FORD Suspension Problems Explained(Top 7 Most Common Issues)

In this brief article we are going to discuss the different suspension problems in FORD vehicles, what causes these problems and tips on maintenance.

Among all different systems, a vehicle’s suspension is the system that takes on the maximum amount of punishment from road bumps and potholes. It is therefore not surprising that out of all the vehicle’s components, the suspension has the least service life.

With the nature of work that a suspension is expected to perform, comes a higher probability of damages and issues.

Common suspension Problems

FORD Rear Suspension failure Recall

In early 2020, Ford Motor Co. announced the recall of about 240,000 Ford Explorers manufactured between the 2013 to 2017 model years. FORD stated the reason for the recall being concerns that the rear suspension was susceptible to fracture, potentially leading to a dangerous situation. 

The cause of the issue points to a cross-axis ball joint that is likely to seize, resulting in the rear suspension ‘toe link’ to crack. A fracture in the rear toe link would diminish the vehicle’s ability to steer, leading to possible loss of vehicle control. Ford says symptoms of this problem could be either a clunk noise, sudden change in the way the vehicle handles, or a misalignment detected in one of the rear wheels.

Among the vehicles that have been recalled, the ones at greatest risk are those operating in regions with a combination of cold weather where the Relative humidity is high, and a regular practice of road salt use.

Front Macpherson Strut Spring Breakage

Ford small cars such as the Focus, Fiesta, etc. face this issue. In a majority of cases, the spring fails due to the combined effects of corrosion & fatigue over a period of time.

Symptom: You would notice a sudden drop in suspension height on any one side.

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.

Front Strut Spring breakage

In FORD F-150’s that are generally heavy-duty, at around 120,000+ miles or 10+ years, you could expect the front suspension strut spring to fail due to corrosion.

Symptom: You would notice a sudden drop in suspension height on any one side.

Front Anti-roll Bar Drop link bushing

In FORD F-150’s that are generally heavy-duty, the front suspension Anti-roll bar drop links use soft rubber bushings at both ends of the link. Over time, these rubber components harden.

Symptom: Clunk Noise coming from the front while going over rough terrain.

Front Suspension Anti-Roll bar Drop link failure.

In FORD Explorers that are 5 years or older, face the issue of failed Anti-roll bar drop link ball-joint. 

Symptom: Constant rattling noise while going on a rough road

The exact cause can most probably be a failed ball-joint at the lower end of the Drop link that connects to the Anti-roll bar. You can easily verify this by first completely lifting the front 2 wheels and then trying to move the Anti-roll bar by hand. If you hear a knocking while doing this then you have a failed ball-joint.

Front Lower Ball-joint

In FORD F-150’s that are generally heavy-duty, the front suspension lower ball-joint that attaches the knuckle to the Lower control arm fails and as a result doesn’t let the suspension move freely.

Symptom: Louder Clunk Noise coming from the front while going over rough terrain.

Rear Suspension Leafspring Isolator Bush wear-out

At about 30k miles, most F-150’s face the issue of Rear suspension isolator bushing failure.

Symptom: Clunking noise from the rear suspension

The source of the noise is the isolators provided between the leaf’s of the rear spring.

There is one isolator each at the front and rear section of the leafspring.

Replacing with OE parts gives only temporary relief and not a permanenet solution. Remedy would be to upgrade the isolators to an aftermarket solution with a more wear-resistant material.

Maintenance Tips and tricks

  • Front Springs: It would be better to replace a corroded spring and not wait till it breaks. Sometimes the broken spring sharp edges might rip the tire which sits really close to the spring. While driving on the road, this sort of a sudden tire blow-out is something you definitely want to avoid.
  • To remove any heavily corroded bolts, always loosen them using a branded ‘Rust-penetrant’ and subsequent wire-brushing to clear the debris. Although you would intend to replace corroded fasteners along with the failed parts, it would be wise to avoid hammering the fasteners as far as possible. This way you could inflict minimal to no damage to the surrounding parts and execute the repair efficiently.
  • Strut Bushings need to be torqued at ‘Ride Height’. You would have jacked or lifted the vehicle for the strut fitment and even inserted the bolts at the bushing locations. For full tightening torque, always first hand-tighten the bolts, then lower the vehicle before applying full torque.

Conclusion

In this brief article we have discussed the different suspension problems in FORD vehicles, what causes these problems and tips on maintenance.

References

abcnews article on FORD’s vehicle recall due to suspension issues

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

 

What are the signs of bad suspension coil springs?( 5 most common Symptoms)

The 5 most common Symptoms of bad suspension coil springs are:

  • Rattling and Clunking Noises while normal driving
  • Vehicle Hitting the Bump stops going over potholes or bumps.
  • Vehicle visibly dipping/leaning to one corner
  • Tyre Cross-wear/damage
  • Vehicle visibly bouncier than usual

What causes broken coil springs?

Coil Springs break/fail in this manner. Coil springs are covered in a flexible plastic coating (While chrome plating could have also been used as a coating method, but due to the fact that it could induce hydrogen embrittlement, leading to spring failure, OEM’s generally do not use this method) as means of corrosion protection. However, gradually, with continuous compression/expansion and external damage inflicted by loose dirt and stones, the coating tends to damage, thus leaving it open to surface oxidation leading to rust.

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