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Old 01-28-2018, 07:05 PM   #1
bluesrocker137
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Steering wheel shake at highway speeds

Hey all, first of all, I'm aware this has been discussed before, however when browsing through threads, I've seen two differences: 1. most of the vehicles this has happened to have some form of pre-existing suspension mod, and 2. I've yet to see someone give a solution as to what they did to make this problem go away. If I've missed something, will someone please link in any relevant threads that could help out?

Anyways, I'm the owner of a 2010 GTI, and since day one I've had nothing but problems. From the drive home until now (a year and a half later), I've had a persistent steering wheel shake at highway speeds that makes highway driving anywhere from unpleasant to downright unbearable. It presents itself much like an out of balance tire would, getting progressively worse as speed increases, however I've had this issue on 3 different sets of wheels and tires of varying makes and size. I've had each set re-mounted and road force balanced multiple times to no avail. I've had 5 alignments done, I've had the car thoroughly checked by 3 different shops, a VW dealership, an independent shop specializing in VW and Audi, and a Chevy/Buick dealership that a family member works at, just to lay a fresh set of eyes on the problem. Most recently, I have replaced the control arms, control arm bushings, ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, upper strut mounts, and strut bearings. With my most recent batch of parts and the consequent alignment, we were able to take almost 2 degrees of positive toe out of the front end to bring it within factory specs, and the shaking is slightly better, but definitely still there and prominent on longer highway drives.

I'm at a loss guys. I've sunk several thousand dollars into trying to solve a phantom issue that seemingly no one can diagnose, and I've put myself into a position where it's no longer feasible to even get out of the money pit I've created with this car because of how much I've sunk into it.

Other relevant information would be that everything on the car is stock except for a set of Stoptech rotors and pads, however this issue was there long before those parts were installed, so they cannot logically be the cause. I've got approximately 65,000 miles on the car.

Thank you guys for any and all help, I'm at a loss right now and would be incredibly grateful for any assistance!
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Old 01-28-2018, 08:02 PM   #2
riceburner
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MAN ive got nothing for you unfortunately, mine shakes at ~80 mph since stock and still does after a good few suspension mods... really not pleasant thinking im about to do new LCA's, hub bearings, tie rods, struts, have my wheels balanced/unbent (if any are bent) and still have the same issue :/
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:34 AM   #3
bluesrocker137
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Originally Posted by riceburner View Post
MAN ive got nothing for you unfortunately, mine shakes at ~80 mph since stock and still does after a good few suspension mods... really not pleasant thinking im about to do new LCA's, hub bearings, tie rods, struts, have my wheels balanced/unbent (if any are bent) and still have the same issue :/
I've done everything you've listed except for the hubs/bearings and struts. Literally racked up thousands of dollars of repair bills in the process, no end in sight. Everyone talks about what fun cars GTI's are, and a year and a half later I still haven't even gotten the chance to enjoy mine because of this issue. I thought sure the issue was my stock Detroit wheels which were bent from the previous owner, but got them fixed and it didn't get any better. Then put on a set of Sparco wheels and Michelin PSS tires, no better. Multiple alignments, whole suspension refresh, now on my set of snow tires and still not any better. It's gotten ridiculous. It does sound like we're having a similar issue though, I start feeling the shake coming on at about 60mph, but it gets really bad at ~75-80mph just as you said.
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:00 AM   #4
Carlosfandango
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Steering wheel shake at highway speeds

Could it be play in the steering components?

EDIT: just re read your post and see you’ve eliminated this!


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Old 01-29-2018, 01:13 AM   #5
Carlosfandango
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Steering wheel shake at highway speeds

Have you actually checked the wheel bearings for play? (Unlikely this if you are not getting any noise from them) and What is the condition of the drive shafts? What speed does the shaking start and does it disappear above a certain speed?


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Last edited by Carlosfandango; 01-29-2018 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 01-29-2018, 09:38 AM   #6
riceburner
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To follow up on guy above, I too was thinking of bearings or axles/shafts... It's really about all there is left isn't it? Haha. Warped rotors maybe??

To add info of mine, (but not to threadjack) the shaking goes away somewhere nothing of 80. It sometimes shakes a bit around 60 and up but the concentration is 80.

It is a bummer because our cars should be fun at any speed not just 0-40!

If i get around to hub bearings prior to you and have success I will let you know.. subbed to this thread.

Last edited by riceburner; 01-29-2018 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:20 AM   #7
bluesrocker137
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Originally Posted by Carlosfandango View Post
Have you actually checked the wheel bearings for play? (Unlikely this if you are not getting any noise from them) and What is the condition of the drive shafts? What speed does the shaking start and does it disappear above a certain speed?


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I've been told by the current shop I'm using that the axles/drive shafts look good, that was his initial guess on what my problem was. Wheel bearings are my next part I'm considering replacing actually. I've done a quick check just trying to get movement out of my tire when I had the car jacked up to replace some screws on my under body shielding, but I have yet to check the bearings themselves. I had the same thought though, if a bearing/bearings were bad, I'd certainly think I would be getting the typical rumbling and roaring noise before I got a vibration.

The shaking itself starts at a bout 55-60, gets bad at 75-80, and gets intolerable as you speed up from there. By about 90-95, the car no longer feels planted at all and actually feels downright unsafe. Never disappears, just gets progressively worse. The fastest I've ever had the guts to get it up to was 125, and at that speed the steering wheel wanted to about shake out of your hands.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:25 AM   #8
bluesrocker137
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Originally Posted by riceburner View Post
To follow up on guy above, I too was thinking of bearings or axles/shafts... It's really about all there is left isn't it? Haha. Warped rotors maybe??

To add info of mine, (but not to threadjack) the shaking goes away somewhere nothing of 80. It sometimes shakes a bit around 60 and up but the concentration is 80.

It is a bummer because our cars should be fun at any speed not just 0-40!

If i get around to hub bearings prior to you and have success I will let you know.. subbed to this thread.
I suppose a bent rotor is possible, but this also happened on my stock rotors as well as my upgraded set. I also get absolutely no additional vibration when on the brakes like a bent rotor would usually do. Since installing my Stoptech rotors, I've taken them back off and wirebrushed the hub underneath a second time for good measure just to make sure they seated properly as well, and no improvement whatsoever.

I saw on another thread that the issue was actually in the steering rack itself.. that's my worst fear at this point. As you said, I've replaced a good portion of the steering components in my car right now. I'm running out of options, and money at that!
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:27 AM   #9
Carlosfandango
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Steering wheel shake at highway speeds

It may sound obvious and you have probably done so but have you tried swapping the rear wheels with the front?

EDIT: yes you have!


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Old 01-29-2018, 10:35 AM   #10
riceburner
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hey, this guy (op) discloses it wound up being his swaybar mounts after a ton of back and forths.

A lot of people in this thread describe replacing all the same shit we've been talking about to almost no avail. The only other thing that seems worthwhile may be control arm bushings - upgrading to stiffer ones that is, which offer less deflection. One other guy mentions steering rack solved his issue.

I'm really on the hunt now and will keep you posted if i find other solutions! Cant wait to have a car thats enjoyable to drive again

http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showth...t=98417&page=3

This guy found it was one of his axles
http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94073

So as of now, our only options seem to be sway bar mounts, control arm bushings (Stiffer), steering rack, axles

Last edited by riceburner; 01-29-2018 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:07 PM   #11
bluesrocker137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riceburner View Post
hey, this guy (op) discloses it wound up being his swaybar mounts after a ton of back and forths.

A lot of people in this thread describe replacing all the same shit we've been talking about to almost no avail. The only other thing that seems worthwhile may be control arm bushings - upgrading to stiffer ones that is, which offer less deflection. One other guy mentions steering rack solved his issue.

I'm really on the hunt now and will keep you posted if i find other solutions! Cant wait to have a car thats enjoyable to drive again

http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showth...t=98417&page=3

This guy found it was one of his axles
http://www.golfmk6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94073

So as of now, our only options seem to be sway bar mounts, control arm bushings (Stiffer), steering rack, axles
I've already upgraded to the ECS aluminum LCA's with poly bushings, no help with the shaking, but my turn in does feel a lot nicer.

I'll definitely read over those threads. Thanks man, keep me posted!

EDIT: Some of the first thread sounds identical to me. Shaking is worse going around turns, and on center steering often feels sloppy. I've never even thought about the sway bar or end links being a possible culprit. Next time my car's in the shop though, I'm definitely getting them checked out. I'd do it myself, but being in the middle of winter and not having a garage to work in... I'm still dreading thinking of the steering rack being the culprit though.

Last edited by bluesrocker137; 01-29-2018 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:32 PM   #12
riceburner
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For sure man, I'm already on powerflex rear control arm mounts but am yet to upgrade the front bushings.

Havent touched swaybars yet so may be adding that to my list...

And did upgrade my endlinks to superpros. Was shaking before and after.

To side with you, I'm also kind of sloppy on the centerline (car wanders alot in the lane), my steering wheel hangs just a bit to the right, but the car isn't pulling unless i'm along the incline of the road. POSSIBLY i know what youre talking about going around long sweeping turns. So sounds like we may well be in the same boat as many others LOL. What a cluster!

I'm thinking of the ECS front sway bar mount kit; i hate replacing crap with OEM, may as well upgrade as I go along. Either this or pony up another $100 or so for a full upgrade sway bar, which I might just do since the sway of the car seemingly needs improvement bad mounts or not lol

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-ecs-part...t/005787ecs01/
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:00 PM   #13
bluesrocker137
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Originally Posted by riceburner View Post
For sure man, I'm already on powerflex rear control arm mounts but am yet to upgrade the front bushings.

Havent touched swaybars yet so may be adding that to my list...

And did upgrade my endlinks to superpros. Was shaking before and after.

To side with you, I'm also kind of sloppy on the centerline (car wanders alot in the lane), my steering wheel hangs just a bit to the right, but the car isn't pulling unless i'm along the incline of the road. POSSIBLY i know what youre talking about going around long sweeping turns. So sounds like we may well be in the same boat as many others LOL. What a cluster!

I'm thinking of the ECS front sway bar mount kit; i hate replacing crap with OEM, may as well upgrade as I go along. Either this or pony up another $100 or so for a full upgrade sway bar, which I might just do since the sway of the car seemingly needs improvement bad mounts or not lol

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-ecs-part...t/005787ecs01/
I feel you there. I hate replacing without upgrading, and usually upgraded is cheaper than OEM anyways with our cars.

The Eibach upgraded front sway bar looks pretty cheap, although I have no clue how good their VW parts may be. When I used to own a Pontiac a few years back, their parts for GM cars were pretty good. Of course, I'd want to have my sway bars checked out before splurging on new parts at the moment anyways, but replacing the sway bar setup does seem a hell of a lot cheaper than doing a steering rack or axles.

When I say it gets worse around long sweeping turns, I'm talking about when I make a turn on the highway, it seems to get worse with the wheel movement, and for whatever reason, turning to the right seems worse than turning to the left. When I give more steering input, it almost seems to calm the shaking down though, like if I'm driving for fun and take a sharp turn at speed. Your issues seem pretty damn identical to mine though dude. It's nice to know I'm at least not the only one with this mess!
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Old 01-29-2018, 01:13 PM   #14
riceburner
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Ah yes i know what you are talking about now, light long fast speed turns, like when the highway is curving, i get it real bad one way or the other. not all too bad around onramps, which i usually take at twice the posted limit

as far as the swaybar goes, i can see how having soft bar, soft (or worn out) mounts could lead to more play and bouncing around at speed.
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