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I have a 2003 GX470 with around 155k miles. It recently started to get a front end shake which isn't horrible, but you definitely feel it pretty good. I know the rear air suspension has a small leak, but the bags stay inflated for the most part. It feels like it is coming from the front more than the rear. I brought it to the dealership and they said something about the CV boots and something with the steering column I believe. I don't have the sheet they gave me to read exactly what it said. Could either of these be the reason for the front end shake? Has anyone else experienced this and have some insight? I sure as heck do not want to pay the dealership to fix either of these as they charge an arm and a leg.

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If the vibration is when the vehicle is driving along then it could be a damaged/worn Constant Velocity Joint or bent driveshaft. Other areas it could be are Wheel Bearing or even a lump in one of the tyres (jack up each corner so the wheel is off just off the ground and spin the wheel slowly while looking between the ground and the tread area to see if there is any deviation within the clearance indicating a deformed tyre or bulge in the tread area. Also check the sidewalls for damage)

If the vibration occurs when braking then the rotors are probably warped....easily checked with a Dial Test Indicator.

Let us know what you find

Cheers  Trevor

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Should this part of my boot be sealed? Looks like a lot of grease around it. May have a serious leak and it may have been there for a while causing more issues to my axle. This may be part of my problem

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There certainly shouldn't be any grease or oil around there but looking at the quantity it doesn't look serious enough to cause a vibration through the vehicle.

Even so, it would be worth keeping on top of and cleaning off to see exactly where it is coming from.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Josh; I had the same issue with vibration at 65 mph with my 2005 with 130K miles. I thought I needed new front shock absorbers - the tire guy at the dealership recommended road force balancing for all wheels.

I had them road force balanced, and all vibration issues went away.

No amount of conventional balancing cured it; $160 and well worth it.

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The GXs usually have a bad vibration issue due to high road force in the wheels. Especially after you've gotten a wheel rotation and then start noticing the virbration. But Yes, by simply balancing the wheels and correcting the road force, it will take the vibration away. Start with the cheaper fix before you get into repairing the cv boots or performing any type of suspension work.

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  • 4 months later...

Regarding the leaked grease from the CV boot, I discovered the same issue about  7+ years ago. There was no clamp there so I got a CV boot clamp and a tool to install one. SInce then I haven't noticed any problem. In addition to this boot issue, my RX suffered the same  years ago and that eventually lead to failure(making sound when turning the wheel)  so I got it replaced. So I wouldn't be surprise if that could be the culprit.  Another thing, if your tires are worn pretty low, you may feel the shake more so than a newer tire. Its been my experience that after I replaced my tires(about 4 sets since I owned my GX), the shake goes away or not as apparent. 

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  • 3 years later...

I test drove two 2006 Lexus GX470s, a 2013 GX460, a 2004 Lexus GX470, all with 135k to 225k miles and they all had some sort of shimmy/shake to their steering wheels. 
I then drove 2.5 hours North to private sale 2004 GX470 with 172k miles, and it drove fantastic with only little-to-no shakes, with only mild steering shake during medium to heavy braking. I was impressed and bought it!

The next day my neighborhood mechanic changed out the front rotors and installed ceramic brake pads, changed the driver’s side (front, yes I know there are only “front”) CV axels, replaced the motor and cabin air filters, checked:  the water pump and timing belt, differential oil, etc. 

I thought it would drive like a dream now—but it’s worse than any of the four other GX’s I test drove. It shakes without even braking at crushing at 50-65 mph, and it now shakes like it’s possessed with even under light braking! WTH?!? “Time to google”...

I am going to find someone in the Twin Cities that does “Hunter (brand) road force tire balancing” and then, I’ll probably get an alignment, too. I’m grateful for this Lexus owner’s club and the members here—I’ll post what happens next after the two services.

 

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Often folks wait too long to get a front end alignment so that can lead to something called "cup'd" tires. In other words they are no longer completely round. So they ride like your tires are egg shaped. It's something to do with the steel belts getting out of a proper alignment. Some tires sucumb to it easier than others. 

My boss used to say "you can get an egg to balance but you can't make it ride good." Old school tire shops used to shave the high spots off.

My former mentor told me his wife had a new set of tires go to shaking and the shop reveresed them and it solved the problem. Say you have a black wall with logos on the inside on the driver side front. They revered that tire on that wheel so the inside was now the outside. 

Now why your car rolled good one day and not good the next? That's strange. Did he rotate your tires while doing the work? Perhaps a wheel weight fell off without knowing it? 

Good luck and we look forward to hearing back from you. 

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I google searched  “Hunter (brand) road force wheel balance machine” and found the contact info for the “Hunter” brand, and emailed the local rep, who emailed me back on a Saturday morning with a partial list of shops in the Twin Cities who operated their “load bearing” wheel balancing machines. I was already 5+ calls into local tire shops and found two that verified they had this specific machine, 4 wheel balancing ranged from $59 to $89 plus tax. Some shops never even heard of the technology, or machine. 
I kept calling because I wanted to find a shop within 10-30 minutes from my home, and open on a Saturday. 
Discount Tire in Apple Valley MN’s Manager Dustin is a Stud! He verified they had the machine and “knew how to use it, too!” I guess this is an issue . Dustin also asked my what my issue was in detail and then offered that I might need specialized Lug Nuts because the Lexus Stud was 12mm and the holes in my wheels were 14mm, and this could also be the reason why my wheels “suddenly” became even worse after new CV Joint, Front Brake Rotors and Ceramic Pads—the front two wheels may not be centered properly on the wheel studs. He’d “personally” check out my vehicle once the tires were off of it. 
He then let me know that the new brake rotors/pads looked good, but I should upgrade the Lug Nuts with a specialized set that would “self-center” each wheel because of a sleeve/collar that would take up the 12-14mm gap. I said sure, as the total cost of Hunter Road Force Balancing and these new Lug Nuts was only $85 plus tax, and I wanted my “New-me” Lexus to ride smoothly again. 
When I picked my 2004 GX470 from Discount Tire, Dustin went into the shop to grabbed a standard lug nut and the Sleeved/Collared lug nuts he had installed—visually they totally made sense to me and I was excited to test drive my Lexus. Dustin also mentioned that my new front brakes seemed to be “on” the rotors all the time, and they were “grabby” compared to the rear brakes, possibly heating up the pads/rotors and told me to see if a brake shop could adjust them. I called the local Lexus dealership and they said they were not adjustable calipers.

After paying, I eagerly drove my Lexus and tested the brakes and my vehicle at different speeds—no steering shake or shimmy! It felt even better than it did the day I test drove it prior to purchasing it! I am so relieved!
I don’t know which service solved my shake/shimmy steering wheel and ride quality problems, but I am glad I did both as they were under $100 total. I am still going to have my Lexus get a four wheel alignment and it is at the alignment shop now. 
I am thankful for the forum members that post here and hope my experience helps others too!

Here is a photo of a similar Lug Nut with the extended “sleeve/collar“, it is NOT the exact ones on my wheels but a good visual representation, and a photo of my broken CV Axle, and my Lexus.

C2D996DD-A18B-40FD-BDAB-2AA2AAF9F516.jpeg

C3BCD7EA-F24D-4327-9856-13E8880BDF4F.jpeg

C3E99A02-B9C1-463D-9F01-0811C38E0036.png

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