Fiesta handling woes - mr-fiesta

I have a problem with my Fiesta, in that when I turn into a corner the back end feels really "loose". By that I mean I turn the wheel, then there is a slight delay before the car bites in and turns. It feels as though the front is doing its thing, but the back is sliding out, before digging in and gripping. The car is also tramlining like never before on the motorway, but it's the rear that feels unsettled.

I've had the car on stands, and can't find any excessive play in any of the suspension components. I've checked bolts are tight, that the shocks aren't leaking (they're only 6 months old anyhow!), and finally checked the tyre pressures which were as per the owners' manual.

Basically I'm confused, and can't understand why a normally fairly nimble little car, now feels quite imprecise and slightly unnerving to drive.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions as to the cause!


Fiesta handling woes - Civic8
How old is the car,when did you buy it?and mileage?
Fiesta handling woes - mr-fiesta
- 1997
- 140k
- new front arms within the past month
- new rear arm bushes 15 months ago
- goodyear front and rear tyres with 50% front, 90% rear tread
- not noticeable play in the rear bearings
- had the car since new
- new shocks 6 months ago
Fiesta handling woes - TurboD
Well , you seem to have maintained the car well. The new parts fitted recently, was it ok after that?, do you recall any particular occurrance that started the change in handling?.
I have found with Fords that they do 'what it says on the tin', if tyre pressures are ok, no bearing waggle, no suspension waggle they go ok.
Are shockers bolted in tight?, you have not banged the car against anything?
No body jacked it up underneath incorrectly?
Are you driving the same, not suddenly decided to be 'Damon Hill'?
Fiesta handling woes - Altea Ego
A delay? suddenly digs in? It sounds to me like understeer. Swop your better rear tyres to the front.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Fiesta handling woes - mr-fiesta
N'ah, it's not understeer - if anything it's verging on exactly the opposite. The back feels to step out, then digs in and bites. It's more akin to slack being taken up in a suspension component, and if I were to point the finger, it'd be at the rear bushes.
Fiesta handling woes - Altea Ego
Feel like a hop? or patter? left or right turn or both?
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Fiesta handling woes - mr-fiesta
No hop or patter, and it's much the same left or right. It really does feel like a connection to the chassis has gone soft.
Fiesta handling woes - mss1tw
Wheel nuts all done up tight?
Fiesta handling woes - 547HEW

ref "new front arms within the past month"

How did you check/adjust the toe-in?

The behavour of your vehicle reminds me of when I changed the steering rack on my 86MY Fiesta - I thought I had replicated the toe-in, but when road tested, realsied I hadnt! It was awful. Got it "tracked" immediately. Problem solved.
Fiesta handling woes - bell boy
as 547HEW says check your tracking this makes fiesta"s tramline especially if you havent got stock rims and tyres on
another thing to check at 140,000 miles is the big bushes in the rear axle that locate it to the floorpan/chassis as i would suspect a fair bit of play here (a stout bar between floor and axle will show this up...........its easier on a ramp mind)
Fiesta handling woes - mr-fiesta
I got the tracking done by Micheldever the same day I changed the front arms, so I'm very confident the tracking is okay - I've not twanged anything since the tracking was adjusted.

The rear bushes are looking to the be the most likely contenders, despite being changed only 15 months ago. They do flex, but without a good car to compare against, I don't know if it's excessive or not. However, to rule them out, I'm going to change them regardless - easy job.


Fiesta handling woes - kithmo
I'd go for tracking, toeing in by more than 0.5 deg, the front arms will have settled in. I always let suspension parts bed in for a couple of hundred miles before final adjustment of tracking.
Fiesta handling woes - mark999
Could be worn shock absorbers especially at 140K
Fiesta handling woes - mr-fiesta
"- new shocks 6 months ago"
Fiesta handling woes - L'escargot
Suspension and spring mounting points no longer solid/rigid because of body/chassis rust allowing flexing/movement?
Fiesta handling woes - cheddar
Did Micheldever do a full four wheel laser alignment or the front only, if the latter get a full four wheel one done.
Fiesta handling woes - DP
Micheldever usually do a four wheel alignment and you get one of the most comprehensive printouts (complete with values for factory setting, pre-adjustment settings and after adjustment settings) I have ever seen.

I got my Mondeo done a couple of months ago and after a bit of surgery on the front it felt like it took about 50,000 miles off the car. Sharper, weightier steering and tracks beautifully.
Fiesta handling woes - sierraman
I'd go for tracking, toeing in by more than 0.5 deg,
the front arms will have settled in. I always let suspension
parts bed in for a couple of hundred miles before final
adjustment of tracking.

Being a frontwheel drive car I would expect it to be set as toe out rather than in.

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