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Vibration and pull issues on a lifted 97

This is a discussion on Vibration and pull issues on a lifted 97 within the Lifted forums, part of the 2nd Gen : 1994 - 2002 category!
Truck background: 1997 ext cab 1500 5.2 auto 4x4 fabtech 5.5" long arm lift 315/75/16 tires. The issue I am ...

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Old 12-12-2016, 09:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
IrocRam's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Phoenix, Az
Posts: 140

Ram Year: 1997
Engine: 5.2
Default Vibration and pull issues on a lifted 97
Truck background: 1997 ext cab 1500 5.2 auto 4x4 fabtech 5.5" long arm lift 315/75/16 tires.

The issue I am having is a vibration when driving. I don't get any grinding noise or other odd noises when driving. It seems to be noticeable starting at about 40 MPH, and it is significantly worse when accelerating with the rpms low. So if I lay into it or step on the gas pedal enough to make the transmission downshit and the rpms to raise, then the vibration almost completely goes away. When I let off the gas at a slow acceleration, it also seems to almost completely go away. Sometimes it will happen when coasting not accelerating, but it noticeably changes when the rpms are lower when accelerating. I have changed the upper and lower ball joints, all the tie rods, new tires, had the wheels balanced and then rebalanced and discount said none of the rims were bent. I also replaced the heim joint in the adjustable track bar, and had the fixed end cut off, and a new end welded on that can accept the factory track bar bushing, so that way it is easier to find bushings for it (since I couldn't find a single poly bushing that would fit. I even tried to make my own which didn't work out). I am wondering if the driveshaft could be out of balance/bent, and/or u joints toast. I tugged on the rear driveshaft pretty good and don't seem to have any slop at the u joints, but I know that isn't necessarily a guaranteed test to prove one way or the other if they are bad. The shocks are definitely bad. How bad, I do not know, but they look horrible and the truck's suspension doesn't feel like it dampens anything. I already have new fabetch shocks I just haven't put them in yet. The other issue is that it seems to act like when the ball joints are bad, random pulls to the left or right, kind of seems to be worse when I hit a bump, which is leading me to believe the pulling issue is related to the shocks. I don't know if the bushings on the long arm radius/control arms are bad and those could cause the random wandering (which isn't at all times), or what else it could be. I also don't know if it is related to the vibration or not. I wouldn't think shocks being bad would cause the vibration, but maybe they could if they were bad enough. It's similar to how it feels when you have a wheel out of balance. Also wondering if maybe the transmission mount being bad could cause it, if the transmission is sort of bouncing around in place. The tires are brand new mud terrains, probably have about 1500 miles on them, and are about 3 months old.

After all the work I have done, I am kind of wondering what else it could potentially be. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated as usual.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the previous owner didn't have the battery secured and he claims that it tipped while driving somehow. The 97 I had in highschool came loose on me once too and punctured it but it didn't tip, so I am thinking that's what he meant. Either way, it spilled battery acid down that side of the engine bay, and it got on the bracket for the AC, which I grinded the rust off and repainted and replaced the bolts on it, the water pump which was leaking anyways so I replaced that with a high flow aluminum water pump, and the thermostat housing was badly rusted so I repaced that and the gasket as well as the t stat. The only thing I saw rust on that I didn't replace was the harmonic balancer. It had quite a bit of rust on it. I took a wire brush wheel bit and put it on my dewalt and grinded as much rust as I could off the surface on the outside of the harmonic balancer. I am wondering now if maybe the harmonic balancer getting corrosion inside of it could cause this vibration

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Last edited by IrocRam; 12-13-2016 at 08:03 AM.
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