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Convertible - vibrations

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I recently bought a 1991 Convertible with under 12,000 miles on it. It was stored in the rear of the original owners garage and obviously used sparingly. It had the original anti-freeze & transmission fluid in it and the A/C compressor went belly up.<P>Having changed all of the fluids I took it on a shakedown run of 350 miles on Sunday. In most respects it performed like a new car, at it certainly looks the part. However, I noted a little vibration that may be inherent cowl-shake, bad struts, or front end alignment.<P>Any ideas?<P>Jim<BR>@<BR>jmclark47@hotmail.com<P>

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See "Instability in Convertible" posted 8/16/00.<P>I suspect that what you are concerned about is the inherent shake found in large convertibles. I did not do as you are doing.....research this "problem". I thought that my convertible (also with 12,000 miles) should ride like my coupe and I ended up replacing struts (old struts were still good), aligning front end, balancing tires (twice, did not trust first shop), replacing brake parts, and finally even replacing tires.

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After owning 3 Reatta different coupes, with 47K, 131k and 32K miles, I recently bought a 90 comvertible with 39K miles and realized exactly what you are experiencing. I can tell you that my 89 coupe with 131K miles rode better on a rough road that the convertible with 39K miles. I have decide that this is the way it is and I plan to live with it...actulally, I am finally growing used to it.<P>------------------<BR> <A HREF="http://hometown.aol.com/drbuch2000/myhomepage/index.html" TARGET=_blank>http://hometown.aol.com/drbuch2000/myhomepage/index.html</A>

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When I bought my convertible with 21,000 miles on it I also experienced a rough ride. After several alignments, the cause turned out to be the tires. They looked like new with a lot of tread yet they were warped (stored for too long). Replaced the tires and the ride improved. But as everyone said, it's a convertible and it has a different ride than a coupe. Good luck.

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I have a 90 ragtop. At normal or fast speeds, mine has no vibrations. At one time, I had a right-rear tire that wouldn't balance/align correctly and it established a vibration. But it was fixed.<BR>At low speeds on a rough street/road, the car's body is not solid, but I suspect that is because the car wasn't designed to be a convertible and the frame isn't as sturdy as the coupe's.<BR>First try to ID the type vibration and relate that to a good tire person and/or high performance driver-mechanic. Is the vibs side-to-side, front-to-front, or up-down, and low-high frequency.

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When I replaced the original equipment tires on my Miata with a set of Dunlops D60 A2's the car shook terribly over 60mph. I brought the car back to the shop to have them check the tire balance and they were right on, but this time I watched them do it. I couldn't believe my eyes, the tires rotated in an elliptical pattern rather than a circle. Sure they were balanced, but on a small light weight car the 1/2-1" rotation variations caused the car to shimmie excessively. On a heavier car the weight of the vehicle compresses the tires enough so that tire variations aren't noticeable.<P>I exchanged the Dunlops for a set of Pirelli's which balanced in a nice tight circle and it has been smooth sailing ever since.<P>The Reatta convertible is notorious for body flex. The higher performance tire (read as firmer sidewall) you fit on the car the more road feedback there will be for the suspension and body to deal with.

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I believe that all the preceding comments have value... particularly with regard to tires. I have had many tire related problems regarding shimmy and pull on new cars with new tires. I recently purchased a 90 convertible (with fairly new Michelins) and drove it 2862 miles from Phoenix AZ to L.I. NY and didn't experience any of the instability/shimmy spoken about... although most of the trip was on interstate highways. More on the trip later.

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Jim, while you may not need new struts, you might want to pick up a set of rear ones. I recently replaced my 91 Reatta conv. struts with Monroe's 7100 (performance) series. (I think the part number is 71966) While I could get new front struts locally, no one locally carried or could get rear ones. I got them, reasonably priced, from carparts.com. I, too, have always noticed a vibration in the Reatta conv, and I bought mine new in '91. New tires and struts helped some, but at low speeds, it has a slight vibration. Good luck, and enjoy the Reatta. <P>------------------<BR>

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BUICK DEALER SERVICE BULLETIN 91-10-26 DATED JULY 1991 HAD THE SUBJECT "CONVERTIBLE SHAKE AND/OR JITTER. IF ANYONE WANTS A COPY, E-MAIL ME WITH YOUR ADDRESS AT Fanman@webtv.net AND I WILL MAIL YOU A COPY.<P>I WAS TOLD BY A BUICK GM GUY WHO WORKED ON REATTA THAT ALL 91 CONVERTS WERE TAKEN TO THE SAME TEST TRACK AT THE SAME TIME AN DRIVEN TO EVALUATE WHETHER THEY COULD BE SOLD BECAUSE OF VIBRATION PROBLEMS. CARS WERE PUT INTO THREE CATAGORIES AFTER TEST DRIVE AS FOLLOWS: OK FOR RETAIL SALE, OK TO SELL BUT ONLY TO GM EMPLOYEES, AND SCRAPPED AS NOT TO BE SOLD.<P>I TALKED TO A WOMAN NAMED LORI IN LANSING. SHE WORKED AT CRAFT CENTER AND CONVINCED GM NOT TO SCRAP SOME 60 CARS IN LAST CATAGORY BUT RATHER TO DONATE THEM TO SCHOOLS. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED AND THEY ARE THE CARS BARNEY LISTS ON VIN#<BR>LIST AS DONATED.<P>I LIVE IN DETROIT AREA AND BOUGHT BOTH 89 AND 91 COUPE NEW AND HAVE OWNED 3-91 CONVERTIBLES. STILL HAVE ONE 91 CONVERT AND ONE 91 COUPE, BOTH 6000 MILE CARS.<BR>MY CONVERTR WAS ONE DESIGNATER AS OK FOR RETAIL AND DRIVES ALMOST AS NICE AS THE COUPE.<P>BOB SCHUELE

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