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Old 14th February 2010, 15:49   #1
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Angry Help me to save my Mondeo from going to scrap

I am on the verge of scrapping my Mondeo. But before I do that I want to make one last attempt to fix it with help from TBHPians. Sorry for the lengthy post.

I bought the car in Octí08 with 48k on the odo and it is Decí02 petrol. The suspension was not in good shape when I bought so overhauled the entire suspension setup with original Ford parts. It felt very good to drive and it remained so for about six months. I had no idea about the problems that I am going to face in the next 10 months. Looking back now it is very frustrating and tiring, I had gone through a very painful experience.

It all started with a mild vibration at the rear left while going over rough patches on the road. Over time vibrations developed into severe knocks from the suspension and the rear of the car behaved more like a boat swinging from side to side. I had gone to Ford dealers in Bangalore (Metro and Lathangi) numerous times with this complaint. They did nothing to diagnose the problem except to replace the rear left strut. But a new strut would last only for about 500kms.

This continued for few months. Then people at Lathangi Ford diagnosed the problem to stripped out thread of the strut mount hole on the body. They put a nut over the strut mount to tighten the strut in place. This time the strut lasted for a little longer but it was back to old ways after about 1000kms.

This incident made me to believe that the strut mount is indeed the cause of the suspension problem. I did a quick search on Google and learnt about Helicoil. They make metal threads that can be used to fix stripped out threads. I went to CarMechs in HSR Layout and asked them if they could fix the problem using Helicoils. They said they would put a new thread and fix a bigger bolt, so helicoil is not required. I agreed for this without realizing the consequences.

The OE bolt is of size 12 but they made thread for 14 size bolts and fixed them. After that my car felt very bad to drive and the problem had become worse. I got the strut replaced thinking that the strut is worn out but the problem persisted. I began noticing similar problems from right strut too. Then during one of my visits to Madhuís wheel alignment center, guys there told me that they are not able to get both rear wheels aligned properly. They suspected worn out camber adjuster bolts to be source of the problem. I asked them the remove the bolts for inspection. I was shocked when I saw the condition of the bolts threads were completely gone.

I immediately replaced cam bolts, nuts and washers on both sides. Now the problem on the right side is gone but persists on left side making the car not drivable. It appears that worn out cam bolts were the source of the problem. Due to stripped thread, the cam bolts were allowing the lower arm to move which in turn allowed the strut to oscillate from its position on rough roads. This put enormous stress on the strut mount bolts resulting in stripping of threads from the body.

Now the right side strut is fine although it had similar problem as with left side. But it was my decision to re-thread the left strut mount proved to be a costly mistake. Although the strut mount bolts are tight there is still lot of knocking and poor damping on left side. Strut lasts only for 200kms. It appears that some suspension component on the left side has a movement. Sometimes after going over a rough patch, the suspension would behave perfectly right until the next bad patch.

I have replaced 9 struts (yes you read it right nine times) at the rear in the past 10 months, 7 on the left and 2 on the right.

I approached many garages in Bangalore but no one is willing to have a look, even reputed garages like RAC and Red Rooster. They are simply not interested to take up a complex job that may not fetch them lot of money.

I almost decided to scrap the car, as I donít want to sell it some unsuspecting customer. But it is that fantastic Engine that is pushing me to make one last attempt to fix the suspension. I need help from fellow TBHPians to find a garage owner who is passionate about cars and who is willing to have a look at the car. I can bring the car to any part of India in an attempt to save it from going to scrap and money is not an issue.

Any one willing to help?
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Old 14th February 2010, 16:13   #2
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The Mondeo is CBU import. So spares will be expensive. In case you don't find a solution, try selling it after informing the buyer about the problem.
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Old 14th February 2010, 16:26   #3
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Going in for an aftermarket suspension may be the answer here (if you want to keep the car for a long time).
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Old 14th February 2010, 16:35   #4
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I used to own a Mondeo and its a fantastic car to drive.

Just scrap the O.E. Suspension and struts. Get a Sachs - Street Kit. ( Spring + Struts ).

The car will be fantastic after that.

Also, the Ford dealers are hopeless...especially with the Mondeo.

Look for an independent garage.
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Old 14th February 2010, 17:09   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecclipse78 View Post
I used to own a Mondeo and its a fantastic car to drive.

Just scrap the O.E. Suspension and struts. Get a Sachs - Street Kit. ( Spring + Struts ).

The car will be fantastic after that.

+1 to this.
novice, Mondeo is an excellent car.
I understand the level of frustration and pains that you have gone through but this is impairing your levels of judgement for your car.

The thought of scrapping it should never cross your mind.Its just OEM suspension causing the problems.Get the street kit(spring and struts) and get the entire suspension redone at any of the local garages you have found economical as well as skillful and voila!! you have your amazing car back.And if you really plan to scrap it then I am ready to buy it
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Old 14th February 2010, 18:14   #6
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Quote:
Check rear suspension bushes which can become loose in the attachment points (an MOT failure point) and used to require a new subframe costing £300 - £500 to replace. Ford now has a procedure that removes the need for a new subframe involving a new type of bush, a special tool (part number is 205-047-07) and Loctite 270 superglue (part number 1128-392). Unfortunately the tool and glue have been in short supply. The solution will not work if the subframe has corroded around the attachment points.
This is your problem - found it when trawling for info on buying a mondy sometime back
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Old 14th February 2010, 18:15   #7
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Do you know if your car was damaged in an accident by the previous owner?. As you mention about the alignment issue, I have seen cars split up in pieces and joined together with the help of other scrap cars to make one working piece.

There is something seriously wrong otherwise a mondeo will never eat so many struts in such a small time. I seriously think your car could have a chassis alignment problem and the cause would be a back end crash.

Here is a small tip- Jack the car up on the lift, inspect carefully for any tell tale signs of accidental repairs. Take a long string, get someone to hold one end of it under the rear strut center point and other end of the string diagonally to the front strut bush on the chassis. Measure the length of the string and then do the same for the other side. Compare the readings and if there is chassis alignment problem then you will get the cause of your problem.

@ajmat- You have pinned it right. That was a common issue with mondeo's and the solution was to replace the whole rear subframe. That could be his problem.

Last edited by Randhawa : 14th February 2010 at 18:18.
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Old 14th February 2010, 18:25   #8
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Randhawa, I saw this car and checked it out for novice. Car was owned by a family who now own many exotics and pamper them. Car was clean
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Old 14th February 2010, 19:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novice View Post
This continued for few months. Then people at Lathangi Ford diagnosed the problem to stripped out thread of the strut mount hole on the body. They put a nut over the strut mount to tighten the strut in place. This time the strut lasted for a little longer but it was back to old ways after about 1000kms.
Do you have any pics to share? How can a 'strut mount hole' have a thread. The thread is on the mount which can be replaced separate from the strut.

Like Ajmat mentioned, check the rear subframe as well. That is a separate part/issue and could very well cause the swaying and the inability to maintain 'toe'

Last edited by Mpower : 14th February 2010 at 19:40.
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Old 14th February 2010, 23:19   #10
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Ok so the car is clean, then it could be the subframe. Need to take the whole subframe off and inspect it. There is something which you cant see in or on the subframe which can be checked only after its removal.
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Old 14th February 2010, 23:46   #11
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I thank you all for the suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrackedHead View Post
Going in for an aftermarket suspension may be the answer here (if you want to keep the car for a long time).
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecclipse78 View Post
I used to own a Mondeo and its a fantastic car to drive.

Just scrap the O.E. Suspension and struts. Get a Sachs - Street Kit. ( Spring + Struts ).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alter_Ego View Post
+1 to this.
novice, Mondeo is an excellent car.
Get the street kit(spring and struts) and get the entire suspension redone at any of the local garages you have found economical as well as skillful and voila!! you have your amazing car back.And if you really plan to scrap it then I am ready to buy it
True, the OE suspension isn't that great. This thought came to my mind everytime I went for a OE strut replacement. But I refrained from putting aftermarket kits so far since I believe struts are not source of the problem in this case. A strut can't wear out with in 200kms of driving no matter how bad it is in terms of quality. Also OE struts are quite cheap (3K) compared to aftermarket ones and this allowed me to keep my costs down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
This is your problem - found it when trawling for info on buying a mondy sometime back
Ajmat, I got the bushes replaced twice. Once during the first suspension overhaul and the next time was after re-threading of the mount. While carrying out re-threading, mechanics at the garage jacked up my car and put an axle stand under the Subframe at the left side and removed the jack. I asked them to remove it immediately and then got the bushes replaced as a precaution. But I am not sure if something is bent inside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randhawa View Post
Do you know if your car was damaged in an accident by the previous owner?. As you mention about the alignment issue, I have seen cars split up in pieces and joined together with the help of other scrap cars to make one working piece.

There is something seriously wrong otherwise a mondeo will never eat so many struts in such a small time. I seriously think your car could have a chassis alignment problem and the cause would be a back end crash.

Here is a small tip- Jack the car up on the lift, inspect carefully for any tell tale signs of accidental repairs. Take a long string, get someone to hold one end of it under the rear strut center point and other end of the string diagonally to the front strut bush on the chassis. Measure the length of the string and then do the same for the other side. Compare the readings and if there is chassis alignment problem then you will get the cause of your problem.

@ajmat- You have pinned it right. That was a common issue with mondeo's and the solution was to replace the whole rear subframe. That could be his problem.
I doubt if there is any damage to chassis. As Ajmat said there are no visible signs. Also it was good for initial few months. Even now from time to time the suspension auto corrects itself if I hit a pothole hard. Sometimes it settles well even if I make a hard cornering. When there is much cornering force applied on the suspension/chassis I hear some sort of metallic snapping noise from the strut mount area and after that most of the times the car would feel planted until I hot a pothole or rough patch.

I seriously believe there is some free movement in some suspension component causing the strut to rattle. My suspicion is on the strut mount itself because both left and right side mounts had similar problems to begin with. But after replacement of Cam bolts the problem at the right side got sorted out. However, the strut mount bolts at the left side are super tight when I checked them few days back. In spite of this the strut rattles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Do you have any pics to share? How can a 'strut mount hole' have a thread. The thread is on the mount which can be replaced separate from the strut.
Mondeo's strut mount design is one of the worst I have seen. Strut mount bolts directly screw-in on the body itself. A small metal pipe with thread inside it protrudes above the strut mount. To make matters worse it cannot be accessed from the boot area. It is covered with cone type metal sheet which is attached to the rest of the chassis. Basically the strut is held to the chassis using two 12 size bolts with no nuts on top. If cam bolts are damaged it sure would lead to stripping of thread at the mount. So all Mondeo owners please beware. If you hear a severe knocking from strut or if the rear alignment changes for no apparent reason, please check the cam bolts immediately

The only solution that I could think of now is to refill the strut holes with metal and re-thread to OE bolts. But I don't know if it is possible and who could do that. Also I don't know if that would solve the problem.

Except this suspension problem everything else in the car is in good working condition. The engine still packs quite a punch in the mid range, all electrical equipments work fine - Xenons, washers, electric seat, power windows etc., are fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randhawa View Post
Ok so the car is clean, then it could be the subframe. Need to take the whole subframe off and inspect it. There is something which you cant see in or on the subframe which can be checked only after its removal.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, car was jacked up on the subframe sometime back. Although I got the bushes replaced I am now beginning to suspect that may be something got bent inside. I think I need to take the subframe off or may be replace it with new one to rule out the possibilities. Actually subframe is the only suspension component that I haven't replaced till now apart from the wheel-bearing.

Last edited by Dippy : 15th February 2010 at 16:01. Reason: Back to back posts
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Old 15th February 2010, 00:51   #12
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Since you have mentioned you can take your car to an place in India, Why don't you give these guys a call-
Oberai Suspension - Specialist in Suspension, Power Steering, Clutch, Brake. Bandra West, Mumbai

I have personally never tried them out but stumbled through their website while searching for suspension specialists n India. Not sure if they are really as good as they claim, maybe mumbai teambhpians can share their experiences...
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Old 15th February 2010, 00:51   #13
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Just google a bit about mondeo subframe and all your doubts will be cleared.
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Old 15th February 2010, 01:51   #14
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You should also go through fordmondeo.org.
The best place to get all your answers, they should be able to help. There is also a very detailed Wiki there.

Good Luck!

PS: Mondeo is awesome, don't give up yet!
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Old 15th February 2010, 09:26   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novice View Post
As I mentioned in my earlier post, car was jacked up on the subframe sometime back. Although I got the bushes replaced I am now beginning to suspect that may be something got bent inside. I think I need to take the subframe off or may be replace it with new one to rule out the possibilities. Actually subframe is the only suspension component that I haven't replaced till now apart from the wheel-bearing.
Sad you had to go through all this on such a lovely car like Mondeo.

Is it only the suspension issue, dont you think steering has to do something with the problem. Many cars your suspension trouble and steering issue go hand in hand.

If there is a major suspension set-up trouble, your tyres will start to wear out within 1000 km run. Please check on your tyre wear.
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