In this brief article we are going to discuss the suspension issues that occur in the Ford Fiesta, what causes these failures and some troubleshooting tips.
The Top 5 Most Common problems with the Ford Fiesta Suspension are:
- Rear Shock Absorber Leaking/Worn out
- Weak Front Strut
- Strut Top Mount Failed
- Front Spring Breakage
- Lower Control Arm Bush Failure
Ford Fiesta Suspension
The basic front suspension of the Ford Fiesta has remained unchanged over the past 2 decades. It is a MacPherson Strut with A-arm and Anti-roll bars.
The Rear suspension is a Trailing Twist-axle beam with two rear shock absorbers and Springs. The Twist-axle (yellow arrow in the image below) is designed such that it performs the dual function of carrying the Wheel hubs as well as acting as an Anti-Roll bar. The axle itself twists every time the suspension undergoes roll motion.
Rear Shock Absorber Leaking/ Worn out
- Rear feels a lot bouncier than usual
- In some cases you get knocking/popping noises coming from the rear
- While going around a corner fast, you will find the rear end loses grip
Troubleshooting Rear Shock Absorber Leaking/ Worn out
- Ride and handling problems are generally due to the condition of the shock absorbers or struts
- The shock absorber might have either damaged a seal and started leaking or may have simply outlived its service life
- When tightening the shock mounting bolt, make sure the rear suspension is at normal ride height. If it is tightened with the wheels hanging free, then the bushings undergo extra twist and tend to fail faster.
- For any Shocks that do not come as a Strut, the manufacturers recommend you to “Start” then before fitment. What “Start” means is that you need to fully compress and decompress them atleast 3-5 times.
Most shock absorbers are stored lying on their side. So the damper oils may not be completely on either one side of the piston, before starting the operating cycle. Hence, priming is done to make sure that you have all the oil on one side of the piston and ensure correct damping forces when working within the suspension.
Weak Front Strut
Symptoms of a Weal Front Strut
- Usually seen in 2010-2013 model Ford Fiestas
- Suspension hits the bump stops very often. Heavy ‘Knocking’ noises
- Front end seems Bouncier
Troubleshooting Front Strut Weak
- The Left-hand (Drivers side in the US) side front strut top bolts are located under the windshield wiper plastic mounting covers. So you need to first remove the wipers and loosen the Wiper regulator mount bolts
- One of the Front Strut top mounting bolts is located under the Headlamp. So the headlamp top bracket will need to be removed in order to access this bolt
- For removing Rusted/ corroded components always use a Rust penetrant. If try to unbolt Rusted bolts, you could strip the thread and risk having to cut out the bolt, which would lead to other complications
Damaged Strut Top Mount
- Knocking, Creaking sounds when turning the steering wheel during parking
- Knocking sounds going on a rough road patch
Troubleshooting Damaged Strut Top Mount
- Issue explained as seen on the Focus BE256 5th Gen model
- The top mount contains a bearing that allows the strut and wheel to rotate while steering the vehicle. When this bearing fails, it makes noise very time you try to steer the vehicle.
- In order to confirm Top strut damage you can do a simple test. Rotate the steering wheel with the engine Off and steering unlocked. Every time you change direction, if you hear a knock, then it is confirmed that the top mount has failed.
- For replacing the top strut mount, you need to first compress the Spring in a spring compressor. You can either use a hydraulic compressor (preferred) or a Threaded Bolt type as well
Front Spring Breakage
- You would notice a sudden drop in suspension height on any one side.
- Issue mostly seen in the Ford Focus BE256 5th Gen model
Troubleshooting Front Spring Breakage
- In a majority of cases, the spring fails due to the combined effects of corrosion & fatigue over a period of time.
- The service life of the spring depends on whether the car is used over roads that have salt or in an atmosphere where there is a lot of moisture.
- For replacing the Spring from a strut, you need to first compress the Spring in a spring compressor. You can either use a hydraulic compressor (preferred) or a Threaded Bolt type as well
Lower Control Arm Bushes
- Clunking Noises while normal Driving
- Overall Poor Handling
Troubleshooting Lower Control Arm Bushing Issues
- Usually seen in 2005-2009 Fiestas
- The bushes and Ball-joint fail due to corrosion and ageing
In this brief article we have discussed the suspension issues that occur in the Ford Fiesta, what causes these failures and some troubleshooting tips.