98 Camry shakes only at 50 mph, not tires or wheels


I just bought a 98 Toyota Camry, and it has a shimmy between 48 and 53 mph. You can’t feel it at all below 48, and it gets almost totally better above 53, it’s just that range right at 50 that is bad. The car has 104K miles, and is on the original struts. I’ve ruled out tires by getting 4 brand new ones (nice Bridgestones), same shake. Also just replaced all 4 wheels, exact same shake. Can’t seem to tell whether it is from the front end or rear. Firestone says I need new shocks, but they seem to be pretty good from the bounce test. And Car-X says it could be a bent axle. Any ideas?

What engine?


4 cylinder, LE

One area to check is the intermediate axle shaft bearing. If you look at the axle shaft assembly on the right side, you’ll see the intermediate axle shaft come out of the transaxle and terminate into the shaft bearing, which is mounted to the side of the engine. Then the right side halfshaft is inserted into this intermediate shaft bearing. Try grabbing the intermediate axle shaft, and try pushing it up and down. There should be no play in this axle shaft. If there is, the intermediate axle shaft bearing is worn.


First, I would take Tester’s suggestion seriously. That said, I don’t accept the bounce test with today’s cars. Back in the 70’s & 80’s it worked well, but with today’s suspensions, you can’t count on it.

Is this something I should be able to find just looking under the hood, or would I need to put it up on ramps and look at from beneath?

Something else I’ve noticed is that the shake is more pronounced when I’m just maintaining speed, coasting, or braking. It’s less noticeable when I’m accelerating at the same speed and putting heavier load on the engine.