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Old 10-13-2007, 10:51 AM   #1
Sam Salter
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Back end shimmy!

Daughter in law has a 2001 ZTS four door.
If you hit a bump in the road the back end fishtails from side to side.

Everything under the back end looks OK, except that the R/H shock is leaking.
I'm reluctant to nail this problem on the shock, but you guys are all owners with lots of time in the seat of a Focus.

Any ideas?
Is the shock enough to cause this?
I was thinking control arm or sway bar or something expensive like that, although I don't see any slop in any of the bushings.

Thanks for any help,
sam :-)
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:08 AM   #2
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Its possible the rear shock could cause this but I'd also check the alignment. If the toe is out either front or rear it can cause this.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:13 AM   #3
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I would bet that it is the leaking shock. This could cause an assymmetry which could certainly upset the car. If the shock is leaking it should be replaced.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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If the shock is leaking, it is blown and should be replaced.

There is a chance that the swaybar bushings got frozen up, my car acted somewhat like youre describing when it happened to me.
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Old 10-13-2007, 11:41 AM   #5
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agreed

i agree with above... one dead shock will absolutely affect the car in the situation you've described, but i'd also have a look at the alignment and general condition of the suspension at the same corner. the shock may have failed after the car hit a severe pot hole or something, who knows? it may just be defective, but it's better to check so that nothing comes back to bite you later. easy enough to do since it'll all be accessible when the shock is changed.
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Old 10-13-2007, 01:25 PM   #6
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Odd symptoms.
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Old 10-13-2007, 07:50 PM   #7
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When the rear suspension of a focus compresses, the wheel toes out. So when you're cornering and the carbody leans, you can see how this would give a self-steering effect in the back. So if, during normal straight-ahead driving one side of the rear suspension is more active than the other because of poor dampning, you can see how this would maybe give you a little wobble.
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Old 10-14-2007, 04:22 AM   #8
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The rubber bushings do tend to lose their integrity after exposure to a lot of road salt. I'm with you in that I'm reluctant to place the blame on shock entirely. My guess is either the rubber bushings need to be replaced, or you have an asymmetrical rear camber setting that causes a bit of a wobble. You can always do the bounce test on the R/H rear suspension to see if the shock is blown. Push the car down and if it bounces more than a time or two, you know that the shock is blown.

The Focus has a tendency to do a little bit of side stepping, just as a natural result of the suspension. However, that's primarily in high speed sweepers, like an on-ramp. Presumably, she/you are familiar enough with the handling attributes of the car to notice that this problem exists to an abnormal extent?
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:10 AM   #9
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Replace the bad shock, personally I replace both at the same time. I've grown fond of www.shockwarehouse.com. I recently installed a set of KYB GR2 shocks from them and I'm pleased with the performance. You can expect similar performance from the Monroe shocks.
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Old 10-14-2007, 10:11 AM   #10
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Bad shocks or struts drastically affect performance, bushing wear, and suspension alignment. It won't hurt to replace the sway bar bushings if you have a rear sway bar.
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