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Lincoln Forum: Washboard Road Feel
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  1. #1
    JWR's Avatar
    JWR is offline Junior Member My Lincoln(s): 2013 MKZ
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    Washboard Road Feel

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    My 2013 MKZ is a beautiful machine in every regard EXCEPT that anything under 50mph transmits the imperfections in the pavement directly to the driver. A smooth looking pavement that feels really smooth in my other vehicles (new F-150 and 2013 VW Beetle) feels like a washboard surface in this Lincoln ! The tires look great, I had the dealer balance them and rotate them. The car has just over 20,000 miles on it. It does not vibrate per se or seem to have tire imbalance. The tire air pressure is right on spec for all 4 wheels.

    The thing literally acts like a feeler for tiny washboard imperfections in pavement. My F-150 rides far better below 50 mph on the same pavement. So does the diesel 6 speed Beetle !

    Anyone else have this disease on an MKZ ? It is all-wheel drive and uses the Pirelli P245/40 ZR-19 tires.

    My theory is that the idiot who decided to use 40 series tires [best when applied to a sports car track...] on what should be a super smooth riding near-luxury car needs to be lynched or else made to pay for converting my vehicle tires and wheels to a decent ride and feel. In other words I think the problem is very hard and stiff aluminum 19" wheels riding around 4" from the pavement on the hard sidewalls of 40 series tires. Anyone have a better theory ? ESPECIALLY do others have this disease !!??

    Post script: I have pondered whether the "S" mode (sporty) might be locked on and not going off in the "D" normal driving mode. I see no difference in the two modes except that the shift points obviously differ and the steering turns burdensome in "S" mode. I see no difference in the shocks/suspension but that may be hard to detect.

  2. #2
    Hi

    I don't think the tires are the problem. MKZ is a sweet car. Cars today are built to be very intelligent and have multiple personas.

    From the description of your options, I'd bet you have a high optioned MKZ.... If so, you'd more than likely have adaptive/adjustable suspension. I believe you need to change the parameters of the Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes of the chassis. There is a menu that you use in the instrument cluster. Use the cluster on the tachometer side to enter the menu. Use the <OK > control pads on the left side of the steering wheel to access and toggle through. You'll need to set the handling for each of the modes to your personal preference. Unbeknownst to you, someone may have played with/changed from the factory defaults. It is a cool feature. I have spent some time with the MKZ. I have found that SPORT mode has a very responsive throttle and firms up the chassis to the point where it feels like a sports car. It can be too firm in normal driving but it is fun! Comfort mode has a lagging throttle and sloppy (comfortable) handling this might be what you desire. I found that if I set D (drive) to the Normal mode it works, but when I want to get aggressive, I'd select the S (Sport) mode. I don't like the comfort setting at all. But again, that's my preference. Try experimenting with the settings.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWR View Post
    My 2013 MKZ is a beautiful machine in every regard EXCEPT that anything under 50mph transmits the imperfections in the pavement directly to the driver. A smooth looking pavement that feels really smooth in my other vehicles (new F-150 and 2013 VW Beetle) feels like a washboard surface in this Lincoln ! The tires look great, I had the dealer balance them and rotate them. The car has just over 20,000 miles on it. It does not vibrate per se or seem to have tire imbalance. The tire air pressure is right on spec for all 4 wheels.

    The thing literally acts like a feeler for tiny washboard imperfections in pavement. My F-150 rides far better below 50 mph on the same pavement. So does the diesel 6 speed Beetle !

    Anyone else have this disease on an MKZ ? It is all-wheel drive and uses the Pirelli P245/40 ZR-19 tires.

    My theory is that the idiot who decided to use 40 series tires [best when applied to a sports car track...] on what should be a super smooth riding near-luxury car needs to be lynched or else made to pay for converting my vehicle tires and wheels to a decent ride and feel. In other words I think the problem is very hard and stiff aluminum 19" wheels riding around 4" from the pavement on the hard sidewalls of 40 series tires. Anyone have a better theory ? ESPECIALLY do others have this disease !!??

    Post script: I have pondered whether the "S" mode (sporty) might be locked on and not going off in the "D" normal driving mode. I see no difference in the two modes except that the shift points obviously differ and the steering turns burdensome in "S" mode. I see no difference in the shocks/suspension but that may be hard to detect.
    I think you found the problem. My '08 has 50 series tires, and they have more "road feel" than I want in a luxury sedan.

  4. #4
    JWR's Avatar
    JWR is offline Junior Member My Lincoln(s): 2013 MKZ
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    You're right,it has every option known to man... I'll check the settings but I am skeptical of that being the problem. I'll check. Thanks.

  5. #5
    JWR's Avatar
    JWR is offline Junior Member My Lincoln(s): 2013 MKZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWR View Post
    You're right,it has every option known to man... I'll check the settings but I am skeptical of that being the problem. I'll check. Thanks.
    I checked the settings. I had the "D" mode set to provide "Comfort..." not sporty or harsh suspension. So that was NOT the problem, at least not if everything is working correctly which no human can tell. While in there, I switched the "D" mode to be "normal" rather than soft or "comfort." I doubt that I will be able to perceive any difference but if it is exciting I'll report on it.

  6. #6
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    Agree with JWR - You can tell a big difference between Sport and Comfort. Steering wheel gets tighter in sport and you get more response on the road.

  7. #7
    I know you say you checked but in one car of mine the shocks were done and the tires would "slap" the road surface, maybe that is the problem.

  8. #8
    JWR's Avatar
    JWR is offline Junior Member My Lincoln(s): 2013 MKZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKZ'er View Post
    I know you say you checked but in one car of mine the shocks were done and the tires would "slap" the road surface, maybe that is the problem.
    That is certainly possible (bad shocks) but one would not think it would be the case with just 20,000 miles or a little more on it. The thing is driving me nuts feeling "flutter" on minuscule washboard surfaces. I have one specific section of highway that I consider a test section and there are times when I feel the bumps there & sometimes not (same speed, same lane, all done in "D" range.) Makes one question everything and all the data. It is possible I suppose that the "sporty" setting suspension is faulty and going on and off at various times without operator intervention. By the way, I just measured the rolling circumference point (e.g. the rim distance to the ground at the ground contact point) and it is only 2 3/8 inches , not the 4" I had been quoting. These are standard for this model "new car tires on original wheels." 19" rims and P245/40 series tires.

  9. #9
    JWR's Avatar
    JWR is offline Junior Member My Lincoln(s): 2013 MKZ
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    New data: I was able to drive a 2013 MKZ equipped with 18" wheels instead of 19" and 45 series tires instead of 40 series. VERY different. The washboard feel was not there. That still leaves open the possibilities that mine is stuck in "sporty" mode, that my tires are bad, or that 19" rims and 40 series tires simply ride like a buckboard. No way yet to tell which it is. Really does not solve the puzzle but I find it very interesting that this other 2013 MKZ does not have the disease.

  10. #10
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    I have also heard that 19 inch rims produce a rougher ride and 18 inchers are preferred

  11. #11
    JWR's Avatar
    JWR is offline Junior Member My Lincoln(s): 2013 MKZ
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    Update: This infuriating problem still persists. Dealer has no clue any better than I do. Have driven 2 other MKZs -- one with the same 19 wheels as mine and another with 18" wheels. Neither one rides rough like mine. I tried the Sporty mode in both my own and one of the other cars and I see no road roughness difference at all. Yes, the steering changes and Yes the transmission shift points change but I feel no difference in road feel or bumpiness in any of these cars. Dealer has agreed to "sell me a new set of tires at his cost" whenever I am ready to try and solve this blasted issue. It is the ONLY complaint on what is other wise a great car. Hideous. I have trouble believing that it is tires because I once in a while I find a stretch of road where there is no bumpiness felt at the same speeds. Yet the dealer and almost everyone say it is tires. Once I wear these out (30,000 on them now) we will find out for sure. And if new tires DO NOT fix the problem it will stay in the shop permanently until until Ford Motor Co fixes the blasted thing.

  12. #12
    mark95man's Avatar
    mark95man is offline Senior Member My Lincoln(s): 2014 Navigator & MKZ Hybrid, 07 TC Designer, 96 TC, 79 MARK V Cartier, 75+ 69-71 Lincoln MARK IIIs
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWR View Post
    New data: I was able to drive a 2013 MKZ equipped with 18" wheels instead of 19" and 45 series tires instead of 40 series. VERY different. The washboard feel was not there. That still leaves open the possibilities that mine is stuck in "sporty" mode, that my tires are bad, or that 19" rims and 40 series tires simply ride like a buckboard. No way yet to tell which it is. Really does not solve the puzzle but I find it very interesting that this other 2013 MKZ does not have the disease.
    Hi: My wife purchased a new 2014 MKZH in April 2014. She had a wonderful 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis--she claimed a Town Car was too big.

    Back to her MKZH, I hated the way it drove as it did not handle like the panther based vehicles. Washboard ride with loud road noise. I avoided driving her MKZH. Then we tried a different suspension setting--unlike the Corvettes we had, the adjustment is not in plain sight. You had to search the menu for the adjustment to suspension. It was set to normal---I went to "sport" and the car handled better, way better. Her car has the full sliding roof + most of the other options except the tires--just the base 18" WHEELS/TIRES. She has over 30,000 miles on it. The tires might be 50% worn, if that. Not one warranty issue on it. Next year, she'll buy a new one. But we feel the hybrid is out of the running--the battery pack is just too big, results in a small trunk + the MPG is not worth it. The hot AZ Summers kill the MPG, around 36. Right now she's in the low to mid 40's.

  13. #13
    JWR's Avatar
    JWR is offline Junior Member My Lincoln(s): 2013 MKZ
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    Another update: 3000 miles more since the last comment. I found one tire slightly worse than the others and moved it to the rear which reduced the washboard feel a little bit (just prior to a 2000 miles trip in it.) I am trying to wear out these blasted tires since 99% of mechanics, dealers and owners say it is tires. I do believe, as one post said, that the 19" wheels (and resulting 2 3/8" of rubber between the rims and the road) is the stupid factor coming out of Lincoln. I think that does 2 thigs: 1) It makes for a rougher ride inherently from day one and 2) It makes the vehicle much more sensitive to both tire imperfections as they wear AND road blemishes. That is a bad combo. I would still love to trade these EXPENSIVE wheels for 17" ones that would give me the same rolling radius as what I have. As I said in post #11, when I get new tires either the problem goes away or it stays permanently in the dealer's shop until Ford Motor Company fixes the thing.

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