2011 LR4 shimmy/vibration -- control arms? warped or glazed rotors?

HuskerBred

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I've read and reread so many posts I'm going cross-eyed trying to figure out and answer to the issues I'm having. I have a 2011 LR4 HSE with 135k miles. I've owned it for the last five years since 83k miles. I'm having multiple issue and I'm getting ready to address them all this next week, but I want to make sure I cover all of my bases. I've been lucky to have few problems with my truck, keeping to just one expensive repair a year until this last winter when I lost the engine to oil starvation on the top end, resulting in the valve and cylinder disintegrating. I replaced the engine with a long block from a company that specializes in Rover/Jag motors and couldn't be happier. My wife, not so much. She has been pretty good about the money I've spent on my truck because she knows I'll keep it until the wheel fall off, like I do with every vehicle I've owned. So I want to get everything done at once so she isn't reminded of the small fortune I've put into it.

Which bring me to the issues. First I have a shimmy while driving that is new, but a vibration I can feel through the steering wheel when I brake. It started before the engine replacement, but it's been getting worse. I had been getting the "normal height only" message for the last couple years and purchased a compressor a while back. Actually 2 compressors, because of the date my Rover was manufactured I bought the Hitachi first, but it had already be updated, so I bought the newer version too. But the compressor kept on working so I've been putting it off. I had been getting some sag in the front overnight, which has been getting worse. I've done all of the diagnostic testing to figure out where the leak was, replaced the front valve block, but its still losing air. Lately I've been getting the "suspension fault" message. The codes say air shocks/compressor keeps running. And lastly, I noticed an oil small oil leak. I took it to the shop where I had the engine done so they could fix the leak and give the front end a thorough shake down.

The oil leak is the vacuum pump. When the engine was done they used the old vacuum pump with a new gasket, but now the pump itself is leaking. I've ordered one and it should arrive over the weekend. They checked out the front end, said everything looked fine, no issues. The brakes were done 2 years ago and the pads have better than 50% of the pads left, rotors were turned but not replaced, brake fluid was flushed and replaced. They said the air strut bags are dry and cracked and that's where I'm losing the air from. They only quoted me $1000 for replacement of the vacuum pump and $3200 for the shocks. After I stopped laughing, I explained they took all my money with the new engine, and being semi-retired, I have more time than money, and after building vintage Mustangs for the last 40 years, I can do it myself.

So my questions are: does the vacuum pump play any part in how the brakes work? I have Brembo rotors, I don't ride the brakes, not an overly aggressive driver, the rotors have a lot of life left, should I just replace or have them turned just in case they are warped? I jumped the gun and already had control arms and new hardware ready to install, the ones on there appear to be original, should I just install them as planned? I did check and there isn't really any wiggle in the wheels when they are off the ground, but using a short 8" pry bar, I can get a small amount of movement around the mounting brackets. And lastly, is there anything else that could cause a vibration with braking I haven't mentioned? The slight shimmy may be resolved with a rebalance of the tires and new control arms, so I'm not concerned about that. So vacuum pump, control arms, front air struts, and possibly rotors. Any thoughts?
 

ftillier

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I would do new pads if you do new rotors. One of my cars had a shimmy when on the brakes and it turned out to be warped rotors, had them turned and it is now smooth. It can also be pad residue on the rotor surface. Either way, turning them should sort it, if you decide to not replace them.
 

HuskerBred

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I would do new pads if you do new rotors. One of my cars had a shimmy when on the brakes and it turned out to be warped rotors, had them turned and it is now smooth. It can also be pad residue on the rotor surface. Either way, turning them should sort it, if you decide to not replace them.
Actually, when I price them out it's only $10-20 more to do a full brake kit with rotors and pads than it is to buy rotors, so that would be the plan if I go that route. Thank you!
 

16FujiDisco

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Wheel shimmy while braking was one of the symptoms of my LCAs; brakes were good and once the LCAs were replaced, no more issues
 

ryanjl

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Shimmy while braking was my first lower control arm symptom as well.

For the new front struts, look at the UK-based Land Rover parts places. LrDirect and the like. Just buy the OEM ones. The exchange rate right now is one of the best it's ever been for us U.S. folk.
 

HuskerBred

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After reading a million different posts, I figured it was the control arms causing my steering/braking issues, but I start to overthink it and second guess myself. As always, I appreciate the feedback. I had already ordered all of my parts, but I'm a bargain shopper, so I was able to keep costs down while getting Arnott struts ($315ea) and Lemforder LCA's ($200ea). Hopefully after this I'm back to my usual once a year expensive repair. I did purchase a new Foxwell scanner that seems to do just about everything I want it to do, and I may do a quick post giving my impression of it's capabilities as an less expensive option to the Gap tool.
 

sceh

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I assume your wheels are balanced? If not, do so and make sure you haven't lost any balancing weights. Otherwise it is warped rotors due to over heating. Change them. There is no way it can be the LCAs and it is easily checked anyway - jack it up and take a crowbar to them
 

sceh

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Get the GAP tool. It is by far the best a light years ahead of the one LR uses and the guys are really competent, unlike the average LR garage
 

HuskerBred

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I assume your wheels are balanced? If not, do so and make sure you haven't lost any balancing weights. Otherwise it is warped rotors due to over heating. Change them. There is no way it can be the LCAs and it is easily checked anyway - jack it up and take a crowbar to them
The balance was just checked after it started, so I ruled that out. When the car is up I can't manhandle any movement out of the LCA, but with a small 8" pry bar in the mounting bracket, I can get some movement. They look to be the original land Rover control arms, and between Carfax and my 50k miles of ownership they haven't been replaced, so I'm just going to replace them while I do the air struts.
 

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