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Old 11-30-2017, 10:29 PM   #1
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Seat of the Pants Vibration Under Load - 1 Solution

Hey folks,
I have learned quite a bit from this site, so I thought I would write a quick post about a problem I finally got to fixing on my 2013 SE 5-DR, 5 SPD MAN. Hopefully, this will help someone else.

My car has 98,000 miles and was purchased with 93,000. I had always had a vibration at highway speeds under load, such as when pulling a hill. Down-shifting made it worse, but the frequency of the vibration did not change with engine speed. It was not in the steering wheel, like a tire or front-end problem, but could be felt through the seat and the gas pedal.

The final solution primarily ended up being to replace a bad passenger-side axle. I had suspected axle problems at first, due to experience with other cars, but I could detect no free play and none of the popping or clicking a bad CV joint often causes. The CV boots were also in great shape.

So, I moved on to motor/trans mounts. I replaced a badly dry-rotted upper mount and the lower trans torque strut which looked fine, but did not solve the problem.

I ended up using the Motorcraft parts, since the Raxles brand axles were not available. I have had bad experiences on some cars with the cheap new axles from the local parts houses, but Raxles has a stellar reputation. We'll see how long these last. The right axle eliminated 95% or so of the problem, so I changed the left as well, which got the rest of the vibration. It drives very smooth now.

I opened up the inner and outer joints and could see no unusual wear or other problems. The intermediate support bearing seemed fine as well, so I'll just put this one down to details unknown.

Again, hopefully this will help save someone some cash or headaches.


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Old 04-02-2018, 01:50 PM   #2
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I'm having the same problem with my 2013 SE 5dr 5MT 90k miles...vibration between 50-70mph while accelerating, but if I drop it in neutral and match RPMs, no vibration. Vibration existed with old tires and new, stock rims and winter steelies, before and after alignment. I was kind of suspicious of my axle, but your post seemingly confirms it (so thanks for posting). How did you know which axle it was?
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Old 04-02-2018, 07:22 PM   #3
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The psm is known to go out & add additional vibrations......Use either a Motorcraft/Ford or a poly mount.
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Old 04-02-2018, 11:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felixthecat View Post
The psm is known to go out & add additional vibrations......Use either a Motorcraft/Ford or a poly mount.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but from my reading, the motor mounts seem to cause more vibrations in the cabin and/or at idle, right? I would also assume engine speed would play a significant role. My issue seems to be identical (or really close to) the OP's problem. I'm not having vibrations at idle, or when the clutch is disengaged (hence why I'm thinking it's more driveline related), but I do have the rattles in the headliner and dash gauge plastic covers (which typically means "go a little faster so the RPMs are higher and don't cause the rattle" lol).
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Old 04-03-2018, 12:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachedwhale42 View Post
I'm having the same problem with my 2013 SE 5dr 5MT 90k miles...vibration between 50-70mph while accelerating, but if I drop it in neutral and match RPMs, no vibration. Vibration existed with old tires and new, stock rims and winter steelies, before and after alignment. I was kind of suspicious of my axle, but your post seemingly confirms it (so thanks for posting). How did you know which axle it was?
I had no idea, before replacement, which axle was the problem. I could not detect any free play or roughness in either side. I bought both axles, but replaced the right side first because it is a two-piece axle with an intermediate bearing, so more moving parts. That solved most of it, but replacing the left side eliminated the slight remaining vibration.

felixthecat's idea can't be completely ruled out though. When you go to neutral, even with matched rpm, there is no driveline torque on the motor mounts. Changing my upper motor and rear trans torque mounts had no effect on the under-load vibration, but did slightly improve my idle smoothness (my upper mount insert was badly dry-rotted and cracked).

I hope all this helps. Yell back if you need further info and good luck with it.
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Old 04-03-2018, 07:51 PM   #6
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I took a closer look at the passenger side motor mount, and there does appear to be some movement, though the top rubber part is not torn. After spending some time on YouTube, some of the engine rumbling/growling sounds of other Focuses (Foci?) with a bad PMM are awfully familiar. So I think you're right that the mount needs to be replaced, and I think it will probably solve some of the interior rattle, but I guess I'm just still not convinced that's what's causing the 50-70mph vibration, which is what I'm really going after right now.
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Old 04-04-2018, 12:20 AM   #7
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Hmmm... vibrating seat of pants.
Sounds like something my wife might like to drive.

Seems like the source could be deteriorated PMM, but the 50-70mph speed frequency seems a bit wide. My experience has always been resonance at a narrower frequency range. No harm and very easy to replace PMM.
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Old 04-04-2018, 03:23 PM   #8
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Would someone be willing to verify that I have the parts list correct?

Bracket - Engine Front Support Part #: 6038
02/04/2013 - 10/09/2018, Focus (C346N), 2.0L I4 DI TIVCT Petrol 160PS, 5-Speed Manual Trans - MTX75
02/04/2013 - 10/09/2018, Focus (C346N), 2.0L I4 DI TIVCT Petrol 160PS, 6 Speed Auto Transmission DPS6, With Fuel Economy Pack
08/08/2011 - 02/04/2013, Focus (C346N), 2.0L I4 DI TIVCT Petrol 160PS
https://parts.ford.com/shop/en/us/br...port-6399935-1

Shaft - Front Axle Part #: TX813 (3B436)
Front Right, 2012 - 2017, Focus, Liter:2.0, Cylinder(s):4, BoreIn:3.44, StrokeIn:3.27, Naturally Aspirated, Transmission Control Type:Standard, Tranmission Num Speeds:5, When Replacing Half Shaft, You Must Replace The 3N324 Strap
https://parts.ford.com/shop/en/us/sh...axle-7834435-1

Shaft - Front Axle Part #: TX815 (3B437)
Front Left, 2013 - 2017, Focus, Liter:2.0, Cylinder(s):4, BoreIn:3.44, StrokeIn:3.27, Naturally Aspirated, Transmission Control Type:Standard, Tranmission Num Speeds:5
https://parts.ford.com/shop/en/us/sh...axle-7867019-1

Retainer - bearing
Part #: 3N324
Drive Shaft - Front Axle Drive
Usage: 01/31/2011 - 10/09/2018, Focus (C346N), 5-Speed Manual Trans - MTX75
https://parts.ford.com/shop/en/us/re...tionId:4295690

Thank you all for your help. You guys rock.
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:37 PM   #9
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Replaced the passenger side motor mount today. It did not fix the freeway vibrations, though everything else is a lot smoother and there are a *lot* fewer rattles, so I'm still grateful for your suggestions to do so :-)
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:20 AM   #10
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Replaced axles, problem solved. OP, I think I owe you a beer...
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