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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2013 manual SE hatch, love this car. Got it with 12 miles, its based in Portland area. Never have let anyone else drive it, never hit a pot hole, speed bump and its never been towed. its got 11,400 miles and I rotated the tires at 10,000mi. Tires all set at 35psi with a digital gauge. Here is my issue: I just drove it across Montana and North Dakota and for the first time I ran it over bare ice on the road. (I am from Minnesota and have drivin on ice my whole life) So when I hit patchy ice the rear end wiggles. I mean its all over place scary white knuckled instability. Normally going over bare ice you just dont make sudden changes and no big deal. Due to the many hours that it took to cross thru MT and ND I was able to get it to duplicate the problem, when lets say the two right wheels are going over a long strip of ice with no traction and the left wheels are on dry pavement the ass end kicks to the right and stays there until they find dry pavement, then the car straightens out. I had this happen to a Honda that had a bent trailing arm in the rear, the rears were toed in too much. I didnt see any excessive scrubbing from the rears when I rotated the tires but I wasnt looking for it cuz I never experienced this on dry/wet roads near portland. The dealer here in Minnesota says alignments are covered under warranty till 12,500 miles. There is definitely visible neg camber on the rears but I read here thats normal and not adjustable. I was wondering if any one else has seen this. It feels like excessive toe in on the rear. The front end tracts perfectly over the bare ice. I have to get this fixed because its so abrupt when one of the rears looses traction and the other toed in tire kicks the rear over suddenly (although only so far) it initially feels like the car is starting a spin out. Thanks for reading my long winded explanation. I also read here that some of the more knowladgable MK3 owners recommend close to ZERO toe in? Thanks!!!
 

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I've never experienced this and I drive on snow a lot with mine. I will say the rear end on this car does like to rotate if I'm fooling around in the snow, but I like that and it's never been enough to give me any concern. I suspect its your tires? What tires do you have on the car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Stock Continentals which are definitely not snow tires but they should be ok for directional stability. Oh and Traction Control on or off? ... no difference. I figured it would not be since the yellow TC light never illuminated. It does when I try to slide the car in a snow covered parking lot or when the front wheels break traction, that seems to work normally.
 

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TC isn't going to make too much of a difference if you're moving horizontally. Depending on the situation, it's sometimes better to have it off. Personally, I like to turn it off when there is a lot of ice or deep snow.

That being said, the tires have a bit to do with it (at least in my opinion). I, too have driven all my life on icy roads (Michigan, Holla) and after a couple trips last winter in light conditions I decided that I wouldn't drive on my stock Contis when there is snow or ice...those tires just had no bite but that may very well be a function of the the rear end of the car as well. I've driven worse cars on worse tires with better results.

While I didn't get winters on my car this year, i did opt for much better all seasons (contiextremecontacts) and thus far they have shown to be a much better tire for the car.

I'm not going to bother commenting on your driving style because i assume that you know what you're doing but there are many on here who aren't as harsh on the stock tires as I am. I do believe that snow experience and caution are the most important things when driving on snow and ice, but i also believe the stock tires are piles of crap on slick roads.
 

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TC also has nothing to do with the rear wheels. Electronic stability control, yes. Traction control, no. If you're rear end does get too loose the ESC should kick in. I've noticed looseness in the rear myself. I've even oversteered in slick tight corners. Just keep your front wheels pointed straight and you should do fine. You have to remember the only weight in the back is your spare tire.
 

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Weird. I have the a 2013 manual SE hatch and I cant get the back end to slide to save my life... The stability control always kicks in and keeps me straight. I just had an instance a few weeks ago driving in a winter storm where blowing snow was hiding a big drift that took up half of my lane, and the car stayed perfectly straight the whole way through.. Maybe your stability control isn't working correctly?
 

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I know this feeling from other cars in the past, shows up most when driving on "grooved" ice (vehicle tracks making long lines in the ice).

OP's guess at rear toe sounds right, as it's a new car that shouldn't have anything loose & doesn't exhibit this at any other time.

"Zero" toe is going too far for a DD IMHO, that will toe out at some points in suspension travel & can make the rear "looser" on good pavement. .10* is a commonly recommended target, definitely below .20*. Not sure of the official range on a MkIII, I've seen alignment shop printouts that vary & some show .15-.35 as acceptable.

I'd bet if measured this one might be at .25* or more and some adjustment would help. It may well be in stock range, but at the higher end of the range you can get this feeling & tire wear isn't as good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
great comments and I didnt even know my car HAD ESC!! Learn something new every day. Yea, if I lived in minnesota these contis would be coming off even if I didnt have this symptom, Just by looking at the tread pattern I know that they werent for slush and snow. But living in the NW its just rain and these will work, and ya gatta know when they say 500 for treadware the rubber is hard like hockey puck! Dont by high treadware numbers for ice, the rubber is too hard. But these conti tires are awesome for highway, unless there is ice or snow that is. Going to the dealer in the morning and I am dyin to see what the toe in is! I will report back with the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I know this feeling from other cars in the past, shows up most when driving on "grooved" ice (vehicle tracks making long lines in the ice).

OP's guess at rear toe sounds right, as it's a new car that shouldn't have anything loose & doesn't exhibit this at any other time.

"Zero" toe is going too far for a DD IMHO, that will toe out at some points in suspension travel & can make the rear "looser" on good pavement. .10* is a commonly recommended target, definitely below .20*. Not sure of the official range on a MkIII, I've seen alignment shop printouts that vary & some show .15-.35 as acceptable.

I'd bet if measured this one might be at .25* or more and some adjustment would help. It may well be in stock range, but at the higher end of the range you can get this feeling & tire wear isn't as good.

awesome post sailor, thats exactly what my first thoughts were about the grooved ice, I was leaving billings mt after 3" of snow and people were sliding off the road and the ice was grooved from the trucks and I see these contis have directional grooves so I figured my "tail was a wagging" from that, and it probably was a factor. But after I got a ways out it was intermittent perfectly flat patches of ice and it was very very noticeable. I am hopin your right about the .25* or even more and I will get it dialed down to .10* thanks for the numbers and info!!
 

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Prob. be OK anywhere in the teens, I'm just guessing it might be at the high end instead of in that range.

Good tires help for sure, this only seems to happen when a tire has almost no traction. I figured it as one tire gaining traction & rolling straight while the other side kicks out & is just slipping - then it alternates giving the wiggle.
 

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"Zero" toe is going too far for a DD IMHO, that will toe out at some points in suspension travel & can make the rear "looser" on good pavement. .10* is a commonly recommended target, definitely below .20*. Not sure of the official range on a MkIII, I've seen alignment shop printouts that vary & some show .15-.35 as acceptable.
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i agree its likely too much toe.

however, i typically set mine to exactly zero toe. because as soon as you load some groceries or luggage or kids, or whatever in the car, the springs will compress and it will toe in to exactly where you want it to be.

so maybe consider how you will mostly be driving: solo, or with junk in the trunk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks guys! I am, and am not looking forward to my Dealer Experience tomorrow, never had a whole lot of love for dealers. Could have something to do with me trying my hand as a car salesmen back in the 1980s at a local Ford Dealership ... holy cow, maybe it was the coked out sales managers trying to rip people off by adding unnecessary options, financing and warranties. lasted 6 months and have hated Dealerships ever since. I am prepared for the results of my alignment check, yup its within limits ... live with it! haha No biggie, I got a local alignment shop queued up to set it up correctly if thats what happens. Will report back!
 

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thanks guys! I am, and am not looking forward to my Dealer Experience tomorrow, never had a whole lot of love for dealers. Could have something to do with me trying my hand as a car salesmen back in the 1980s at a local Ford Dealership ... holy cow, maybe it was the coked out sales managers trying to rip people off by adding unnecessary options, financing and warranties. lasted 6 months and have hated Dealerships ever since. I am prepared for the results of my alignment check, yup its within limits ... live with it! haha No biggie, I got a local alignment shop queued up to set it up correctly if thats what happens. Will report back!
My wife and I play the "Who's Coke Up" game whenever we're at a dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Results are In!!

The Dealer said it was within the limits. I attached a copy of the alignment results. If nothing else this shows other folks here what the "specified range" is on 12-14 MK3s I was hoping to see the rears more toed in, that would have confirmed my theory about toe being the culprit. But the left side is triple the right so monday I will have a local alignment shop bump the left and maybe the right. I was surprised to see fords specs show the fronts should be toed in, 0.00 to 0.20 ea side. I thought front wheel drives should have a negative toe, toe out? the local alignment shop said he would not go to zero on the rear toe if there was too much neg camber, implied it was a interrelation of the two, said it would eat the inner tire rib if not set right. this shows my left rear camber is -2.1 ... right at the limits. so we will see how that goes monday.
 

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Don't like large variations between the sides either, that isn't tracking as straight as you'd like. With the interrelations mentioned it''s prob. the wiggle on ice cause.

Closer to zero up front would be nice.
 

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Hear ya, oddly enough that isn't an adjustment that they're sensitive to - the toe on the other hand is often an issue.

Those camber numbers are pretty common to see, tire wear & handling isn't affected by them noticeably.

People can SEE the camber angle, that's why it gets most of the blame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
thanks for that. might just have the shop monday push all 4 corners closer to zero, got a long winter drive (1800 miles accress MN/ND/MT/ID/WA) coming up and want it to track straight! And I wish I had a six speed! 3,000 RPM hour after hour after hour just seems kinda high
 

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2009 Ford Focus--Dangerous on ice

I live in Alberta Canada and this is my first Ford Focus. It's an 09 but they are probably all the same. Usually I drive a Grand Caravan, Camry or Honda. I have driven on various icy roads for over 40 years in many different vehicles and have never ever experienced anything like a Ford Focus. Slippery road conditions I can handle, but this car will try to kill you on ice. Or at least that's how it feels.
I have taken 2 long trips and encountered the usual icy patches, sometimes smooth glare, sometimes compact snow. Whenever the road gets very slippery this stupid car just wiggles its back end back and forth. I run 4 good snow tires, makes no difference. Heavy load or light load, makes no difference. When I hit icy roads at highway speeds I feel like the pilot of a fighter jet trying to stay at treetop level in a thunderstorm. This vehicle definitely has a problem and is a hazard on the road.
 
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