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Hi all,

I'm nearing the end of a long handling saga!

My 99c2 with m030 as standard was superb when I got it two years ago. I've put 60000miles on it since and the handling deteriorated to nearly unusable levels. I had hit a few holes in the road that were very harsh but nothing that you would think was out of the ordinary.

I've had the car aligned on numerous occasions, it felt better for a few miles then all floaty again.

The car felt loose in a straight line and when cornering would feel like a weight was shifting at the rear. Any bump or change in road surface would be awfull, the car would dive and bounce.

The first thing was new dampers, then trackrod ends, then sway bar mounts and strut tops. All were a little worn and the car was stiffer afterwards, but the problems carried on.

The car had been to three seperate mechanics, none could find anything wrong or loose. I was being told that it was me, even on the test drives no one could feel anything.

I worry that many cars have simple problems that are thought of as being "normal" that are in fact worn components that lead to odd handling.

The major problem I found was the rear link in the suspension, the one with the rear toe in adjustment.

This component was moving in it's mounting, the bolt felt tight. This movement could only be felt with the damper and spring removed.

Each time an alignment check was done the driving of the car onto the ramp settled the rear wheels and led the guages to show the rear tow in as being correct. Under driving conditions it was moving, changing the rear toe settings mid corner. Although not major movement, it led to increased understeer when the wheel was unloaded and very loose feelings on bumpy roads.

With this major problem sorted that car handles very well in corners now, but still loose at speed. I'd taken apart each corner and checked each component in turn, everything was perfect.

The only item unchecked was the steering rack, no play could be felt by the usual methods. wobbling wheels etc.

I did manage to make a definate clunking noise by getting my unable assistant to turn the steering wheel, left and right, whilst pushing the rear edge of the wheel inboard.

This in effect loaded the rack and showed something was wrong. I'm confident it's the mounts for the rack, i'm fitting them this week and hope that's the end of it all.

My biggest concern is that cars that "don't feel right" are being dismisseed once the usual checks are done. If your car's handling has become worse with time don't put it down to "wear" Chances are something is loose somewhere, it's just very hard to find!

I'm getting pretty well versed at finding things now, feel free to get a second opinion.

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I have only 2 suggestions: check your wheels and tires. I recently had a set of wheels straighted because 3 were bent on a bad piece of pavement. I kept getting them re-balanced, but there was always a shake at 70. Sending them off to be re-finished fixed the problem. Since you aren't commenting about a vibration, it could be in the back. Also check the tires. You could have a weak spot on a sidewall or a tread separation in a tire. Try to find someone who you could barrow their wheels and tires for a day to see if this is where the problem is.

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