Coopers don't balance up???

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 11:37
ThreadID: 20928 Views:3715 Replies:19 FollowUps:21
This Thread has been Archived
The GU wobble drama continues!!!!!

I have exhausted mechanical fixes (95% fixed), and have now finally achieved a 'wobble free' drive with a borrowed set of new 17" Patrol rims and tyres.

So I'm getting a new set of tyres (was going for Cooper ATR's). Bloke at specialist 4WD tyre shop advises me Coopers are not a good choice for me and don't balance or 'spin up' well at all. Says they often require lots of wheel weights to get them OK (a quick look at my wheels back this up). Also says they are just a cheaper mid range US tyre which are well marketed in Australia.

I've had two sets of Coopers and although they've lasted well (70,000km's), I admit when first fitted I thought they were not great for smoothness / handling compared to the OEM Bridgestones (to be expected I guess). Just looking at my Cooper AT sidewalls shows major structual inconsistencies which were there from new. He has advised me that if a Patrol has a tendency to shimmy, the hard Coopers will not help the situation. Said Toyota's are fine with Cooper, BFG's etc, just stay away from them on a problematic Nissan and I need everything in my favour to solve this problem.

Strongly advises me to get Jap made Toyo OPAT's as the best way of combating the shimmy problem. Says they are very smooth, balance perfectly, relatively long lasting and well suited to my purposes (WA 80% long distance hot bitumen, 15% gravel / dirt, 5% low range slugging - no mud) Price is similar to Coopers.

The boss at WA Suspensions and Nissan both advise me to go with Bridgestone 694's. They concede they wear faster than Coopers, but are a big improvement over the recently discontinued 693's in every way. I can get Bridgestones in the bush if required a lot easier, plus they are HEAPS cheaper.

I earn my living in the Patrol and sometimes drive for 18hrs at a time in it, so a little wobble becomes a BIG problem to me. I'm getting real, real angry with the 'factory standard' shimmy now and need to sort it out once and for all.

Advice please??? Toyo OPAT's? (I know nothing about them) Bridgestone 694's? (seems to be a very good option at this stage) Is the Cooper balance issue a myth?

Thanks in advance.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: michael - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 12:01

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 12:01
Had wobbles with different tyres on '92 Mav since new, before using BFG AT'S which are on the standard steel Nissan 16"/6JJ rims. The ones I have are not the latest AT design but they balance up perfectly each rotation I have done at Tyrepower Wangara.These current tyres have been on so long I've forgotten how many Kms they've done. Had a great run out of them and will buy BFG's again.
good luck, DRC
AnswerID: 100955

Reply By: ianmc - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 12:07

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 12:07
Is your GU lifted?? If so the castor angles would need correcting. If not enough the front wheels will wobble in most vehicles. Had this in an older 4wd with leaf springs till bought some tapered shims to tilt the axle.
AnswerID: 100956

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 13:46

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 13:46
50mm. Castor bushes have been done as has everything else.

Tyres next on list.

FollowupID: 359016

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:02

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:02
Castor bushes make for marginal castor correction to a good setting with a true 50mm lift.

What are the castor readings?

Also, I would suggest the Good Year AT, the new one, for a tough tyre, which wears well, getting rave reviews where they get worked hard loaded.
FollowupID: 359174

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:26

Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:26
GO_OFFROAD, last set of wheel alignment readings say:

Camber 0.2'
Caster 3.8'
Toe -0.2mm

Camber 0.0'
Caster 3.4'
Toe -0.8mm

Cross Camber 0.1'
Cross Caster 0.4' 0.4'
Total Toe -1.0mm

I will look into the AT. Apparently the same silica compound and casing as the MTR.
FollowupID: 359185

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 12:08

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 12:08
G'day V8Diesel,

So if I'm reading this right you may also have been happy with the original Bridgestones? Why not go back to these for the type of driving you do?

Kind regards
AnswerID: 100957

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 13:51

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 13:51
Original were BS 265/70/16 HT's. Wore out real quick and I need a tougher tyre for genuine off road applications. 694's apparently stronger and more of a true AT.
FollowupID: 359017

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 16:07

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 16:07
G'day V8Diesel,

Checked my tyres last night and mine (GUII) came out with 693's standard. Have 35,000 k on the clock and they still drive and look pretty good. That's the reason for my response.

Looking at 394's to retyre my trailer, what price are they asking out your way? This will give me some basis for discussion with my local tyre people

Kind regards
FollowupID: 359132

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:08

Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:08
Beatit, I've pestered Beaurepaires down to $230ea F+B in 285/75/16 and a mate of mine can do 'em for $225 but that's not a 'public' price..
FollowupID: 359180

Reply By: DARREN - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 13:32

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 13:32
Are you sure it's not the rims?. Mate had a "factory wobble"on his GU with steel rims. Nissan argued for ages it wasn't the rims even though it also wobbled with the original tyres. Ultimately it was found to be to rims which Nissan replaced under warranty.

PS I Have had Cooper 285/75/16's on my GU since new and have just ticked over 50,000, expect they will last to 70,000 and I would buy them again.
AnswerID: 100960

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:11

Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:11
Not sure about the rims. Checked them out thoroughly and looked for cracks but that is about it. they seem to spin up fine.

Have done a wheel fornt to back swap and also put the 15" rims and tyres off my Landcruiser but they are muddies and I'm not 100% convinced as to their roundness either.
FollowupID: 359181

Reply By: Member - Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 14:09

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 14:09
I can vouch for the BS 694's being a reasonable tyre for the price. I'm happy with them. No problem with balance and my wheels don't appear to have an excessive amount of lead attached.

Don't know about Coopers but several reports on this forum indicate a problem with the older AT's. Believe there is a new release out now but probably to soon for people to comment on the improvement, if any.

As far as the rim being a potential source of the problem, I would have assumed your specialist 4WD tyre shop would have eliminated this from the equation by testing, pretty quick smart.

Perhaps try swapping your wheels back to front to see if there is any improvement.
Otherwise, try the 694's. What do you have to lose?


I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 100965

Reply By: Member - Bradley- Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 14:57

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 14:57
sorry mate i cant fix the prob, but take heart in the fact they are still value adding this 'feature' in new patrols, I was at the airport the other day going past the rental returns and there was a group dropping off a patrol to the attendant, all I heard was;

"tell em its got a god awful shake in the steering"

He was not a happy camper..

BTW was at a tyre shop the other day and the guy there showed me some cooper at's which were back for warranty, flogged out with road use only after 25k, not the first he has had lately he told me. So i dunno what to believe anymore, but the b/stone 694 is a superior tyre from a new technology viewpoint, as for compound wear etc, no one can give me a good view yet.
AnswerID: 100971

Reply By: Peter Guy - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 14:58

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 14:58
Try Richards Tyre Power in Osborne Park, as they have the best wheel balacing equipment in the west. They have balanced my Cooper ATs 2nd set now and a set of Kuhmos over the years and no-one else has been successful!
AnswerID: 100972

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 15:09

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 15:09
Been there, done that :-)

Vibration got better, but still there unfortunately. Rotated tyres on rim as well. The fact my Coopers are requiring this sort of attention in the first place worries me.
FollowupID: 359027

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 16:29

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 16:29
I had my Cooper ST 285/75'styres originally fitted and balanced by Richards Tyre Power. Had them on for 36,000kms now and only had them re-balanced once (I rotate every 5,000km, when I change the oil).

Must say I am very happy with the lack of issues I have with my tyres, but also haven't found any problems balancing Cooper tyres.


FollowupID: 359035

Reply By: Peter Guy - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 15:13

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 15:13
It might be time to get the tyres replaced under warranty!
They should honour it especially if they can't stop the "wobble".
Just a thought, have you checked the steering dampner shocky?
I replaced mine and found it helped!
AnswerID: 100974

Reply By: MrBitchi - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 16:17

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 16:17
Coopers not balancing sounds like bullsh$t to me. Have never had a problem with balance (3 sets).
Going to a softer tyre will possibly only hide the problem for a while, not fix it. I wouldn't class the Cooper AT's as a "hard" tyre either.
Try mounting your original tyres on the borrowed rims. Will eliminate one or the other.

Cheers, John.
AnswerID: 100981

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:08

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:08
You wouldnt class a tyre which comes with a warranty on paper for a great distance as being a hard tyre?

You only have to drive on them in the wet to see how "hard" they are.......

They certainly arent in the top 5 decent tyres to fit, and we do 40+ a week, as well as the other brands, and I have had most of them on my car, but the average Cooper tyre buyer is always more interested in the KM warranty than the tyres performance anyway, which at least shows the best marketed tyre in Aus has marketing that is working anyway.........
FollowupID: 359175

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:19

Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:19
GO_OFFROAD, the saga continues. What tyres would you recomend? I'm worried that the Coopers, BFG's and MTR's may be too hard a compound for this troublesome GU. As you point out, 90,000km's guaranteed would equate to a 'tungsten carbide' compound I'd think.

I'd rather do 40,000km's smooth k's, than 80,000 vibrating ones. Still require a practical, capable off road tyre. Not too concerned with grip or agressive tread patterns (WA), just strong casings, construction etc.
FollowupID: 359183

Follow Up By: MrBitchi - Monday, Mar 07, 2005 at 09:37

Monday, Mar 07, 2005 at 09:37
Personally I think Coopers are brilliant in the wet. Have been in the odd tropical downpour or two with them and their grip is fantastic.

Good to fit? I'll take your word on that as I don't fit tyres for a living. I can only repeat that over 3 sets I've had no problems with them.
FollowupID: 359350

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Monday, Mar 07, 2005 at 20:17

Monday, Mar 07, 2005 at 20:17
The exception will always prove the rule.

Guess I had to find one who thought they were good on wet bitumen.
FollowupID: 359404

Reply By: muzzimbidgie - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 17:18

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 17:18
I have recently noticed wheel woble in my 2000 GU. I have BFG all terrains which have done 25,000 K's, and up untill now they have been good.

I have recently fiited a more heavy duty steering damper, and untill this very second, hadn't considered this to be a contributing factor.

I've had the car into Booragoon Tyre Service for a ballance 3 times now for the fronts only, I'm due to rotate them in a couple of weeks, so we'll find out then.

I have heard of others with steel rim problems, but Nissan owners take heart, a mate with a 1 year old 100 series turbo diesel is arguing with Toyota at the moment cos his tyre mob recon it's his rims that are out of balance.

AnswerID: 100985

Reply By: Timbobaroobob - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 17:41

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 17:41
My 80 series cruiser came with a set of gu patrol rims with HT tyres fitted to them. when i replaced the tyres with ATtyres you couldnt drive it over 100kmh. the whole car shook and vibrated, even though the tyres/ wheels where balanced well. ended up being out of round wheels, so i repaced with a set of sunrasias, problem fixed! The reason why it didnt vibe beforehand was that the tyres wore into the shape of the rim. I would suggest getting rid of the rims and trying another set, you can mount the wheel/tyre on a balancer and see the rim wobbling around.
AnswerID: 100991

Reply By: Member - Rick (S.A.) - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 19:54

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 19:54
There are a few reports, including mine, on OPATS, on this forum.
try a search.
AnswerID: 101014

Reply By: JR - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 21:04

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 21:04
After four Patrols and lotsa wobbles I have had no problems since finding a tyre shop which uses the six post balancer locating hub. NOT the cone type most use
This locates the wheels correctly, and not only balances correctly but knocks off heaps of weights required
These things are dear and only good for a few vehicles each so not that many shops have them
three sets of Coopers no problems since
AnswerID: 101029

Reply By: Eric Experience. - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 22:54

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 22:54
V8 Diesel.
Sorry to be a nagger, but have you checked the basics? like are the wheels/ tyres round, do the test as mentioned in the last posting. Eric.
AnswerID: 101046

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 00:30

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 00:30
Not nagging at all mate, All help greatly appreciated. The list to date......

New Koni shocks.
New Lovells springs.
New 4-ways RTC damper (tried both with and without spring)
Castor kit.
New wheel bearings (checked no less than 3 times)
4 wheel balances including a 'Road Force' balance (best in WA) - specifically requested tyres / wheels be checked for 'roundness' and 'trueness' as you suggested. Tried at various speeds to look for signs of delamination too.
Re-machined front discs and new Bendix 4 x 4 pads.
Urethane panhard rod bushes.
2 x wheel alignments.
New oils all round. Triple checked correct viscosity.
Uni joints checked and lubed.
Various tyre pressures tried - measured on the same quality gauge.
Back to WA Suspension 4 times.
Giant Nissan once.

Huge improvement (as you'd expect) in every aspect of the vehicles performance so I'm still happy. Wobble is now 95% gone, but not completely. Tyres are next on the list. My reason for posting was wondering if the Coopers "advice" I received from a local tyre dealer was factual, or just a sales pitch for Toyo. Wanted to get opinions before forking out $1,600 for a new set.
FollowupID: 359084

Reply By: Big Woody - Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 23:00

Thursday, Mar 03, 2005 at 23:00
Hey V8,

Believe me I understand fully what you are saying. Initially I had a couple of episodes where I couldn't hang on to the wheel until I backed off below 60kph. Totally rebuilt front end steering and suspension components. Have had wheels balanced and rotated at least 5 times. My wheels are good quality ROH aftermarket alloys but swapped wheels from my brothers cruiser to see if that would fix. Finally, as you said, I was able to eliminate about 95% of the shimmy.

I was prepared to live with that shimmy and put it down to the tyres, so I waited until due for new set. In anticipation I put a set of Cooper S/T's on about 10,000 km's ago expecting a nice smooth steering wheel free of shimmy. Not so mate, I have given up and now put the car on the market and got a Landcruiser again. I know, not as tough in running gear but certainly better build quality.

Gotta draw the line somewhere. Good Luck!

AnswerID: 101047

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 00:52

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 00:52
Brett - Strewth do I hear you brother!!!! AMEN to that!!!!

I have a 1985 (20 years old!) Toyota HJ75 as well that drives great. Big muddies on it etc. No worries, just steers itself.

This is my first Nissan. Done 170,000km's no drama's at all. Brilliant in fact, but now this f&*%@!$g wobble's started. Same deal since 1988 apparently!!!!!!! Someone desperately needs a swift kick up the date and a crash course in backhanders in the Nissan design department. Not good enough, it's a f&%*#$g joke.

The solution I'm seriously considering is buying a 50,000km's ex-governemnt Toyota HZJ105 at tax time each and every year. Buy a good turbo kit, winch and bar, roof rack and swap it all over each year on to the new one. Going for around $35,000 in A1 nick and auctioning 5 - 10 of them every Wednesday. Take your pick from the bunch. Probably break pretty close to even I'd say.

Got to be better than this misery.
FollowupID: 359086

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 07:05

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 07:05
Thanks for your reply V8,

Actually, after thinking more about it last night. About 18months ago I was doing searches on Google and found whole website pages totally taken up by Nissan owners on forums who were trying to fix this shimmy. Some did but most didn't.
Some good did come of it though, as it was by doing these searches that I found the ExploreOz website as this topic must go back, as you say, to 1988.

FollowupID: 359088

Reply By: JamieMac - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 10:32

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 10:32
I had a simlar problem on my GQ after a 2" lift. Went through several sets of tyres with frequent balances etc They would always go out within 5k. I replaced the easy to get at bushes and had the castor correction bushes ready to go. I decided to go back to 32" tyres in narrow 16" safety rims to see if it would help as I needed new tyres again.

I spoke to numerous tyre places about the situation and finally got one to give me his word he could fix it with tyres alone (I got it in writing!!). He said various manufacturers made good and bad tyres in different sizes. I ended up getting a set of US made BFG AT 235/58 16s fitted. The castor bushes were still in the shed when I sold the GQ with 70k on the tyres. I never had a problem with shimmy using these tyres at all speeds even after 20k of not balancing them. They were rotated every 5k and I keep a close eye on pressures.

On the basis of this I fitted 285/75 18 BFG AT (US made again) to my GU the day I picked it up. These are also giving no trouble with first balance done at 25k. All these balnces were done using using the 6 fingered locator mentioned above.

AnswerID: 101088

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:21

Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:21
BFG AT's are certainly getting a good wrap on this post.
FollowupID: 359184

Reply By: michael - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 16:35

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 16:35
Good to see someone else has the same experience as me with BFG AT's. Yes, problem GQ/MAV, heard all the " experts " and salesmen wanting to flog fancy caster correction thingamyjigs and steering dampers. I resisted and on a big trip in '97 needed rubber and found BFG AT's in Alice at a dirty, greasy truck-tyre shop ( Borals ) and didn't hold out much hope the balance would be any good but the tyre and fitter were excellent. Next set have been the same. By the way my Mav is lifted 2" on Lovell springs and no problem. Makes you think, don't it ?
Cheers DRC
AnswerID: 101141

Reply By: Morcs in cairns - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 20:26

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 20:26
Make sure frt w/bearings are adjusted every 5000ks if you do any dirt road driving.
Patrols have a problem in this area , also make sure steering damper is ok as both things can agrevate steering shimmy
AnswerID: 101165

Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:02

Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 00:02
New wheel bearings, adjusted and checked no less than 3 times by seperate specialists.

New damper, tried with a RTC spring and without. Bushes checked too.
FollowupID: 359179

Reply By: Eric Experience. - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:08

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:08
V8 diesel.
Now im realy nagging, you say the tyres were checked for roundness,how? and how round were they?
The use of plastic bushes will greatly increase the effect of of any vibration, when a vehicle is being developed engineers spend hundreds of hours testing the suspension bushes to get the right stiffness of rubber for each bush, this can take months and cost millions, then some backyarder makes a bush from a bright coloured plastic and every body wants a set. Sorry I wil just get of my soap box. Please put the old rubber bushes back and fit a set of round wheels and you will be fine. Eric.
AnswerID: 101179

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:11

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:11
And your solution to fix the castor wobble issue if the standard bushes are refitted would then be????
FollowupID: 359176

Follow Up By: Eric Experience. - Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:30

Friday, Mar 04, 2005 at 22:30
Because the bushes are so important I would move the rear attatchment piont to correct the castor, but that would be to difficult for the average punter so I guess the next best would be to take it to a truck alignment specialist and get the arms bent to the correct angle, after all that is how the caster is set on the prototype vehicles. Eric.
FollowupID: 359177

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 06:41

Saturday, Mar 05, 2005 at 06:41
I agree with that, and have bent 80 arms previously to adjust castor, though there is an aftermarket bolt on kit to drop the back of the front arms for nissans now.

But have also found the 80 series bushes actually work better in the nissan arms, at the diff end.
FollowupID: 359189

Sponsored Links