What will cause a steering wheel shimmy at 60-65mph other than tires, rims, balance, front end alignment?

Asked by Oct 28, 2016 at 12:50 AM about the 2016 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2016 4Runner SR5 Premium with 17000 miles on it.  Since about
2000 miles, it developed a shimmy in the steering wheel at about 60-62mph
up to 65mph.  Then, goes away above that.  Sometimes minimal shaking,
other times it's a hard shaking of the wheel.  My wife and I feel shaking in the
seat of the pants maybe 45-60mph at times.  Vehicle has been back to
Toyota Dealership numerous times for this problem, starting with the 5000
mile service.  Have had two front end alignments, three tire balance with last
being a road force balance.  I'm told they use an adapter to balance the tires.  
They replaced the original Dunlops with Goodyear Wanglers and I had the
same problem.  They replaced the Wanglers more recently with Bridgestone.   
While the Bridgestones have provided the best ride yet, I am now getting a
shimmy once again after two days since the new tires were put on.  First day,
no shake.  Second day, a hint of shaking.  A week later, shaking very
evident.  Each and every time, the new tires seem to fix the problem for 1-2
days, then a slight shimmy starts and after a week or so, gets worse.  I've
opened a complaint with Toyota Customer Support.  The service manager at
the local dealership did confirm a shimmy after test drive the first time before
replacing the Dunlop tires with Wanglers.  Thereafter, they tell me they can't
feel the shimmy.  However, I do and it gets worse as time goes on.  The
dealer pulled a set of Bridgestone wheels off a new vehicle on the lot and put
them on my vehicle for a test drive.  I couldn't detect a shimmy and they let
me keep the tires on overnight and actually for several days.  I told the
service manager I could barely detect a shimmy that morning and knew it
was there but not worth the bother if it didn't get worse.  So, the dealer went
ahead and ordered new Bridgestone tires and put them on my wheels.  I got
the same problem starting out with no shimmy, then hardly detectable
shimmy, and now a strong shimmy after more than a week of driving.  It
seems to fade away for awhile and comes back.  When it shimmies, it's
always between 60-65mph and it seems the worst is at 63mph.  It's almost
like there is some sort of steering sensor that puts tension on the steering
wheel to control "directional" control of the front end and something goes
haywire with it.  I am completely lost with new vehicles and computer-
controlled systems.  The best I can say is that I'm convinced at this time that
it sure isn't the tires or balance causing the problem.  I feel pretty sure it's not
the rims.  The dealer shared with me that they checked the runout on the
rotors, checked the brake pads, the suspension, and struts and can't find
anything wrong.  In researching online, I've come across many articles
concerning quite a few problems with earlier 4Runners having a Shimmy and
a couple recent ones - most tied to how the tires are balanced.  Since I don't
believe it's a balance problem (it comes and goes), I'm wondering if there is
some sort of defect or I have a defective part in the steering or suspension
system.  I'm really tired of going back to the dealership (I've been to two
Toyota Dealerships) and while they think the problem is fixed, it's not.  
Hopefully, there is an expert Toyota Rep reading this and taking note and
might have some ideas other than balance.  If we have any independents in
the Gallatin, Hendersonville, or Nashville, TN area who is willing to have a
once over on my vehicle, I would consider paying for the fix at this point.  
Lets discount tire balance unless you really believe both dealerships are that
incompetent to properly balance the tires.  I personally think the tires are
balanced properly and don't think this is a tire balance issue.  I also have this
sensation that there is not good directional control and I've also pointed that
out to the dealership.  I read somewhere that the Lexus GX-460 had some
sort of steering tensioner issue and had a TB for recall to fix it.  I'm
wondering if the same is going on here.  I'd really like to get this problem
fixed as I'm happy with the vehicle otherwise.  Thanks, Frank

6 Answers

26,605

You've gone through three sets of tires, but are you still mounting them on the original wheel rims? I've read on other forums that people who have had this problem got rid of the factory rims and the shimmy went away as well, and some of them had also gone through 2-3 sets of tires like you, before fixing the problem with new rims.

254,665

Ken's right, so you say you had another set of rims on the truck and hardly noticed a shimmy for a week, but then you put on the original rims and tires and shimmy is back. Hmmm. There are companies that will check the rims for you, for runout and balance. They must remove the tires and put the wheel on a machine.

I am having the same issue with my 2015 4Runner. As you explained above, I went through that process. Brand new tires and same problem. Toyota rep came out and road with me and said he didn't feel a thing. Well, he was about 250lbs (big and tall) plus the service manager about 240lbs and me 115 lbs. while they were in the car I didn't feel a lot of shaking/shimming etc... however, he said it was the tires. If we bought a Michelin tires it will reduce the shaking. I've been going through this since 5,000 service. Time for a class action lawsuit.

I am having this same issue currently. I have a 2017 SR5 premium. I was planning on ordering the black TRD wheels for the 4runner but they were on back order so I plasti- dipped the stock wheels at about 500 miles on the vehicle. I had no issues until the 5000 mile service. After the rotation I noticed a slight shake in the front end. It was not all the time and when it happened it seemed to happen between 55-65 mph. Most of the time right around 58mph. I thought that the plasti-dip may have cause the balance of the wheels to be off so I had them balanced by a 3rd party as the service dept made a mistake and told me that balancing was not part of toyota care. I drove on the new balance for about 2 days and the shake came back. I took it back to the 3rd party and again had them balanced. Again after a few days the shake was back. I have since been to the toyota dealer 4 times for the same issue. Initially, they told me it was due to the plastic-dip causing the tire to move on the rim. They marked both the tire and the rim. After 3 days the shake came back. The tire did not move on the rim. Every time I take it back the front tires are out of balance. Right now they have me on a different set of rims and tires. I can feel a slight shake, but not as bad. I'm interested to see what a couple of days will do. The past 2 occurrences have started approximately 2-3 days after the rebalance and directly following entering an interstate highway from a clover leaf. I thought I messed up with the plastic-dip, but I've found a couple of forums regarding toyota 4runners having tire balancing issues EXACTLY like mine and no forums regarding plastic-dipped wheels causing reoccurring tire balance issues.

I have the same issue with a 2016 TRD pro. Going to the dealer this week but your comments don't sound promising. I feel the wobble when driving and a bad wobble in the steering wheel when braking but only sometimes. Sometimes it almost feels like the vibration is coming from the center of the truck. Discount tire just rotated and said that they are in balance. Any answers or solutions would be helpful.

As fate would have it, I take my 2016 4Runner SR5 Premium back to the dealer tomorrow (in Gallatin, TN) where they have the regional service technician visiting from Cincinnati, Ohio to check it out (again). I almost have 36,000 miles on the vehicle and now discovering that heavy acceleration seems to bring on the shaking more and thereafter when I let up, going 65mph, I have a strong wobble/shimmy. If I'm unable to get it resolved this time, I plan to take the "Dispute" route offered in their Warranty handbook. I like the comment above from NoTOYOagain, stating "Time for a class action lawsuit." Thanks for the responses. It's helpful to know there are others out there having similar problems and getting the same rhetoric from the Dealerships.

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