squirly up front and noisy down back

Suspension related stuff goes in here.
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Your car is a: 1977 Fiat 124 Spider

squirly up front and noisy down back

Postby dinosabella » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:11 am

Last year I bought a set of 15" x 7" wide rims and im running a great set of Dunlop Direzzas. Before going with that set up I did some reasearch and spoke to a few people and I was fully prepared for any flaw in my front end becoming apparent because of the greater grip surface.

So now that I have had the opportunity to go on a few drives around the city here is what I'm feeling.

Up front:
It feels squirrely, and the wheel pulls slightly if there is a dip or change in the road surface. No knocking noises and no strange noises at all up front. Still have original steering wheel. I don't feel very confident driving at speed right now because of the squirlrely behavior.

Down back:
I always had a slight intermittent noise from the rear end but it become more pronounced with the new wider wheel/tire setup, I suspect bearings and from what I read this is not a DIY job since it involves a press. The sound is hard to describe, sort of sounds like the intermittent sound of a cheep humidifier or a coffee percolator. Yesterday I noticed that it gets quite while turning left then it will start up again after a few seconds when I straighten up.

This year I want to lower it and stiffen it up with Koni yellows. Definitely want to sort out all front and rear end issues before I commit to a stiffer suspension setup.

All and any advice is welcome. Thank you

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Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:14 am
Your car is a: 1980 124 spider
Location: Naramata B.C.

Re: squirly up front and noisy down back

Postby narfire » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:51 am

I have 205/50/ 15's on 15 X 7 rims as well. A couple of things...at stop a lot of muscle to turn the wheel. As soon as you move, turning is easier. I have had the wheels balanced a couple of times as the stick-on weights had come off but good now to about 150 kmh. ( haven't been faster) I do have a side to side shimmy at about 98 kmh but below and above I don't feel it. Perhaps a warped rotor or something down there I'll have to check out soon. I've had a good front and rear alignment as well after installing the Koni's.

As for the squirrely nature.....what I have noticed was changing lanes at 100 kph or so the car will feel like it jumps a bit. What it is I believe is the road surface, especially the inside lane, have wheel depressions as the hwy here is a major transportation route for semi's. The wheel width is obviously different and when I change lanes I hold on as I feel I go up one side of a wave and then down and is repeated a couple of times until I'm in the new lane. Bit disconcerting for the first couple of times but fine now. I did not notice it when I briefly had a car with 13 inch wheels and 185 series tires.
You'll find the Koni's and 1" front sway bar is a great suspension upgrade.

To find weird noises in the rear, not sure if really the thing to do, but anyway I jacked the rear of the car up and put it on jack stands, blocked the front wheels and started the car and 3rd gear and maybe 2000 rpm. Although the rear axle is not loaded, still interesting to see if there was any unnatural wobbling about in the drive line.
80 FI spider
72 work in progress
1978 Toyota forklift
1978 GMC 3/4 PU
2017 Golf R

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Your car is a: 1980 Fiat 124 Spider

Re: squirly up front and noisy down back

Postby AndyVAS » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:26 pm

That's weird that your car seems squirly after changing to the new wheels and tires. My experience has been that the 15's made the car feel much more stable and handle better.

If everything is tight up front then I would check the alignment. It's probably been a little out for a while and you didn't notice. Once you put on the new wheels and tires you focused on it and it jumped out at you like a ninja!

The rear wheel bearings aren't a big deal. The use retainer plates and not C-clips. Due to the axle length, you will probably need a machine shop to press off and on the bearings and retainers. Plan on it being a 2 weekend job. Pull it apart one weekend. Drop off the axles and parts at the machine shop Monday. Pick it all up later in the week. Bolt it back together the following weekend. It's messy and time consuming but one of the more straight forward repairs. Do both axles because they have the same age and mileage on them. Doing one will cause Murphy's Law to go into effect and you're other side will make noise before you put in another tank of gas.
Andy Phillips
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Stock parts or Performance parts we've got what you need.

Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:00 pm
Your car is a: 1977 Fiat 124 Spider

Re: squirly up front and noisy down back

Postby dinosabella » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:13 am

Thanks guys,

Good suggestions, alignement, and balancing up front. Its been a good 12 years since I have done an alignment.

As for replacing the rear bearings I dont think I should have much problem finding a shop to seperate and press in the new bearings. Since I have owned the car (1999) I have never replaced the rear bearings and there is a strong chance that they have never been replaced since the car was new back in 1977.

Is there a supplier that sells all the bearings, clips and seals that I will need to refresh the rear axle shaft?


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Your car is a: 1980 FI SPIDER 2000

Re: squirly up front and noisy down back

Postby RRoller123 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:15 am

AR and the others have those parts you are looking for!
'80 FI Spider 2000 (rolling "resto")
'74 X1/9 (many years ago)
'79 X1/9 (fewer years ago)
'86 Jaguar XJ6 (2nd Hobby Car)
2011 Chevy Malibu (daily driver)
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Ext Cab 4WD/SB
2015 Keystone Montana High Country 343RL

Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:00 pm
Your car is a: 1977 Fiat 124 Spider

Re: squirly up front and noisy down back

Postby dinosabella » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:50 pm

Ordered all the rear axle bearing bits for both sides. Will let you guys know how it turns out.

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Your car is a: Fiat Spider - 1971 BS1
Location: Tiverton, RI

Re: squirly up front and noisy down back

Postby seabeelt » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:16 pm

Any update???????
Michael and Deborah Williamson
1971 Spider - Vesper - w/screaming IDFs
1979 Spider - Seraphina - our son's car now sold
1972 Spider - Blue - our son's current car
2005 Audi Allroad
2010 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi (replaced the Dakota)

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