Acura TSX Forum banner

501 - 520 of 555 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #501
Resto 1.5: AAE Power Steering Rack + 555 Outer Tie Rods + Moog Sway Bar Bushings

Symptoms
  • Oil stain on boot, and eventually LCA.
  • Steering feedback feels inconsistent.
  • Amount of power assistance seems inconsistent turning right and turning left.
  • Suspension feedback through steering wheel feels more direct on the left side.
The factory PS rack has been leaking at least since April, but it was just small wet spot so I did not bother taking action. Fast forward, the leak got progressively worse in December, coincided with the wheel noise/vibration issue I experienced after axle replacement and bearing change for longer studs. I started seeing stains on the lower control arm. Replacing the rack became a no brainer.

I did not realize this before - the steering feedback is the killer "feature" that sets TSX apart from modern cars. The car's steering feedback was all messed up just before the rack replacement, and I felt like getting rid of the car every moment I drove it. Replacing PS rack was really a break or make moment for the car; if the car still did not drive right afterwards, I would part out and sell it.

I went with AAE rack because that was the only new rack the shop had within reasonable cost. An OEM one is just beyond expensive. Since the subframe would be dropped, I threw in Moog front swaybar bushings and wanted to replace the subframe bushings as well. But the subframe was not dropped low enough, so the idea of replacing subframe bushings was dropped.

So how does the car drive after this latest episode of repair?

Right off the bat, the steering feedback feels more normal but different from the old rack in a couple ways. First is the amount of assistance. The steering wheel feels markedly lighter and smoother. Second, the connection from steering wheel to tires is more distant.

With a little more mileage, I am happy to say that the car is here to stay. The steering wheel and the suspension feels solidly connected again, and the feedback is actually not far off the original, just more muted.

With confidence in the car back on track, I still need to figure out the front-driver-side noise/vibration. I strongly suspect the PS rack leak was worsen by the vibration on that corner. Three out of the four connections to the hub are now cleared, so the source of vibrarion should be contained in the hub and axle. But having done another 1k+ repair, I think it is a good time to stop for a while, refill my piggy bank for TSX, and just drive the car as-is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #502
Resto 1.4.2: Road-force Balance

After the initial shock, I came to accept the noise and vibration as-is. The symptoms are:

  • Rumbling road noise above 20-30 mph.
  • Vibration/Shudder above 40mph, 50-60 is the worst.
  • Generally, the wheel noise increases and the tone changes slightly when turning left.
  • The vibration can be felt doing dynamic test on lift.
  • The noise and vibration vary a lot depending on road surface. Best case sounds slightly louder than normal. Worst case sounds like bearing noise.
  • The tone of the noise does not change with speed on the same patch of road, only loudness is changed.
After replacing several suspension parts, I eventually road-force balanced the tires to conclude that there is no immediate danger in driving the car. I did not find a place to do on-car balance, but at least doing road-force balance helped me cross off tire/wheel. By method of elimination:

1. Bearing: With the help of my mechanic's stethoscope and from MPG, the bearing is ruled out.
2. Hub: If hub is an issue, I should feel something wrong when braking. So hub is cleared as well.
3. Wheel studs: Could it be weight variation in the studs? Unlikely.
4. Rotor: Uneven surface to the hub? I did find the passenger-side hub temp is ~10F higher than driver-side. Unfortunately, I have no previous measurement to confirm this is out of norm.
5. Caliper: Unlikely, as any issue would affect MPG and should be felt easily. But the brake pedal feel does change recently with the soft zone reduced significantly.
4. Ball joints/tie rods: New, new, and new.
5. Bushings: All bushings are replaced two or three years ago and still look good.
6. Coilovers: Top mount looks good, lower end is all the way into the fork mount. Damping feels right.
7. Subframe bushings: I feel if these bushings are blown, then vibration should be way more apparent and easily felt.
8. Axle: Axle is the only likely source after elimination. Are these really brand-new OEM axle, or remanufactured ones that fit OEM tolerance? If later, maybe there is a slip in Q/A? Or could it be a installation issue where somehow the axle does not seat perfectly?
9. Wheel/Tire: Road-force balanced and found no big variance. But the vibration and noise do vary greatly depending on road surface...

I want to be scientific before rushing to replace another axle. The first step is frequency analysis. Using spectrogram app from phone, I found the noise is centered around 40 Hz and confirm D/S is louder than P/S. Unfortunately that does not help identifying root cause.

A logical next step is to put a camera on fender and then on the LCA to see exactly what is going on there...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
I know your posts say new OEM axles... But did you drop a huge wad on them at the Acura dealership? Last I checked they wanted over $1200 for a set... And if I recall, those were Acura certified remans.
Have you tried wiggling the shaft between the CV joints while the car is off? Even a very tiny amount of play is a problem. Doing it on my old shafts I didn't feel much, just enough on one side to discern it had more play than the other side. I pulled my old axles apart and found the wear inside the inner CV joints. I was surprised at how little wear was present, but the axles that didn't have that tiny wear spot sure made the problem vanish...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #505
I know your posts say new OEM axles... But did you drop a huge wad on them at the Acura dealership? Last I checked they wanted over $1200 for a set... And if I recall, those were Acura certified remans.
Have you tried wiggling the shaft between the CV joints while the car is off? Even a very tiny amount of play is a problem. Doing it on my old shafts I didn't feel much, just enough on one side to discern it had more play than the other side. I pulled my old axles apart and found the wear inside the inner CV joints. I was surprised at how little wear was present, but the axles that didn't have that tiny wear spot sure made the problem vanish...
Thanks for the suggestions!

I checked with the dealership from which I bought online, and they insisted the axles are brand-new not reman. The place has great price, so "only" ~900 for the axle.

And after finally found time to compare carefully right and left axles myself, I think I have located the issue. Believe it or not, I think I do not see the driver-side knuckle ring (44348-SDA-A00)! The axle is solid as rock with no play at all. Earlier I thought I heard a tiny click noise when rocking the wheel from 12-6 clock, but was never able to re-produce the noise again.

I feel the symptoms can be explained by the missing ring, but maybe not?
(EDIT: The axle does not rest on the ring..)

I will have a nice chat with my mechanic. Do you guys think this would increase wear on the bearing or axle?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #506
Quick update: the knuckle ring maybe cut off some of the higher frequency noise, but it is not the root cause - the noise is still there.

I removed the spacers shortly after having the knuckle ring put back in place, and funnily the vibration is worse than with spacer. Noise is also deeper in tone and seems a little louder than a few weeks ago when I ran the car without spacers.

I know for sure the noise resembles bearing noise, just do not know where it is. Axle does not have bearing, so AT is now highly suspicious. However, it is hard to prove at this stage without taking it apart. Out of desperation, I threw in new bearing/hub, and sure enough, the bearing was just fine.

This is getting nowhere. Replacing AT costs ~3.5k, and is not necessarily the root cause from the symptoms at this stage. It also means the labor I paid for PS rack goes down the drain. I don't mind wasting some money if an issue can be solved, but roughly 5k into the grand "restoration" plan counting everything, another 3.5k with no clear end in sight makes little sense.

The few positive things are, if AT is the issue, then surely with a rebuilt unit, the car can last for many more years. It also somewhat explains why the issue occurred after axle swap.

I had joked about the AT going to explode, and unfortunately that might be happening. The only thing I can do now, is keep driving the car until the symptoms become more definite. Judging by the severity of vibration, if the issue is in AT, I think within three months an oil leak will develop if not something worse.

Needless to say, there needs to be a plan B.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
My recent MT failure happened in similar fashion. I was just cruising down the highway when out of nowhere I had massive front end vibrations when I got to a section of curvy road. Felt fine in a straight line, but a mile later the vibrations started every time I touched the throttle. Nursed itthe last 10 miles home and parked it. I had another set of axles at home so I swapped them one at time but it just got worse every time I drove it. Once I got into the transmission the issue turned out to be the differential bearings. One of them had gotten so tired of spinning there was significant wear between the outside of the bearing and it's seat in the trans case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #509
My recent MT failure happened in similar fashion. I was just cruising down the highway when out of nowhere I had massive front end vibrations when I got to a section of curvy road. Felt fine in a straight line, but a mile later the vibrations started every time I touched the throttle. Nursed itthe last 10 miles home and parked it. I had another set of axles at home so I swapped them one at time but it just got worse every time I drove it. Once I got into the transmission the issue turned out to be the differential bearings. One of them had gotten so tired of spinning there was significant wear between the outside of the bearing and it's seat in the trans case.
Do you find the vibration temperature related? In my case, the vibration is less noticeable when the car runs hot. This symptom exists even before I changed the axles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
Do you find the vibration temperature related? In my case, the vibration is less noticeable when the car runs hot. This symptom exists even before I changed the axles.
I can't say I did. I drove the car very little after I noticed the problem. 10 miles home and maybe another 10 miles worth of test drives to see if I had figured out the problem. Did you try the intermediate shaft?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #511
I can't say I did. I drove the car very little after I noticed the problem. 10 miles home and maybe another 10 miles worth of test drives to see if I had figured out the problem. Did you try the intermediate shaft?
I ruled out intermediate shaft mainly because noise/vibration comes from driver-side, and I hear no noise from the back of engine. What symptom should I look for with intermediate shaft issue?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #512
$2k Lesson

Somehow, after replacing the bearing/hub, I think I can feel what is going on with the car better. Maybe more than anything, the step tells me to forget about recent successes in identifying issues on my own, and stop thinking about debugging through replacing parts and just be patient.

I wish the issue is as simple as tire that I was told about, but I feel it is compounded - tire, AT, and maybe myself as well. Maybe I somehow become more sensitive to noise, because I even feel the other car in the house drives louder than before. I have taken numerous Lyft rides in the last few months while the car was being worked on, and guess what, almost all of them I hear rather loud road noise, except for a ride in Chevy Cruze.

The axle swap, spacer addition, and various small patches cost $2k. This expensive, but in the grand picture not too expensive, experience serves as a good reminder how many issues the car has seen in recent years, and a wake-up call to the cost/trouble of maintaining an old car.

The number of issues happened in the last year or two is staggering, listed below in no particular order:
  • Stuck front driver-side wheel stud
  • Rear driver-side bearing
  • Dead battery
  • New master brake cylinder
  • Potentially-seized RB caliper
  • Bad alternator
  • Bad starter
  • PS rack leak
  • PS pump leak
  • Broken engine/transmission mounts
  • AC out due to low coolant, and likely some intermittent electronics issue
  • AT rev drops at WOT when downshift once in a while, differential starts making noise lately.
Seriously, there are not many things left to break other than engine/AT/AC compressor...
That is also why I have been acting desperately, because I feel the car still drives great when I look past the noise/vibration issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #514
Eibach 10mm Wheel Spacers

I hesitate to call this a review, considering there were other issues with my car during the tryout period. However, I think the observations are representative of how spacers work, because the vibration and noise were not from the spacers.

My intention for adding spacers was to increase caliper-to-wheel-spoke clearance. I chose Eibach 10mm because it is the smallest spacer with a lip, and add one to each corner in order to keep the front-rear balance. Later, I bought a set of cheapo 3mm spacers to see if I can get away with those. The short answer is, no, Eibach 10mm is so much more solid compared to the 3mm garbage, when installed properly.

Somehow, the hub lip on my car is tapered. As a result, the supposedly hub-centric 3mm spacer is roughly hub-centric on the edge of the lip, but moves around when mated to the rotor. Maybe the spacers I bought is just not quality part...

After adding spacers, I soon understood why stance is so popular. With 10mm spacers, the effective offset is 35mm, and the wheels sit flush with the fender. The wider stance pulls the weight down visually, and the car looks more purposeful with the wheels pushed out.

In addition to the look, the added track width reduces lean substantially. Agility is definitely lost a bit, but in return the car feels very stable in turns. With 10mm spacers, I feel the handling is comparable to that when I ran 225/45R17 tires.

One thing interesting about spacers is they work the coilovers harder because of the longer leverage. My car felt suppler when riding over small bumps.

There are a few downsides with the Eibach spacers, though. First, rotation weight increases by around 1lb per corner. It is not as significant as a +1lb wheel, but still can be felt. Then there is the increased noise. TSX does not have good tire noise isolation, so adding spacers are bound to increase noise. When installed properly, the wheel noise on my car shifted to a higher frequency and sounded at least 20% louder.

I mentioned "installed properly" a few times. I found that if spacers are not installed correctly, e.g. the mating surface is not clean and nuts are not torqued enough, then noise/vibration issue arises. I was told to use 90 ft-lbs for the wheel nuts, 10 more than factory value, with spacers. I tried low 80 and did feel the tighter the nuts are, the better.

Eventually, I took off the spacers for good after the fender liner was cracked while cornering. Maybe a fender roll would help, but I concluded that they are not worthy of the troubles - if my car is a track car, I would keep the spacers because of the increased grip from less weight transfer. But for a daily, spacers bring a new set of potential issues and do not necessarily improve the overall driving feel when agility is factored into the equation.

There are cleaner ways to achieve what spacers can do, e.g. gripper tires, smaller-offset wheels. And those alternatives are not necessarily more expensive than spacers with extended studs, due to the high labor cost for front wheel bearing replacement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #515
Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2 215/50R17, 10k-mile Review

Summary

Grip: Decent grip, but overshadowed by the latest and greatest all season tires.
Ride: Not firm not soft.
Noise: Tire noise is non-intrusive for most of the service time.
Fuel economy: Definitely lower mpg than all-season tires, <=2 mpg though.
Thread life: After ~10k miles, the triangle wear indicators on the side of two tires are worn down to 1/4 or almost gone. The triangles on the other two tires are still in mostly intact. My guess is they can last around 6 months more before the shoulders are gone.

Details

I like the tires. They are balanced and very easy to understand, with responsive steering and progressive grip build-up/drop-off. Unlike Pirelli P-Zero AS+, grip on Hankook is consistent across all directions, and stopping is sure-footed and confident. They also take abuse well, and provide consistent feedback even after sliding.

Ride comfort is better than 225/45R17 Pirelli P Zero AS+. The handling of smaller bumps feels not far off the Pirelli, and the thicker sidewall on the 215/50R17 Hankook round off mid-large bumps more smoothly.

Noise is never an issue. They may be slightly louder than all-season, but are much quieter than Michelin Pilot Super Sport.

Towards the end of service time, the front tires developed a little cupping. But the resulting vibration is small and is not disturbing.

Sounds like the tires are a happy medium? Yes, and no. When I think of summer tires, grip level comes to my mind first. Taking into account the grip levels of Pirelli P-Zero AS+, Michelin Pilot AS3+ and the old king of summer tires, Michelin PSS, the grip level of the Hankook is undoubtedly sub-par. Ventus V12 Evo2 is a 2014 tire, and the benchmark has moved considerably.

With grip level no better than the best of 2019 all-season tires, and short thread life when pushed hard, I am inclined to say why bothered, just go with the best all-season tires like Michelin Pilot A/S3+ or Pirelli P Zero AS+.

Therefore, my recommendation depends a lot on the price. If you can get these at under $100 per set and do not need max traction, then you will not be disappointed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #516
-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #517
Plan B

Deleted the previous post since it js mostly my grumbling. Besides, there is a potential turn of event, a new finding that suggests the noise may come from the rear wheel bearings.

This turn of event just when I start getting serious about plan B. What car would I get to replace TSX, or offload TSX from daily duty?

For me, I quickly come to the conclusion:

<25k: Golf GTI or Civic Si.

30-40k: Accord

40-50k: RDX A-spec, Model 3 RWD, used M3.

50-60k: Model 3 AWD, M340, TLX Type-S

If I have to choose today, I will probably get one from the 40-50k pool.

RDX is the new 1G TSX in Acura lineup, and similarly a bargain compared to its peers. One thing I like about Acura is the audio system is pretty good out of the box, the Harman Kardon on M3 is garbage in comparison, and the premium audio on Model 3 is still a step below ELS system.

I have talked about Model 3, and between now and then, the number of Model 3 in bay area seems tripled. I still like Model 3, but with that many cars on the road, I cannot help discounting its value and feel it is not worthy of the 45k OOD price. RDX A-spec can also be had for about the same OOD price, and unless I have to have EV, RDX seems more car for the money.

2016 M3 has dropped to high 40k range, and close-to 45k seems possible after negotiation. With the high 56k MSRP of M340, used F80 M3 seems to be a bargain. Considering Audi has been discounting S4 heavily in recent montha, I would say BMW made a mistake with the MSRP of G20 3 series, and will need to correct it soon after honeymoon. I like that F80 M3 still has a little bit of rawness, and feels muscular but still somewhat refined. OOD probably has to be near 50k, but 5k more for a M car, I would go for it since F80 has proved to be reasonably reliable.

Which one would you choose?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
It’s like you picked all of my favorites. I have explored all of the same options.

In the low range, the new Jetta GLI seems most similar to our great Gen 1 TSX.

I would probably land in a Model 3 or RDX.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
334 Posts
Plan B

Deleted the previous post since it js mostly my grumbling. Besides, there is a potential turn of event, a new finding that suggests the noise may come from the rear wheel bearings.
The rear wheel bearings are cheap and easy to replace. However, if you decide to go Plan B I'd back the M3 decision. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Discussion Starter #520
The rear wheel bearings are cheap and easy to replace. However, if you decide to go Plan B I'd back the M3 decision. ;)

Yeah I am relieved to know it is only the rear left wheel for now. But I feel dumbfounded that this was almost a carbon copy of what happened last year, and I was still fooled. Both times, the noise appeared nearly two months before roughness can be felt spinning the rear wheel. (Well, I felt the sound was a little more metallic-ish, but two mechanics both said it was still ok)

Maybe the bearing was damaged when installing extended bolts, maybe it was weak non-oem replacement part plus all the small slides when attacking one particular ramp.

This is why I wanted a M car. The car is designed from the factory to withstand hard cornering. At the same time, M engines have been somewhat notorious and always have some kind of design issues...
 
501 - 520 of 555 Posts
Top