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Old 09-15-2013, 06:45 PM   #1
Etch.
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Attacking wind noise part III: Door alignment is huge!

Since I still haven't got rid of the car yet, and shiat I have that doesn't work right bugs me when it's stuff I can do something about....I was a little bored today and decided to tear into the car some more. I don't know why I bother since it's a goner, but what the hell. This in all actuality should of been #1 on the list for wind noise, but until the Helm manual got made available on the internet, I didn't have the proper measurements. Also, hanging doors can be very much an art with a lot of back and forth as making one area right often throws off another. Also since the strikers on these cars aren't adjustable (I DID try that right off the bat months ago to attempt a quick and dirty pull them in from the back a little), I didn't know if it would make the adjusments easier or harder since it is a key adjustment, and I really didn't want to find out.


Anyhow...now armed with the correct measurements...not only could you tell simply by looking that all FIVE doors could be a lot better....measuring the gaps and flushness in the correct spots confirmed that whoever works that station of the assembly line must of been smoking crack and/or drunk that day. MANY of the measurement spots were out of spec, some by several MM!

Started with one of the back doors to get a feel for how these doors will adjust with no stricker movement. Back door was ideal because you can trace the starting position of the hinges with the door closed super easily with no obstruction, and check the finished putting it back position in case it turned out to be too much a PITA and wanted to back out. End result....these doors are actually very easy to get spot on! Of course this back door I just did would have to be re-attacked and at least checked again since the ideal process is to use the front fender lines to eyeball the front doors in, then tweaked for gaps and flushness to be in spec, then the back door using the front to rough it in.

So now on to the front doors....These are a little bit of work since it takes a lot of trial and error since its hard to see just how much you are adjusting things not having a clear view of the whole hinges. Just a good bit of back and forth till things are right. Back doors....super easy. With no striker adjustment, you don't even need to open them! Just loosen the 2 bolts a bit to where the door will move when pushed and pulled, but tight enough it's still snug and will hold the position you move it to without flopping around on its own. All of this is a simple 1 man job if you use a jack for the front doors since they need to be open to get to the hinge bolts. I just used the spare jack, with a scrap piece of wood to distribute the force some on the bottom of the door, with a towl over that to protect the finish. It keeps the door from moving down under it's own weight, and if you need to move the door up a bit, you simply jack it up a bit which keeps it even vs trying to just pull up the door and tighten bolt down enough to hold it at the same time.


End result....not only does it look a little better and the measurments in spec....it made a HUGE difference in wind noise. Seals on this car are significant enough, and you can tell by the worn in indents of the seals that they were contacting plenty well enough, so I was pretty surprised how drastic of a difference there was in noise level afterwards. At 75mph, the car now has about the same noise level it did at 40mph before! Before, at 35 things started getting noisy as far as wind goes, and 60+ on the interstate sounded like you were in a cat 5 hurricane! Even at 75, the loud gusty sounding rushing air is all but gone. The only significant noise left is now only the hatch and the side mirrors, which I need to re-attack. The hatch is also quite a bit off in several places, but it's getting late and didn't feel like starting the next area. I pulled the mirrors apart before and sealed up the joints between the painted cap and the rest of the mirror assy, as well as the foam in the joint thing which made quite a difference at the time. Now, what was a minor stream of noise in relation to the overall level of noise is now a prominent noise maker since the overall level is greatly reduced...so may re-attack that as well.

Now I'm starting to see some of that quietness people comment about. MUCH better then what it was, and approaching the sound level of my VW which was a quiet car. Assuming I can get rid of the noise coming from the hatch, and somehow significantly reduce further if not make go away the noise coming from the mirrors, despite a bit more road noise from the 18's, it will be about the same that my VW was if not slightly better as far as wind noise goes.


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Old 09-15-2013, 06:55 PM   #2
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Any pictures of the process?
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Old 09-15-2013, 08:40 PM   #3
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Any pictures of the process?
nah. Thought about it, but after I messed with that first back door, decided it wasn't at all necessary. The only bolts you need to mess with are the ones that bolt the hinge to the door itself, not the hinge to body side, which is good. No nuts to mess with on the back side, so nothing to take apart. I had to double check parts diagrams to make sure before I started. The hinge to body bolts DO have nuts, but the door side does not. I would of hated to crack them loose then have to strip the door completely down cause there are nuts on the other side. Really as simple as cracking the bolts loose, shifting the door around as needed, and tightening it up.


There are diagrams in the Helm manual with all the body measurments including tolerance ranges and such. Easiest way to check gaps is with something like pictured below which is about $6. Better then trying to use a ruler. Flushness isn't quite as simple since a lot of these panels are curved. I just did a lot of eyeballing and sliding something like a store reward card into the next door/panel to check for flushness. In other words if you slid such card from front door to back door, and it just bumps right into back door, obviously isn't flush. Also a lot of face mashed on the car one eye closed staring down the side happened too, looking from both directions. If you have to err some (but still within spec) to make another area within spec...err towards what suits ideal air flow. Like if all flushness measurements between front and back door call for +/- 1mm, I'd rather have one spot a full -1 mm if everything else stays at 0 rather then +.05 sticking up some transitioning to -.05 for a better overall average....sort of shingle effect without anything sticking into air stream.

This is the tool:



As far as good reference points to center your progress around....I used the top crease that goes to the door handle for the front door. The point of that crease was a couple MM off between the front door and front fender, thus the contours moving out from it clearly didn't match up, which was the super easy way to tell the doors could use adjusting to begin with. For the back doors, it's pretty easy just to use the overall contour of the door, but the lower crease gives a sharp enough change to judge too.

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Old 09-15-2013, 08:48 PM   #4
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I enjoy the car being quiet for its size, but being quieter at 75mph would be an amazing upgrade. Great post (still reading!)
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:15 PM   #5
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I enjoy the car being quiet for its size, but being quieter at 75mph would be an amazing upgrade. Great post (still reading!)
It's not whisper quiet as a whole...there is still a significant amount of road noise, especially with these 18" low profile tires....but the loud in your face gusty air rushing sound is all but gone. I mean you can still hear occasional gusts, but they are MUCH quieter, and again, occaisional, vs constant and very loud like you were in a hurricane. Overall is quieted down enough to CLEARLY pinpoint the side mirrors and hatch as remaining problem areas vs able to simply detect certain areas in the mix of an overall noisy interior. Now it's mostly just road noise with hardly any wind noise except those remaining areas. As mentioned, 75 is now like my car was at 40 before doing this.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:23 PM   #6
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It's not whisper quiet as a whole...there is still a significant amount of road noise, especially with these 18" low profile tires....but the loud in your face gusty air rushing sound is all but gone. I mean you can still hear occasional gusts, but they are MUCH quieter, and again, occaisional, vs constant and very loud like you were in a hurricane. Overall is quieted down enough to CLEARLY pinpoint the side mirrors and hatch as remaining problem areas vs able to simply detect certain areas in the mix of an overall noisy interior. Now it's mostly just road noise with hardly any wind noise except those remaining areas. As mentioned, 75 is now like my car was at 40 before doing this.
That's awesome, I haven't heard of people checking those kinds of things before (fairly new to the car scene). I'll have to check the Helm manual and take some measurements on my car too. Good stuff!
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:33 PM   #7
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For anyone else, it's "SECTION 501-26" under "Group 1: Body and Paint" in the Helm manual.
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:55 AM   #8
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Anyhow...now armed with the correct measurements...not only could you tell simply by looking that all FIVE doors could be a lot better....measuring the gaps and flushness in the correct spots confirmed that whoever works that station of the assembly line must of been smoking crack and/or drunk that day. MANY of the measurement spots were out of spec, some by several MM!

This is the drugged or drunk whoever that works that station
YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


The robots are programmed to recognize any minute deviations from the correct specification and, if any errors are found, instruct the operator on the correct course of action.

The laser vision technology is also used to confirm door quality margins. The robots are empowered to shut down the assembly line if the cameras detect a door does not fit the quality measurements.

The issue (according to workers inside the assembly plant) is that orders from above (Plant Managers) are to turn off these "Quality Systems"
and inspectors being told not to enter defects in the Q.L.S in order to get higher numbers on their first time through.

Other quality control systems that seems to have been over looked on your Focus "Wind noise is a primary consumer consideration when judging the quality of a vehicle. To tackle the issue, Ford engineers also check air leakage from cabins with leak detectors, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) chambers and coordinate measuring machines."

So it appears Plant Managers are more concerned with chalking up fabulous production numbers then quality control concerns.

Let the dealerships suffer the wrath of unhappy customers.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:38 AM   #9
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So. Dealership says that this "small gap" is within factory specs and so to fix it, I will have to pay for a body shop to realign it. I tried your method, but that seems to only work for adjusting front/back horizontal motion, and can't get it to go vertical (which is what I need). Anyone have any suggestions for this?
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:41 PM   #10
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Actually just picked my car up from the dealership...had all of my doors aligned by my request. Also they had to replace the dash storage box because the door was not flush with the dash, also pulled the passenger rear quarter window because the molding stuck out, aligned both front fenders, back seat is wrinkled so that is being replaced and they are (finally) taking apart my front passenger seat bottom to remove a tag that makes a crinkling noise (under the seat fabric) when someone is sitting in it. This also was not the dealer I purchased my car from...I google searched local dealers to find one that had the highest review rating and went with them. Also once my replacement seat comes in they will fix a suspension rattle. Im very neurotic when it comes to my cars and perfection (or at least an attempt for) I believe is attainable if pleasant but yet firm in demanding so.
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