than snow in the winter and still pass the bi-annual controls. When I replace brake parts I am actually already going through most of the points you describe above. I am very thorough doing this kind of job, as I hate when it's flawed in any way 🙂 I know from other people's experience that if the piston is starting to stick, it may simply be too much work to be worth it considering a new caliper isn't that expensive. I will check the slider pins, though. If they turn out to be the culprit, I will just clean and re-grease (which I would have anyway) and save the new caliper for a rainy day. I also expect some excessive wear and tear of the pads and/or discs, which is why I will be doing those too. I am still unsure if this is at all related to my issues because of the characteristics (frequency not changing with vehicle speed, but the wobble feels less intense), but if this resolves it nothing would be better. It's also one point the garage wants to cross off the list before doing any further trouble shooting... a partially stuck rear caliper does not really rhyme with the intermittent sense of driving over cobblestones in the steering wheel either. These two may of course be completely unrelated 🙂

Stuck pistons and slider pins on  callipers usually cause exactly that problems that you have experienced. Other than that can be engine/ transmission mounts, wheels or tyres, inner cv joints , bad wheel alignment, worn out wheel bearings. Anything else likely to be from the road surface. 

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11 minutes ago, TonyHSD said:

Stuck pistons and slider pins on  callipers usually cause exactly that problems that you have experienced. Other than that can be engine/ transmission mounts, wheels or tyres, inner cv joints , bad wheel alignment, worn out wheel bearings. Anything else likely to be from the road surface. 

I am 100% sure it's not road surface at least, because I test drove another T27 and we first drove the other car, then my car driving the exact same route. Both me and the owner of the other T27 noticed a big difference. This is why I am ramping up this troubleshooting now to get this problem eliminated. 🙂

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45 minutes ago, slc79 said:

I am 100% sure it's not road surface at least, because I test drove another T27 and we first drove the other car, then my car driving the exact same route. Both me and the owner of the other T27 noticed a big difference. This is why I am ramping up this troubleshooting now to get this problem eliminated. 🙂

I can see that and I was going through hell to find what was causing this issues on my car too. Brake job completed and the problems disappeared afterwards. I do get sometimes some rough road noise and vibrations that feel very similar but they quickly goes away when I drive past those roads. 

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8 minutes ago, TonyHSD said:

I can see that and I was going through hell to find what was causing this issues on my car too. Brake job completed and the problems disappeared afterwards. I do get sometimes some rough road noise and vibrations that feel very similar but they quickly goes away when I drive past those roads. 

Yes, and what you describe there is exactly what had me doubt, because some of what I feel is definitely road noise.. but then I started noticing some patterns that was always there, then I was starting to doubt myself as I know the road standards in this country isn't the very best. So there was a few rounds of this.. "I'm overreacting. No, this is wrong. No, overreaction. Hm. no way.. this is definitely wrong." etc. 🙂

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Is there any effect if you lightly push the brake pedal during driving? What if you lift your foot off the accelerator pedal at that (40-50) speed?

I don´t know anything about cvt, but is it possible to roll freely? Perhaps even engine turned off...

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Rolling free is according to the users manual damaging to the cvt box, or else I'd have tried. Have replaced rear discs and pads now. The caliper was actually fine, it was everything else that stuck. A bit odd, because this was definitely done recently, so whoever changed the parts did not do a proper job. Going to do a bit of testing now to see if it's better or the same. The other two suggestions I've tried, without really noticing any difference but it's a bit hard to say.

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Is there a possibility to examine the car with a dynamometer? 

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1 hour ago, avetoy said:

Is there a possibility to examine the car with a dynamometer? 

There actually is one shop near me that have a Bapro bpa-4r. I could contact them.. any suggestions on what to ask them to be especially on the lookout for? Or were you just thinking in general to pick up where vibrations may come from?

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11 hours ago, slc79 said:

were you just thinking in general to pick up where vibrations may come from?

That´s right. If you "drove" on the dynamometer could at least a possible front axle fail be found.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The saga continues, and I think I may have found an explanation... but I want to run it through some with more experience first. If this is what I now suspect it is, it's not an actual fault, but a characteristic. I've been able to test yet another Avensis which indeed was much calmer to drive than mine, but the technician at that dealer noticed that the shock absorbers must have been recently replaced. They're replaced with TRW ones, which I'm told is very good but that they may come off as a bit more stiff than the original Avensis absorbers, and it's more than likely that at least two of the other cars I drove haven't had them replaced yet thus running on the original ones.

So, my question is: can any of you share your own experiences using different brands of shock absorbers and comment on how that affected the general driving experience? Because really, everything is checked multiple times now and noone can really find anything wrong. As an experiment I also tried using my phone's gyro (which prooved MUCH more sensitive than I thought it was) to record vibrations while I was driving. We also have another car here, a Ford Focus, which DO have a much softer suspension. I drove both cars the same route twice and recorded the vibrations, and what I saw was actually quite eye opening. Both cars would show pretty much exactly the same vibrations, BUT the Avensis had a "feedback" that was almost twice the amount of the Focus. Nothing else stood out in the measurements..

Another thing that is pointing me in this direction is the fact that this "wobble" becomes less noticeable in higher speeds. I've seen forum posts where some people have complained about TRW being uncomfortable in urban driving environments, which kinda lines up with my own experiences.

My hope is that it IS that easy, and that changing to stock absorbers will wipe out the problem but this is rather expensive so I'd like some more thoughts around it before I jump the gun and take the gamble.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Final update to this thread (I hope) and thanks for the patience! Changing to genuine Toyota shock absorbers did indeed resolve the remaining issue. So after a rather mistable first year with this car, I now hope the rest of the years I will own it will be less problematic 🙂

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Thanks for the update. It seems that firm shock absorbers not within spec can cause issues. Staying as close to original, when replacing components is best.
Glad the problem as been resolved. 

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