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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,
I'm having a problem with a vibration in my '01 ZX3. I bought this car used a couple months ago. When I got it, the tires were pretty worn and one had a bubble in the sidewall. The car had a vibration at freeway speeds and I made the assumption that it was the tires, since they needed replaced anyway. Well, recently I replaced the tires with new ones. When I got the car back from the tire store it still had the vibration and it was very similar to the one it had with the bad tires. I took it back to the tire store and they re-balanced the tires and checked the wheels for damage. They told me everything was correct and they couldn't balance the tires any better then they were. This makes me wonder if the problem is not the tires. Have any of you had a problem with your car that produced a vibration at freeway speeds? I'm thnking of things like wheel bearings, shocks, etc...
The vibration is in the front and rear, so it's likely two different things. I don't think it is that the tire store's equipment was out of calibration because this is a very reputable tire chain in our area, plus they would be having hteis problem with a lot of other customer cars also if that was the case. I'd appreciate any comments on this subject.
Thanks!
 

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the only vibrations that I ever felt in my foci was in the winter when the snow when get all clogged up in the tires and throw them off balance. Otherwise, since it's not winter, I don't really know what to tell you. Keep me update on what happens tho, I'm curious to know what it is.

~Tiffany
 

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what brand tires? Cheap tires sometimes can't be balanced. Les Shwab wilderness truck tires are notorious for that, so who knows? the tires could be bad
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They are Pirelli P6's, and none of them have a large amount of weight on them, so I'm pretty sure that's not it. In addtion, I didn't buy the tires from the dealer, so I'm sure he would have pointed something like that out to me.
 

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Did you check the alignment? Maybe the toe is really off...
 

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Also check your Rotors they can be warped, that will also cause vibration at the steering wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys, I appreciate the help. To address your comments/questions - It's a common misconception that vibrations can be caused by a poor alignment. This can only happen if the settings are dramatically out of spec (as in the car just got in a wreck). Short of that, the alignment can only aggrevate another condition, like bad front end parts or tires. I don't think this is the case as I only have 28k on the car. Do these cars get bad front end parts that soon?
The rotors could be the cause, but unless there is something unique to the Focus (which is why I'm asking the experts here), the vibration would occur at any speed with the brakes applied. I have seen it where a warped rotor causes the wheel to vibrate when the brakes are not applied, but only if it gets much worse when they are applied. I have no vibration under braking, only when driving above 65 mph.
I guess I was hoping for a common problem in these cars that produces this symtom, but it's starting to sound like that is not the case.
Any other ideas?
Thanks again,
Jim
 

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Hence why I said 'really' off [;)]

Pirelli P6s aren't really that cheap. They came standard on my 2003, and ride really nice, for a stock tire that is. Far better than the Firesquaks.
 

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nah im thinking its not the tires already, do you still have all the little weights on your rims, you know the ones that are supposed to keep them from vibrating.... also a bent or twisted frame is suspect of this, it could have been bent or twisted just a little and they could have fixed the exterior and youd never know otherwise [paranoid]n just a thouhgt
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How does a bent frame cause a vibration? Thats a new one on me.
 

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not sure of a specifc explanayion there but it does, iv seen it happen to several cars, ther ewas a guy here who had this problem awhile back too
 

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Vibration kicked my arse

I just went through what you're experiencing.
2 vacation days later I finally returned my tires to that 'discount' place for some 'racing' tires.
The problem still exists - but is hidden somewhat by the sidewalls of the new tires.

The long and the short - it's a wheel problem. Even though your wheels will meet 'spec', although 'spec' is a little high.

I have 4 wheels with varying 'road force' from 2 to 18 pounds. 25 pounds or there abouts is considered acceptable - 18 is not warrantied by Ford.

Anyway, my vibration occurs periodically - depends on the phase of each wheel to each other. I can get the car to shake terribly for a while, then make it go away by making a turn (changing the distance traveled by outer tires vs. inner tires).

Really, really frustrating.

But then again, I've made up a custom bumper sticker for my truck.
"My other car is a Ford Focus.
(Yeah, it's in the shop)"

While I'm ranting...
- New clutch (done twice) due to pedal vibration pressure plate was swinging around
- recalled for interior trim NTSHA crap
- recalled for rear wheels falling off
- recalled for lower control arm pins (front wheels coming loose)
- recalled for battery cable routing (may catch fire)
- replaced radio for dead display
- fuel pump failed in dealer parking lot (while visiting for another warranty issue)
- idle hold 'feature' is a hazard and _should_ be fixed
- no engine braking at all (idle hold 'feature')
- rear toe out and can't be adjusted without kit
- 5 sets of tires in 75k miles
- did front brakes and rotors (rotors were destroyed see: http://www.fordfocusbrakeproblems.com)

I'm pretty sure Ford depends on enthusiasts to keep their cars selling.
It sure isn't first pass quality.
 

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Mine does the same thing. My original problem was my front tires were pretty bald and they got moved to the back, so I got a whole bunch of vibration. I'm hoping that it will go away once I get my tires rotated. If not, then I'm in the same boat as you.
 

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The first thing that occurs to me is a bent rim; given that bubble in the sidewall that might have been caused by a good whack on a curb. A tire shop should be able to check runout for you.

You give yourself a big clue here: it vibrated the same with the old tires and the new tires. It would be a huge coincidence if the new tires created the same kind of vibration that the old ones did.... hence, look at the rims.
 

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i get vibration at 70mph.........and the damn brakes are sqeaking too......only 34k on car. yea they look good, but damm they are CHEAPLY built!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The rims are straight. They checked them when they installed the tires.
 

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bravenrace said:
The rims are straight. They checked them when they installed the tires.
Okay. So it's not your rims, and it's not your tires. OR, maybe it IS your tires, but if so that means they just coincidentally happen to have the same problem the old tires did. I usually bet against coincidence.

My next idea is an imbalance in a halfshaft. I had an '87 Civic Si that tore its CV boots, so I tried some aftermarket replacement boots that were split so they'd just slip on with no disassembly. Due to that split, they were not perfectly symmetric, and they caused vibration. (I tossed them and fixed it right by putting in rebuilt halfshafts.)

I guess my point is that anything that spins is a candidate for causing vibration, and it seems you have pretty much ruled out wheels and tires at this point.

Have you tried rotating the tires, just to see if the problem moves from front to rear?
 

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wow...its badass to see all the new ppl are soooo smart :) You guys can help me out when I get a problem cause I know jack! ;)
-Joe
 
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