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Strange Shimmy and Shake while cruising

New to the site, just bought my second ranger (first was a 94 that I haven’t had for a long time). This one is a 2000 XLT Supercab with the 3.0L Flexfuel engine. I bought it used last week with 198k miles on it for $1750. The person that I bought it from told me there was an issue while driving it and I am trying to figure out if its something I can/should fix or not to worry about it. I purchased the vehicle simply to haul brush/leaves or the occasional trip to home depot, so I do not plan to drive it more than once every week or two maybe once a month I dunno.

The issue I am trying to solve is this:

While driving with the pedal in just enough to maintain cruising speed (or with cruise control on) it will start shimmying real bad, the whole truck. It quits when you let off the gas and when you give it gas again its fine for a while, but eventually will do it again. Time between instances can be as short as immediately when you give it gas again or it won’t do it again for the rest of the current trip. I also feel like it has very little power, for example, I was driving home for Christmas the other day and on the highway with the cruise control set at 70.375 mph it would drop to passing gear for EVERY hill, regardless of how steep the hill was. When I first got it on the highway last week I felt like it wouldn’t reach 65 without using passing gear and certainly does not feel like it is capable of accelerating up a hill without dropping gears…this may be expected for a 150 hp truck, but I certainly hope not.

Things I’ve replaced in an attempt to fix this that did not work:

PCV valve
spark plugs
plug wires
fuel filter
Engine Oil (it was time anyway)
EGR valve (I created an exhaust leak in this process and am currently awaiting a new tube/hoses)

Things that don’t appear to need replaced, but I need to verify (they had every receipt from maintenance in the glove box!)

Air filter (spotless, looks like it was recently replaced)
MAF (looks clean, maybe replaced recently)

I’m at a loss as to what else I can try or what is causing this issue. I will say that I think I kinked the egr tube when removing the valve, its making a sound that sounds like an exhaust leak and started throwing a P1401 code. I have a slight hope that replacing the tube/hoses might still fix the issue if that is what it was since I broke that when replacing the valve, but I don’t think that’s the issue. Any ideas?

My guess is a worn ball joint that causes the shimmying. If that’s it, that can be a safety issue because if it breaks at speed, it could cause the vehicle to flip.

Could it be that you mean more of a bucking feel instead of shimmying? In that case, it might be a problem with the engine causing both problems that you mention.

It feels just like if you had a bent wheel or something like that, the seat, steering wheel shake, not a real fast vibration, but a steady shake. It also will not gain speed while it is doing it. I’m not sure what a “bucking feel” is, i’ve never described anything with t hose terms, can you explain what you mean by that?

A little more information, I drove it to Oreilly’s and was able to recreate it at will. It does not happen between 0 and 40 ever, from 40-50 it does not happen under anything above light acceleration, light acceleration or maintaining speed it happens. It has also happened between 50 and 60, but I did not test that tonight as the speedlimit was only 40 on the road I was on (yes I had to break the speed limit slightly in order to test this issue).

The shaking feeling I felt more in my seat AND gas pedal than I did in the steering wheel. Perhaps it is a ball joint/u joint afterall? Can I test these items without raising the vehicle?

Is there anything unusual with the tires on this truck? Are they among the sizes recommended for use in the owner’s manual? Are they the same exact size that came with the truck when it was new, from the manufacturer?

The reason I ask is b/c if unusual tire dimensions are used, esp extra wide tires, this can be a symptom.

I’ll have to check, but based on the fact that the guy I bought it from has every service record and was an older gentleman who only used it for hauling brush and the like I don’t think he’d have had who ever put his tires on do anything other than stock, I’ll check it out in the AM thought.

Unless I miss my guess, this supercab also has an intermediate driveshaft with a carrier bearing. And I’m certain it has two or three U-joints (three with the intermediate shaft). Consider these to be potential sources of that shake. Especially that carrier bearing.

It feels just like if you had a bent wheel or something like that, the seat, steering wheel shake, not a real fast vibration, but a steady shake. It also will not gain speed while it is doing it. I'm not sure what a "bucking feel" is, i've never described anything with t hose terms, can you explain what you mean by that?

A bad tire can give a wobble, and that would tend to be rather consistent. So, if the shake rate is directly tied to the speed, it could be a tire. OK about the bucking feel thing then, scratch that possibility based on your further comments.

Based on your next post, I don’t think your problem would be from a bad front tire or a ball joint since you’d likely feel that in the steering wheel. That intermediate driveshaft seems like a good thing to check.

This is why I hate working on cars lol

I drive it again today and I put my hand on the seat and didn’t really feel anything in the seat, but rather I think the pedal/floor board was causing my leg to shake…I do feel it in the steering wheel a little I’m going to get under it when I get home and see if I find anything, I just had it inspected last week I’d think they’d have told me if my joints were bad :frowning:

One more thought. Rear drum brakes might not give you a pulsating feel as front disc brakes do if they are out of tolerance. Because, the rear brake shoes have a spring that provides some forgiveness for a drum that is not concentric, whereas the front brake pads do not if a rotor is out of spec. Therefore you might be going down the road at various speeds with a brake shoe just barely touching a high spot in the brake drum. Then all the sudden a shoe catches the drum and starts bouncing back and forth against the drum. I don’t recall you mentioning that applying the brakes would alter the vibration.

I think I feel it while braking but ever so slightly

I wrote up a huge post with pictures and hit “post comment” and it went into the abyss and I didn’t feel like re-writing it lol everything suspensionwise looked fine to me, no play in any joints and the drive shaft is not rusty or dirty or anything.

By your description you get this shimmy is always associated with acceleration or at least maintaining speed and it stops when you come off the gas. This is classic for bad engine/transmission mounts or bad U-joint, or if its 4WD a bad inner CV joint. Or some combination of the above.

But that is also more of a “whole truck” shimmy. If you get it in the steering wheel then you really need someone who knows what they are doing to check ball joints and tie rods.

Anything clearly associated with braking is going to point to uneven rotor surface and/or a tie rod/ball joint issue.

Obviously you might have more than one thing going on.

ALright I got under it and I was not able to budge ANYTHING under there, no joints, ball or U…I took some pictures though:

General Pics of the truck:" />

Engine compartment:

Passenger side suspension pieces:




Driver Side Suspension Parts:







And finally, I do have a slow leak in the rear passenger tire I assume caused by this:

I suppose I’ll look at buying new tires in the near future.

Oh and I almost forgot, during the process of turning the wheels I managed to develop a powersteering leak, upon further investigation it was determined the lid was only half on:

I know this is a relatively old post, but are you still experiencing this issue? I own a 1992 Acura Legend and I am experiencing similar issues in my front tires and seems to be coming from the right one. I have a 5 speed standard transaxle and it seems like it only starts to occur after cruising over 2000 RPM, usually on the highway. It only shakes and creates its noise while on the gas. When I let off the throttle, press the clutch or even throw the transmission into neutral without the clutch, the shaking stops, but as soon as power is being applied to the wheels again, the shaking continues.
Note: For me, it only seems to occur after the transmission itself becomes warm/hot due to driving with the input at such a fast speed. It may not be the transmission, maybe something with a worn out wheel hub or a bearing getting too hot. However, I’m not sure if this issue has anything to do with the transmission and if it is, I don’t know if it has to to with the input, output, or even the actual gear assembly. A mechanic said that my throw-out bearing is bad and is causing it, but would this cause it ONLY with power going to the wheels or would it be constant if it where that? I have had my right half-shaft replaced after the issue started and the issue continues, the shaft needed to be replaced anyway due to a torn boot. If you have found where your issue is, maybe your resolution could help me locate me issue.

Ok guys let’s not get the nuts an bolts mixed As stated while using the crude control and approaching a steep hill the speed starts to drop to a point where one starts to hear the snap pop and crack maybe you begin to feel the vibrating and the coffee starts to jump up out of the cup sitting in its holder . the speed drops Under the cruse control set speed. (A few miles per hour) When finally it down shifts and engine has additional fuel and power. Your over the top of the hill and everything is normal again. Hmm the fuel is controlled by the computer the sign timing which has to be advanced while going up a hill is also controlled by the computer. All this happens while under a load. And bear in mind that a worn out engine with 300’000 miles will.have all kinds of problems. Being old fashion I’d check first to see how much compression each cylinder has . then have the engine put on a diagnostic analyser to see if the computer is causing the misfire.

Wecome to CarTalk. You are new so the text in the upper right of the last post shows the time of the last post … you are replying to a 6 year old post. This truck is likely long gone to the scrap yard.

And the OP’s truck had 200,000 miles, not 300K. But I agree, a compression would have been in order.

Well , I would hope the original poster has solved this 6 year old problem .
crude control ?

It actually ended up being fouled injectors having those your place for about $600 and the truck still runs perfectly fine today my uncle drives it

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