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Driveline vibration at highway speeds

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Old 03-02-2011, 10:38 PM   #1
tdbrown75
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Default Driveline vibration at highway speeds

I have been fighting a vibration which I first noticed in December, about a month after I had my 4.10s redone by a dealer due to a bad install at a speed shop. The vibration occurs at highway speeds (55+) and increases in frequency as the car speeds up. By 75+ it's noticeable even on terrible roads. It's in the floorboard and there is an audible rumble associated with it. It seems to worsen once the car gets warm and is worst when cruising although present on both acceleration and deceleration.

These are FRPP 4.10s dealer installed, full bearings, cups, etc. At first they were silent, but over the past few months they developed a slight whine and howl, so last week I returned and the dealer installed set #3. Again full bearings and cups were installed and they were not able to get them 100% silent. After a call to the Ford tech line they ended up installing a new axle housing due to the original being warped? In any case I now have the quietest set of gears I have ever "not heard".

Problem is the driveline vibration persists. I know its not a tire (I swapped wheels form another known good car), I have new gears, new axle housing and what I think is a perfect install all within spec. On previous visits drive shaft balancing was attempted with the "worm clamp" procedure and the driveline angles were checked and then corrected with Adj. UCA and Panhard bar (I have Steeda Ultra-lite springs and FRPP dampers).

The dealer is mod friendly but I'm starting to worry about them giving up and claiming it's due to the suspension modifications. I had the UCA professionally installed and the pinion set at -2 degrees and it made absolutely no difference. Nothing's made any difference so far, the darn vibration just persists through everything we try. What the heck else could be the cause here?

Tim
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:36 AM   #2
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Uh.."balancing the drive shaft with work clamps"? No way can that work reliably!!!
Sounds to me like your driveshaft is out of balance. It may have been dropped during the last gear install, or one of the prior ones.

If it's still under warranty, have them replace it.
Worst case, get an aftermarket one (like from shaftmasters) or find a used one.
Also, they might have put it on in the wrong location this last time.
Or they should try rotating it on the pinion flange (moving it around/rotating it so the driveshaft mounts to different holes); that fixes a lot of the problems.

My stock driveshaft had a vibration from day-one around 65 mph; replacing it fixed it.
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:33 AM   #3
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Sounds like a great excuse to get an aluminum drive shaft
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yourmyboybh1026 View Post
Sounds like a great excuse to get an aluminum drive shaft
Fortunately itís still under the extended power train warranty and everything that's been done so far has either been covered by Ford or the Dealer. I'm headed down there tomorrow morning to return a rental; I think I'll having a chat with the service manager about the driveshaft while I'm at it. If that's the problem it's just a matter of time before the gear noise returns or worse.

Tim
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tx_zstang View Post
Uh.."balancing the drive shaft with work clamps"? No way can that work reliably!!!
Sounds to me like your driveshaft is out of balance. It may have been dropped during the last gear install, or one of the prior ones.

If it's still under warranty, have them replace it.
Worst case, get an aftermarket one (like from shaftmasters) or find a used one.
Also, they might have put it on in the wrong location this last time.
Or they should try rotating it on the pinion flange (moving it around/rotating it so the driveshaft mounts to different holes); that fixes a lot of the problems.

My stock driveshaft had a vibration from day-one around 65 mph; replacing it fixed it.
Thanks for the feedback tx_zstang! I'll see if I can get them to try that next and will go from there.

Tim
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:00 PM   #6
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you running factory wheels and were the other wheels you tried the same? i know some folks put on aftermarket wheels and forget to remove those stupid snap rings, that can sometimes cause a vibration since the wheels don't get to sit flat.
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:18 PM   #7
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you running factory wheels and were the other wheels you tried the same? i know some folks put on aftermarket wheels and forget to remove those stupid snap rings, that can sometimes cause a vibration since the wheels don't get to sit flat.
Yes I have 5 spoke 18Ē factory wheels with Nitto 555 tires. The set I tired were CS67 20Ē wheels with Toyo Proxies. Made no difference unfortunately.

Tim
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:22 PM   #8
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Do you have factory LCA's? Sounds like you may have a bad case of NVH. Perhaps you have a worn or wearing out bushing. Just my $0.02
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SpartaPerformance View Post
Do you have factory LCA's? Sounds like you may have a bad case of NVH. Perhaps you have a worn or wearing out bushing. Just my $0.02
Yes I still have factory LCAs, there are approximately 36,000 on them. Would there be any other indicators if bushings were the cause? I don't have any squeaking, clunking, or other suspension noises back there and thye didnt mention anything after performing the axle swap.

Tim

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Old 03-03-2011, 07:28 PM   #10
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Your problem is most likely driveshaft balance. An aftermarket driveshaft will help as they are balanced better. However you may still wind up with a vibration even after the shaft. It will just occur at much higher speeds. The better the driveshaft balance, the higher up the speed the vibration sets in will occur.

Even though your pinion angle has been reset, I've seen cars that are still sensitive to this. I would try .5 to 1.5 negative. Somewhere in there I am willing to bet the issue will improve. Probably wont improve significantly until you get a better driveshaft though.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:16 PM   #11
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I replaced my LCA's with 7,500 miles on them and they were already starting to crack
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Old 03-04-2011, 05:05 PM   #12
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Spoke to the shop foreman this morning and discussed the situation with the car. He’s going to have it back on the EVA (electronic vibration analyzer) to reassess the vibration now that the rear axle has been changed out and the gear noise is gone. We discussed everything that’s been done to this point, talked about the mods, pinion angle and possibility of an unbalanced drive shaft.

His next steps will be to re-index the driveshaft, if that’s ineffective he will weight it with clamps to see if he can identify an imbalance. He felt confident he could narrow it down and even suggested we was going to try a few different pinion angles himself to completely rule that out as well. I even mentioned returning the car to stock ride height and he said it would not be necessary.

I didn’t feel I needed to sit there and make any demands about changing driveshaft’s or anything else, I like the approach he is taking and through the process of elimination this will eventually get narrowed down and eliminated. I consider myself very fortunate to have access to a dealer like this; I can’t even imagine the cost of trying to figure this out on your own.


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Old 03-04-2011, 10:10 PM   #13
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Sounds like you're getting well taken care of. See what they find, give them a chance.
Let us know what they find. Good luck!
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:50 AM   #14
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I had the same exact problem after my dealer installed my 410's. My dealer is also very good and took all the same steps yours is taking, even replacing the driveshaft. Nothing worked. In fact after every trip to the dealer, the vibration would move to a different speed, say from 45 mph to 65 mph, it was very frustrating. Finally I decided to take matters into my own hands and I dropped the rear of the shaft, rotated it 180 degrees and made sure I tightened the flange bolts in a star pattern very slowly to the proper torque spec with red locktite. Vibration gone! Bottom line is I don't think the orientation of the shaft is as important as properly tightening the flange bolts. Its a very snug fit between the pinion flange and the shaft and the shaft must be seated properly. Its a real PIA dropping a shaft in your driveway while laying on your back, but trust me it was worth the trouble. After four trips to the dealer with no solution, I was just about ready to get rid of the car. Car is absolutely vibration free now.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:05 PM   #15
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I agree with SteedaGus. "Your problem is most likely driveshaft balance." I had an 06 GT Vert with a highway vibration. I thought it would go away when I replaced the BFG's at 48k - Nope. I thought it would go away with road force balancing - partially. I thought it would go away when I had a slight bend in one of the wheels straightened - helped a little more. Finally went completely away when I cleaned all of the aftermarket undercoating overspray off of the drive shaft. The company/tech that applied the undercoating, coated one side (the bottom side) of the drive shaft the whole length of the both sections. You wouldn't think so, but the undercoating acted like a balancing weight the whole length, especially as gravity drew it to the very bottom of the shaft as it dried. A little WD 40, a rag and presto - vibration was completely gone.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:42 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the feedback guys! Car is at the body shop now getting some paint work done, after that it's right back to the shop for the vibration issue. With a little luck I'll have her back sometime late next week all purtied up and vibration free. I'll be sure and post an update when I get some new information, but I'm really hoping the third times a charm in this case.

Tim
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:57 PM   #17
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No vibration before the 410's. Vibration after the 410's. Same drive shaft= same balance. The only thing that may have changed is the orientation of the shaft or the way it was reinstalled. Shaft is good, trust me on this one. Some may argue that since the shaft is spinning faster with the 410's that it will vibrate more. Before my 410's I did 130mph with stock gears and stock shaft with no vibration at all. After 410's vibration at 60mph. The dealer simply did not take the time to properly torque the flange bolts. Do it properly, and you will be happy.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:40 PM   #18
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After another week in the shop the dealer has reached the end of the line. And after 20 minutes on the phone with the Service Advisor Iím pretty sure Iím just going to give up too. In a nutshell after another attempt with inconclusive EVA readings the dealer ended up having to contact the Ford Hotline, who basically told them the 4.10 gears are the cause of the harmonic vibration. They provided some supporting technical detail, most notably NVH data Ford has specific to the gear set that almost exactly matches the EVA readings they took on my car. They have a file with the readings and information for me to review when I go pick it up, but I also plan to talk to the Foreman tomorrow to understand exactly what they did with it (tests, procedures) and to ask him why he thinks the EVA rules out DS balance, etc.

I know I know, Iíve seen the ďI have 4.10s and no vibrations at allĒ threads too. But hereís where it gets really interesting. I got a ride from my buddy last Friday over to the dealer. Heís got a 06 GT with 4.10s and guess what? HIS DOES IT TOO! The exact same humming, harmonic vibration only his was masked by his FRPP stingers, some gear whine and suspension rattles. He does not feel he has a harmonic vibration, I suppose itís all relative to the other noises the car makes and ones ďsensitivityĒ to such things. I know a few other Mustang club members with 4.10s and you can bet Iím going to be taking some rides this summer to test the theory.

I suppose I could try a replacement DS next, or perhaps 3.73s (which would force me to mess with my tune for months on end again), perhaps change the pinion angle, or ride height, or a dozen other variables which could be the cause if itís not in fact the gears after all as the Ford Engineering hotline claims (what the heck would Ford know about it anyway). In fact thereís probably no end to the things to try, replacement parts, money and time to invest trying to figure something out that I only ever occasionally experience and doesnít seem to have any negative impact on performance anyway. I think the fix in this case is to quit hyper analyzing every little noise the car makes, crank the radio up and enjoy the hell out of the thing. If something breaks I can always fix it down the line.

Tim
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:56 AM   #19
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No vibration before the 410's. Vibration after the 410's. Same drive shaft= same balance. The only thing that may have changed is the orientation of the shaft or the way it was reinstalled. Shaft is good, trust me on this one. Some may argue that since the shaft is spinning faster with the 410's that it will vibrate more. Before my 410's I did 130mph with stock gears and stock shaft with no vibration at all. After 410's vibration at 60mph. The dealer simply did not take the time to properly torque the flange bolts. Do it properly, and you will be happy.
I will try this as a last resort, it worked for you maybe it will work for me. The only thing that makes me feel it's something other than a balance issue is the fact that it gets worse after the car warms up completely, if a balance issue wouldn't it be same all the time? Also it's definatley sensitive to throttle input which would also lead away from a balance issue I would think. It's got stock fluid in it right now and I plan on changing to RP after the break-in, not sure if that will make any difference or not.

Tim
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:07 AM   #20
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you have the pinon angle checked? i was contemplating an aluminum DS and all said that it needed to be precisely at OEM settings (which i forget now) or you get vibration at speed. perhaps the angle is off leading to the vibration. i once had a bad u joint on a 87 lx 5.0 that vibrated at one specific speed and nowhere else.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:07 AM
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2000, 2006, acceleration, chatter, drive, driveline, ford, frequency, highway, low, mustang, shaft, speed, v6, vibration

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