Poppy Suspension

Discussion in '2010 - 2014 Specific Tech' started by BlackBuggy, Apr 10, 2014.


  1. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    The suspension on my car has been slightly "poppy" sounding since a few months after I bought it (brand new in 2011). It used to only do it when it was below 50 degrees Farenheit, but has been pretty consistent lately, even during the current warmup/thaw. I took it to Ford the first year I had it and they supposedly replaced the front lower control arms after arguing with me/telling me that the sound was a normal sound that a sports car is supposed to make. Even so, that didn't fix the issue and since it was warming up, the popping went away for the warmer season.

    It has gotten much worse as time has gone on. Since I am out of my bumper-to-bumper warranty, what is a good affordable suspension upgrade set? I don't need anything fancy or lowered... just a somewhat tight-yet-relaxed shock kit that I can install myself with minimal hassle on a Saturday.

    This issue coupled with the excessive oil consumption, the scratched hands-free button on the steering wheel, the bad Motorcraft battery (that corroded the positive line battery cable to death), the broken ground-floor blend door actuator motor, and broken/cheap seat molding reminds me of exactly why I stopped buying domestic/American cars ten years ago- a lack of focus on quality control. Rant aside, what kind of suspension should I get to replace the defunct OEM setup?
     
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  2. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Lots of research later...looks like the rear sway bar is the problem. Bad bushings.
     
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  3. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Bought some Energy brand replacement bushings for the rear sway bar. Good polyurethane stuff. Replacement just takes a good, safe rear jack up and deep 15mm socket (as well as the breaker bar and socket wrench). I will update on the replacement and see what shakes up.

    I came to this conclusion by lifting up on the rear fender of the car and releasing it, thereby lifting the suspension up and down. I could hear a pop. So I had my dad come out and do the same as I watched the rear undercarriage. I think I traced the sound/movement correlation down to the upper control arm for the rear sway bar. It's like the bushing shrunk and as the car and UCA rise, the bushing is just sticking in place on the sway bar and not rising with the UCA; so when the UCA came back down, I saw it hitting/hammering down on the bushing and sway bar. If this does indeed turn out to be the problem, Ford really needs to put some money into researching elemental wear and characteristics of their bushing material. I know most people don't like the stiffness of polyurethane, but I am sure there is something a little more robust and durable than the shrinking material they are currently using.

    I checked the motor mounts, but they are good and tight...pretty beefy in size and even protected by rubber shrouds.
     
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  4. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    I forgot to add the broken lumbar support; that went way of the dinosaur during our recent frigid winter. Going to have to dig in and see what exactly broke. It felt plasticy when it broke (like the gears on the blend door actuator), so I am not surprised.
     
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  5. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Replaced the rear sway bar bushings with the polyurethane Energy suspension parts. Took a lot of work and the upper control arms of the sway bar did NOT want to go back on the sway bar with the new bushings (inner diameter was too tight, I had to torch material out of the bushing until I could get the parts back on).

    I have to say the 40+-year-old car sound in the suspension is gone. So the poppy noise is gone, car drives tight and smooth (like it did the first few months I owned it), and the steering seems to be a tad more predictable (less bounce-back sway) when taking corners at 60+. All in all, a cheap- but time consuming- upgrade.
     
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  6. WMDPALMER

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    BB, I am glad you found a cure for this. I am heading down the same path and this popping sound is bugging the crap out of me. I have a 2010 and only 31K miles. Mine started this a few months ago and some sources say that it is the Strut Bearings. I will try the SB bushings. Thanks!
     
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  7. TT5.0ca

    TT5.0ca Member

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    This has been an issue on s197s since 2005. It's certainly well known and I always direct people here when they complain of rear noise.

    Gotta make sure you get the right Energy kit on 11+. There are 2. One for the 22 mm bar and one for the 24. BBP, TP and I think PP V6 cars, and the GT500, come with 24. All others 22.
     
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  8. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    "Popping" sound came back with a vengeance since I tightened up the rear end.

    Read on the net that this is sometimes caused by bad strut mounts. Ordered two new OEM strut mounts, replaced the originals, and guess what? Didn't fix anything. There was nothing wrong with the original units. Idiots at Ford almost ordered me the strut mounts for the 05-10 Mustangs (they are different, the inside of the shaft is recessed/harder to access on the new ones. Can't imagine why they would make things more difficult to replace....

    So...I have no been getting the popping noise at initial braking at all speeds, seems to be getting worse all around (including the noise when I drive over speed bumps and small potholes). Noticed the inner portion of the driver's side tire is almost bald, all the other tread looks good and passenger side is good. Took the car in to a shop to have the front tires replaced with a set I have in the garage and to have a front-end alignment done to see if that fixes the baldness or not.

    They replaced the tires. But after getting it in to the alignment shop, they brought it back around and told me that the RF/right front ball joint is "smoked"/bad.

    So I just ordered the BMR A arms for the 10-14 Mustangs. I will let you know how that turns out when I put them in to replace the originals.

    As noted earlier in this thread, I already tightened up the rear-end suspension: replaced the rear LCAs with the J&M tube type with polyurethane bushings and replaced the sway bar bushings with the polyurethane type from Energy Suspension and it sounds tight as hell (squeaks because bushing fitment was so tight, it pushed a lot of the grease off the sway bar/bushings when I installed them). I should note that the front bushings of the OEM rear LCAs were cracked right down the center. Great integrity....
     
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  9. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Replaced the control arms with the BMR a-arms for the 2010 to 2014 GT models (standard ball joint, non-adjustable). Ball joint issue fixed. Car drives great... on perfectly-constructed roads , that is. Turns on a dime regardless of which direction you turn the car (turning one way and then the other has minimal sway, kinda scary).

    The problem is that the EPAS on the 5.0 cars gets rather confused by this great ability to turn. If I hit a big enough bump or turn so much at certain speeds, I get the dreaded "steering shudder and feedback" that most 2011 5.0s get when they put polyurethane bushings into the front lower control suspension. The front end shakes uncontrollably and nothing stops it except getting your car down to 35-40 miles an hour/braking.

    So NOW I have to buy the Ford Racing Boss 302 steering rack (their EPAS computer is set for high performance and fixes this steering issue) that they make for our cars and install it.

    The only thing I hate about it is the cost- $1000- and the effort I will have to put into the install. Other than that, I am okay with it. I was just going to put the Boss 302 intake and tune on the car, but this makes it that much more of a sleeper... I like the idea of my seemingly "stock" GT Premium being able to go head to head with a ZL1 Camaro.

    Yes, I am trying to be positive about this whole experience. As most of us know, you can't just upgrade one component in a system without negatively affecting the others...so when I get around to adding 50hp to the car, it probably deserves better suspension beforehand anyhow. And the proper sized rims and tires as well.
     
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  10. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Just wanted to share some pictures for people. I couldn't find any pictures to help me, so maybe this will help others understand and work on the suspension on these cars in the future.
    This is the original rear LCA setup. Parking brake cable chafes.
    Rear Brake Line Chafing on  Rear LCAedit.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  11. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    This is the new rear LCA assembly.
    IMG_2932edit.jpg
     
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  12. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Here are some pictures of the front bushings of the rear LCAs. You can see that after three years, they are cracked.

    Rear LCA 1 Front Bushingedit.jpg

    Rear LCA 2 Front Bushingedit.jpg
     
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  13. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    This is what the standard strut assembly looks like. Note the mount at the top- this is very different than those found on the 2005- 2010 models. I replaced the mounts on both sides although they were perfectly fine.

    IMG_2988edit.jpg
     
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  14. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    This is a stock LCA (removed).

    oldedit.jpg

    This is the BMR a arm (non adjustable and standard ball joint height, installed).

    newedit.jpg
     
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  15. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    This is the stock EPAS rack. This will be gone before long.

    IMG_2915edit.jpg
     
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  16. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Removed the stock steering rack last night. Let me tell you how much fun THAT was....

    There are three bolts holding the rack to the K member. All three have 18mm heads. The rear is longer than the others and is painted blue. It is already a tight fit- I was only able to remove them using a swivel head socket wrench with a 1/2"x 6" steel pipe on the end for leverage. It wasn't difficult because of the angle, but because Ford put Loctite on the main section of threads on all three of the bolts. I am not even sure it would be easier to remove the K member first because then you don't have the weight of the car to work against when loosening the bolts, even with an impact wrench.

    Just a forewarning to anyone interested in doing this in the future. Not a fun way to spend your night.
     
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  17. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Got the new steering rack on the car (FMS-M-3200-EPAS). Just in case you are wondering, it DOES come with the inner tie rods.

    Wasn't such a chore to re-install the bolts- I took a torch to them scraped off all the Loctite afterwards with a firm wire brush.

    New rack looks just like the old one except this had a bunch of marker writing on the underside of the computer and motor portions. And the seals around the computer/motor portion of the rack seem beefier.

    No more of the front end wobble that I was experiencing although the car is in need of an alignment as soon as I can get it in.

    Old rack at the top, new rack at the bottom of the picture.
    IMG_3040edit.jpg

    SOoooo, AFTER I get the new tie rod ends installed and I get the care aligned, I will let you all know how it drives.

    From what I can tell right now, this rack seems to offer a little more resistance than the original when moving slow. Seems to have a little more NVH as well. Not for the timid, but it feels really solid, more solid than the car has felt since I first bought it.
     
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  18. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    Replaced the tie rod ends due to the damaged rubber boots. The replacements are OEM quality, which is fine because the stock parts are good part. The rubber boots are held on by metal clips- one at the top and one at the bottom of the rubber boot. You can remove them- carefully- with a flathead screwdriver and some needle-nosed pliers. Once removed, you can grease them (of which you can't do on the stock parts.

    Car drove pretty weird after I replaced the tie rod ends; seemed like it had a little more resistance and slop to it. Got it aligned, the toe-in was off 4 degrees on both sides and possibly some other stuff (pointed inward). Drives like a dream again.

    The scary part about upgrading all of this stuff is the confidence I have in this car now. Seems like you could drive 100+ mph and it steers like you are only going 60 mph and has a minute amount of sway. Hope anyone having similar issues finds this thread useful.

    Old part on the left, new on the right
    IMG_3052edit.jpg
     
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  19. Jesse Waters

    Jesse Waters Member

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    I'm new to this site and just wanted to say how I like how you were able to stay positive! (At least some what, I'm sure you have had your moments! Lol) I've got a little slight shake going on at 70mph and up after installing new springs and wheels. Gonna try basic alignment and double check the balancing on the tires. Just in case I go with new front strut mounts, how much were the OEM ones that you got?

    Thanks,
    Jesse
     
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  20. BlackBuggy

    BlackBuggy Member

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    They were about $55 a piece brand new and shipped to local Ford distributor. So $110 or so for a pair. My originals were perfectly fine, though, and didn't need replaced. I broke the ball bearing on the original passenger side, VERY easy to do, so be careful applying pressure as the mount is two parts- a soft upper and the lower base. They connect at the bearing.

    I kept the driver side original part just in case I ever need one again since it seems okay. I would be surprised if that is the cause in your case, though. That seems to be a prevalent cause for the 05-09/10 models. This design is a little different than those mounts. As long as the strut isn't sticking when you turn the wheel, the bearings are good. And if vertical motion seems okay when pushing down on the strut of the car, then I would think the padding material is okay. With low profile tires, light vibrations could be tire wear, tie rods (inner or outer), bad wheel balance, alignment etc.. List goes on. Could be a lot of simple, affordable things that add up.
     
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