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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Haven't been on the forum a whole lot lately as most of my time has gone to my truck, which I use a winter vehicle. I'm having some issues with it that I was hoping someone might have some insight on.

It's a 1992 Dodge Dakota with the 5.2L V8 and 4WD.
Last year it developed a vibration that only occurred around 60km/h and 115km/h. It was a high frequency vibration so i figured it must just be out of balance tires. Got them balanced and same story. Through a series of other events and clunks and leaks I end up replacing:
- front wheel bearing hubs
- front disc brake pads
- rotors aren't that old, so didn't replace, but are now looking a little glazed.
- front brake hoses
- front diff fluid
- front axel bearings
- ball joints and tie rods
- upper and lower control arm bushings
- front shocks
- rear shocks
- rear brakes (shoes and hardware)
- rear brake lines
- New balanced tires
- checked u-joints for wobbles, wear, grinding, or seizing, and they're fine
- checked driveshaft for missing weights or dents, and it's fine.
- checked rear axle bearings and they're fine.

Still had vibration, but wasn't as severe as before. Then the truck sat in my garage for a month while I fixed a bunch of rust on it.
Driving it now and it seems that vibration at 60 and 115 are still barely present, but now I have vibrations at 40 and 80 that are far worse. It felt like a wheel was falling off except usually that makes a horrible clunking noise too. Checked all the wheels and they're good and tight and full of air too. Also checked all those suspension and brake components for any loose nuts or bolts, but nope, all good.

The vibration I can tell is caused by something bent or catching because I can feel the grab occurring once with every rotation of a wheel. I can feel this when accelerating, braking, cruising, coasting, and even when I put the trans in neutral and coasting it still does it.

Engine sounds like it's running perfectly fine and maybe is a bit more rumbly at idle while the truck is stopped. The weird thing is that everything sounds fine! I'm getting now chips, squeaks, or dragging from the brakes. I'm getting no clunks or clicks from the front CV axles. I can just hear the vibration as a wobble noise due to the oscillation. It does seem like the engine is working a little harder to get things moving and I think my gas mileage is hurting a bit. This kind of points to a transmission problem, but then again I did slap it into neutral while coasting so shouldn't that rule it out?

A note about the transmission: I did take it in to get it flushed since it was due, and they shop said they wouldn't flush it because they found brass filings in the pan which indicates a bushing or two is getting worn out. They just put a new filter in and topped up the fluid and told me to drive it till it dies. I'm beginning to wonder if it is indeed the transmission. Then again, it's shifting the same way it always has, and shows no signs of slipping.

It just seems like the engine has to work a little harder to get the truck to move, which is probably causing my mileage to go down. And this weird once-a-revolution-drag i'm feeling is likely the cause, but I can't tell if the dragging is from a brake that's making no noise or from the trans, or from a diff maybe? I didn't do anything to the rear diff and only put new fluid in the front diff.

I'm just stumped. Signs might be pointing to a busted transmission maybe, but I'd like to know if there was a way to test it before I take it to a shop or just turf it after all the work i put into it.

Any help is, as always, greatly appreciated. I can answer any questions you have that can help me eliminate this stupid vibration.
 

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On my Dakota (a 2005) that was always the sign that the rear U-joint was seizing up. Yes it happened more than once. *facepalm*

When you checked the U-joints did you pull them out of the truck and check them, or did you just check them in the truck? I could never see anything wrong until I actually removed the driveshaft.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Last time I checked them I grabbed them while on the truck and gave them a shake to see if they had any play, and they didn't. Then I disconnected one end and dropped it down to work the joint back/forth in either direction to check for grinding/seizing and didn't feel any.

That was a month ago tho, so maybe it just decided to fall apart now? I could go have a look later today and see anything has changed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I took the truck to a transmission shop to get it checked out as that was the only thing I could think of.
Got it back today and everything checks out, and I mean everything. Suspension, driveshafts, trans, transfer case, diffs...it's all good they say. They're completely stumped by what's causing this.

Can't believe I paid money for other people to shrug their shoulders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No, neither of those things have been checked.

I'm now of the opinion that the problem is likely to be the tires or the wheel bearing hubs. The tires are brand new with maybe 1500kms on them, but the truck sat in the garage for a month and might have possibly developed flat spots. I would have thought they would round themselves out after driving it, but it's not unheard of a tire becoming permanently damaged this way.

Or it might be the wheel bearings. I regrettably purchased some cheap wheel bearings which I've now learned are made in China. I've already had to replace one because it became loose after 6 months. Now I'm suspicious that the replacement is just faulty.

I'll look at both these items tomorrow and report back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I fixed the problem, and now I'm extra angry at the shop that couldn't find anything wrong.

It was the drivers rear brake shoes. They were dragging. The star-wheel self-adjuster was set too far out and the shoes were dragging. This is why the truck felt like it was working harder, and why the truck wouldn't roll forward when letting my foot off the brake. Don't know how the adjuster got so far out of wack.

I would have thought brakes would be the first things to check if I worked at a shop.. :-?
 
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