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increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

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increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:53 pm

Due to COVID, I have not been driving my camper conversion Custom van much this year, but when I took it on a longer trip last week I am convinced there has been a degradation in the driving refinement.......... I am sure it didnt transmit so much road buzz through the steering wheel and pedals when I used it to go to work everyday, but is it just my bad memory, am I getting paranoid, or is there a real problem??????

the van is a 2018 Custom ltd L1H1 170PS, I am running 18" alloys with Michelin cross climate SUV 235/50R18 tyres. (these have been on for 2 years) and I run them at 3.1bar back & front.
it is a very simple camper / dayvan conversion, so not heavily loaded.

the feeling I have is that now the transmission of every imperfection on the road, every cats eye etc, is transmitted up through the Chassis & steering wheel [and to a lesser extent through pedals and seat] with high frequency buzz. if i go over a catseye, there is the initial impact you expect, then a secondary "ping" as the impulse resonates undamped through the structure.

best I can describe is that it is what you would get if you had very stiff low profile tyres, or they were over infalated... or perhaps if a rubber mount was failing and transmitting the forces it should absorbing, or a damper on the way out, or a loose bolt..... that kind of thing

I have checked all the tyres are at the normal pressure, and I have tried them at 3.3bar and at 3bar just to check if they are sensitive to pressure, but it still feels the same.
the wheel nuts are all tight and it happens at all driving speeds from 5mph up to 80.

its not extreme, for example, my wife says she cant really notice it, but she doesn't normally drive the van, and she cant hear that her brake pads are worn to the metal, so that is not a resounding vote either way!. But every time I drive it I feel there is a real lack of refinement, and I am sure this is not what the Transit Custom should feel like.
I am almost thinking I would like to do a swap with another transit so I can recalibrate my hands and get a back to back comparison to verify if I am going mad.

so has anybody had similar?
is there anything I should check out?

all help appreciated as I dont think its they type of thing that the dealer would give much help on
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby woodbutcherbower » Fri Dec 04, 2020 10:35 pm

A massive buzz and vibration through the steering wheel?
Does your van have the lane depart assist function?
Have you got the lane depart assist function turned on?
Is the sensitivity turned up to maximum?

If so - that might well be your problem ......

Have you checked the wheel balancing/steering rack/shock absorbers/wheel tracking at your local tyre fitters? Cheap(sometimes even free) - and always worth a shot.

FYI optimum tyre pressure for lo-profile tyres on 18" alloys is around 40 psi (don't understand these new-fangled bar measurements, you'll need to convert my stone-age numbers - sorry). Ford officially suggest 44psi, but my experience shows that the tyres are way over-inflated at that pressure, and the centre part of the tread wears out much, much more quickly than the outside. I permanently carry around 500kg in the back (170PS Custom Sport, also on 18's) and my tyre wear is now totally even across the whole width since I dropped the pressure to 40.

Brake discs = 33mm thick when new, 30mm when worn out. I discovered this recently thanks to a fellow forum member (APW - thanks again) A set of digital Vernier calipers, or your local tyre fitters once again will confirm or eliminate accordingly. TBH, with everything you describe, it sounds like it would be well worth a few cheap £££ to whip it down to somewhere who could hoist it up on a ramp and have a look underneath - just for peace of mind and - who knows? - a suspension voyage of discovery..

Rear-end bumps and bangs = check the rear bump stops located directly above the back axle (they look like coiled springs hanging down from the chassis frame, about a foot inbound from each wheel). If they're movable by hand/loose, and lathered in rust = they're knackered and this will cause exactly the symptoms you describe. Mine fell apart after 36,000 miles. They're another relatively cheap and quick fix for an independent (Hi-Q/Kwik-Fit etc) to do, though.

Hope that helps.

All the best.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:33 am

Thanks for the suggestions... And I can confirm that tHere is no lane departure warning system on the van.

The tyre pressure conversion is 45psi, so I could go lower based on your findings, but I already have the edges wearing faster than the centre even at tHat pressure. ... But it is an easy place to start.

I will get it booked in for a tracking and balance check and see if they will let me look at it when it's on the ramp..
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:49 pm

Took the tyre pressures down to 40psi, and it has maybe reduced the buzz / spikyness by 20%, but still unrefined.

Booked in for alignment and balance.


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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby Frag » Sun Dec 06, 2020 2:35 pm

Has it been stood/parked in one position for an extended period of time with the lockdown ?
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:55 pm

Frag wrote:Has it been stood/parked in one position for an extended period of time with the lockdown ?


It has been driven short journeys about every 2 or 3 weeks, so not too static.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby Frag » Sun Dec 06, 2020 5:33 pm

Ah thats ok then,we had a memo regarding tyres developing 'flatspots' due to vehicles being stood throughout lockdown,
Irrelevant if you have been using as you've mentioned.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Fri Dec 11, 2020 6:38 pm

Thanks for checking that Frag, i did wonder about flatspotting, but its not a speed related vibration I feel, its road surface variations and imperfections at all speeds.

so had the van at the Tyre shop.

Tyre balance was OK, they inspected it for any freeplay in the suspension, bearings and steering - all OK

tracking checked and a little bit of toe out on drivers wheel that they corrected AND a little bit of camber out (1.9 on the rig, not sure if 1 degs and 9 mins, or 1.9 deg) on the passenger side which has no adjustment, so not corrected.

they couldnt see anything obvious that would have resulted in a degradation of the transmission of road vibration, but my drive home I am still sure it is not as it should be :(

so next step is to try and get a drive in another transit custom to recalibrate my hands and head. ... might see if ford dealer has a demo vehicle available.

OR if there are any forum members with a newish custom live somewhere between Worcester & Stratford, i would be interested to do a quick swap drive to get a 2nd opinion and a comparison to your van.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby S60r » Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:34 am

Hi,

Are the tyres the ones I’m looking at with the white lettering and the crazy directional tread pattern?

If so, what tread depth are they at? In my experience any tyre with slipes will get noisier as it wears.... they are pretty much unbearable by 3mm.


You are obviously on 18’s so the NVH is going to be worse at that diameter but I appreciate you have been on that size for some time so I would start at your tyre.

Is there any way you can try a different set of 18’s? If we were closer I would offer you my spare set as I run summers and winters.

I would bet a lot on it being the tyre.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Sat Dec 12, 2020 10:14 am

The cross climate tread looks like this kind of thing, directional but but not too aggressive a pattern and no raised white lettering

stock Google photo https://images.app.goo.gl/7qDfZ9h8LHNVZpE26

But the tread is getting low on the fronts, especially at the edges, so you could be onto something. I do have 1 new tyre fitted on the rear after a puncture, so I could move it forwards and see if that starts to make a difference.

Interesting in the context of NVH, noise isn't degraded, but the vibration is, especially the high frequency stuff.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:25 pm

I have now swapped the rear tyres onto the front on both sides, so I have 1 new tyre and 1 half worn, and that has made the biggest improvement so far. The road buzz is now subdued, when it was harsh and "spikey" before.

So @s60r, I think you were right, as the tread wears away, they tyre is loosing it's absorption of the high frequency surface imperfections.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby S60r » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:10 am

Tyres with slipes are renowned for this..... run flats are even worse as they age!
Don’t get me started on run flat winter tyres! :D


Nice avatar btw.... any actual pics of your conversion? I may do mine.... one day.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:02 am

S60r wrote:
Nice avatar btw.... any actual pics of your conversion? I may do mine.... one day.


The van was converted by auto campers down in Reading from new. It's their Day van option, so I can still get a motorbike in the back with the suspended bed folded up and stored beside the bike, then when I take the bike out I can put the bed back in place for the night.


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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby S60r » Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:29 am

Great looking custom in a nice colour.... goes well with the wheels. Are they the calibre t sports? I have them in 20” black.... a nice looking wheel.

Looks great with the stunning backdrop. :D


Really makes me want to convert mine, I have the lwb panel van, may not bother with windows but would like the roof obviously. I had the dciv prior, but wanted the larger load bay this time around, I will add some rear pop up/collapsible rear seats when I do it.
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Re: increased road vibration on a 2018 Custom?

Postby amcq46 » Thu Dec 24, 2020 9:29 am

Yes they are calibre T sport 18". In titanium colour.
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