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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve been searching for a FJ for a while and finally found a 2007 with decent miles (135k) and overall clean, with good service history. Upon test driving, it rode smooth until I got to around 60 mph then it started to shake then smoothed out closer to 70. The tires seem to have seen their better days so can attribute the shaking to the tires, however, when braking from high speed ( going off exit ramp), it also vibrated the steering wheel exceptional bad. I know from prior experience that when my Tacoma did this, I needed to replace our rotors. I mentioned this to our salesmen ( who was in the vehicle during test drive) and he spoke with the service manager and they agreed that it was the rotors and would replace them at no cost. I have this in writing as part of my purchase agreement. 📃

Today they call and tell me mechanic drove the FJ and it is no longer shaking /vibrating when hard braking that perhaps it was just rust so they would not be replacing the front rotors even though the salesman stated he had witnessed it as well. I advised them that something was obviously wrong that needs to be addressed and I would not have placed my deposit ( non refundable) on the vehicle otherwise without the condition of replacing the rotors as agreed or at a minimum fixing whatever was causing the shaking during a hard brake. 🛑

The Salesmen said he would go back to the Service Manager to see what they can do. I did not hear back this afternoon but expect call in the morning. Just curious what potentially could be the problem if not the rotor (frozen caliber maybe?) Should I move forward with sale even if they say nothing is wrong or blame it on the tires? It rides and brakes perfectly fine at lower speeds just around 60 it vibrates and during braking from higher speeds. I would hate to loose my $500 deposit over this but also don’t wish to loose this FJ. Just looking for advice on how to handle and what potentially could be the problem!?🤷‍♀️

Any and all advice is much appreciated!!! Thanks in advance!
 

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Is this the "steering wheel shimmy" you're describing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just don’t want to immediately inherit a bigger issue that needs fixing ( other than new tires) .. not sure what to do.
 

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This truck regardless will be sold there is an ass for every seat however It’s against most state laws to with hold deposits on vehicles for purchase if you placed deposit on credit card simply call your cc company and kindly dispute charge , As far as the FJ sounds like a problem money can fix . If you like the truck Just do it !
 

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I just don’t want to immediately inherit a bigger issue that needs fixing ( other than new tires) .. not sure what to do.
For both of these problems -- vibration at speed and vibration while braking -- there really isn't a bigger issue than the two you've identified (new rotors and new tires (edit) or balancing (/edit)). Brake rotor rust wouldn't cause vibration, so just go drive the truck again and confirm that it's no longer an issue. It's possible that they turned the rotors (free for them) rather than replaced the rotors ($$$) to fix the issue. And in either case, you're buying a new set of tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For both of these problems -- vibration at speed and vibration while braking -- there really isn't a bigger issue than the two you've identified (new rotors and new tires (edit) or balancing (/edit)). Brake rotor rust wouldn't cause vibration, so just go drive the truck again and confirm that it's no longer an issue. It's possible that they turned the rotors (free for them) rather than replaced the rotors ($$$) to fix the issue. And in either case, you're buying a new set of tires.
Yep.. exactly what they are wanting me to do, come back and drive it again. If it still vibrates, then they will replace. I bet you are 💯 on the money they just turned them! Thanks for your input!
 

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I had the steering wheel shimmy for 10 years, with my old set of BFG A/Ts.

When I bought a new set, the shimmy disappeared.

I sometimes wonder if it's an issue of "too much tire" for "too little vehicle..." leading to oversensitive balancing issues...
 

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If I understand correctly, and IANAL, but...
They agreed in writing 'to replace the rotors' not 'to replace the rotors as long as the vehicle exhibits the problem'.
The shimmy may have caused them to offer to fix a potential problem with service and parts, but what they did in the agreement was accept a lesser value for the vehicle. They may view it as an own goal, but those still count.
Congratulations on your negotiating.
 

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when you said rusted rotors, etc. I immediately mentally went to ....bet this frame is all rusty..... So is it? What's it look like? Where has it lived for the past 14 years. Have you crawled under there and inspected it?

Also, how are the tires? Those arent an inconsequential expense at $1000-$1250 for a set of 4 or 5.

My advice: Ask if you can take the FJ to a Toyota dealer or independent repair shop and have it fully evaluated by an independent 3rd party. If they say no way, then that might be a hint about other issues.
 

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While they are obligated to either replace the rotors at your request, as stated in writing, or refund you money, there are 2 things worth considering:
1. If it doesn't need rotors, you don't want "whoever" mechanic at "whatever" dealer putting in the cheapest "whichever" chinese rotors they can buy. They might just screw something bigger up while in the process of an unnecessary job.
2. If you want this FJ, and the price is right considering what you know it needs (tires), then buy it. We all know how hard a nice FJ is to find.

I assume when they said rotors were rusty, they were talking about "glazing". This is a common occurrence this time of year, and is when a vehicle is not driven for as little as a couple of days, a slight glaze of surface rust accumulates on the rotors. This is common in transitional seasons like fall, when colder night air and warmer daytime air cause condensation to form this glazing rust. It usually presents as squeeling or grinding during braking, and burns off after a couple minutes of driving. I can't imagine that would cause a shudder at a certain speed. More likely culprite sounds like the tires, which you know are bad, and probably the alignment, which must be bad. I would have a trusted shop or dealer check it out if you are unsure. One more thing you might want to have checked out is if the eccentric bolts are frozen (likely) in the front end. If so, you will put your new tires on, go to have it aligned, and find out you need a new set of control arms, tie rod ends, etc. Etc. Otherwise, ask the dealer you are buying from to give it an alignment, and have them show you the alignment slip. Post it in here to get feedback about whether it looks like a good alignment if you don't know how to tell. You might tell them that "since the rotors aren't bad and it was shaking, give it an alignment to make sure that wasn't the issue instead". This could save you a chunk of dough. Good luck!
 
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I also have the steering wheel shimmy at speed and during hard braking. I have had the issue before and after new rotors and tires. Inner and Outer tie rods are next on the list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I went back to dealership and test drove it again. No vibration at all during the hard brake.. still bouncy at 60mph which I know was tire related. The FJ itself is super clean, very little rust, can tell was well maintained. I’ve been shopping for over a year and have seen some bad ones so knew this was a good buy. Ended up purchasing the FJ as is and just got new tires yesterday. (Ouch!) Had them look at rotors, brakes, etc. Both front had new rotors, brake pads and calibers and stated needed rear brake pads on back soon. Once the tires were on, it drives like dream. Very happy with my purchase!!! I love my new FJ!!! 🥰
 

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Sounds like you had a happy ending. Welcome to the FJ world and enjoy.
Is it an auto or manual transmission?
 
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