2012 Titanium Front Strut Low Speed Noise (Clunk/Rattle) - Page 139 - Focus Fanatics
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Old 10-25-2012, 02:19 PM   #1381
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Originally Posted by Woggy64 View Post
I'd be happy with 20k out of these. The ContiSportContact 2 SSR's that we had on our Benz were gone by 18k. Of course my driving style had a lot to do with that.
My prior vehicle was an all wheel drive VW R32.
It ate tires like nobodies business. Dunlops, Goodyears, Conti's - all high perf tires - would barely last 18k until I finally found the Hankook Ventus V12.
I can't recommend the Hankooks enough and when these Michelins finally wear out, I'm putting those on my Ti.
If you shop them and/or time your purchase when they are running rebates (like they have done a bunch this year...) they are a tremendous value for a truly high perf tire.

As a side note, using nitrogen does wonders to reduce premature wear. I recommend it even on tires you've been running on air from new; purge and replace is no biggie. I know someone will jump in here and flame me about nitrogen but whatever, I was a total skeptic until I experienced it myself. Better long-term maintenance of proper inflation; cooler running temps; longer life. I'm sold on it..no BS.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:42 PM   #1382
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Problem Solved!

Had the same problem with my 2012 Ti Hatchback. Took it to the dealer today and they said it was the bushing mounts on the struts causing the noise.

Not sur eif this has already been made public in the forum (didn't want to read 138 pages of posts). But if not then maybe this will help you out.
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:46 PM   #1383
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Had the same problem with my 2012 Ti Hatchback. Took it to the dealer today and they said it was the bushing mounts on the struts causing the noise.

Not sur eif this has already been made public in the forum (didn't want to read 138 pages of posts). But if not then maybe this will help you out.
People have tried replacing the strut mounts, the strut, the bearing and the spring to varying success, some said it went away for a little while but then came back, or was noticed on the other side, but often the bad side seems to stay as the bad side.

Zillon tried running the ST front struts and ST upper mounts with the same motorcraft strut bearings and his clunk returned within 1700 miles on the side that was originally bad.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:43 PM   #1384
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how deep can this issue be? could it have something to do with a design and/or structural flaw? the fact that no permanent fix has been found is pretty disturbing to me...i notice the clunk in my car as well, but what's the point in getting it "fixed" if it returns within a few hundred miles?
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:58 PM   #1385
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Adding my name to the waiting game list. Low speed clunk started on my driver side around 7500 miles, I'm now at 9600. Still not louder than Volume 3 on the radio, but really annoying nonetheless. I didn't read all 139 pages, but in scanning I didn't find anyone who was ultimately successful in eliminating the clunk. Therefore I resign myself to waiting a bit to see if Ford comes up with anything at all as I'm rather averse to swapping out parts for replacements that will just have the same problem in another 1000 miles or so.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:19 PM   #1386
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Adding my name to the waiting game list. Low speed clunk started on my driver side around 7500 miles, I'm now at 9600. Still not louder than Volume 3 on the radio, but really annoying nonetheless. I didn't read all 139 pages, but in scanning I didn't find anyone who was ultimately successful in eliminating the clunk. Therefore I resign myself to waiting a bit to see if Ford comes up with anything at all as I'm rather averse to swapping out parts for replacements that will just have the same problem in another 1000 miles or so.
I spoke with Ford Customer Advocacy today and they won't admit to anything with regard to this problem. These things are sticky when they aren't official recalls or TSB's. It's done for cost control reasons.

I would recommend that anyone experiencing this issue make sure you have something other than an intermittent problem on your hand because if you do, the dealership will go by the book until they can duplicate the issue - commonly reported or not.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:11 AM   #1387
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Well, tonight I decided to check all the hardware on the top end of the strut in an effort to see if it was simply a re-torquing issue.

I re-torqued the strut mount bolts, the strut center nut, and made sure everything was aligned properly. I'll will find out if my efforts have improved things at all on my commute into work tomorrow.
Well, here's the preliminary verdict after 2 days of driving to work and back:

I seem to have basically eliminated the clunk in my car with this relatively easy DIY; the rest of you owe it to yourselves to at least try it. I can't guarantee that this is an end-all/be-all solution, but it worked for me for the time being.

Disclaimer: I absolve all responsibility; you are responsible for your personal safety and the condition of your car. Work at your own risk and use your best judgement.

FYI: I don't believe the center nut is the issue, so I would ignore it for now. It's also a lot tougher to tighten if you don't have the proper tools.

You will need the following:
- Jack & jackstands (both front wheels need to be off the ground to unload the suspension and sway bar)
- A torque wrench (super-critical, it's easy to shear bolts or strip threads with enough leverage and no way to measure)
- 10mm socket for the lower cowl, 15mm socket for the wiper nuts, 13mm for the strut mount bolts, and the necessary drivers/extensions
- T30 Torx driver (upper cowl screws)
- Flathead screwdriver (for removing upper cowl clips, aligning strut mount)
- Hammer (for aligning strut mount)

Jack up the car, place jackstands on the body seam behind front wheels.

Wiper arm removal: Remove the rubber caps covering the nuts holding the wiper arms on, 15mm socket for nuts, don't forget to remove the tension washers; put caps, nuts, and washers in a safe place. Hold wiper with one hand while loosening nut with the other. To remove wiper arm from spline, leave wiper flat on windshield and wiggle the base of the wiper arm until loose. Pull straight out.

Upper cowl removal: 2 T30 screws on the far ends of the plastic cowl cover. 4-5 push-clips along the edge closest to engine. Pry the center of the clip up with flathead screwdriver, then push up from underneath the cowl to remove. A snap seam holds the cowl cover to base of windshield. I usually lift the edge closest to the engine, slide my hand under, and evenly apply pressure to get the snap-seam to release the cowl cover from the base of the windshield. Start at the center and work your way out. Take note to placement of rubber covers at the end of the cowl cover, they are critical to ensuring water stays out of sensitive areas.

Lower cowl removal: 2 10mm bolts at the far ends. Middle is held in place with tack adhesive. Lift and pull towards the front of the car.

After removing the lower cowl, the strut towers will finally be exposed. You will see the wiper motors, OEM strut bracing, and the three strut mount bolt heads. The 3 13mm strut mount bolt heads are what we will be focusing on.

Loosen the strut mount bolts (but DO NOT REMOVE) with the 13mm socket until you are able to wiggle the strut. Tighten the outermost bolt back down just enough that the bolt barely makes contact with the strut tower brace, but still keeps the strut assembly from moving freely. Tighten the other strut mount bolts to the point of barely making contact as well. Repeat for the other side.

Now you need to align the strut mounts; hold the tip flathead screwdriver to the edge of the outermost bolt so that the screwdriver points towards the center of the cowl, and tap lightly with with a hammer until bolt refuses to slide inwards any further (The note struck by the hammer will change from a hollow note to a more solid note when the mount stops sliding).

Snug the strut bolts down, but do not tighten. This is where the torque wrench comes in handy. The factory torque spec is 35 Newton-meters, which works out to roughly 25 Ft-lbs. We will be surpassing the OEM torque spec here, instead cranking them down to 35 ft-lbs, or 48 N-m. So, dial your torque wrench to 35 ft-lbs, and tighten until it clicks (or, if using a needle-style torque wrench, until you see the needle point to 35 ft-lbs).

Now, lower the car down off of the jackstands, and reverse the disassembly steps.

Wiper arm reinstallation: To put the wipers back on, turn your key to the ON position, and use the mist function on the wiper stalk to engage the wiper motors (pull down). This will lock the motors into the proper indexing position for reinstalling the wiper arms. Install the passenger side wiper first, aligning it with the marks at the base of the windshield (you may need a flashlight to see, but there are two horizontal transparent hash marks in the black area at the base of the windshield; the wiper blade needs to go between these). There are alignment marks for the driver's side wiper as well, reinstall the driver's side wiper in the same manner, making sure it's placed above the passenger wiper. Slide the tension washers over the wiper motor axles, and tighten the nut finger-tight, and hold the wiper arm in place with one hand and use the other to snug them down with the 15mm socket. Use your best judgement when tightening the wiper arm nuts, you don't want to damage the mechanism. Check final alignment by using the mist function on the wiper stalk again, if off, remove wiper arm and re-align.

Any questions, just ask; I'm sure I probably missed a minor detail somewhere. I also apologize for the lack of photos.
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Last edited by Zillon; 10-31-2012 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:23 AM   #1388
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Great work! Thanks for the writeup Zillon.

Mine have just started to rattle a bit for the first time with the onset of colder weather & @ 10K miles. I will try the realignment/retorque this weekend and report back with my results.

Do you believe that the factory torque spec is too light and allowing the strut mounts to move, or that the nuts are actually loosening? Would a bit of blue thread locker be a good idea here?
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:27 AM   #1389
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Kudos kudos kudos !!!
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:33 AM   #1390
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Excellent! Thanks for the writeup Zillion. Mine have just started to rattle a bit for the first time with the onset of colder weather & @ 10K miles.

I will try the realignment/retorque this weekend and report back with my results.

Do you believe that the factory torque spec is too light and allowing the strut mounts to move, or that the nuts are actually loosening? Would a bit of thread locker be a good idea here?
I feel that, most likely, it's the strut mount seating in and allowing just enough play that the mount "flaps" against the strut tower when jounced by a bump, creating the noise. The strut mounts are really nothing more than a hard rubber plate, designed to flex when intended. A re-torquing of the bolts eliminates this play, and hopefully the higher torque spec prevents it from happening again.

However, it could also be an issue with the strut mount bolts stretching. I'm not sure if the bolts are one-time-use, either. VW has had issues with subframe bolts stretching on the PQ35 platform (GTI, Jetta, etc), and allowing the subframe to move around, causing clunking issues.

Remember, too, that I'm also running the ST strut mounts.
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