Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:45 PM
this was caused by a hard hit on a kerb trying to avoid a car coming the other way a year ago.
it was crisp, responsive and well mannered before that. I had a garage check it out afterwards, but they said it was all fine, it braked and tracked ok too.
after driving an identical focus last week i knew mine wasn't fine, infact it drove like my old 97 astra!
anywhos, with it done the car felt a little better at first coming out of town, but when doing A roads at A road speeds in the damp i've got a car that jinks and feels nervous with ruts and imperfections in the road, can feel that through the seat rather than steering.
Steering is less vague but now where on a roundabout i might have of just had understeer i could hold and live with the car now just gives up and plows straight on, that was scary first time thinking it'd be better not worse!
full acceleration in 3rd from a roundabout onto a dual carriage way with a slight left bend in this mornings damp had it understeering into the outer lane all on it's own with hardly any lock on from me, 20-30 degrees maybe
i've never had it do that before
i'm totally lost as to why apparently the ideal settings have made my car unsafe at anything above boring speeds
driving sensibly is one thing, but theres those corners that catch you out, and you always just trust the car will sort it out.
now i think it'll just try mating the hedge and thats making me drive very nervously just making things worse.
1.6 petrol hatch
fronts, something called a focus 2000, used to have them all round and grip was pretty good, 31.5psi 5mm tread, no uneven wear.
rear michelin primacy, 33.5psi 6mm tread no uneven wear
heres the alignment sheets.
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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:58 PM
Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:01 PM
If your tracking is fine, your pressures are fine, what you're looking at is either tyres gone beyond their optimum grip or the conditions are no longer good enough for them to work sufficiently.
I watch a lot of Nascar, the biggest reason for cars becoming 'loose' or oversteering, or 'tight', understeering, is due to tyre wear. Having had a quick google, these are what are known as budget tyres, no offence intended as you could've had these fitted before, but tyres are the only thing keeping your car straight on the road. The reason your car felt different to the other because possibly the tyres were of a better make or compound.
My advice would be to swap around the front to the rears. As the rears only really get dragged and the fronts do all the work, it would be one way of seeing if the missing feeling is the tyres.
Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:05 PM
as said above you have michelin rears cheapies front different tread patterns for a start so the rear will likely be gripping a lot more than the fronts
Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:51 PM
The only other thing if that doesn't improve things dramatically is I wonder if the steering track control arms or similar were slightly bent in the impact with the kerb. The tracking may be set up to correct this when in a straight line but the turning angle on each wheel could be different and one of the wheels is turning further than the other causing the under steer.
This is just a hypothesis and is no way based on any experience.
Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:55 PM
i've never found the ford sticker easy to understand, but it seems to suggest for 205/55 R16 lightly loaded 30 front, 33 rear
gave it a little extra thinking like previous cars a slightly harder tyre feels better to me, responds better.
to be honest with this set up trying to throw me in hedges there's far too much going on to notice 1psi
( don't you just hate it when you get new tyres and the garage bungs 36psi in there for you! )
yes, the fronts are older, but came fitted to the car when i got it a year/14K ago and were pretty new
these used to be on all 4 corners, and while you don't expect slicks grip, for normal road use they seem to offer reasonable grip.
when the fronts wore out i had the primacys fitted, but they made the car feel unstable, and not consistent in cornering, turn, lean, ah thats how much you want to turn, ok, have some more, which then you have to counter correct
rule of thumb has always been stick your best grip on the back, because it's easier to loose the front than back and correct
so thats where they went and the car went back to it's normal behavior. that was in september
I also want to wear them out so they can be replaced with something better, they'll live forever more on the rear.
the other car is a works one, so trust me, it has the cheapest black round things they could find, and checking pressures? he's only washed it once since he's had it, to him a car is A to B, if it manages that it's fine.
the difference is it's a TDi, so the nose feels a bit heavy in corners
but more to the point it has the crispness i remember from mine pre numpty on my side of the road.
let me clarify how i feel the different understeer types between old and new alignment
the old issue was mostly vagueness and loss of crispness.
the understeer was what you'd expect when your being a bit of a kevin on the accelerator at a road speed you wouldn't have an issue at otherwise, the wheels are spinning, the cars drifting out wide, but your still taking the line you intended because of the extra lock
if speed was the problem, ie, big roundabout at the end of a dual carriageway you'd get the more traditional pushing on, but letting off would bring it back in line, and sometimes the grin inducing focus happy tail.
that understeer is generated by the nut behind the wheel
this understeer is the kind of thing that has you introducing yourself to the livestock the other side of the hedge you're plowing into before you've worked out why
there is no holding it, it's happening at lower speeds, and even high speeds with modest lock ( accelerating from a roundabout in 3rd on a damp dual carriageway on a slight left bend had me drifting into the outside lane, it's never even hinted at understeer here before )
you can also get it to happen at low speeds, tight turns and mini roundabouts, first time i went straight was at a mini at what would be considered a fast but normal speed
the car more nervous in a straight line too, or at least rut and bump following.
this i think is set-up understeer, although yes you can still drive slow enough to avoid it, but thats slower than you were going before, thats not an improvement.
i'd be more tempted to blame the tyres if it wasn't fine when driving fast but normally on the old setup
nothings changed but the toes and it really has been a before/after thing, it's why this set is bad thats confused me
forums seem to suggest a little toe out is good for focus's, but the range is -0.02 to 0.08, so that'd suggest toe in is what ford want
it might well be better with the higher grip from the primacys, but thats not solving the issue really, esp when you get those corners that catch you out and you just trust the cars better than whats left in your bag of tallent
at the moment it's really not
it'll also be better once the roads dry up, but i don't like this scary handling in the damp
the tyres haven't changed so total grip, and difference in front/rear levels should also be the same shouldn't it?
side note, i don't have any driving aids other than ABS
Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:17 PM
I have had some cars do some odd things due to tyres. I had one car that for no reason used to start squirming all over the place when driving on a dead straight piece of road at 50mph. I would literally be fighting with the wheel to keep it in a straight line and then it would be fine for another 200 miles before it would do it again for no reason. I thought it was possessed. After getting the shocks changed and everything checked to no avail I just swapped the tyres around and it was fine. The car had Pirellis all round.
Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:27 PM
i did note a knock from the steering if going from left to right lock when stationary, this would happen at any point in travel
however i was looking for problems and this might have already been there.
theres no knock when moving
they reported no slop or issues, but suggested i could of rounded off a tooth on the pinion and this is what was making the noise.
a new rack was £250 and unlikely to change anything. s
sounded more like a knuckle to me, but thats based on what does what when i used to race RC cars, heck if i could did out my old instruction book for the touring car and a 3.5mm spanner i could tweak it to do what ever i wanted. it always was handling over outright speed for me
anywhos, it still pulled, braked and tracked perfectly straight.
The second garage knew of the kerbing and also found no issues
then again the 1st garage also couldn't find an issue with the old astra after rough winter roads left it feeling unstable mid corner at speed on right hand bends only.
told them it was a front left issue, gave them feedback J button would be proud off, first tracking, no effect, then a front right?! new wishbone, still nothing, told me thats how astras drive, i expect too much and drive too fast for the car.
only i know how my astra drove, the RC thing really does let you know whats doing what on a car when the only feedback you get is an imagined one through your thumb!
it's a kind of input vs result expectation that can tweak out the smallest set up changes
couple of months later in the MOT a cracked ( but not totally sheared off ) anti rollbar mount was found front left
£19 and the car was transformed. it wouldn't lap the ring in 8 mins, but you knew what it'd do, and it'd do what you wanted
this is what the focus has now lost, the smack lost the crispness that everyone raves about, this alignment has lost it's predictability
how do those result numbers look tho?? most set up guides suggest neutral toe in, or even a hint of toe out
miss my old fester, that was set up on purpose slightly out, fun on B roads around here, but also good on motorways
nothing i've driven since can get from redruth to helston quicker
i'll swap the wheels around anyway, i've got a hundred miles inc some fun bits to do this weekend, and i know the road well, so will notice any changes.
if i don't report back monday eve i died in a hedge
cheers for the advice so far, phil.
Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:33 PM
the end game idea was to wear out the cheapies on the front, then get something better than the primacys, which i really didn't like, so then i would have more grip at the front, but more overall than the cheap rubber
Posted 26 January 2013 - 05:01 PM
Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:05 AM
I wouldn't trust budget tyres, they just don't have the research and investment in them that premium tyres have.
Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:49 AM
Its quite often over looked by tuners and people who want to better the performance of their cars, but tyres really are such a key part, not only having 4 matched ones, but have 4 that are right for the car.
Some grip patterns maybe great for light cars, while others offer better grip when loaded up more, others are best when fitted to lower profilers while some steering setups maybe designed to allow a little side wall sway in the corners.
Who ever told you about having the best tyres on the rear, well personally, I would slap them. The fronts in a front wheel drive car do the steering, deliver the power and about 60-70% of the braking. The rears are followers, their purpose is to take any load over the rear axle and keep the car moving forward straight line. However as has been posted above a matched pair on all four wheels is great. It gives you confidence that the grip should be somewhere even over all four contact patches. This depends on weight transfer and cornering speeds, but will at least give the car more of a fighting chance of being stable throughout the corner.
Compounds also make up a huge part of the tyres working, as Stoney posted budget tyres are just that, budget. The manufactures won't do as much research into the design as Michelin, nor will they research their rubbers grip abilities over the course of the tyres wear and environment change.
From reading your posts, I wondering if perhaps there could be a level of you've had a knock and now it doesn't seem to feel right, but added to that, the cold weather has brought out how the budgets fitted a really out of their depth for the conditions.
Anyways, hope you get the car feeling better soon, report back any findings as well.
Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:59 AM
This will tell all sorts of things
Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:42 AM
I thought all sorts could be wrong. I think often when you think there's a problem we tend to over-analyze everything.
Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:38 PM
in winter normal tyres the rubber goes hard and the tyres take a long time to soften up while the tyres are hard the grip is very poor so you will understeer easily i think its just that and once the weather warms up the problem hopefully will have stopped
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