MR2 SpyderChat banner

1 - 20 of 82 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought an 2003 MR2-s two months ago. So far, I love the car except for one thing: I have a wobble in the steering when I go over bumps. It is more pronounced the faster I'm going. It's like the bump unsettles the car and it takes a few oscillations through the steering until it settles down. Seems like worn struts but I have only 47K on the OEM struts. I would have thought they'd last longer. What is the typical life of the OEM struts?

I had car aligned today and the alignment tech -- who I know to be good -- checked it up and down but didn't find any worn bushings, bent control arms, etc.

My plan is to change the struts to Koni Sports and probably install H&Rs at the same time. I am wondering, though, whether this will really fix the problem and whether some of this wobble is just from this being a convertible -- my first -- which is not going to feel as settled and connected to the road as my prior sedans or my other DD, a 2002 BMW 325i, with Koni's, H&Rs, and sways.

Maybe I'll need some bracing to get the solid feel I'm looking for. If so, I'd be most tempted by the MSMB and maybe the front member brace, both from Corky's.

In order, it seems like th struts\springs and then the bracing, first MSMB and then maybe FMB would make the most sense.

Anyone else experience this steering wobble and can maybe suggest a fix or point me in the right direction? Thanks -- awesome site!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Wobbly steering is not normal.
That is what I thought -- and why I am wondering whether replacing normal wear items, like struts, will fix this. The steering feels great on smooth pavement, so I guess "wobbly" is not the right word. I may just be feeling -- through the highly communicative steering -- the suspension settling after a bump. If the struts are worn, then they are taking a few cycles to settle. At least this is my current theory.

I drove the BMW to work today and it feels rock solid. I want to get more of that feeling in the MR2 so I think I'm in for struts, springs and some bracing. How far I have to go to get the right balance will be the question.

Thanks for your response.

BTW, how "old" are you? I was born in the 60s
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
are you not refering to scuttle shake? which is a normal thing with convertables
It might be "scuttle shake" but I'm not sure what that feels like. Can you describe it?

Maybe I need to drive a "known-good" MR2 or have another MR2 owner drive my car to see. The car is totally fun to drive in every other respect so maybe this is no big deal and I just need to get used to it. I would definitely prefer a more stable feeling, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
I have OEM wheels with new Yoko S Drives, so that's not it (but excellent question--I could see heavier wheels\tires making a big difference in this regard)
It was a shot in the dark. I'm new to the Spyder myself, but I used to be a Miata guy and Miatas are extremely sensitive to bigger, heavier wheels. They totally ruin the cars ride and handling in much the way you described. I can tell you that stock for stock my Spyder is more composed over bumps and rough pavement than my NB Miata of the same age was. The only convertibles I've ever driven are a 1973 Triumph TR6, Miatas, and the Spyder, so I am used to a little "flex" or "wobble" over rough surfaces. This behavior, is it just strange / weird to you or is it so bad it that it feels dangerous or out of control?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
110 Posts
some one might have already said this i dont know i didnt really read i just woke up but you might have a tired out of balance thats the first place i would check
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I can tell you that stock for stock my Spyder is more composed over bumps and rough pavement than my NB Miata of the same age was. The only convertibles I've ever driven are a 1973 Triumph TR6, Miatas, and the Spyder, so I am used to a little "flex" or "wobble" over rough surfaces. This behavior, is it just strange / weird to you or is it so bad it that it feels dangerous or out of control?
Even with this strange/weird feeling, my MR2 feels better planted than the Miatas I test drove. It doesn't feel dangerous, especially when you learn to expect it. It is like: one minute, you are super-connected to the road, then you go over a bump and the steering wobbles for a few seconds, then the super-connected feeling returns. Still, it's a bit unsettling, especially at 70+ mph, and I'd like to try to minimize it, if possible.

It may be that all I need is a simple brace, like the Corky breast plate. OR I may need the full MSMB, possibly with new struts (and H&R springs for better handling and looks). I feel the slippery slope of modding coming on. I wouldn't mind this if I felt confident that there was an end in sight and the mods would address the problem. I don't like spending money and hoping for the best.


some one might have already said this i dont know i didnt really read i just woke up but you might have a tired out of balance thats the first place i would check
The tires are new and freshly balanced. The guy who did the mounting said there was a slight bend in one front wheel but they balanced up, so I don't think that's it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
From another thread here on SpyderChat:

Are your struts in good condition?
I'm not sure how to test the struts. I understand the old bounce-the-corner-of-the-car-and-see-how-long-it-takes-to-get-back-to-rest test doesn't always reveal a bad strut. They are OEM with 47K so they may still be good but I am going to change them to be sure.

Based on the symptoms and my research so far, my best guess is that one or both of my front struts are blown or at least worn. Hopefully, new struts will fix the wobble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,629 Posts
I would go after the 'One bad Strut' Theory..

The Car should always be Planted on the Read.. even when going over bumps.. so I'm thinking One Bad.. And trying to tell on the Spyder is almost Imposable.. So do them all..

Tirerack.com has KYB's. they are like OEM.. As I remember 'bout 60-75 Each All four are Different.. so you need to be aware when Ordering.. The Differences are in the Brackets for the ABS, and the Brake Lines..

Cap
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,972 Posts
Check your air pressures. It should only be about 26psi in the front. Some people add too much air and then the car becomes floaty.

To be very honest with you the OEM struts usually only last about 40k miles. Sure they will do fine for normal driving but when you want to hit the turns they give you an uneasy disconnected feeling.
I would say an upgrade in struts even if that is not the cause would only make this car exponentially better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Struts have been ordered and will go in soon. I'm looking for the improvement in handling.

Air pressure is 26psi, feels much better than the 35psi I had originally set them at (beforing checking the door sticker). Rides much better.

Thanks for all of the input!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
My car does exactly the same thing. I was thinking it was some sort of interaction between the alignment/sway-bar and the Toyo R888s being slightly cold. Just to verify this. The thread said that the factory struts go bad after 40k? That not great I have almost 90k on the car now. I am wondering what I should replace them with. I do some autox and DD but would it really be worth three times the cost to get koni inserts over the KYB. Will they last longer that factory? I have read the install guide for the Koni inserts, how hard is it really?

Thanks
Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,033 Posts
A strut top brace would help quite a bit. But it's my opinion that you should buy as much bracing as your budget allows. This car gets nothing but better when its fully braced. Do it all at once and you'll feel like you're driving a different car.
 
1 - 20 of 82 Posts
Top