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Feeling Brake shudder/steering wheel vibration while braking

975 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Zyurn

I am new to the site, but I've had my 2002 X 4wd 6cyl 3.3L since 2011. I like coming here when I have questions about my X and I usually find a thread that answers them, but today I thought I'd ask a question.

After Turkey Day I came home from the parent's house and noticed my front driver tire was low. Figured I'd fill it in the morning. Woke up to it being completely flat. Had to let it sit for a few more hours, but before we left it, we jacked it up off the flat tire. Cool. No big deal. Eventually put on my spare and drove it to a tire shop to have them fix the flat, and while we were there, I had them rotate the tires as it had been quite some time since my last rotation.

Go to drive the beast home and I notice that, even at 25mph, my steering wheel and brakes are vibrating a bit when I brake. Husband and I needed to work on his car for a bit, but eventually got around to mine. We decided to take off the tires and check the brakes/rotors to see if anything obvious stood out to us. Nothing did. Granted, we didn't actually measure the rotors, just did a quick visual check. They seemed smooth and from the naked eye, flat, and my brake pads still had plenty of life in them. Only thing we noticed is that the shop had way over-torqued my lugs.
(We did have one issue with the rear driver wheel because of the over-torquing, sheared off a bolt trying to get the tire off, but we took it back for them to fix. Mentioned the shake, but I guess they forgot about that part)

Cool. So, most people I talk to say to check the brakes. Though I'm a bit confused as to why I didn't feel any vibration/shudder before the tire rotation, and now it has manifested this problem after a simple rotation. Also to note, I have taken the X on the highway to 65-70mph with it riding smooth. As soon as I brake normally, like slowing down on the exit ramp, it shakes pretty violently for my taste. Slowing down at 35mph, it is still a very noticeable shake.
I do not feel the car favoring either side when I brake. It also does not feel the same as when the ABS is engaged, nor does my ABS light show.

Where we're at now:
Took it to a different shop, asked them to check my brakes. They call me back and say my rotors are warped. Now, I am a lady and I didn't actually measure the rotors, so who knows how bad they actually were or if they just figured they'd get a quick sale. So I told them fine, and they replaced rotors, brake pads, and bearings. I pay the guys and ask how I wouldn't notice the problem before a rotation, and they didn't really have an answer for me.

Get out back onto the highway and notice, even before getting out there, that my X is driving smooth, but when I brake, it still vibrates the steering wheel. Swing back around to the shop and I even had to take the mechanic for a ride so he could feel the problem. He goes to look at it again, says one of my front hubs was damaged and he didn't notice beforehand (not too sure what he meant by damaged). They fixed the part (for free), but he says it still shakes and they can't figure out why. They're keeping my car overnight to check it in the morning.

Well, that's my book of post. Not going to lie, we usually work on our cars ourselves unless it's a huge task, I just didn't think I would have had a problem from a simple tire rotation. If only I would have known.

So uhh, y'all have any ideas on what might be the issue? Many thank you's in advance!
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Thank you all for the ideas and suggestions.
Turns out it was also my rear drums that needed replaced.

The shop owner and two other mechanics drove my X and couldn't figure out why it was still shaking, so they "took a shot in the dark", replaced the rear drums, and now she brakes perfectly smooth. A bonus that I didn't have to pay for that replacement either. The guys also mentioned, had I brought it in and told them that it was the rear drums, they wouldn't have believed me. So, there's that.

I'm still just baffled (and so are the mechanics that fixed the issue) that I would experience a night and day difference, from no shake to OMG shake, just from a tire rotation. I DO know that the previous shop over-torqued my lugs with their Ugga Dugga tool. But could that have caused that much damage to ALL of my brakes??
Moral of the story for me, is to not use that previous shop again, and/or do the work myself. Haha.
Alls well that ends well! Trust yourself before all else fails.
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