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Old 09-02-2015, 12:42 PM   #1
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Question shaking cmax energi

I purchesed my 2014 cmax energi new in 2014 based on the dingy guide put out by motorhome mag. After double checking the owners manua. I set it up for towing with a baseplate and air force one brake system. We took off on a long trip and the car towed fine for about 3,000 miles then it happened after pulling away from a stop i made a sharp left turn and after straightening out i. Exsperienced the dreaded death wobble for those who dont know what that is it is when the front tires wobble left to right violently. After slowing down and stopping i started off again with no trouble. I have had the motorhome checked out nothing found ford checked the car and found nothing wrong. I have tried just about everything i can think of to solve this. Hopefully someone out there who has had the same problem will get back to me with a solution.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:02 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

Can we have more information? How rapidly do the wheels "wobble"? Does the car dart left and right? How do you know when it happens, how does it feel? Is there ANY lateral movement to the hitch assembly? How large is the towing vehicle? Stuff like that.

Phil
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:28 PM   #3
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shaking cmax energi

How flat is the tow bar, difference in height between moho hitch and baseplate connection?


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Old 09-02-2015, 02:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gmac View Post
I purchesed my 2014 cmax energi new in 2014 based on the dingy guide put out by motorhome mag. After double checking the owners manua. I set it up for towing with a baseplate and air force one brake system. We took off on a long trip and the car towed fine for about 3,000 miles then it happened after pulling away from a stop i made a sharp left turn and after straightening out i. Experienced the dreaded death wobble for those who dont know what that is it is when the front tires wobble left to right violently. After slowing down and stopping i started off again with no trouble. I have had the motorhome checked out nothing found ford checked the car and found nothing wrong. I have tried just about everything i can think of to solve this. Hopefully someone out there who has had the same problem will get back to me with a solution.
gmac
The front wheels on my '97 Saturn toad, (which I towed 4 down for 8 years, 50k+ miles), would occasionally do that after a slow sharp turn.
Stopping and starting off again always cured it until l the next time.
It's not something that concerned me or caused any damage to the toad, the tires, the RoadMaster tow bar or my coach.
Mel
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:44 PM   #5
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I also had a 2003 saturn that i towed for 30,000 miles with the same towbar set up and had no problems.
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:23 PM   #6
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The problem you are experiencing is caused by a lack of enough positive Caster in the Cmax front wheel alignment. If the caster is adjustable have the dealer adjust as much positive caster into the alignment settings as possible. If it is not adjustable you'll just have to live with it.
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:42 PM   #7
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The problem you are experiencing is caused by a lack of enough positive Caster in the Cmax front wheel alignment. If the caster is adjustable have the dealer adjust as much positive caster into the alignment settings as possible. If it is not adjustable you'll just have to live with it.

Lifted Jeeps can have towing problems due to the caster changes. So I agree this can be the area to check. With a Jeep a bungee cord from the bottom of the steering wheel to the seat bottom to assist centering is sometimes a help. My previous Jeep needed this else the steering would sometimes get crossed up, I still do a bungee on my current Jeep just out of habit and abundance of caution.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:44 AM   #8
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I am waiting for an answer from ford suspension guy as to if the cmax's caster is adjustable if so I will have it adjusted as suggested. but I find it vary strange that there are other cmax's out there that are being towed with no trouble except a dead battery. I have only found 2 other posts on the internet of coax owners that are having the same problem as me. but many with the dead battery issue.
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:16 AM   #9
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I am waiting for an answer from ford suspension guy as to if the cmax's caster is adjustable if so I will have it adjusted as suggested. but I find it vary strange that there are other cmax's out there that are being towed with no trouble except a dead battery. I have only found 2 other posts on the internet of coax owners that are having the same problem as me. but many with the dead battery issue.
Like others have said, it is likely a caster issue. It is very similiar to the problem we all see occasionally on shopping carts where one or both of the front wheels (called casters, I believe, due to their design) wobble because they have likely been run into a curb, thereby messing up the proper horizontal position/alignment of the front wheels....or casters....in relation to the pin (vertical axis) that holds them in place. Damaged casters can wobble like crazy, as we all know. Incorrect alignment caster settings on a vehicle can have a similiar affect. Hope that makes sense....

Also suggest you have the Ford guys do a complete 4-wheel alignment check and adjustment if necessary/possible, including the rear. As to why others you have spoken to have not experienced this, the nature of alignment issues is very diverse and can be affected by many, many things, even including the guy who did the last alignment, for example.

Please let us know how you make out on this....thanks!
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Old 09-04-2015, 03:44 PM   #10
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shaking cmax energi

just to let all of you know there is no adjustment for the caster on the cmax energy I believe the problem is in the steering system ford has recalled over 600 ford focus and cmax's because of steering gear missing bearrings mine wasn't one of them .
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Old 09-18-2015, 05:57 PM   #11
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shakey cmax

for those of you that have not seen my original posting briefly here it is I purchased a new 2014 ford cmax on the information in the motorhome mags dingy that stated that the coax was flat towable if you follow a couple simple steps put the car in neutral,push the start stop button and hook up and go the same information is in the owners manual. after setting up the car we started a long journey and all went well for the first 3,000 miles then on stopping at a cross street and making a left turn as I accelerated the car started to shake left to right violently. since then it has been happening more often ford has examined the car twice and said they can find nothing wrong. after going back and forth with the ford engineers a few times. the have finally told me this. In the 2014 TOWING MANUAL it states as a general rule,vehicles should be towed the drive wheels off the ground. If the vehicle is to be towed on its drive wheels,place a dolly on a dolly. This totally counteracts what the customers owner manual states for recreational towing. for any of you who might doubt my issue I have posted a video of it on you tube under the title TOWING THE FORD CMAX/DEATH WOBBLE.
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Old 09-18-2015, 07:12 PM   #12
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The problem you are experiencing is called "Bump Steer". It is caused by too little positive Castor in the Cmax front alignment geometry. Since the Cmax does not have adjustable Castor settings you will have this problem as long as you tow the vehicle. You might have the vehicle 4 wheel alignment checked and the front wheels set to a 1/16th inch tow out setting to help counteract the bump steer tendency. However this will increase the wear on the inside tread ribs of the front tires and shorten your tire mileage by about 25%. It will not cure the problem but will lessen the occurrence and severity.


The car is towable in all but a certain peculiar circumstance that causes the front wheels to oscillate left and right. That circumstance is when the toad vehicle is being turned left or right and the wheels have to roll over a dip or bump in the roadway at very low speeds. Such as entering a highway or turning a moderate sharp corner at very low speeds. As the wheels travel over the bump and turn at the same time there is a pronounced change in the alignment geometry called the included angle of turn. When the wheels begin to correct back to center there is not sufficient positive castor to keep the wheels from over correcting thus you get "Bump Steer".

This condition will not occur when the vehicle is under it's own power since the power steering is acting as a force damper to control the positioning of the front wheels.

It will also not happen under braking since the braking action of each wheel again acts as a force damper to control wheel movement.

The Ford Cmax is not the only vehicle to exhibit this condition, I believe the newer Jeep Cherokee models have this tendency as well as most Asian imports.

Hope this helps explain what's going on ....
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Old 09-19-2015, 06:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by lllkrob View Post
The problem you are experiencing is called "Bump Steer". It is caused by too little positive Castor in the Cmax front alignment geometry. Since the Cmax does not have adjustable Castor settings you will have this problem as long as you tow the vehicle. You might have the vehicle 4 wheel alignment checked and the front wheels set to a 1/16th inch tow out setting to help counteract the bump steer tendency. However this will increase the wear on the inside tread ribs of the front tires and shorten your tire mileage by about 25%. It will not cure the problem but will lessen the occurrence and severity.


The car is towable in all but a certain peculiar circumstance that causes the front wheels to oscillate left and right. That circumstance is when the toad vehicle is being turned left or right and the wheels have to roll over a dip or bump in the roadway at very low speeds. Such as entering a highway or turning a moderate sharp corner at very low speeds. As the wheels travel over the bump and turn at the same time there is a pronounced change in the alignment geometry called the included angle of turn. When the wheels begin to correct back to center there is not sufficient positive castor to keep the wheels from over correcting thus you get "Bump Steer".

This condition will not occur when the vehicle is under it's own power since the power steering is acting as a force damper to control the positioning of the front wheels.

It will also not happen under braking since the braking action of each wheel again acts as a force damper to control wheel movement.

The Ford Cmax is not the only vehicle to exhibit this condition, I believe the newer Jeep Cherokee models have this tendency as well as most Asian imports.

Hope this helps explain what's going on ....


So you are here too! Just had not tied it together before now.

As you may have seen and we "discussed" I added your explanation to the Jeep threads here.

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Old 09-23-2015, 10:40 AM   #14
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all that makes sense but what doesn't make sense is that I towed the car for 3,000 miles before this problem occured. something has happened to the car and ford cannot find anything wrong with the suspension? will probably trade it for a GM product.
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