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Steering issue - MK4 Focus Estate


dale7_uk
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Hi everyone, 

We bought a MK4 Focus estate ST-Line X 2.0 litre diesel from a dealer a couple of months back that is just over a year old, and although we're generally happy with the car, the handling has been disappointing, and I'm hoping someone who has experienced a similar issue can offer some advice. 

Symptoms

  • The steering wheel tends to want to flick left or right, you feel like you're subtly having to fight the car to keep it on a straight line.  
  • The steering can vary in how light/heavy it is.  I've noticed it particularly when going around corners, although it can be on a straight road too, and when going over minor bumps.  You'll feel the tyres gripping the road one second, the next it'll feel like you're driving on ice, but just for a split second.  It's very irritating to say the least.  
  • I'm not sure if this is related, but it sometimes feels like the front and rear of the car are wobbling left and right independently of each other (particularly when going over bumps, which can be very small), and just doesn't feel like it's stable and hugging the road.  

I have it booked in with a Ford dealer to run it through a diagnostics programme.  Something I've read about is pull drift compensation, which could be causing the issues.  But I've read that people get inconsistent responses from dealers, some seeming to show no knowledge of the setting, others denying they have the ability to turn it off.  They are going to charge me a fortune if it doesn't come out as something not covered by the warranty, but were very coy about explaining what would and wouldn't be covered, so I guess that's something for me to look into. I don't want to waste money on getting the alignment/geometry checked, but perhaps I should do that before the diagnostic.  There is no noticeable uneven tyre wear, and I've read others who have had similar issues and the alignment came out fine.  

I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts and if they've experienced something similar; what fixed it and what response they got from the dealer etc.  One of the reasons we went for a newer car was to have the warranty, and I'm worried they're going to try to charge me when perhaps they don't understand the problem/solution.  

Thanks in advance. 

 

 

 

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If the car is less than 3 years old it is covered by the Ford manufactures warranty. That includes everything except accidental damage or 'fair wear and tear'. So unless you've had it out rallying or ramming large kerbs then there should be no reason for a steering/handling defect not to be covered by Ford.

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My first thoughts are the tyres. If they are the original ones what kind of tread is left on them ?

Ours sometimes pulls a little to the left or right at times and also more noticable with cold winter weather but the fronts are getting near to being replaced 2.5mm IIRC at the recall inspection in December. 

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I have a similar problem, so far I've been putting it down to the wide Michelin Premacy tyres "tramlining" on uneven road surfaces (even on the motorway sometimes) since it seems to happen mainly in cold conditions. Tyres are down to 3mm at the front. At first I thought it was the line/lane following causing the problem, such as when negotiating parked cars, but this was switched off I found and it remains so.

Its similar to an issue I have with my MX5 which, on Summer tyres is very sensitive in this way even when all the alignment is correct, though is much less pronounced with Uniroyal RS3s on the front. That car's handling was transformed when I fitted Winter tyres, and my neighbour reports a dramatic improvement on his Merc estate under similar circumstances, to the extent that he's now fitted all-year-round tyres to it. Given his is a big heavy car, I was very surprised to hear that.

Along with all the other stuff it sometimes leaves me wondering who's in control of the car, me or the ECU!

So let us know how you get on, and who your dealership is .....

Also if anyone knows how to find out if our cars have this pull-drift-compensation that would be useful - ETIS seems to have been changed so I can no longer get at my info ...

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i have this exact problem , took it to the ford garage and they suggested 2 new front tyres and a 4 wheel alignment which has helped but not solved the problem completely. if you find out whats causing it please let me know 👍  

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In my Mk3.5 I used to find that I had an odd sensation when driving down straight-ish country roads. Like the car was adjusting it's power steering assitance, so as you are making small adjustments, sometimes it would feel heavy, sometimes very light, sometimes like you were fighting it left and right. This was caused by PDC, pull drift compensation.

I had my dealer turn it off on my Mk3.5 and it was much better, just a nice consistent steering feel (at least consistent for the current conditions/temperature).

Just note that having it turned off will increase tramlining, the car will now just let the tyres follow the road.

I haven't felt the need to do that on the MK4, but I don't know if it's tuned differently for the ST.

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There are always updates required on these to the 

PSCM (Powers Steering Control Module) there is a service action (FSA) on some models at the moment to update software

SCCM (Steering Column Control Module)

IPMA (Front camera)

CCM (Cruise Control Module- if you are 8-speed auto and have adaptive CC)

All these modules are linked and control, not only manual steering, but automatic steering for Lane Keeping Aid, Crash Intervention and Lane Centring Aid (As part of ACC on 8-Speed autos)

I would hope they update the software in ALL of these modules first, but I would demand they update ALL modules to latest level

 

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27 minutes ago, DaveT70 said:

There are always updates required on these to the 

PSCM (Powers Steering Control Module) there is a service action (FSA) on some models at the moment to update software

SCCM (Steering Column Control Module)

IPMA (Front camera)

CCM (Cruise Control Module- if you are 8-speed auto and have adaptive CC)

All these modules are linked and control, not only manual steering, but automatic steering for Lane Keeping Aid, Crash Intervention and Lane Centring Aid (As part of ACC on 8-Speed autos)

I would hope they update the software in ALL of these modules first, but I would demand they update ALL modules to latest level

 

Any idea what the latest versions of these should be (or where I can find out - I don't want to play with Forscan yet)?

And what happens if you are out of warranty?

My config info for these as of 8th Jan is below, though the dealer has had it back since then so I'll read off the new config. NB I don't use the line following, its useless where there are no lines anyway like some stretches of motorway near here ...

PSCM - Power Steering Control Module
Part number: JX6C-3F964-FB
Calibration level: JX6C-3F964-FB
Strategy : JX6C-14D003-BB
 

SCCM - Steering Column Control Module
Part number: H1BT-3F944-AJ
Calibration level: GN15-3F944-AJ
Strategy : GN15-14C579-AJ

IPMA - Image Processing Module A
Part number: JX7T-19H406-CM
Calibration level: JX7T-19H406-CM (latest known: JX7T-19H406-CN)
Strategy : JX7T-14F397-AL
Calibration: JX7T-14F398-AK

Edited by RMurphy195
Additional info, removed VIN
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21 minutes ago, RMurphy195 said:

Any idea what the latest versions of these should be (or where I can find out - I don't want to play with Forscan yet)?

And what happens if you are out of warranty?

My config info for these as of 8th Jan is below, though the dealer has had it back since then so I'll read off the new config. NB I don't use the line following, its useless where there are no lines anyway like some stretches of motorway near here ...

PSCM - Power Steering Control Module
Part number: JX6C-3F964-FB
Calibration level: JX6C-3F964-FB
Strategy : JX6C-14D003-BB
 

SCCM - Steering Column Control Module
Part number: H1BT-3F944-AJ
Calibration level: GN15-3F944-AJ
Strategy : GN15-14C579-AJ

IPMA - Image Processing Module A
Part number: JX7T-19H406-CM
Calibration level: JX7T-19H406-CM (latest known: JX7T-19H406-CN)
Strategy : JX7T-14F397-AL
Calibration: JX7T-14F398-AK

If you're a 2020 then you're still in warranty. Send me your reg (PM) and I'll check what updates are available

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Not much help to the OP, but it might be of interest to others. In the latest update of FORScan, .46, (out for Windows version now, the Phone versions will follow soon), a service Procedure has been added to disable/enable Pull Drift Compensation for Focus Mk3 and 3.5 models, so it may be added to the Mk4 at some time in the future.

That doesn't mean that I think that PDC is definitely the problem and I don't know for sure if it is permanent or not because it is listed as a service Procedure rather than Configuration and Programming although some of the other service Procedures amount to Programming too.

I would be very surprised if a Dealer would be allowed to disable it on a car that is still under warranty for various reasons including if anything goes wrong with any part of the EPAS it all needs to be replaced and they or the customer may have to foot the bill.

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1 hour ago, Tizer said:

Not much help to the OP, but it might be of interest to others. In the latest update of FORScan, .46, (out for Windows version now, the Phone versions will follow soon), a Service Procedure has been added to disable/enable Pull Drift Compensation for Focus Mk3 and 3.5 models, so it may be added to the Mk4 at some time in the future.

That doesn't mean that I think that PDC is definitely the problem and I don't know for sure if it is permanent or not because it is listed as a Service Procedure rather than Configuration and Programming although some of the other Service Procedures amount to Programming too.

I would be very surprised if a Dealer would be allowed to disable it on a car that is still under warranty for various reasons including if anything goes wrong with any part of the EPAS it all needs to be replaced and they or the customer may have to foot the bill.

There may also be legal implications if a safety feature which is designed not to be switched off, is switched off by the customer and the vehicle is subsequently involved in an accident.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi everyone, 

Firstly, thanks everyone for replying and huge apologies for not responding.  I thought I had email notifications set up (turns out I haven't) and assumed I didn't get any responses to this post.  

I am pleased to say we have resolved the issue with with laser 4-wheel alignment.  Apparently both the rears and the front right were out.  This surprised me, as I assumed if the tracking was out I would notice uneven tyre wear, but they're completely fine.  It was an odd feeling on the steering, and I'm wondering if the wheels being out somehow confused the PDC system at times, but who knows. 

I know everyone's car is different, and others might be experiencing similar symptoms from a different cause, but my advice to anyone reading this is to start with the common/simple solutions, and it's probably a good idea to get all four wheels checked for alignment (not just the front) before going down the route of disabling PDC or anything else.   The car is now lovely to drive and handles the way I hoped it would.  

Thanks again

Dale 

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Did it feel like the steering had a bit of a “dead” zone? I think I might have a similar issue.

It means I am constantly adjusting the steering. 

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