Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Handling, suspension, and brake tuning discussions
BustedVibe
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Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Tue May 24, 2016 5:50 pm

Hi,

I have owned my Vibe (2004 Base /Automatic) for just shy of a year now, and something that has been bothering me from the start, is the way the vehicle behavior changes when in-gear but off throttle.

There are times when the vehicle rolls very smoothly, like I feel it should. I can get in and start her up, depress the brake and leave park, then let off. She will instantly start rolling at a low speed, it feels very smooth, just like I would expect. This is especially noticed in my parking area, which is on a downward sloping gravel surface (slopes down and towards the house). When the car runs like expected it can pull out of the parking area no problem...

But there are many times where the car will virtually just "sit" there, even on relatively flat surfaces, or will advanced forward at a very slow speed (sometimes the speed increases as motion continues). In situations like this, no amount of getting on/off the brake or shifting in and out of Drive gear seem to have any influence. Also, when this happens I can usually turn the steering wheel left/right and it seems to help the vehicle to get moving (if it is just sitting there).


I've described the problem to my mechanic, although he doesn't seem to be too sure about it either. He did test my front wheels during an oil change a few months ago, and said it seems like the drivers side caliper might be sticking. So at that point I took it in to him (good thing) to have the brakes looked at, and calipers cleaned, etc. He said the front pads looked pretty good and didn't look like they were wearing unevenly, so he ended up just replacing my rear drum shoes (which were almost gone, hehe).


I have personally seen the behavior change while driving. It becomes apparent when the car "loosens up" when rolling up to corners and stop signs and then letting off the brakes, etc. Otherwise, in comparison it FEELS like something is slowing the car down, or introducing some kind of drag, but it doesn't seem to be pointing at stuck calipers or anything? I asked my mechanic if it could be something weird like the transmission, but he said no. I also asked if the rear shoes could be sticking or something, but again he didn't seem to think so.

I'm kind of out of ideas but this is really bugging me.. Could it be a bad bearing, or poor lubrication? Does anyone have ideas on stuff I could have checked out? Its annoying for sure, but I'm also worried about long term mechanical implications as far as damage to parts etc might go. I suppose if one of the calipers still are sticking (even after they'd been cleaned?) it could possibly mean both actually are, and that would explain "even" looking pad wear? The parking brake appears to function normally and I don't believe it is involved in the issue, but I've never asked him to check it either (I would assume he would have after replacing my rear shoes?)
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby vibrologist » Wed May 25, 2016 7:03 am

Hmmm. Reading through your description I thought you were speaking of something normal for automatic transmission drive trains. At the same time you feel it is a problem or hinting on one.
The forward creep is an effect of the torque converter. At idle there should be just enough forward creep to make the car roll so little that even a rock or shallow dip in the road can stop it. If the idle is too high it will make it roll more. If the idle is uneven you get uneven tugging on the drive wheels. Turning on the AC will raise the idle. You changed the alternator to a high output alternator. I can imagine this too affects the idle as well, but I don't know.

Is your idle low enough, about 800 to 900? is it steady? Check with the car in P, AC off.

If you haven't gone through a tune up you may consider it now. Get new plugs and clean the throttle body. Replace the PCV valve. Consider replacing the intake manifold gasket and TB gasket as well. At your mileage they are due or have been replaced by a previous owner. I seriously doubt that if he or she didn't even care about the tranny fluid.
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BustedVibe
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Wed May 25, 2016 7:42 am

When the engine is hot I seem to idle in the normal range of around 750RPM. The car does idle high from a cold start but that settles down. The alternator work is just recent so pretty sure that is unrelated.

Just for a reference point. All the cars I've ever driven (automatics), have exhibited a smooth, low-speed creep under their own power. My mother owns a Saab that does this, my Stratus had no problems creeping out from the same parking spot, a LeBaron I used to drive likewise had a nice creep to it. It is just so annoying because I can detect something has changed with how the car is riding. Like if I slow roll through a stop sign, the second I let off the brake the car doesn't pick back up at all when this is happening. Previously mentioned cars all had a "continuity" of momentum in the same scenario.

Generally when I release the brakes, it "feels" like I have released the brakes. And then car will advance on its own. I will try to pay attention to my idle ranges today while sitting at stop lights and such. The throttle body has been cleaned as well. My mechanic commented it was "not as bad as he expected" when he did it too. Says he has seen a LOT worse.

I just have this really strange feeling it may be brake or wheel related in some way. Can't explain why, but I can't think of anything else on the engine that would cause a sudden change.

My pads do squeak although not as often as they used to since having the front cleaned. Mechanic said some brakes are just noisy like that because of vibrations etc.

Prior to being cleaned the squeaking had shown up mostly during rainy / humid times and was very loud / bad when in reverse. It all but went away during the winter after I had the calipers cleaned though.

There are times when rolling out of the parking area, without the brakes on, I do get some squeaky noises as well. And also some intermittent "chirping" you can detect if you listen to hard enough when braking at local road speeds to go around a corner or something.


I'm not sure if its all related somehow though, but I can tell this is going to be one of those problems which will drive me nuts until I get it fixed. Right up there with some throttle-lurch I experience when accelerating even gently from a slow speed (taking a corner) or more generally a stopped position.
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ehoff121
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby ehoff121 » Wed May 25, 2016 1:53 pm

Was the brake fluid changed since you've owned it?

This is a wild guess and I'm not a professional, but could it be that the pads are not coming off the rotors fast enough due to "sticky" (i.e., pre-frozen) caliper pistons? If both calipers have the problem, there wouldn't be uneven wear :geek: .

There isn't anything pulling the pads apart after you release the brake pedal; pads are supposed to "float" on the rotor until the piston compresses them together against the rotor.

Raybestos sells aftermarket brake pad clips that keep the pads from dragging: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B5PINV2

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BustedVibe
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Wed May 25, 2016 6:09 pm

That's interesting. I've never asked for a complete brake fluid flushing, so I suppose its possible its pretty dirty in there. I'm not sure what all is involved in changing the rear shoes or taking the fronts apart and how much fluid is actually lost, but I would assume some clean fluid was added back in. I'll ask about it the next time I see my mechanic.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby vibrologist » Wed May 25, 2016 8:02 pm

I assume it has been done with your brake work but I mention it anyway: The calipers must be able to slide. That allows the pads to get off the rotor's surfaces. If the sliders have some corrosion on them it could prevent them from sliding. I have not taken my Vibe's brakes apart but I did that with a Mazda Protege. Not only the sliders had corrosion (sandpaper fixed that) there was also rust on the outside of a rubber sleeve. That rust pushed the rubber against the slide tube and kept it from moving. I pulled the rubber sleeve out of the hole and sandpapered the bore clean.

Before you tear into it just check if the calipers can be moved in and out easily by hand.
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BustedVibe
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Wed May 25, 2016 8:37 pm

I'll consider looking into that. Although its something I would expect (or hope) my mechanic would have mentioned when he took them apart to clean them, if they were become damaged in that way, etc.


I should probably provide some more, possibly related information.
When the car was test driven, my brother and I both noted a vibration in the brake pedal. It is still there, though perhaps not as pronounced as it once was.

In addition to the issues with creeping that bugged me, what really prompted me to get it into the shop to be looked at, was an odd shimmy / shaking motion that was localized to the steering wheel. The first time it happened, it was between 45 - 60 mph on a relatively flat paved road no more than 1 - 3 years old. It scared the hell out of me, I actually started pulling over because I was afraid the car was going to fall apart or that something had gone seriously wrong with the wheels. I'd noted it on other roads since that time. It had no discernable pattern, but typically it seemed to show up after the car had sat for a while etc. It may show up on the way to point A, but then on the way back on the same road, it would not happen again. The frequency decreased in the winter months but it would still show up from time to time. I have had it happen 1 time since the weather started warming up.

Not sure if this is related to brakes or what not. Since my brakes were initially cleaned, it has only happened perhaps... 2 or maybe 3 times total? The frequency is almost non existent now, but I wonder if it again, could be pointing to a long term problem with the calipers or something related, which the cleaning helped improve for the time being.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby vibrologist » Thu May 26, 2016 5:42 am

If you get a steering wheel wobble at very low speeds it is most likely because of tire deformation. the coming and going of wobbles can also be because of tires. they all have slightly different diameters and that makes the wobbles add up to each other and then subtract of each other. Inspect the tires. If you find nothing obvious rotate the tires and see if something changes.

The drums could be out of round and you may feel that in the brake pedal.
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BustedVibe
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Thu May 26, 2016 5:47 am

I suppose it could be the tires, but this has happened on 2 different sets. The ones purchased with the vehicle, and then new ones that were put on more recently.

This wasn't just a wobble though, it felt violent like, you can see the wheel shaking if you take your hands off, and if you held the wheel your arms would shake a bit too. Does that sound like a tire issue? The new ones weren't cheap and were $100 a piece. It hasn't really happened recently, and when it does it tends to be more subdued. But I still don't think the new tires had anything to do with the improvement.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby vibrologist » Thu May 26, 2016 6:34 am

I think you can eliminate the tires since they are new.

Did you get new rotors or did they get turned on a lathe? If you got new ones, where they good quality? I think I would take a second look at the brakes.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Thu May 26, 2016 6:42 am

I haven't gotten new rotors yet. Since nothing needed to be done at the time. I think he checked them for cracks at least. IIRC he might have mentioned concern about whether there was enough there to resurface them if they needed it.

I was kind of hoping to put it off until I had the money to do it all in one go and just put on new Rotors, Pads, and Calipers.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby vibrologist » Thu May 26, 2016 8:59 am

The flow of our conversation would point to the rotors as the source of the issue. It's a judgement call if you want to wait. I would go ahead now in order to protect the new tires from going uneven.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Thu May 26, 2016 9:56 am

Thanks for your advice. I guess if I have to, I'll put off the next stage of my audio upgrade.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby lannvouivre » Fri May 27, 2016 7:12 am

Did you balance your tires? Violent steering wheel shaking is usually a symptom of an out-of-balance front tire. All tires need to be balanced regardless of age due to variation in manufacturing.

Have you ruled out an issue with an obstruction in one of the brake hoses causing the brakes to drag and overheat the rotors?

Did you get high quality brake parts? Cheap rotors love to deform pretty much instantly.

Are you making sure the wheel hub faces are clean prior to installation of the rotors?
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Fri May 27, 2016 9:57 am

Hi,

The tires were balanced and alignment was done when I had them installed at a dealership (the install was free and got a deal on the alignment since I bought from Tire Rack and shipped them there).


I don't know the age of the current rotors/calipers/pads or anything else connected to them. No replacement work has been done, only the cleaning to make sure the calipers weren't sticking. The current rotor faces are pretty horrible though, rust spots and all that :lol:


I talked to my mechanic yesterday and I will have it in the shop within the next 1 - 2 weeks to have new rotors and pads installed. That's gonna cost me around $200 for parts and labor as it is; I can't exactly afford "quality" at those prices.

This is not the kind of job I want to make my first serious forray into car mechanics DIY either.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby lannvouivre » Sat May 28, 2016 5:16 pm

For quality front brake parts, you can do POWER STOP KOE2316 via rockauto for like $75. You could also possibly replace only the rotors, but you would need to sand the brake pad friction surfaces flat. RAYBESTOS 96934R x2 for$18/rotor.

Hoses are $11 each, and you'd only need two. If you have a collapsed hose, you might have pulling to either side depending on whether you're applying or releasing the brakes. I was having problems with steering wheel shake from rotors getting messed up, and it turned out to be a bad hose (factory from 2006).

Replacing the lines is really simple and easy. I think my boyfriend could do them no problem, and he has basically only ever added coolant and checked engine oil level. You'd only have trouble if you got shot in the eye with brake fluid while bleeding them.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Sun May 29, 2016 1:06 pm

Any benefit for going with the higher performance kit? (I forget the number its like $125 and has drilled / vented rotors).
My dad says he can show me how to do stuff (I used to help him as a kid so I At least know he knows how to do some stuff) but then again it might end in a yelling match for not doing it the right way :lol:
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby vibrologist » Sun May 29, 2016 2:10 pm

For normal regular driving performance brakes have no benefit or actually bring disadvantages. Racing brake pads need high temperatures to show their performance potential. In regular driving you do not need that performance unless you like to be back-ended. Slotted rotors shave off a little bit of brake pad to provide clean pad to rotor contact, at the cost of greater wear. It's well worth it when you want to win a race. Not so much when you are on your way to work. Drilling rotors is done to allow gases to escape and thus improve pad to rotor contact. However, the holes also provide stress points when the rotors heat up and cool down. They can actually crack at the holes.
Last edited by vibrologist on Sun May 29, 2016 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BustedVibe
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Sun May 29, 2016 2:54 pm

Yeah I figured it might be something like that. I suppose I need to get back on a fresh set of pads/rotors before I judge my stopping power needs. I seem to have lost a bit (oddly on the low end), so maybe its coloring my bias.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby vibrologist » Sun May 29, 2016 4:49 pm

Did you get the brake fluid flushed? - I need to do that on my own vibe.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Sun May 29, 2016 5:02 pm

doubt its ever been flushed, only replaced with any work done more than likely.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby lannvouivre » Tue May 31, 2016 9:37 am

According to my automotive lectures, slots are actually to give water a place to go, while drills are for allowing heat to dissipate faster. Some OEM Mercedes rotors are cross-drilled, as well as those of many high-end sports cars, so I'm sure they do something.

If you ever do get sports rotors, you need to make sure you get high end ones to avoid cracking. Usually I google the brand to see if anyone has negative comments for the brand. You should also avoid eBay due to people selling counterfeits on there. When you pick out pads, make sure you follow the pad manufacturer's guidelines to get pads that don't have to be super-hot to be effective.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby gtv237 » Tue May 31, 2016 1:40 pm

Try turning the AC on and see if it goes away. It may just be idle speed related.

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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Tue May 31, 2016 2:03 pm

That's an interesting idea. I've always refrained from starting the car with the A/C running because I was worried about unnecesarry load etc.

I will give this a try and monitor it.

edit: So I went for a quick drive. When I started the car up engine was at C, but it was probably still pretty warm because it warmed up to operating pretty fast (a mile or so). I was able to creep out of my spot, with AC off, idle was around 1000rpm or slightly above IIRC.

Drove it around.. could still creep on very flat surfaces, but not when I came home and parked it. Hit the AC button and the car moved forward a bit before stopping again. At operating temp it idles around 750rpm and turning on the AC doesn't make that huge a difference, it still doesn't hit 1000RPM.

But it does seem idle speed related based on these observations. Still weird with regards to the change in feeling I sometimes get while driving though. I don't know if its me being hyperaware and not realising it, or legitimately something else coming into play as well.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby Rayven01 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:18 am

BustedVibe wrote:Still weird with regards to the change in feeling I sometimes get while driving though. I don't know if its me being hyperaware and not realising it, or legitimately something else coming into play as well.

I'm speaking from experience with an '09 here, but assuming 1st gens work similarly what you're noticing while driving may be engine braking. I notice it in both of the '09's in our family whenever I let off the gas to coast. It will initially coast freely, but if I have to tap the brake even the slightest bit, engine braking will kick in (essentially a downshift) even after releasing the brake. It goes from feeling like it's in neutral to feeling like it's in slightly too low of a gear. It's very apparent when going downhill. My home is at the end of a long winding hill in a 20MPH zone and if I let it coast the whole way I'd be going 40 by the time I hit my driveway. Just tapping the brake once makes it engine brake and keeps me around 20 without having to ride the brake.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby BustedVibe » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:40 am

That certainly sounds plausible.
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Re: Intermittent change in the way vehicle creeps??

Postby Stevemo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:36 pm

This is an interesting post that covers a number of problems I have had with my Vibe.

#1, get the computer replaced under recall if that hasn't been done. My car was very jerky when rolling slowly and then getting on the gas. The new computer helped some with that.

#2, look into the symptoms of a bad intake manifold gasket. You can get a good updated gasket from Toyota to fix this. You need vacuum to get your brake booster to work.

#3, the pads get seized in the calipers. You have to file the rust off of the rails before you put the new stainless steel sliders on. If not, the pads will jam.

#4, the rear brake adjusters are a pain. I've never had luck with them...if your parking brake pulls all the way up you have to fix that to get your brakes to work. The fluid needs to cover that void before applying the brakes.

#5, get your brake fluid flushed

#6, you can get steel braided brake lines to replace the rubber hoses if you want to get better pedal feel.

Steve


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