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Gmac

Ford Cmax Energi Tire Shake After Turn

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Hi there. I am a new member to this forum.

Here is my problem I have a 2003 Winnebago DL motorhome with a Demco Aluminator tow bar, Air Force One braking system.

My tow vehicle was a 2003 Saturn which towed flawlessly for over 10 years. last year I purchased the 2014 Ford Cmax energi because it was listed in the motorhome magazines dingy guide. The guide stated that this car could be flat towed and the only thing you needed to do after hooking up the tow bar, electrical connection, braking system, emergency brake cable and safety chains was to put the car in neutral and press the start stop button and not exceed 70mph then after towing you start the car and shift thru the gears and turn off.

The Ford manual states the the car can be flat towed behind a recreational vehicle by starting the car, put the trans in neutral and push the start stop button which puts the car in acc mode and hooking up and go not to exceed 70 mph and do the start shift thru the gears and then turn off. Shortly after buying the car I had the baseplate and braking system installed and soon after we started out trip and everything was going great for around 3,000 miles.

Then "IT" happened I pulled into a dirt parking lot made a circle so that I was headed out after having breakfast we made a slight left turn than a right turn than a stop at a cross road as we turned a fairly sharp left turn the car started to cause the motorhome to shake left to right violently the front tires of the car where shaking back and forth violently. I stopped the motorhome then started up slowly and the shaking stopped. I pulled back into the parking lot and called a tow truck to take the motorhome to Freightliner thinking that it was the coach after 4 days of checking they could find nothing wrong and the car drove fine when not towed.

So we headed home from Arizona to California and had no other problems the rest of the trip. At the time I thought maybe it was the road so when I got home I drove around my neighborhood making many left and right turns and the shaking started again more than half the times making left turns and a little less turning right. At this point nobody has a cure for this neither Ford, Demco, Air Force One MotorHome magazine or alignment shops.

I have been able to find two posts of people who have had the same problem so I 'am not totally alone in this. Anybody who has any answers to this will be greatly appreciated I have tried everything I can think of to find the cause. My guess at this point is the suspension and or steering but Ford can find no problem with any of them.

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Gmac,

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

GMAC with a Ford??

Pull out the alignment specs from when you had the Ford aligned. Are front and right caster at the very high end of spec? That should help a lot.

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In answer to your reply my mh is 7" higher than the tow car. but do you think that this could be the problem as I towed the cr 3,000 miles before any trouble also just was informed by someone at Ford that the Cmax should be towed on a dolly!! But am waiting for conformation on this if this is true there are going to be a lot of unhappy Cmax owners and baseplate makers.

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Thanks Dave, I will try that but I'm still doubtful as I said before this didn't happen until 3,000 miles of towing. I know that it is a safety issue. but since there are other people that are having the same problem I am beginning to believe that there my be a design flaw in the car.

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Gmac,

Absolutely, get that hitch within 2-3: of being level. That 7" exceeds all tow equipment manufacturers specs. I can see situations where the "pulling up" could change towed vehicle front end geometry.

Then, let us know what happens.

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Well I finally have done everything I can possibly think of to solve my problem.

I took your suggestion and bought a drop down hitch which put by levels within 1" of perfectly level and the problem still persists.

I am open to suggestions as what to do next?

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Gmac,

I haven't noticed here as to whether you have had the Alignment checked after having the tow bar brought to close to level. Being that far out it may have changed the alignment specs.

How does the vehicle drive under normal circumstances? Ok? (when not being towed).

This may also be a bit far out but how are your tires? Belts can become loose, rims can be bent, you might try rotating the front tires with the rear tires.

I am sure you have tried so many things and I hope you find the problem soon.

Herman

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hurmanmullens

In answer to your question, yes, I just returned from having Ford check out the suspension system and they could find nothing wrong. Tires and rims OK. The problem is that the tires not coming back to center correctly causing the shake.

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In answer to your question, yes, I just returned from having Ford check out the suspension system and they could find nothing wrong. Tires and rims OK. The problem is that the tires not coming back to center correctly causing the shake.

Same question did they check the alignment and set the caster to max setting?

Bill

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Gmac

We tow a 2013 Cmax Hybrid. Our coach hitch point is about 9 inches taller than the Blue ox baseplate. I have always used a drop hitch since buying the car. We have driven it 36000 miles and towed it 12-14000.We have had problems dragging the hitch so I had a welder adapt my original 6 " drop down to 3 1/2" and I don't drag as often but I must be very careful. At ride height my tow bar is right at 3" slope from coach to car.

My hitch was also kind of loose until I bought and installed 2 hitch stabilizers. However, according to several Ford dealers I had already cupped the tires and now we have a lot of "road noise" when we drive the toad.I have been holding off on new tires but 'Im getting close to 50000 total miles on the original so I will change them soon.sure hope we get rid of the road noise but I suspect it may come back after some more flat towing.

We also had one disturbing "shaking" occurrence in Florida last year after getting fuel.After reading your post I was re-thinking the episode. The entire coach shook violently until I pulled over and stopped. We looked all around and under and saw no problems. I was at a very bad place on the highway so I decided to "limp" down the road a little to a safer place.

We didn't shake at all as we moved down the road a little and since I was scheduled into Alliance for some repair work and only 40miles away I decided to drive it on. I never exceeded 45 mph and I never got anymore shaking.Alliance mechanics could find nothing wrong with the coach. We all blamed it on the Blue Ox Tru-center stabilizer that had failed. But now I wonder since I never really ever used that stabilizer since I bought coach. We didn't even know was there!

It makes we wonder about the Cmax now. The fuel stop was tight and I had to maneuver in and out to get the fuel and the shaking started as soon as I got up to speed leaving the station. I will be interested in hearing more about this issue.

We like our Cmax other than this stupid road noise and the hitch height.I just get a stomach ache every time I think about trading it for another set of problems and buying all the towing package and brakes,etc.i

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Same question did they check the alignment and set the caster to max setting?

Bill

I will "third" that. Look on your alignment sheet and verify that CASTER is set to maximum allowable.

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Yes, but for a towed vehicle you want the caster at the high end of spec. Not just within spec. What is Left and Right caster and what is maximum spec.

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I will check with Ford and get back to you. But I find it hard to believe that all those Cmax owners that are not having the problem I am having have there caster adjustment at the high end of spec.

My guess is like me they are driving them as they got them from the dealer.

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I would change the tires, then do as Brett said. Another Ford dealership or garage?

When I buy a new car from a dealer, that's the last time they see me! Warranty work I can get done anywhere, same with recalls. Not all "name brand" dealerships are the same!

Good mechanics go where they offer the biggest bang.

As a footnote: Don't ever give a dealer your E-Mail info!!!

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Thanks Carl thats the one thing I have not done. I will give it a try but not going to hold my breath. Still believe its in the steering system but at this point I am willing to try anything. By the the way I did take the alignment report from Ford to a Independent alignment shop and they said they saw no reason the car would do what it was doing because of the alignment.

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At this point I would:

1 have someone ride in car as you tow it around to see where steering wheel is and how it reacts when shaking happens.

2 find a large parking lot and have someone follow along in separate vehicle to observe the same actions when shaking happens

3 trying leaving engine on vehicle idling in neutral to see if this makes any difference

4 put rear tires on front see if this helps


All this makes me wonder if the tight turn you said you made may have bent something on towbar or base plate.
I assume when you are towing you are not loading rear end of ca r(cargo area and back seat) real heavy.

The more information you can give to anyone looking at your vehicle helps.

dave

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The caster is not adjustable on the Ford Cmax also tires are good normal wear problem is in the steering system. also did one better than having someone ride next to car I had a friend ride in the car a with a iPhone recording the shaking. if I knew how to put it on this forum I would love to have all of you see for yourself bring the popcorn it's a real thriller.

There has been a recall on about 600 Ford Cmax and focus for steering gear missing bearings mine wasn't one of them.

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Hi all,

Just got the answer to my problem of the death wobble on the Ford Cmax. The response is as follows:

THE 2014 TOWING MANUAL it states as a general rule,vehicle should be towed with the drive wheels off the ground. If the vehicle is to be towed on its drive wheels, place the drive wheels on a dolly.

Based on the information the customer is having, the steps above would be the best way to tow this vehicle. This information is slightly different from the owners manual. This totally contradicts what the customers manual says.

I purchased the vehicle based on what Ford said in the owners manual and the information in the motorhome magazines dingy edition. At this point I would caution any of you from buying the Cmax for towing until this issue is resolved.

Also if any of you are interested to see my Cmax in action you can go on you tube and look under TOWING THE FORD CMAX/death wobble.

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