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Car fishtailing after a fender-bender


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21 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 12:55 PM

Hi everyone,

 

A few months ago I was involved in a small fender-bender, at around 10mph I have rear-ended another car. Exterior damage is minimal (a small ding on my bumper), but since the accident, the car seems to be wandering at higher speeds, as well as the rear feels like it wants to fishtail when I make a swerve or a more-than-mild lane change. I've taken it to many different shops, and while all of them can reproduce the issue, none of them are able to properly diagnose it and I'm left empty-handed and somewhat desperate...

 

I have already done the following repairs since the event:

 

- Replaced all four tires

- Had the car aligned. Checked twice at two different locations just to be sure.

- Replaced front upper and lower control arms

- Replaced rear control arms

- Replaced rear trailing arms

 

The shops that I have taken the car to have checked all the suspension elements you can imagine (tie rods, stab links, sway bars, struts, shocks), and no one is able to tell me what the cause of this behavior is. One of the shops has measured the frame, and even put a whole different set of wheels, to no avail.

 

Do you have any ideas based on the description above? I'm running out of options at this point and it feels like driving this car is becoming dangerous because of this issue.


Edited by jkb11, 07 March 2017 - 12:57 PM.








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#2 OFFLINE   akirby

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 01:09 PM

Send Waldo a PM - he's your best resource on this type of thing.



#3 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 03:48 PM

Thanks, will do!



#4 OFFLINE   WWWPerfA_ZN0W

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 12:13 AM

My guess would be 1 or more sensors and/or the ABS/braking system are having an issue, possibly causing binding/lockup of wheels/tires.  Certainly does not seem likely from such a low speed accident tho.  Have codes been pulled from the PCM?



#5 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 01:27 PM

My guess would be 1 or more sensors and/or the ABS/braking system are having an issue, possibly causing binding/lockup of wheels/tires.  Certainly does not seem likely from such a low speed accident tho.  Have codes been pulled from the PCM?

 

There were/are no codes in PCM, ABS, or any other systems. I had an unrelated ABS code for RR wheel speed sensor, but it was present long before the collision, and replacing the ring and the sensor solved the problem.

 

If that helps, I can feel this fishtailing behavior even at low speeds, when swerving somewhat dramatically down the lane. It almost feels like the rear wants to sway away from the line of travel, but the rest of the car is keeping it in its place.



#6 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 07:24 PM

Have you changed the rear toe links?  06-12 Fusion does have a very aggressive toe-curve in the rear, so if anything is off it will behave the way you describe.  But just as important as the link itself is the point it's mounted to.  If the subframe side of the toe link attachment has been bent, that could do it to, though it seems odd that could happen from a low speed frontal collision.  Was the vehicle towed or tied down at any point in time?


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#7 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 02:50 AM

I have not changed the rear toe links, or the rear stab links. How would I know if the toe links are bad? Wouldn't the alignment shop have caught it when adjusting my rear toe?

Frame has been measured and two shops said it was not bent. The car also aligns and holds its alignment. Are there any other signs I can tell from that my rear subframe is bent?

The vehicle was not towed or tied down at any time.

 

Thanks!



#8 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 07:42 AM

I have not changed the rear toe links, or the rear stab links. How would I know if the toe links are bad? Wouldn't the alignment shop have caught it when adjusting my rear toe?

Frame has been measured and two shops said it was not bent. The car also aligns and holds its alignment. Are there any other signs I can tell from that my rear subframe is bent?

The vehicle was not towed or tied down at any time.

 

Thanks!

 

The thing with an alignment is that they only measure the alignment at one suspension position.  As the suspension moves up and down, the alignment changes.  For example when the wheels go up, the toe is supposed to turn inward, when it goes down, it's supposed to go outward.  If something is bent you might be able to get a perfectly normal alignment with the car on the ground, but as soon as the wheels go up or down it can be way off.  To really check that you have to do an alignment, then put a few hundred pounds in it, then measure it again, then add more weight and measure again.  Most shops won't be too interested in doing that, or even know what to look for when they do.  Google "Bump Steer" to learn a bit more about that.


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#9 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 11:53 AM

Thanks for the explanation. So, what should I do, if the alignment shops don't perform this check routinely? Should I just throw these parts at the car? Would that include the front tie rod ends as well?


Edited by jkb11, 09 March 2017 - 11:54 AM.


#10 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 12:10 PM

Update: I have discussed the above with my mechanic, and he says it makes sense and would explain the behavior. He will look into it and see if any of this actually applies to my car.

I'll post our findings here!


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#11 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:34 AM

Another update: it looks like this indeed might be the cause, or at least contributing to the problem. When the car was set on the alignment rack, everything was green and aligned to spec. As he started to lift the rear of the car up, one of the rear wheels was gaining much more toe in than the other, and the final measurement showed about 3/4 of a degree discrepancy in gain. I have ordered new rear lateral links and stab links, and will be putting them in within the next few days. We'll see if this helps!

 

Thank you guys and I'll keep you posted!


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#12 OFFLINE   andyross

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 04:19 PM

I wonder if you car was actually already doing that before the accident. It may have happened slowly over time, but you were slowly acclimated to it. After the accident, you became more 'paranoid' about something going wrong and noticed it.



#13 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:05 AM

Nope, I have immediately noticed the difference right after leaving the scene of the accident. It was definitely a sudden change.

 

Status update: the mechanic has taken out one of the links and tried putting it a new one, but alas, the parts ordered were for the AWD car, so they did not fit... I drove the car with the old link put back in, and there was a temporary improvement of the condition, so it looks like we might be on the right track here. Will keep you updated!


Edited by jkb11, 20 March 2017 - 09:15 AM.

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#14 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 09:41 AM

Another update: had the parts put in yesterday and there's definitely an improvement! No more wandering around the lanes, and fishtailing effect has been greatly reduced. I can still feel the car behaving very slightly loose, but it's so much better than it used to.

 

Unfortunately, it looks like after this repair another problem has become prominent - whenever I drive straight and hit a pothole, manhole, or anything of that sort, with wheels on one side, the whole car wants to, very noticeably, turn in the other direction. I'm going to let my mechanic know about this, but your input is also much appreciated.

 

Small note: Alignment was done, and the car was re-checked for bump steer. With rear lifted, max gain difference in toe was 0.2 degrees (vs. 0.7 degrees before swapping the parts), and with front lifted, max gain difference in toe was 0.25 degrees.


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#15 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:56 AM

Check to see if your parking brake cable has enough slack.  Could be that as the wheel drops into the pothole the cable gets tight and pulls the parking brake on, though that would tend to make it steer in the direction of the side with the pothole.  If you can try to figure out if it's getting more of the input from the front or the back, that would help.


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#16 OFFLINE   fusionmanor

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:30 AM

Fusions don't like any kind of "road crown" or changing surfaces, it's all set up for a slight drivers side crown. If the road has an extreme crown and you cross it (passing another car) it will dive left, or a divided style highway with a center road crown it will drive fairly straight in the right lane and pull left on the inner lane. Concrete roads/highways are the best but blacktop roads are the worst for upsetting the balance of this car......



#17 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:55 AM

Check to see if your parking brake cable has enough slack.  Could be that as the wheel drops into the pothole the cable gets tight and pulls the parking brake on, though that would tend to make it steer in the direction of the side with the pothole.  If you can try to figure out if it's getting more of the input from the front or the back, that would help.

 

As in, try to determine which wheel is unloaded when the steer-away happens, front or rear? If that's the case, I'm going to pay more attention next time I drive it.

 

Fusions don't like any kind of "road crown" or changing surfaces, it's all set up for a slight drivers side crown. If the road has an extreme crown and you cross it (passing another car) it will dive left, or a divided style highway with a center road crown it will drive fairly straight in the right lane and pull left on the inner lane. Concrete roads/highways are the best but blacktop roads are the worst for upsetting the balance of this car......

 

I have not been noticing any issues like that from before my fender-bender, this car had been behaving very nicely on crown roads too.



#18 OFFLINE   fusionmanor

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 02:11 PM

I have two 2010s one with 2,600 miles and the other with 49,000 miles. The higher mileage one is way more forgiving on the road and a better driver on trips, the other is noticeably tighter and almost "skips" around on the road with a new set of Pilot Sports AS3s. With all those new parts etc it should re-tighten everything up and it might take some miles/time to settle down and feel more like it use to. Also check your tire pressure, shops like to use the "tires" max pressure rating instead of the actual Ford recommended tire pressure listed on the door jamb......it makes a difference!     



#19 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 02:35 PM

I'll take a look, thanks! And I'll try and see which end of the car drives the swerve on bumps.



#20 OFFLINE   jkb11

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 08:38 PM

EDIT: it looks like the front upper control arm is junk, and it was only installed a few months ago... i'll get a warranty replacement on that one and report back soon.


Edited by jkb11, 25 March 2017 - 02:12 PM.





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