I finally got my high-speed vibration problem fixed, but after a nasty
enough problem I decided to warn people about it. On Sunday afternoon,
while everyone else was having fun at Palo Alto, I was experiencing the joy
of having my left front shock absorber/suspension arm assembly rip loose
from the firewall while I was driving. I got off the road without incident,
and got towed home.
Upon inspection, I found that of the four bolts holding the shock absorber
to the firewall, three had sheared at the firewall and one had stripped
threads. My best bet is that the previous owner (no, I am not mad ... it
could have happened to anyone), overtorqued one of the bolts. The retaining
hardware on the shock absorber will let the bolts go spin freely and still
hold in place, so it went unnoticed. That caused my high speed vibration
problem, tightly coupled into the steering. This vibration problem then
work hardened the remaining bolts holding the shock absorber in place,
until finally, Sunday, one sheared, and the other two failed in quick
succession. I Helicoiled the holes, replaced the bolts, and things are
working (and much quieter) again.
My advice: check that the bolts on your shock absorbers are intact
periodically. Those bolt retainers can hide problems that you would see
with normal hardware, and can come damn close to getting you killed.
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