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What's causing the annoying vibration in my Acura?

My 2007 Acura TSX with 160,000 kilometres on it has an annoying vibration coming from the front end at more than 80 km/h. It's worse when I step on the gas pedal. I have had the tires balanced and ball joints replaced but my mechanic can't find the problem. – Bob R.

Front-wheel drive cars use CV axles consisting of an inner CV joint, axle shaft and outer joint to deliver power from the transmission. When the vehicle hits a bump in the road, the suspension moves upwards, forcing the CV shaft to shorten. The inner joint located at the transmission is designed to allow for this length change. It accomplishes this using a tripod with three bearings sliding back and forth within the inner joint housing.

"It's worse when I step on the gas pedal." This tells me that the likely source of your vibration is coming from one or both of the inner CV joints, as Acura TSXs suffer from premature failure of this part. The wear occurs when one of the three bearings damages the smooth machined surface of its housing, creating a sizable depression. Under light throttle conditions the affected bearing can float over this trouble spot, but as soon as the throttle increases, it is forced into this depression, causing a noticeable vibration. You can purchase an inner joint directly from Acura or replace the complete shaft from a quality aftermarket supplier. I caution the use of rebuilt shafts for this application as I have had a few "refurbished" units vibrate right out of the box.

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Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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