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Old 08-01-2011, 10:51 AM   #91
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I just took my car on the I-5 highway between Vancouver and Seattle and noticed some drifting as well. I have an SE hatchback with sport package with 16" wheels with 215/55/16 ContiProContact tires. I just couldn't get the car to go straight for any long period of time. I had no problems with the steering fighting me; it always went in the direction I turned the wheel and I felt no resistance.

So I think it could be the tires but I'm not sure. It could be the tire tread pattern with those groove channels but again I can't be sure until I put another set of tires on. Heading north on I5 towards Canada near exit 275 there is some grooved pavement and the car just wiggled left and right constantly.

Has anyone changed their OEM 16" tires yet?
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:28 AM   #92
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Well after 2 attempts to fix the problem by replacing and re-torqueing various bolts, they ordered me a new rack assembly as well. I don't blame them for trying the less expensive/easiest possible fixes first, but they didn't work. My dealer has been great and upfront with the whole matter. They mentioned there was 30 rack assemblies on backorder, so it may be a while before I get mine. I don't know if that also equates to the number of steering issues that Ford is aware of not. It would nice to know as soon as someone gets a new rack installed if it fixes the problem.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:38 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by brewslayer View Post
Well after 2 attempts to fix the problem by replacing and re-torqueing various bolts, they ordered me a new rack assembly as well. I don't blame them for trying the less expensive/easiest possible fixes first, but they didn't work. My dealer has been great and upfront with the whole matter. They mentioned there was 30 rack assemblies on backorder, so it may be a while before I get mine. I don't know if that also equates to the number of steering issues that Ford is aware of not. It would nice to know as soon as someone gets a new rack installed if it fixes the problem.
How did you get your dealer to acknowledge the problem exists?

To me, this problem is annoying because it's intermittent. It usually only happens after highway driving of more than 15 minutes at a consistent speed.

Of course even if I request my dealer take a test drive of more than 15 minutes, the only highway near them is 95 which is constant traffic during the hours that the dealer is open.

I did already take my car to the dealer and they aligned it. But that did not solve the problem as the steering still stiffens up. It is honestly extremely frustrating to drive on the highway when this happens. Very hard to keep the car on-center, constantly drifting around in my lane as if I'm drunk.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:08 PM   #94
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How did you get your dealer to acknowledge the problem exists?

To me, this problem is annoying because it's intermittent. It usually only happens after highway driving of more than 15 minutes at a consistent speed.

Of course even if I request my dealer take a test drive of more than 15 minutes, the only highway near them is 95 which is constant traffic during the hours that the dealer is open.

I did already take my car to the dealer and they aligned it. But that did not solve the problem as the steering still stiffens up. It is honestly extremely frustrating to drive on the highway when this happens. Very hard to keep the car on-center, constantly drifting around in my lane as if I'm drunk.
The first time I dropped it off at the dealer for this problem, they had it for a week. The first 2 techs that drove it didn't have it happen to them, a third tech drove it and aknowledged that he felt 'something' similar to what I was describing. I also printed off a copy of THIS thread and brought it with me. I had actually called and setup the appointment to have it looked at before this thread started, so maybe that helped in the believability factor? Plus it was happening to others on this forum so I think that helped them believe it was real issue. It was quite a rare occurance at first, but now its actually happening more often and even at speeds as low as 40mph, and sometimes within 10 minutes of starting off. It also comes with various degrees of notchiness, most of the time when it happens it's not to touch to keep the car fairly on course, the bad ones (where it takes even more effort to get the steering wheel to move) are usually 2+ hours hours into a long freeway drive where it can be really really annoying/exhausting trying to stay in your lane. Sometimes it only lasts for a few minutes, but sometimes it lasts until I pull off at rest stop. I wouldn't call this a drifting issue at all because when it happens, the steering is actually kinda locked in whatever direction you happen to be pointing in at the time. If the car is pointed straight, it will stay straight, even if you try to move the steering wheel with normal & somewhat above normal pressure in either direction.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:09 PM   #95
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Heading north on I5 towards Canada near exit 275 there is some grooved pavement and the car just wiggled left and right constantly.
I've driven I-5 between the border and Everett countless times since the late 90s (one of the joys of working for a Boeing supplier), and that stretch just before 275 has always been bad thanks to the big trucks that have to take that exit to go over to the Pacific Highway border checkpoint. My Civic and the numerous crappy rental cars I've driven through there all behave much the same as what you describe. Until they reworked it several years ago it used to be much worse, with a horrible washboard surface in the right lane for half a mile or so leading up to the exit.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #96
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The first time I dropped it off at the dealer for this problem, they had it for a week. The first 2 techs that drove it didn't have it happen to them, a third tech drove it and aknowledged that he felt 'something' similar to what I was describing. I also printed off a copy of THIS thread and brought it with me. I had actually called and setup the appointment to have it looked at before this thread started, so maybe that helped in the believability factor? Plus it was happening to others on this forum so I think that helped them believe it was real issue. It was quite a rare occurance at first, but now its actually happening more often and even at speeds as low as 40mph, and sometimes within 10 minutes of starting off. It also comes with various degrees of notchiness, most of the time when it happens it's not to touch to keep the car fairly on course, the bad ones (where it takes even more effort to get the steering wheel to move) are usually 2+ hours hours into a long freeway drive where it can be really really annoying/exhausting trying to stay in your lane. Sometimes it only lasts for a few minutes, but sometimes it lasts until I pull off at rest stop. I wouldn't call this a drifting issue at all because when it happens, the steering is actually kinda locked in whatever direction you happen to be pointing in at the time. If the car is pointed straight, it will stay straight, even if you try to move the steering wheel with normal & somewhat above normal pressure in either direction.
Wow! This is starting to move into the unsafe to drive category. That would freak me out if the steering locked up hard like that. It's bad that it is intermittent but if you drive it long enough it does do it eventually.

It could be a good excuse to tell the officer if you do get pulled over for drinking and driving. "It's this damn new car officer, it has electronic steering and keeps locking up".
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:03 PM   #97
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iso3200,

I have a SEL 5 door that has the same wheel and tire combination you have. 16" Alloy and Conti Pro Contact tires. I have about 1500 miles on the car. Last Saturday I drove 30 miles of freeways I had driven before, but paid more attention to the surfaces. Some were concrete, some asphalt all with varying degrees of grooves, rough and smooth surfaces.

About 50 percent of the time I traveled the carpool lane where at times the concrete barrier was within a few feet of the left side of the car. At no time did the car swerve or more from side to side. I felt very confident in the cars handling with the OEM tires.

The car is as delivered and I checked the tire pressure a couple of weeks ago and it was correct. I hope this helps narrow down your concern for the tires.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:17 PM   #98
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Wow! This is starting to move into the unsafe to drive category. That would freak me out if the steering locked up hard like that. It's bad that it is intermittent but if you drive it long enough it does do it eventually.

It could be a good excuse to tell the officer if you do get pulled over for drinking and driving. "It's this damn new car officer, it has electronic steering and keeps locking up".
I wouldn't go as far as saying it's unsafe to drive! It never felt that bad. Two hands on the wheel helps minimize the effect.

I do keep a copy of both Ford service work orders in my glove box just in case I do get pulled over though! lol!
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:44 AM   #99
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I too have noticed a highway steering input problem with my Focus. Staying firm in my lane appears to be an issue, with a dead spot on center. Minor corrections lead to an over-boosted response which leads to an over-correction. She's spot on on the side roads, but above 65 mph, at steady state cruise, she's overly twitchy.

I sold cars for years, many different brands, and this is not a case of having to adjust to electric v. hydraulic steering feel.

It's kinda crazy that my 2000 Cavalier with 182k on the clock was easier to place on the highway than my new 219 mile Focus.

There is another thread on here regarding this as well:

http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=263243
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:02 AM   #100
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So I've contacted Ford about this problem. My Focus has ~2100 miles on it, mostly highway. I've driven my Focus back-to-back with much older cars, and noticed that the older cars are much, much easier to control on the highway. There is clearly something defective and not just an attribute of an EPAS system.

I think everyone has basically summed up the problem. It's hard to stay on-center in your lane at a given speed. Minor corrections are required, constantly. There is no leaving the steering wheel in a position to go straight (which is the way the car should behave), and for the most part, it's almost as if the car has a mind of its own. Corrections are almost always too pronounced, and you will find yourself correcting right, but too far right, then back left, and too far left, etc. The effect is almost as if you're OUI.

Ford corporate gave me a case number and I've scheduled an appointment for tomorrow with my dealer. I am going to go on an extended test drive with a tech since the problem is intermittent and seems to most often show up after > 5 miles of highway driving at a consistent speed.

I will continue to update this thread as necessary and I urge any others to share their experiences. Here's hoping that Ford can replace the defective part since I think we all love every other aspect of the 2012. Good luck to all with this problem.
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