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Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway #5445421 06/03/20 02:55 PM
Joined: May 2019
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1911CHAMPION Offline OP
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Looking for some advice on how to proceed next...
I'm having a difficult time narrowing down a Darty/twitchy behavior that the van has on the highway. It's not really noticeable driving around town or below 60 mph.

Vehicle:
2008 Toyota Sienna LE FWD, 183,xxx miles. My daily Driver.
(The Firestone Lifetime alignment has been priceless LOL)

Until late December '19/Early January '20 I'm pretty confident all the original Struts, shocks suspension and steering parts



Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445426 06/03/20 03:00 PM
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Dadillac Offline
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Rotate the tires and see if anything changes. If yes get new tires. If no check suspension

Don

Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445428 06/03/20 03:00 PM
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spasm3 Offline
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At that mileage, a lot of things are suspect. Ball joints, tie rods, struts. need to get it on a rack and have someone check for play.


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Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445460 06/03/20 03:35 PM
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1911CHAMPION Offline OP
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Sorry, accidentally hit post before i had all relevant information...

Looking for some advice on how to proceed next... (my sincere apologies for being long winded)
I'm having a difficult time narrowing down a Darty or twitchy behavior that the van has on the highway. It's not really noticeable driving around town or below 60 mph.

Vehicle details:
2008 Toyota Sienna LE FWD, 183,xxx miles. My daily Driver. Owned since Nov of 2015 with ~ 127,000 miles on it when purchased.
(The Firestone Lifetime alignment has been priceless LOL)

Until late December '19/Early January '20 I'm pretty confident all the original Struts, shocks suspension and steering parts hadn't been replaced.

Story time...

Early January I was pulling out of the parking lot at work and heard a strange rattling clanging sound. "That's weird... I've never heard that before" I am VERY in tune with noises and sounds that the vehicle makes. Even small detectable differences in how the engine sounds depending on which motor oil I have ran in it (quite a variety by now).
As I am turning onto the on ramp to hit the highway heading home I heard one more loud CLANG and see a semi circular object in my side-view mirror bouncing down the ramp and off into the ditch. (That better not be what I think it is). Get home, start looking at the struts and sure enough about 3/4 of a coil of the drivers side front spring was missing. I measured the wheel wells and the drivers side sat about 3/4" lower than the passengers side. frown

Got under the van and looked over all the suspension and steering parts, everything seemed to be fine. I ordered FCS brand Strut and coil spring assemblies off of RA as well as matching rear shocks and sway bar links.

Keep in mind that this is early January this year (2020) and I still have my Bridgestone snow tires and steely wheels on the van...

I spent a couple of hours on a Saturday in my garage replacing the front strut assemblies, sway bar links and rear shocks. Got everything put back together and took it for a short test drive, I knew the alignment would be out of whack so I didn't want to drive it too much. Everything SEEMED fine. Brought it to Firestone for it's second alignment since we had purchased it (elapsed probably 50,000 miles in between.)
Alignment checked out toe-in adjusted to spec ect.

Drove till late March and swapped my snow tires off and put my Aluminum wheels with my Cooper CS5 All season tires on. The tires are 2016 manufacture date and probably 60% tread left, purchased new well balanced haven't needed re-balancing in 40,000 miles and all are wearing evenly. I change over my snows/all-seasons at home in my garage.

As soon as the all seasons were put on i noticed a twitchy/darty sensation on the highway. Hmmmmm. Drove it that way for a few days then put it in the garage, got it up on the floor jack with jack stands under it so that it would be sturdy and started prying on everything again with a pry bar. Everything SEEMED fine except it felt like the drivers side inner tie rod was a little loose. Kinda wondering if Firestone overlooked this while it was in for the alignment.

SO... another parts order to RA for LH & RH ball joints, inner and outer tie rod ends, and new steering bellows boots since the hard plastic original ones are always a pain to get off without damaging them.

Two weeks later (Early April by this time) I spend a day replacing all those parts. Another appointment at Firestone for another alignment.
Still drives darty twitch on the highway. there doesnt seem to be any play between the steering wheel and the steering rack. The control arm bushings all seemed fine and rigid without any play.
I got under the drivers side of the van and am looking underneath and see grease leaking out of one of the U-joints in the intermediate steering shaft.

Dorman $255 at AA, Oreily etc, RA was out of stock or get an OEM Toyota part on eBay $268. So I ordered the eBay Toyota OEM steering shaft and installed that last Saturday (05/30/2020).

STILL feels darty on the highway. seems slightly better but not significantly. I rechecked all the lug nuts to make sure nothing had loosened up since i had swapped the tires, everything was torqued to 80 ft lbs.

I'm ready to give up and sell it! (My wife shot that idea down very quickly)

Any guesses? Maybe take it to a different alignment shop and get them to look at it, kinda get a 2nd opinion?
I don't hear of steering racks going bad often but it probably does happen. It's not hard to turn in either direction and is smooth in the whole steering travel range.

I've got close to $650 in parts into the van since January of this year, and was shooting for 250k plus. I hate to give up at this point and cut my losses.

(Again my apologies for being long winded



Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445463 06/03/20 03:37 PM
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stroked93 Offline
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Caster is off, that gives you the stability on the highway. look at the lower control arm bushings as they wear on a front wheel drive it will pull the wheel forward under power as those bushings flex and move.

Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445489 06/03/20 04:00 PM
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michaelluscher Offline
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Well, if it's anything like my V6 Camry (which it kind of is related)

Have you checked engine mounts?

That big heavy 3.5 V6 up front can work like a pendulum if it's moving around unduly

Also could cause axle tramp on take off, CV joints and axles moving too far out of position causing pull

Have you checked sway bar bushings front and rear?

Most people don't change them until they clunk, usually they do the links, and forget the bushings

Check rear arm bushings too

After all that, you might need to pony up for a competent alignment at another shop, lifetime at Firestone IME means toe and go at best


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Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445501 06/03/20 04:14 PM
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The Critic Offline
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Lower Control Arm Bushings, the big bushing on the arm. Moog makes a spherical metal bushing if you want to try that.

Push in the axle, remove the side engine mount w/bracket and remove the arm.


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Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: michaelluscher] #5445517 06/03/20 04:28 PM
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1911CHAMPION Offline OP
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Also, the twitchy/darty feeling is pretty consistent even traveling on smooth level road that's long and straight.
so far it's been most noticeable when there's been gusty side winds; then it's extra terrible.

I went 80% on the front suspension rebuild and negated one of the most important components. shame on me confused



Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445553 06/03/20 05:09 PM
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Jmlo96 Offline
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I think you answered your own question. The van drove fine until you fixed the broken spring. I'd be willing to bet that the FCS struts are the problem. Most of those quick struts are junk compared to the factory parts. They are built to a budget with springs with different rates and dampers that are totally different from the factory. Car manufactures spend lots of money and time engineering those perameters.

My hunch is if you went back to the factory parts the van would feel solid again. I personally would only put FCS parts on a car ready for the junkyard that barely gets driven.

Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445557 06/03/20 05:13 PM
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IndyIan Offline
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Something with the front lower control arms is moving. I'd just replace both of them with ones with all new ball joints and bushings. Sway bar stuff doesn't have much effect at all going straight down the highway.


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Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445628 06/03/20 06:34 PM
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If you put your snows back on & the problem disappears, you know it's tire related. May seem excessively simple, but any chance the tires are overinflated (or very underinflated)?


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Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445648 06/03/20 07:04 PM
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I'm surprised I did not see the [what I believe to be] correct answer posted above. It's very very likely that you don't have enough toe-in.

Vehicles become darty when toe out happens. This can happen due to braking, power application/engine loads, worn parts, poor alignment, etc.

It's not at all unusual for a vehicle to need a touch more toe in as it ages.


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Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: bullwinkle] #5445659 06/03/20 07:18 PM
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1911CHAMPION Offline OP
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I keep the Coopers aired up at 36 psi.

The darty problem was not noticed until after the second alignment in April which was shortly after I had taken the snow tires off and put the all seasons back on.

The van drove fine after the new shocks and struts but something in the front was clunking. I replaced all moving parts in the suspension/steering that at the time I thought could cause the clunking. Now the clunking is gone and it feels solid but the darty problem started.

If I have time this weekend I’ll rotate tires.

Thanks for the suggestions!



Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445676 06/03/20 07:38 PM
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Have the front and rear suspension inspected by a good alignment shop/


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Re: Our van feels "Darty" or twitchy" on the highway [Re: 1911CHAMPION] #5445715 06/03/20 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 1911CHAMPION
Looking for some advice on how to proceed next...
I'm having a difficult time narrowing down a Darty/twitchy behavior that the van has on the highway. It's not really noticeable driving around town or below 60 mph.

Vehicle:
2008 Toyota Sienna LE FWD, 183,xxx miles. My daily Driver.
(The Firestone Lifetime alignment has been priceless LOL)

Until late December '19/Early January '20 I'm pretty confident all the original Struts, shocks suspension and steering parts

It might be possessed.
Next time it's dirty, instead of taking the vehicle to a car wash, get a bucket of holy water and douse it with sponges. Keep applying two feet north and south - then two foot douses east & west.

Instead of hanging a Autozone scent from your mirror, get a package of sage incense to hang. Find spiritual music to play on the radio.

I all that doesn't work, try tire rotation, balance, alignment, loose lug nuts and bent rims.


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