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Old 01-10-2014, 09:19 PM   #1
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Interesting Vibration Issue

I've had an interesting issue the past few days with engine vibrations. Started once it was SUPER cold (0*F, and down to -15), and I just assumed it was the motor mounts being frozen. It would typically go away fairly quick.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I can hear an intermittent and rhythmic vibration at certain RPMs. The car was plenty warm by now, and it seemed to happen at higher RPMs. It wasn't too noticeable, but it was there. Couldn't really figure out the issue so I didn't think much of it. It was definitely from the engine, though, and not wheel/tire related.

No onto today, it's 34*F outside. First trip this morning and the vibrations were AWFUL. Like, something is going to blow up bad. Open the hood and it's not the passenger side motor mount, might be the trans mount but sounds like it's coming from beneath the engine. I found that by putting a little pressure on the engine (just pushing on the valve cover), I can get the vibration to completely go away. It drives like this the entire 30 minute drive, then stops once I start it up for the return trip. Haven't the issue again today.

Any thoughts on what this was? I figured it was the cold, but with it being above freezing today I don't see it being 100% temperature related. There was a bit of snow in the lower engine compartment that came in through the bumper, maybe some built up ice right against the block? I figured running the engine for a few minutes would break that up, though...

Harmonic balancer issue? I don't know how the operate inside, would temperature effect this item?

I'll report back tomorrow with how it starts up in the morning...wonder if it'll vibrate again.


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Old 01-11-2014, 07:23 AM   #2
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How do you know it's not the pass side (RH) mount? My understanding is you can't see all the failure modes of a mount. Could also be the dog bone mount underneath maybe?

I have a moderate increase in engine vibes in general, I plan to play around with the mounts this weekend. If you jack the engine slightly from the oil pan and then from the tranny and see which side results in greater vibration reduction, that should tell you what mount it is.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:28 AM   #3
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Is the vibration proportional to engine speed or road speed? If it's road speed my experience is that OEM tires on the Focus can flat-spot a bit, especially when it's cold. The frequency of the vibrations can change as the flat spots on each tire contact the road at different times. In 0 degree weather, it can take considerable time for them to go away.

I suspect you're commenting on a high-frequency, engine-related vibration though, in which case this is of no help.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:11 AM   #4
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Mine got a crapload of snow jammed up behind the engine that froze with our subzero temps that caused a nasty vibration (sounded like a mid90s civic to me). Thankfully it all melted with the rain yesterday and things seem to be back to normal.
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:57 PM   #5
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I'm inclined to believe the snow is doing it, but that just seems weird to me. I don't see how a chunk of ice stays lodged against an engine for 30+ minutes...plus, the worst happened after all the snow had been (for the most part) removed, so I wasn't throwing snow/ice through the bumper any more.

I'm also wondering if the harmonic balancer was screwed up, but then that doesn't explain why pushing the motor a little stopped the vibration.
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:04 PM   #6
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It could be something more but mine didn't melt until I drove 30 minutes in a heavy rain (5 days later). Once I warmed up above freezing, I popped the hood and could see all the snow jammed behind the engine near the tranny. Mine sounds like normal now though, I think it's just a poor winter design. Then again I put on blizzaks and fly through the snow like I'm in a hummer haha
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