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Old 05-05-2004, 05:10   #1 (permalink)
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'02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake

Hi,

Here's the scenario. Regular cab, 2-wheel drive, manual-trans, 3.0L '02 Ranger. 26K miles.
Several months ago, I noticed a shimmy starting in the front end. Before I got it to the Ford dealer, I caught a large hunk of metal in my right rear tire. Had to replace it. Since my spare had never been used, I used that and bought a matching new tire, and put them on the rear. (Firestone Wilderness HT. They CLAIM they are not the bad ones).
Well, the shimmy was still there. SO, I took it to Ford, and had them rebalance ALL the tires, and swapped the front and rears. Still shimmied.
Took it back to Ford. Their "expert" drove it and said he could feel nothing abnormal.
Hmmm. OK.
Took it back. This is NOT normal. It has a rhythmic shake, intermittently at any speed. If I start drifting a bit right or left, when I turn slightly to correct, in the "relaxed" position, it vibrates.
Took it back AGAIN. They had it for a couple hours and told me there's nothing wrong. They rechecked the balance, supposedly, and checked all the mechanics, supposedly.
Had a friend drive it Sunday. "Wow...THAT doesn't feel good", he said.
I asked them to check for seperation in the tires. They supposedly checked out everything. Their "expert" can feel nothing wrong, even though I, and my friend can.
Their service manager even had the yarbles to tell me that "well, things get wore in after some time. It won't feel like it did when it was new". AAUUURGHH! 26K miles?! THAT'S Ford TOUGH?!
(BTW...this Ford dealer has a famous athlete's name on the sign).
Made an appointment for Saturday morning at another Ford dealer. Hopefully, they have an "expert" that knows what a front-end shimmy is, and can diagnose.
I have never hit anything other than the standard potholes and rough Denver streets. This thing has yet to even be on gravel. It's 95% highway miles to and from work. I shift easily and smoothly, and don't abuse it. I do ALL maintenence every 3K, including rotating tires. In short, I try to keep it in as good condition as possible, and baby it as much as possible, except when I have to punch it to merge on the highway.
Anyway, any ideas? Considering the info I gave, what might be the problem? I have checked all over for "Ranger problems", "Recalls", etc., and don't find an emerging pattern of this problem.
Any suggestions to arm myself would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance,
Howhead
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:45   #2 (permalink)
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cool Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake

Have the wheel bearings, tie rod ends, and ball joints checked. Mine is a 4x4, but had to have both left side ball joints replaced with less than 30,000 miles on it. Also the driveshaft, I had to have that replaced on both my Rangers, the old '99 and my new '02, unless you're positive it's coming from the front end. Could also be broken belts in the tires.
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Old 05-06-2004, 05:02   #3 (permalink)
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Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake

Thanks JohnnyO.
I would like to assume that they DID check all that stuff, but ya know what they say about assume...

Already checked the drive shaft. Seems straight and tight. My frustration comes at their inability to diagnose. SOMEthing is wrong. I suspect a tire. If I have to buy four new tires, so be it. I just want someone to diagnose it properly before I spend $500 on tires. Hate to do that and find out it's not the problem. Also, is it possible there's an air bubble in the system? Maybe it just needs to be bled? There appears to be no leaks. It has a slight "thunk" when turning the wheel back and forth. We tried it with the engine both on and off, and it does it. Off, we just turned it far enough to get resistance each way. Another guy where I work has an '03 pretty much like it, and his does the same thing, so I'm figuring that's normal.

Oh well, another 100 miles of trepidation before I get it in Saturday.

Thanks,
Howhead
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Old 05-06-2004, 09:36   #4 (permalink)
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cool Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Howhead
My frustration comes at their inability to diagnose
That's why I started getting my Fords at a different dealer. I lease a new one every three years. The place I use to go to, on the same street as my office, couldn't fix anything properly until about the 3rd visit most of the time.
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Old 05-11-2004, 04:24   #5 (permalink)
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roll Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake-update

Why is it so hard to find good help?!
Took the truck to yet ANOTHER Ford dealer. The guy drove it, said "Rotors are warped". OK, that was actually a consideration. Then he punched some stuff into his computer, and said "With parts and labor, it'll be about $300".
GULP! For rotors and pads? (All this without so much as bending down to even LOOK at anything under there.)
"I'll get back to you", I said.
Finally, I took it to Brakes Plus for their free diagnosis. Guy drove it. Came back, said "Yep, I feel it", put it up on the rack, took the wheels off, did some measurements, and the rotors WERE warped.
He said, "Well, it's not dangerous, just probably annoying. You can wait, or we can do it now. $40 total to turn the rotors. You're pads are still like new, with really no wear apparent."
I asked him about doing it at higher speeds, and he said he suspects the high side of the warp could be doing some slight grabbing.
Gave the guy that worked on it a $5 tip for a sixpack, said "I'll get back to you".
Went back to the FIRST Ford dealer, who looked at it 3 times already. Gave them the diagnosis. "Well, according to the computer, you said "Intermittently, at any speed". If you had said specifically, "While braking", we would have suspected that".
"EXCUSE ME?! The guy, your EXPERT, drove it several times. He SHOULD have been able to feel it. The Brakes Plus guy did. It's not up to me to diagnose the truck. It's up to YOU to take my symptoms and narrow it down."
"OK. Well, we can do it under warranty. Saturday morning, 9 OK?"
"Yep." So, this will be my FIFTH Saturday morning in a row taken up with a supposedly simple problem.
Truthfully, now I really don't know if I even WANT the Ford dealer to do it, even under warranty for free. May be worth the $40 to have it done by Brakes Plus, who seemed to know what they were actually doing.
At least I know now it's not dangerous for the time being, and HOPEFULLY that will take care of the problem.
Dunno, though, how they got warped. I use the the engine and easy downshifts quite a lot, with minimal braking just to slow me down to speed. And at least 90% is highway miles. Although, I have had to do some fancy braking and steering maneuvers on the highway to try to avoid idiots.
We'll see if this works. Just thought I'd post this for anyone who may eventually have the same symptoms.

Cheers,
Howhead
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Old 05-15-2004, 15:36   #6 (permalink)
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Thumbs down Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake-ELWAY Ford

OK. Took it back to ELWAY FORD WEST this morning, where this whole ordeal began. ELWAY FORD WEST wanted to charge me again. ELWAY FORD WEST'S service manager called his "expert" front end guy over. That moron said he guaranteed there was nothing wrong with it, but they'll look at it again if I agreed to pay ELWAY FORD WEST another diagnostic charge. This was after the the service manager that was there earlier in the week said that they at ELWAY FORD WEST would go ahead and fix the problems, if indeed the rotors were warped, and any other problem they might find.
I promptly to them where to shove it.
I went to an independant repair shop. They drove it, inspected it and diagnosed it. Whaddya know! Both rotors were warped AND all 4 tires were out of balance...by a lot!
These were the same tires ELWAY FORD WEST claims to have balanced....TWICE!
I said..."Do it."
$150 to this guy and 5 weeks of aggravation, for a total of a little over $220 including what I already paid those incompetent jerks at ELWAY FORD WEST , and the truck drives like new.
When they claim something is not wrong, or they do work, you expect it to be right. You start wondering what else might be the problem. You worry about it being unsafe at 65-70 mph every day...to yourself and those around you. Evidently ELWAY FORD WEST doesn't concern itself with proper diagnosis and repair, just so anyone in the Denver area is aware.
Anyway, My Ford Ranger.com will hear about this also, when they get their website back up.
Beware ELWAY FORD WEST
(I wonder if this will be searchable to potential customers?)

Howhead

Last edited by Howhead; 05-15-2004 at 15:56. Reason: grammer
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Old 05-20-2004, 04:58   #7 (permalink)
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Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake:final words

Talked to the manager of the service department, Leon. Excuses, excuses.
"Well, you didn't say that it also did it while braking, so we didn't check for that". Hmmm. I guess when you take your vehicle in to ELWAY FORD WEST , it's up to YOU to supply a complete and correct diagnosis. Never mind their "expert" drove it twice, and supposedly they had it up on the rack at least twice. So, when you take your Ford to ELWAY FORD WEST , be sure to not leave anything to chance. Be sure that you tell them everthing EXACTLY that is wrong with it, because it's not their fault if their guys don't diagnose everything. Maybe they should have a disclaimer:
"Correct diagnoisis is the responsibility of the customer. Any work performed will be dependant on the customer's diagnosis, and we assume no responsibilty for incorrect diagnosis or resulting work". Yeah, that should nail it down.
"Our balancer may have been out of calibration. We have someone coming to look at that".
Yeah. OK. Or maybe the underpaid, part-time help just don't know what they was doing.
"Well, we'll refund you for the balance work". YA THINK? And...?
"Wahddya WANT...we're GIVING you your money back for the balance!"
Guess I shouldn't expect anything from a bunch that won't own up to their mistakes. Never mind that I drove around fearful that I was gonna lose control and kill myself and others for over a month because because of your incompetence. Never mind that you wasted five Saturdays in a row trying to track down a problem that you didn't fix properly. Naw...I'm just real happy.
Any good business would have at least TRIED to throw the customer a bone. Something like "Mr. Howhead, we are really sorry that you had to go through all that. In addition to refunding you for the botched balanced job, I see you had an oil change while it was in here last time. We'll refund you for that also."
That would have gone a long way. Some kind of ATTEMPT at taking responsibility, and some ATTEMPT at appeasement. It ain't the money, it's the attitude of these clowns. It's their total apathy towards the customer.
Sorry for the long-winded rant. Just thought people should be aware of the attitude of JOHN ELWAY FORD WEST in Wheat Ridge, CO.
I'm done now.

Howhead
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Old 05-31-2004, 21:54   #8 (permalink)
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Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake

I am sorry to hear about your ordeal with the dealership, you may want to talk to the corporate office at Ford to see if any compensation can be reached for your trouble and to point out that the dealership provided substandard service. There is usually a regional liason/rep that you can get in touch with and issue a complaint to.

Good Luck

Douglas M.
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Old 06-04-2004, 04:56   #9 (permalink)
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Re: '02 Ranger XL shimmy-shake

Thanks Douglas,
I've emailed about 8 different email addresses to different incarnations of Ford customer service, but have heard nothing back. I started with 10 addresses, but 1 of them bounced back as undeliverable, and the other one sent some nonsense form email about how Ford and Firestone were were "working together to solve the tire problem on the Expedition", or some such nonsense that has nothing to do with this.
There is no method of contacting them on their website. Even if you "Ask Whats-her-name", that doesn't work at all. "Sorry, but I cannot answer at this time"....no matter what time it is.
I've emailed AutoNation 3 times, and have yet to get a response from them. Maybe they are all just too busy over there in India to process my complaint. Or, maybe they just can't figure it out.
Customer service is definitely a thing of the past.
BTW, I should give kudos to the people that diagnosed and repaired it properly the FIRST time.
That would be Lakeside Firestone in Denver. Good job guys.

Howhead
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