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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys... so, as I stated above, if I go over 50 in my 1991 Caprice Classic, I feel a wobble in my steering wheel, as well as smelling a slight burning smell. This wobble is accompanied by a pulling (hard) to the left. This information led me to suspect my front left wheel. When I got to my destination, I got out and checked out the wheel. When I went to remove the center cap, I could feel heat radiating from the rim, and after removing the cap, felt the lug nuts and they were HOT. Any ideas on what is wrong? Brake issue? Alignment or wheel balance? It's only the left front wheel... the other three were fine/normal after a half-hour drive. Thanks in advance!

-Chris
 

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First guess wheel bearing(s). Improper tightening, or, insufficient/improperly maintenanced lubrication. Unfortunately frequently overlooked for service in a timely schedule. Best to replace bearings and races as opposed to chancing just greasing the existing ones.

Could also be dragging/binding or generally fubared brakes, - caliper and/or rotor.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Forgot about wheel bearings... I will have to see about getting it into the shop Monday or Tuesday next week... I don't have many other options at this time... thanks!!!

-Chris
 

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I would suspect the brake caliper. It could as well be the bearings, but you should be able to take the dust cap off, and see if there is any metal shavings in it. You could also jack the car up, and shake the wheel. If it wobbles, it is probably the bearings.
 

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... I will have to see about getting it into the shop Monday or Tuesday next week... I don't have many other options at this time... thanks!!!

-Chris
Chris, insert meme of me flinching here. Anything other than the most trusted shop will have a field day with your generic symptoms. Just as with an intelligent attorney you should never ask a question without already knowing the answer.

Even if you don't have anything more than a bumper jack and piece of 4X4, you owe it to your blood pressure, heartburn and pocket book to at least pop the wheel for prelims that point to a specific direction. It keeps expensive creative thinking and fiction to a minimum for the shop when the owner gets to (intelligently) participate in decision-making.

Cliffs: You probably WON'T need a new spindle. Or alignment. Or A-arm. Or master cylinder. Or tune-up. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Chris, insert meme of me flinching here. Anything other than the most trusted shop will have a field day with your generic symptoms. Just as with an intelligent attorney you should never ask a question without already knowing the answer.

Even if you don't have anything more than a bumper jack and piece of 4X4, you owe it to your blood pressure, heartburn and pocket book to at least pop the wheel for prelims that point to a specific direction. It keeps expensive creative thinking and fiction to a minimum for the shop when the owner gets to (intelligently) participate in decision-making.

Cliffs: You probably WON'T need a new spindle. Or alignment. Or A-arm. Or master cylinder. Or tune-up. lol


Lol yeah... the above are definitely not the issue.

I did take the wheel off last night (forgot to take pictures), and from what I could see there wasn't anything obviously wrong. The dust cap was hot, the lug nuts were hot, and even the rim itself was warmer than the other three (I compared temperatures with back of my hand), and the wobble/shaking was not constant. There was, however, a little bit of a blackish-grey substance that looked like it had dripped onto the outside of the rim that was not on any other... not sure what it is...

As for a trusted shop, my ideal one would be back home where my family has taken cars for years (small town, trusted guy) but since I'm at school, I have a shop here that is greatly trusted by the local public and has done well by me so far... they will probably get to look at it before Spring Break
 

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In the absence of results from any more intel it could anything - as convoluted as the combination of bad alignment and a missing wheel weight and/or bent rim (shimmy), plus real low low pressure (heat) with a rotted A-arm bushing (pull). You tested both shocks and endlinks are good?

As it is you're writing someone a blank check.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, after driving a bit more, (with the windows down, as it has warmed up quite a bit) I have discovered there is also a randomly occurring, intermittent squeak coming from that same wheel while driving a slower speeds... not sure if that helps at all...

-Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update: break pad was pretty much bare, and the caliper was seized and wouldn't decompress. Replaced left front caliper, breaks done on the front two wheels, and we are good as new!
 

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Glad to hear you got it figured out. Wish I would have seen this before as I would have also suggested replacing the Flex hoses going to the calipers. I once had an issue chewing up pads and warped rotors after replacing everything except the hoses.

Replaced those after and problem solved. They tend to break down internally and can prevent fluid from going back into the caliper which will get the brakes on, heat your tprotors and wear out your pads. Plus if they are original, they. Really should be replaced along with flushing out ALL the old brake fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Glad to hear you got it figured out. Wish I would have seen this before as I would have also suggested replacing the Flex hoses going to the calipers. I once had an issue chewing up pads and warped rotors after replacing everything except the hoses.



Replaced those after and problem solved. They tend to break down internally and can prevent fluid from going back into the caliper which will get the brakes on, heat your tprotors and wear out your pads. Plus if they are original, they. Really should be replaced along with flushing out ALL the old brake fluid.


I may have to look into this later on. So far everything seems to be working well with no problems. Thanks for the heads up!!!
 

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Update: break pad was pretty much bare, and the caliper was seized and wouldn't decompress. Replaced left front caliper, breaks done on the front two wheels, and we are good as new!
Good to hear. Just begs the question whether you either replaced or resurfaced the rotors, especially that left one.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good to hear. Just begs the question whether you either replaced or resurfaced the rotors, especially that left one.


Talking to the guy that did my break, he checked the rotors and said they were still good to use. It's a guy I've gone to for a while and trust quite well. They don't seem to have warped, as slowing down is still smooth, so we will see over time how it does.
 

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Since the front brakes were not working, you should check your rears for excessive wear as well. I had a similar situation, and the rears were worn to the point that I had to get new drums and cylinders as well as the shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update

Since the front brakes were not working, you should check your rears for excessive wear as well. I had a similar situation, and the rears were worn to the point that I had to get new drums and cylinders as well as the shoes.
Last time I had the car in for an oil change, I asked my mechanic to take a look at the breaks too. He said everything checked out and is good to go. It was this post, Fred, that made me think to ask him about that, so thank you! I really appreciate all the help I've gotten here!

-Chris
 
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