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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was at the dealership the other day because I was getting vibrations at 50 mph almost exactly. Very intense vibrations causing the steering wheel to jerk back and forth. I assumed it was a wheel out of balance. Anyway, after a while the service manager comes in and tell me that they replaced the steering stabilizer and they recommend getting the wheels balanced. Then the technician went for a ride with me to check it out, and it was still doing it. He told me he believed that the belts inside the tires had torn, and told me I'd probably need new tires and that I shouldn't waste my money balancing them. He then told me to go somewhere other than the dealership for new tires since they were ridiculously over priced. I have never heard of the belts tearing inside the tires so I'm skeptical about that, but at the same time he was telling me to go somewhere other than the dealership for tires. It wasn't like he was trying to run up my bill at the dealer. What do you all think? Have you ever heard of this occurring? What would you recommend doing? Thanks guys.
 

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Did u add the steering stabilzer? I didn't know the stock Xterras came with one.

As for the belts in the tire tearing, I would assume you would be losing rubber on the road if the belts inside were tearing. But then again, I am not a tire expert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry this is on my 2004 Jeep Wrangler. I still figured I'd get your guys opinion since this is kind of a general tire question.
 

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I'm not a tire expert either, but I've heard and read tire experts talk about belts "shifting" and tearing. They're tight steel webbing of a sort, so they're suceptible to these problems. And I know that belts can break without changing the visible tread very much at all.

Are they street tires that have been banged around a bit? Hit many potholes or other obstacles with some force? Low profile tires that have been in the rough stuff? Any of this kind of thing could cause the problem. What exact tire are they anyway?

Here's something that makes me wonder: why would this kind of breakage happen in two tires, rather than in one? A hard shot on an even concrete step-up in an old road, or something of that nature might explain it. Also, what about the tire warranty? Can't you get something for them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They are Goodyear Wrangler GSAs. I'm pretty sure they are 225/75/R15. I've done some wheeling with them but nothing major. They've got about 29,000 miles on the tires so I would assume they should have some kind of tire warranty. I'm think about rotating the tires to see if its possible to tell which one or ones it might be. I assumed it was one or both of the front two due to the steering jerking violently.
 

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All of this is assuming that the dealer is correct and it is the tires, obviously. Let's not rush to trust a dealer who says "it's the tires, now go get them dealt with somewhere else," lol! A rotation sounds like a reasonable way to check, for sure.

One thing to do if it's not the tires would be to post a thread named something like "Steering Problem" on jeepforum.com. Those guys in general will be way more familiar with your front end. I do know that "steering wobble" is a classic issue with some Jeeps. And a stabilizer won't fix a problem with, say, a pitman arm, a drag link or a track bar.

Maybe muzikman, who runs a lifted Rubi in addition to his X, will weigh in here.
 

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mjm4soccer said:
They are Goodyear Wrangler GSAs. I'm pretty sure they are 225/75/R15. I've done some wheeling with them but nothing major. They've got about 29,000 miles on the tires so I would assume they should have some kind of tire warranty. I'm think about rotating the tires to see if its possible to tell which one or ones it might be. I assumed it was one or both of the front two due to the steering jerking violently.
Just do one side at a time... 50/50 shot of getting it the first time.
 

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I had an old T-bird a while ago with some firestones (I think) on it. I didn't take very good care of the car cause it was a piece of crap. I would regularly scuff the sidwalls on curbs when parallel parking as well as the normal wear and tear on a tire. I started getting a vibration when I was at faster speeds. It started out as nothing major. I figured a tire was just a little out of balance. Since I was a stupid kid, with no money, I didn't do anything about it. One day, I'm driving on the freeway, and it starts getting real bad, real quick! It went from a vibration to a full wobble. It actually felt like the driver side rear tire was shaped like a cam lobe. There was a noticeable rise and fall as the tire rotated, like it was elliptical in shape. I started to work my way toward the birm to pull over, and BAM!! The tire exploded. The steel belts inside had been damaged enough along the sidewall that the integrity of the tire was compromised. It couldn't hold itself together. It scared the crap out of me because the shreds of tread were slapping against the wheel well and even long the outer fender metal of the car. It eventually disintegrated enough that those shreds flew off. The bad part is that 89 t-birds have that inertial gas shutoff safety switch mounted in the trunk on the driver side right above the rear wheel well. The tire tread slapping the sheetmetal activated the crash safety switch (un-beknownst to me) and disabled the fuel pump. I spent 20 minute or so on the side of a busy freeway putting the spare on, only to find out the car was dead. (I didn't know the fuel cutoff had been tripped) After a $100 tow truck ride, I learned about the fuel cutoff.

So, the moral of the story is, that it is possible to damage the internal radial belting or webbing without visible distortion or damage in the tread patch. Wheeling with those tires could certainly put enough lateral pressures on the tires to damage or weaken the internal structure of the tire.
 

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Honestly...it could be a broken belt (I have had it happen to me), but what you discribe sound more like a bad ball joint. Jack up the front and see if you can move the tires.
 
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