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Old 03-13-2018, 09:36 PM   #1
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Wheel wobble at 9 & 3 - suggestions?

Hey guys -

I've been tracking down an annoying steering wheel shake for a while and I think I have finally pinpointed it to my driver's side front wheel. When I have the wheel off the ground and the lug nuts securely on, I can grab it at the 9 and 3 position and get some pretty significant play with a "thunk" on either side. What is this most likely to be? The following parts have been replaced recently (less than 100 miles):

Inner tie rods
Outer tie rods
Struts
Strut mounts
Strut bearings
Droplinks

Is it more likely to be the track arm or the control arm? I can't really seem to see where the "thunk" is coming from.
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Old 03-14-2018, 03:05 AM   #2
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Are you noticing any grinding when in motion? Kind of sounds like a failing wheel bearing. When you move the wheel side to side, are you able to get an assistant to see if there is any component motion? Does the front-right display this or just the front-left?
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Old 03-14-2018, 04:10 AM   #3
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Can you get it to do the same thing by grabbing it at 12 & 6? If not my best guess would be inner tie rod but sounds like you got that already. If yes, my next guess is wheel bearing.

Maybe the track arm? It controls the fore/aft location of the wheel and would get moved doing your 9 & 3 shake. A quick test would be to remove the front underbody plastic panel and remove the biggest of the 4 bolts from the boomerang that secures the ball end of that arm, and then do the 3 & 9 shake again. If the clunk.is gone, that arm is the problem.
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Old 03-14-2018, 05:16 AM   #4
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my guess is wheel bearing.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:49 AM   #5
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Can you get it to do the same thing by grabbing it at 12 & 6? If not my best guess would be inner tie rod but sounds like you got that already. If yes, my next guess is wheel bearing.

Maybe the track arm? It controls the fore/aft location of the wheel and would get moved doing your 9 & 3 shake. A quick test would be to remove the front underbody plastic panel and remove the biggest of the 4 bolts from the boomerang that secures the ball end of that arm, and then do the 3 & 9 shake again. If the clunk.is gone, that arm is the problem.
It does not move at all at 12 & 6 - the passenger side wheel has no play in any direction. I'm hoping it's the track arm since I have them on order (thank you again for the help on that btw!) and they seem much, much easier to do than a wheel bearing on this car... I've done wheel bearings on my girlfriends Prius, but those are the whole assembly and the axle nut only goes to 160 ft/lbs - have you done the fronts on a Boxster?
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:51 AM   #6
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Are you noticing any grinding when in motion? Kind of sounds like a failing wheel bearing. When you move the wheel side to side, are you able to get an assistant to see if there is any component motion? Does the front-right display this or just the front-left?
Only front left - the most noticeable thing is that sometimes when I'm making a sharp turn at low speeds - pulling out of parking spot or something - it almost sounds like the wheel stumbles / judders / scrapes? It's hard to explain. I don't really get much rotational noise though when at highway speeds.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:25 AM   #7
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If you don't get any movement at 12 & 6 that seems to rule out wheel bearing. I have done wheel bearings, fronts are much easier to do than the backs since there is no parking brake in the way. And the inner race that often stays on the hub seems to be easier to remove from the front than the back, at least for me (I was able to get them both off with a 3 jaw puller, but had to take both back hubs to a shop to get them removed) The track arms are much easier than the wheel bearings, you are correct.

If it's not the track arms or the wheel bearing or inner tie rod (already replaced with new), I am short on ideas... When you take off the track arm, give that lower control arm a good shake and see if it moves (it should not).

If you are doing them anyway, go ahead and put the car on jack stands, remove that panel, remove the track arm on the driver side and see if the noise goes away?
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:26 AM   #8
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when I'm making a sharp turn at low speeds - pulling out of parking spot or something - it almost sounds like the wheel stumbles / judders / scrapes? It's hard to explain
I think that is kind of normal for us with our wide tires, I've seen a lot of threads where folks with newer Porsches think something is wrong when they back out of a parking place and turn, and it feels like the tires are skipping, almost like driving over acorns or something.
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:45 AM   #9
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I think that is kind of normal for us with our wide tires, I've seen a lot of threads where folks with newer Porsches think something is wrong when they back out of a parking place and turn, and it feels like the tires are skipping, almost like driving over acorns or something.
I'm pretty sure I'm running correct sizes - 225 in the front and 265 on the rear on 18" turbo twists, but yeah the acorn analogy sounds pretty spot on. The play in the wheel is pretty significant though - but I would imagine that it would wobble at 12 and 6 too if it were bearings.
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:00 AM   #10
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The track arm can be checked easily. Just jack up the front end and put on jack stands, remove the plastic brake cooler, remove the track arm bolt to the control arm center bushing and swing the track arm forward. You can then check for play. If yours is bad enough to "clunk" you will easily feel it. You can then visually check the center bushing in the control arm. Stick a large screwdriver thru it and move around looking for cracks or tearing. If no play then just bolt back up. no alignment required. You sure the clunk you're hearing isn't just due to play in the steering wheel lock side to side?

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Old 03-14-2018, 10:12 AM   #11
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The track arm can be checked easily. Just jack up the front end and put on jack stands, remove the plastic brake cooler, remove the track arm bolt to the control arm center bushing and swing the track arm forward. You can then check for play. If yours is bad enough to "clunk" you will easily feel it. You can then visually check the center bushing in the control arm. Stick a large screwdriver thru it and move around looking for cracks or tearing. If no play then just bolt back up. no alignment required. You sure the clunk you're hearing isn't just due to play in the steering wheel lock side to side?
I'll double check, but I'm pretty sure I would hear it on the passenger side as well if it were the steering lock, no? I'll do the control arm test when I get a chance later this week - I was also alone this week so I'll have a friend wobble the wheel while I get under the car - I wasn't able to see much of anything by myself.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:34 PM   #12
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9&3 - track rod end
12&6 - ball joint.
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Old 03-15-2018, 05:48 AM   #13
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If the passenger side also has movement, perhaps the bolts that hold the steering rack to the subframe are loose
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:49 PM   #14
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It could also be the IMS bearing about to let go and is manifesting itself through the wheel.
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Old 03-16-2018, 06:22 AM   #15
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It could also be the IMS bearing about to let go and is manifesting itself through the wheel.
Are you trying to start ANOTHER IMS conspiracy? Why is it every issue on a 986 seems to trace back to the IMS bearing? For the bearing to cause that kind of imbalance to affect the steering the engine would have to wobble and if that was happening you know it would have grenaded by now.

This business of the IMS being the root of EVERYTHING WRONG with the 986 has got to stop.

I have to check my right rear fog light. I think the IMS is causing it to not work.
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:39 AM   #16
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It could also be the IMS bearing about to let go and is manifesting itself through the wheel.
Yeah I'm pretty sure this isn't the case. I've had this issue for about 3 months and I'm pretty should the car would not be alive today if that were the case.
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Old 03-16-2018, 10:40 AM   #17
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Are you trying to start ANOTHER IMS conspiracy? Why is it every issue on a 986 seems to trace back to the IMS bearing? For the bearing to cause that kind of imbalance to affect the steering the engine would have to wobble and if that was happening you know it would have grenaded by now.

This business of the IMS being the root of EVERYTHING WRONG with the 986 has got to stop.

I have to check my right rear fog light. I think the IMS is causing it to not work.
I've had this issue since December 2017 - I'm fairly certain the IMS would have blown up by now. Also, wouldn't the IMS much more likely cause a rear wheel wobble?
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