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Old 04-23-2009, 10:05 PM   #1
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Default 04 F-150 Mystery Vibration Problem

I am experiencing a mystery vibration problem with my 2004 F-150 5.4Liter SuperCab. The somewhat violent vibration is felt in the steering wheel, seat and throughout the entire cab with no consistency. There is no rhyme or reason and this can not be recreated intentionally. It starts at various speeds and lasts for miles. It disappears on its own and sometimes after a stop. Once it starts, it vibrates at any speed upward or downward from the starting point. The vibration feels worse at slower speeds but it is still obvious at highway speeds. The problem remains after shifting in neutral and does not feel any different when I engage/disengage 4WD high.

I explained the symptoms to my local Ford dealer and they recommended balance, rotate and alignment. This did not resolve the problem. Ford kept my truck until they experienced the problem and thinks it may be the ABS module. It is close to $700 to replace and they are not 100% sure this is the problem but they have nothing else to offer. I personally have doubts as I do not feel anything unusual while braking.

My Ford dealer kept the truck well over a week and made no progress. I am hoping someone with experience has some advice because I can't afford to randomly replace parts in hopes of correcting this. I expected Ford to have some troubleshooting and diagnostic tools but apparently not for this.

I was told by a friend to have my drive shaft checked for balance. I suppose it can't hurt but how would it get out of balance and why would't the problem be constant if this was the case? I do believe it may be in the drive train somewhere but not sure how to tell.

The problem is happening more frequently but does not vibrate any worse. It does feel like I am forcing the truck to drive through the vibration which is obviously not a good thing. This truck only has 23K miles but out of warranty due to age.

Any help appreciated.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:58 PM   #2
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I have read your post, and I was having the very same problem. This first started September 08, and I called a Ford dealer, and they told me to bring it in and did the following:
SERVICE REAR DIFF ADD 2FRICTION MODIDIERS
1 TA 31 SEALANT - SLIC
2 XL 3 ADDITIVE - OIL
4 XY 75W140 QL OIL REAR AXLE

This happened with the milage at 23737 Told me to drive it for about 100 miles or so, and it should stop vibrating. It DID.

HOWEVER:

Last week, my truck started vibrating again, so I called the same dealer, and they said it could be the clutch. They would have to use diagonastics to find out.
I did not take it to the same dealer, but I did take it to another Ford Dealer yesterday, they did the diagonistics as I waited, and came back and said I would need the clutch pads, and some other parts to be replaced etc. But did say the clutch itself was o k. and the parts and labor is approximately $ 1000.00
I have not decided to have the dealer do this yet. As I wanted to check around to see if I could find something out more positive.

My truck is the same year as yours (2004 F150 Lariat 5.4 Ltre etc. My milage is 27K. I wish I had a true remedy to our problem, and like you hoping someone sees this post, and could give me a definate answer. I don't want to put up $1000.00 not knowing if this will take care of the problem. I have been to TWO dealers now with two different diagonastics. I just wanted to share my same problem. Best of Luck.

Rich
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Old 04-24-2009, 06:24 PM   #3
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Wow. I hate to say I'm happy to find someone with the same problem but thanks for letting me know. It seems unlikely that we are the only two to have this problem yet I can not find any Ford Technical Service Bulletin related to this.

At least your dealer seemed interested enough to diagnose it to the point they did. I will probably visit another dealer but it sucks having no truck for up to a week at a time while they troubleshoot.

I have a mechanic friend who unfortunately lives out of state but he must have asked me 50 questions to every 1 from this Ford dealer. He is baffled and said he really needs to feel the problem but he highly doubts it is ABS related.

Let's keep eachother posted on any progress. Maybe we will get some help from another unlucky person that already found a solution.

Thanks again.

Mark
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:33 PM   #4
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Intermittant vibration can be a hard symptom to nail down. Judging only by what I read in these posts I think it may be tires.

Balance can go out on a tire if there is separation within (the cords).

You'll have to isolate the vibration to a certain system. When you feel the vibration and you gear down but the frequency of vibration stays the same you should be able to eliminate the drivetrain ahead of the transmission output. Meaning your vibration is a tire/axle/driveshaft rotation frequency - not clutch.

I don't see how the ABS comes into play here.

If you've been able to isolate the vibration to the driveline then have someone drive alongside of you on the freeway and see if you can see tire balance bounce on any of the 4 tires (sometimes this is possible to see). It is possible that 2 tires could be out of balance but cancel each other out until such time that they rotate a 1/2 turn relative to each other and essentially double the force causing the vibration.

Your trucks are the same year with very low mileage. See if you have the same tires. Perhaps (a guess) standing for extended periods of time in one spot has caused an internal problem with one or more of the tires.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:33 PM   #5
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I understand what you are saying but still confused how it could ride smooth for a hundred miles or so and then have this vibration problem twice within ten miles. I would expect a more consistent problem if it were tire related. I will not rule the tires out completely because my truck did sit for a few weeks at a time when I first bought it in 2004 and then it was primarilary used on weekends for a while. I have been using it everyday for about two years now. I did read that heavy loads may contribute to a tread problem and I did haul about four or five fairly heavy loads of dirt and rock but that does not seem like an excessive amount. I suppose it may contribute to a tire problem.

My Truck came with General Ameritrac P255/70 R17 tires. Not sure if the other F150 owner has the same tires but I am interested to find out if we have a common denominator. I would be happy to find a tire problem versus something in the drivetrain.

Thanks for your thoughts on this and sorry for replying so late. I was out of town.

Mark
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:30 PM   #6
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Parking brake not releasing fully at times? Mine did the same thing, finally figured out it vibrated only after setting parking brake. Next time it does it, go back and smell the rear wheels to see if they are hot.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:18 PM   #7
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Now that I've read this thread again it just hit me...my 2003 Explorer Sport suffered from this. Drive forever and then "suddenly" a drivetrain frequency vibration would start up. I cannot recall if it was after I had engaged and then disengaged 4wd. I recall that the vibration was actually pretty violent on occasion.

Mostly felt it after coming up to speed on the freeway - but again, not very often. I think that in those rare cases I would get off the highway - engage 4wd, fart around forwards and backwards in a parking lot, disengage - forward and back again and then the problem would disappear.

Because of this, I thought the problem was part of the 4wd not disengaging somehow...maybe one of the front axles.

The Explorer was in extremely good shape - under 50k km (30k miles) - I have pictures of the entire underside. Looked almost new. Original tires - and no it was NOT a tire problem on mine. I traded this truck on my current F150 - same dealership which I bought the Explorer from so they got it back...
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:50 PM   #8
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I'll reply to both posts.

I think I can rule out the parking brake because I use it all the time by habit and never smelled anything unusual but thanks for the thought. It can't hurt to double check. The problem does not feel like it is coming from the rear and it does not feel like a braking action when it happens. The dealer did tell me my rear brakes were low which I thought was a little unusual at 23K miles but I have since heard this can be normal. I guess I would have expected the front brakes to wear sooner.

I did mess around with FWD while it was happening because I had some suspicion it was in the transfer case but didn't feel anything different while engaged or immediately after disengaging. I contemplated a trade in but really planned to have this truck for 20 years based on my annual mileage.

I have been driving for over a hundred miles now since the last occurence which is the longest stretch without incident in the last four weeks. I have done nothing different and commute the same way every day. Very weird.

Thank you both for the ideas and I am all ears if you think of anything else.
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mturi View Post
I'll reply to both posts.

I think I can rule out the parking brake because I use it all the time by habit and never smelled anything unusual but thanks for the thought. It can't hurt to double check. The problem does not feel like it is coming from the rear and it does not feel like a braking action when it happens. The dealer did tell me my rear brakes were low which I thought was a little unusual at 23K miles but I have since heard this can be normal. I guess I would have expected the front brakes to wear sooner.

I did mess around with FWD while it was happening because I had some suspicion it was in the transfer case but didn't feel anything different while engaged or immediately after disengaging. I contemplated a trade in but really planned to have this truck for 20 years based on my annual mileage.

I have been driving for over a hundred miles now since the last occurence which is the longest stretch without incident in the last four weeks. I have done nothing different and commute the same way every day. Very weird.

Thank you both for the ideas and I am all ears if you think of anything else.
Seriously, do a search for it on this site. There is a TSB for the emergency brake cable causing vibrations. Ball joints, engine misses, all kinds of good info. Just search "vibration" or "shake" or similar words. Lots of very knowledgable folk on here and lots of posts about similar problems.

Good luck!
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:49 AM   #10
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OK.... stupid question, but are your lugs on tight?

I had an old Acura integra and it had horrible vibrations (every once in a while) It would come and go and this was going on for quite a long time. Finally I'm on the interstate and the car starts shaking horribly. I pull over to look over it and realize that 2 of 4 lugs are missing and a 3rd is loose. (I always wondered how cars lost a wheel going down the road)

This is probably not the problem, but you're better off checking the easy things that are free first.

Good luck with whatever it is.
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:49 AM
 
 
 
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