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150k miles 2.0l gas mkIV Jetta, 5-speed manual.

Braking at speeds of around 40mph down to 20mph there is shake in steering and overall jerky stopping. If slight steering is added(say gentle off-ramp-turn) fairly loud wobbling(best I can describe, pretty much whole car shakes) can be heard and felt. I'm also hearing a clunk noise from the front when car weight is shifted during a 90degree turn. This is guaranteed to happen when pulling into a drive-way with a gutter.

Front brake rotors changed less than two years ago(maybe 15k miles), alas the pads were almost brand-new and weren't changed at the same time. This solved a very similar vibration in steering wheel when braking, I assumed previous rotors were warped. Tires are brand new.

I could assume that the new rotors are already warped and change those again along with pads. What is bothering me is the steering input multiplying the issue to such a great extent.

I must add that in the past few months the ABS light has been coming on only after reaching 20mph. Light is not on after starting the car.

All the suspension is factory. 12years old(I know right)

My personal vehicle maintenance experience only includes simple jobs: brakes, oil changes, coolant flange, any work that doesn't require specialized knowledge/tools.

Bushings? Mounts? Control arms? Master cylinder? Wheel speed sensor? Where should I start?

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2 Answers 2

First stop driving it, it is potentially an accident waiting to happen. Any shaking, banging, wobbling etc should be addressed immediately. A couple of things come to mind. A bad wheel bearing can cause all the symptoms you describe along with an intermittent ABS light if the bearing has enough play in it (the hub wiggles enough to move the rotor away from the ABS sensor). A really bad CV joint could cause some of the symptoms as well as loose lug nuts. Any of the things you suggested may also be combining to create your symptoms. The most important thing is to have someone check it before something fails completely.

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It might also be warped brake rotors. –  hillsons Jun 18 '13 at 1:40

Listen to Mikes' answer. If it was just the vibration while braking I'd say more than likely a rotor (reusing a pad pair can cause a new rotor to warp). However I think you might have one or more likely a combination of things listed above wrong.

The best advice is Mikes' last sentence. However, if you want or need to do this yourself, have someone check it out so you know where to start. Then buy a Haines or Chiltons manual for your car and dig in. As you begin repairing things, double check everything as you go. For example if the shop says it's a CV joint check the wheel bearing for play while disassembling everything to get to the CV joint.

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