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Old 05-16-2011, 09:32 AM   #1
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2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

hi all,

as the title says, i seem to have a wobble in my 2003 chevy express 2500 2wd. generally occurs when braking at speeds in excess of 45. when exiting the interstate it is most pronounced. or heavy braking at 45 to 65. havent noticed it happening when going over any bumps, potholes or washboard road conditions...unless i had to apply brake.

i dont feel the wobble in the brake pedal but rather the steering wheel and the seat of my pants lol.

i had a 75 k-5 blazer that developed a "death wobble" but i never expected to experience it on a 2wd van.

van is currently stock. oem size tires and rims, stock brakes and suspension. everythings appears to my eye to be in good shape. the van is perfectly aligned and tracks straight. as i mentioned up top, bumps dont seem to affect it and the ride quality is very good. brakes have full stopping power although i have to back off when i experience the wobble. not very safe for a number of reasons.

havent had it to the shop yet but if it turns out that all components check out, would a steering stabilizer help? are they relevant to 2wd suspensions? im thinking that a ball joint, idler arm or pitman arm may be the culprit but my experience with performing a diagnosis and/or affecting the repair myself is behind me these days. i would just like a general idea so when i bring it to the shop i can speak the language.

thanks
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:48 AM   #2
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

Put me down for $10 on warped front rotor.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:30 PM   #3
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

second that
Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Put me down for $10 on warped front rotor.
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:50 PM   #4
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

Or uneven brake lining buildup on the brake disc. May be more common than warped discs.

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Old 05-16-2011, 04:18 PM   #5
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

interesting. i would expect to feel the brake pedal pulse more if one was warped.

i dont see any buildup and the rotors dont look scored or anything.

ill put the brake shop on the list of places i need to go.

so if im thinking brakes, does the proportioning valve meter out brake fluid left to right in addition to front and rear? if so, and it were failing or not set properly, could that cause a wobble?

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Old 05-16-2011, 04:43 PM   #6
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

You may not see a buildup of brake material of the the disc. It could be only a few microns thick - just enough to change the coefficient of friction at one place on the disc. When that spot passes under the pad, it has more friction and can pull the vehicle to one side. It isn't thick enough to feel in the brake pedal, just in the vehicle movement and steering wheel.

Caused by getting the brakes hot (long downhill or ??) and stopping and keeping the pads against the hot disc, transferring some material. It usually happens to both discs, and those spots can go in and out of phase, making the effect come and go. Usually more coming than going.

Shops like to say 'warped disc' because everyone accepts that. And turning the disc to 'true' it will remove the material and make the problem go away. So, everyone believes the warped disc story 'cause truing the disc solved the problem.

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Old 05-16-2011, 05:06 PM   #7
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

so if the vehicle is tracking straight and not pulling to either side when this occurs, safe to assume that the buildup is bilateral? despite the wobble it remains straight.

or maybe it is actually pulling but not enought to notice it but enough to throw the suspension out of wack...would explain why its not doing it at low speeds or light braking.

im determined to figure it out even though i wont be fixing it myself. starting to think that i have a brake and a suspension issue at the same time.

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Old 05-16-2011, 07:12 PM   #8
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

From what I gather, modern discs just plain don't warp. (I know, I know, never say never), but brake lining buildup is a problem and could be causing the symptoms you describe.
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Old 05-17-2011, 08:39 AM   #9
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Re: 2003 chevy express 2wd wobble

I had the same thing happen around 25K (7-8 years ago)...too much braking coming down long grades. The wobble started at speeds of 45 mph or more and was even worse when coming downgrade at 45+ mph. (I now downshift for every grade and even when coming off a freeway with a downhill exit).

I took our van to a high-end brake/alignment shop and they tried to eliminate the problem by turning the rotors but warned me that it might not completely solve the problem...it didn't. I replaced the Quigley rotors with slotted rotors and new brake shoes which they installed and that eliminated the problem.

About 15K ago, I was having Ford do a routine service and they checked the front brake pads and told me they needed replacing (I wouldn't doubt that) and so I had them replace them. Everything was fine for a week or so and then we started getting brake squeal just about every time the brakes were applied. I took it back in to Ford and they applied a anti-squeal compound to them and that fixed it...for a week or so. I gave up and decided to live with it.

But a couple months ago, I finally decided that it wasn't worth just living with the squeal. I talked to the shop I usually go to (they put on the slotted rotors) and they told me that you need to turn even brand-new pads to match the rotors (and turn the rotors) to ensure that each pad is making complete contact with the rotor. Otherwise, you can have squeaks. They also put cut a camber on the trailing (I think) edge of the pads. So, I had them replace the pads even though there were a lot of miles left on them...no squeals this time. In addition, although Quigley specs a common pad, they used a comparable heavy-duty pad. We noticed a real improvement in braking after they did the work. Still not great, but much better than after Ford replaced them.

Just replacing the pads when needed might be fine for automobiles but I've learned that more might be needed with our heavy vans.
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:01 PM   #10
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Thumbs up Violent Wobble 2003 Express Van

I have a 2003 Express 2500 Conversion van that had a death wobble. It was horrible and terrifying. One time driving down the rocky mountains I hit the brakes and the violent wobble made me feel like we would lose control coming down a steep hill. That's when I decided to finally get this fixed. So here's my story and I'm testifying here: Here were my attempts:
1st. Got wheels checked for balancing, they said it was fine
Then I went for an alignment check..no problem.
2nd. Got brake drums because of uneven wear. This after reading on forums possible wobble causes. Nope, wobble came back.
3rd. Got new brake calipers in case they were failing. Nope, didn't work.
4th. Got new shocks thinking they were wore out. Nope.
5th. Going to colorado got tires balanced and weights put on the outside. Nope.
6th. Sick and tired of it, had our shop guys look again. They noticed uneven wear on the tires. I said I'm getting new tires and rims, sick and tired of this.
7th. Got new tires and wheels. Problem went away, slamming brakes and no more wobbles. And it feels so good.

The end.

I suggest you get tires really looked at, very closely!
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