Sidestepping when accelerating - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Sidestepping when accelerating

Here's an interesting one. Car is coming up on 95K miles, and i've never noticed this until lately. FWD model


60MPH or so, and when i give it just enough gas to downshift i notice a slight "shift" in the front end when the car accelerates. best way to describe it is if you picked both front wheels up and moved them to the left 1" and then put the car down. It feels like the front end just kicks 1" to the left on the downshift

When i let off the gas after the above move, the car then shifts to the right 1" or so in the front end.

Hard to notice it at slower speeds. It also happens in turns, which can be a bit upsetting if you don't expect it. It's not so much turning left or right...but just a quick kick to the side of the front end only and still continues to go straight.


Inner and outer tie rod ends are brand new - both sides. Just did them about 5-10K miles ago. I jacked up each wheel and gave it a good yank and there's no movement at all anywhere. It's 10 degrees outside now, so i didn't pull the wheel off and start prying on things with a prybar just yet.


My struts are making noise, so i'm planning on replacing those shortly. I also have a set of lower control arms that I will install at the same time. My thinking is that it may be the lower control arm rear bushing mount that has enough play that when i give the vehicle power, it's shifting enough to allow the to toe on one wheel to change slightly. I remember there being some play in it when i did my tie rod ends...which is why i ordered the control arms.

Anyone ever experience anything like this?

2014 Ford Taurus Limited 3.5L FWD
1988 Ford Mustang LX 5.0L
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 12:00 PM
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Could be 1 of 5 things. Engine cradle bushings are shot. Control arm bushings are shot. Tie rod ends (inner or outer) are shot (you just replaced, so not likely). Strut bearing plates are shot (not likely). Lower ball joints are shot (not likely).

I only had this happen on one car before, and it was a cracked uni-body at the front frame rails. The torque of the engine would cause the frame to shift, causing the geometry to go wonky.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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I'll definitely need to get under there with a pry bar and start checking. I'm suspecting the control arm bushings, because i thought i saw a decent amount of movement from them when i did the tie rod ends so i did buy arms. However at the time I never noticed a sidestep.

Unfortunatly 1-2 feet of snow is due soon and bitter cold, so this might take some time before i can crawl under the car.

I did look at the engine cradle bushings and they looked ok.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang5L5 View Post
I'm suspecting the control arm bushings
That would be my immediate inclination.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 02:21 PM
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^^^^ Agreed.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-21-2019, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Can't do much about it right now. Currently 3 degrees outside. Will have to delay until it warms up a tad.


Have discovered my pass side rear caliper is dragging. It was hot enough to flash boil snow that landed on the rotor when clearing ice from my rims after a drive. If it's dragging that badly i wonder if this is the cause of my issue. When i give power the car steps left, when i let off, there's a sudden step to the pass side.

Again...need to wait until it warms up to at least the 30's. But i need to check that one out before it ruins my rotor/pads. I JUST did my rear brakes

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Update. Dragging brake was unrelated. It was cold and i drove it in snow/slush. Probably froze up a bit. Took it apart, cleaned the pins and relubed and it's been fine ever since. Didn't change what i'm noticing up front though.

I did jack up each wheel and shake. Also did a quick inspection and didn't see anything that looked visually bad, but more importanly didn't see anything that looked unsafe. Tie rod inners and outers still tight.

I'll probably ride it for another month or two until weather starts warming up, and then change out both lower control arms and the struts so i can get it all aligned at once. Hopefully that fixes the issue.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 08:52 AM
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Please update the thread if you find something. I just acquired a 2015 Interceptor and I am having the same issue. AWD.
On the highway at steady speed as the car starts up a hill and power is added to maintain speed, the nose will shift left 1-2". Crest the hill, power drops back down, nose comes back.
Driving along and punch the gas a bit - nose left. Off - back right. Occasionally even at slow speed with no real throttle manipulation I can feel the alignment changing. It's disconcerting. Car goes straight - does not actually change direction - it's more like the body changes the way it is pointing relative to the wheels.

I spent an hour under the front end with a pry bar last night. Control arm front bushings have no give even when leaning on the bar. Both Rear bushings can be made to move up to 1/4" without having to lean too hard on the 18" bar. Is that normal?
Grabbing a tire and yanking side to side or top to bottom has zero movement. The sway bar and links all seem fine.
The subframe nuts/ bolts are all tight and I have not found any evidence of movement anywhere.

I have not gone over the rear end (AWD) but your symptoms sound the same and FWD only.

I think the next check will be the engine and transmission mounts -but not sure how those would cause this.

Last edited by Big_eddy; 02-05-2019 at 01:03 PM.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-05-2019, 04:15 PM
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Engine and tranny mounts wont affect this in any way that -I- can think of. inbetween the CV axles, and other items that have swivel points, the movement should not be able to even come close to a shift in the front end.

What about the upper strut bearing plates? I have seen a few members lately saying they have needed to replace them as they were bad. Since the strut alightment is outside of the swivel points, it could cause that shift.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TollKeeper View Post
What about the upper strut bearing plates? I have seen a few members lately saying they have needed to replace them as they were bad. Since the strut alightment is outside of the swivel points, it could cause that shift.
I'm still gathering parts, but I did pick up new upper strut plates. I do have a pronounced clunk when I hit bumps. Just waiting on my struts and I'll ne doing new struts, upper mounts and lower control arms.

Inner and outer tie rod ends are brand new (10K miles or so) and have no movement. Sway bar end links are also new but doubt those have any relation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_eddy View Post
On the highway at steady speed as the car starts up a hill and power is added to maintain speed, the nose will shift left 1-2". Crest the hill, power drops back down, nose comes back.
Driving along and punch the gas a bit - nose left. Off - back right. Occasionally even at slow speed with no real throttle manipulation I can feel the alignment changing. It's disconcerting. Car goes straight - does not actually change direction - it's more like the body changes the way it is pointing relative to the wheels..
That's exactly what I'm feeling as well. No real change in direction but there's a definite shift in the front end when on the power and a return to previous when you let off. Really strange.

How many miles? Have you replaced anything in the front end yet?

2014 Ford Taurus Limited 3.5L FWD
1988 Ford Mustang LX 5.0L

Last edited by Mustang5L5; 02-11-2019 at 08:30 AM.
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