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GM Tech (Cam)
GM Tech (Cam), Auto Service Tech
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 29427
Experience:  GM Grand Master Technician 2007. 14 years experience.
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Have a vibration in front end of 04 Grand Am, mostly from

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Have a vibration in front end of '04 Grand Am, mostly from right side; suspect rotor warpage, but vibe happens while driving at +45mph driving as well as braking. Have replaced pads, both hub/bearing assemblies on front, as well as had several alignments, and finally a tire balance to correct the problem. I'm awaiting a Kent Moore EVA2 to locate vibe more accurately. Can rotor warpage cause an out-of-balance situation so bad as to vibrate without braking?
WelcomeCustomer I cannot say as I have ever seen a bad rotor cause a vibration when driving provided it was in tack. They usually only cause the Steering wheel to shake and the car when braking. Have you checked the axle shaft?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
That was one of my first thoughts. I've looked over the whole thing, and it doesn't appear bent or damaged in any way, but I suppose I might not see any small out-of-balance indications, especially if I was fully able to drive. I also have not pulled off the boots over the joints to inspect those, but I'm not sure what that would reveal anyways.

I'm not relishing the idea of changing the drive shaft, as it looks pretty difficult; the GM mantenance guide basically says to pull the drive shaft, I've got to take out Lord knows what else (tie rod end, lower ball joint, and stabilizer link all has to come out), drill rivets and replace them with blots, and otherwise bash the crap out of my knukles like I did when pulling the hubs.

If you have nay thoughts as to what I could do, I'd appreciate it.
Removing the axle is not that bad. You only need to remove the cotter pin and nut then separate the lower ball joint, remove the stabilizer link, remove the axle nut and then you can get the axle out. You don't have to drill out the lower ball joint unless you want to replace it.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Can you tell me that changing the axle should alleviate my problem? I'm not looking forward to any mainenance I don't have to do (although, I have to admit, changing the hubs was kind of fun).

Also, if I DID decide to change the axle, would disassembling the new one to install it harm it in any way? I'd also need to torque value (in ft-lbs and N-m's, if I can get it) of the joint, that way I could easily reconnect it, lube it, install a new cotter key, and be on my way.
There is a possibility that the axle it the source of your issue. Here is something to try. Swap the right rotor to the left. Eliminate it first. As I said, I have never seen a rotor cause the issues you describe, but I have not seem every possible cause. Do the swap and try it. This way you are only out time, no parts.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Sounds like a good idea. I hadn't really thought of the rotor swap until someone brought up that an out-of-balance/warper rotor could cause vibrations, so having a tech tell me a swap is a good t/s idea helps (I'm a craftsman tech on fighter jets and apprentice on vehicles, I should have thought of the swap). Thanks again for the help.

Just a quick one, can I disassemble the new axle to prevent taking apart the suspension, if it is that axle? If I can, you wouldn't happen to know the torque values, would you?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Are you still there? I've no problem paying for the advice (I think it's more than worth the $15 I put on this thing; I hadn't realized I was going to get such good advice). I just don't want to lock out the topic before you have a chance to tell me what the torque values are on the axle joints and I print out the query for my troubleshooting.

First off thanks. I apprecieate the vote of confidence. Here are all the torque specs.

Ball Joint to Steering Knuckle Nut

  • First Pass

10 N·m

89 lb in

  • Final Pass

+180°

Control Arm to Frame Bolts, Front Bushing

  • First Pass

60 N·m

45 lb ft

  • Final Pass

+180°

Control Arm to Frame Bolts, Rear Vertical Bushing

  • First Pass

100 N·m

74 lb ft

  • Final Pass

+180°

Hub and Bearing to Steering Knuckle Bolts

95 N·m

70 lb ft

Stabilizer Shaft Clamp

66 N·m

49 lb ft

Stabilizer Shaft Link Nuts

17 N·m

13 lb ft

Strut Assembly to Body Bolt

25 N·m

18 lb ft

Strut Assembly to Body Nuts

25 N·m

18 lb ft

Strut Nut to Strut Rod

75 N·m

55 lb ft

Strut to Steering Knuckle Nuts

180 N·m

133 lb ft

Suspension Crossmember Front Bolts

245 N·m

180 lb ft

Suspension Crossmember to Body Rear Bolts

70 N·m

52 lb ft

Transmission Mount Bolt

120 N·m

89 lb ft

GM Tech (Cam) and other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks so much for the help. I think I should have looked in the manual a little closer: I found the drive shaft portion of the manual, and saw that there's all the values there, but not all the ones you've listed. Maybe I should've asked the question better.

Again, thanks for all the help, you've given me a plan of action. Now the only thing I've got to do is get a lift (the local hobby shop is normall packed, so I've got to schedule out my maintenance) or borrow my neighbor's jack stands (not looking forward to that).
Thanks for the accept and the Bonus!!! Please reply to this post if you need any more help with this vibration. Good luck!